The recent decision by President Erdogan of Turkey, to order the conversion of Hagia Sophia Cathedral into a Mosque, wipes clean any notions of Turkey being a secular State, arguably the greatest legacy left by Ataturk. I am not even entertaining the idea of discussing the “legal” process through Turkey’s Supreme Court. In modern, radical Islam-leaning Turkey, the Rule of Law is for show.
The decision of converting Hagia Sophia Cathedral into a Mosque has been exposed by His Beatitude the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, as it “poses a threat to Christianity“. In public declarations, the Russian Patriarch goes further: “A threat against Hagia Sophia is a threat to all of Christian civilization, meaning (a threat to) our spirituality and history”. He is not alone. Almost at the same time, His Holiness, the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople protested against President Erdogan’s decision, by declaring [Hagia Sophia] “belongs not only to those who own it at the moment, but to all Humanity”.
This morning, the Holy See (finally) came out of the woods to announce Pope Francis, on hearing the dreadful news simply said“My thoughts go to Istanbul. I’m thinking about Hagia Sophia. I am very distressed“. I am astonished the horrible news did not kill Pope Francis, he is 83 and very frail. Not that reactionary brutes such as Erdogan would care, of course.
I am very distressed myself. I am distressed and upset to distraction! For the reasons pointed out by the aforementioned Christendom personalities, and for reasons nobody has yet seen, except the Financial Times. The conversion of Hagia Sophia Cathedral into a Mosque is sensitive because it throws a deeply religious and spiritual factor into geopolitical relations involving Russia, Turkey and Greece. I agree, it does. It is a tremendous provocation.
But assuming reports are accurate, and if President Putin – an ally of Turkey – has indeed urged President Erdogan not to fiddle with Hagia Sophia Cathedral, why did Erdogan go ahead and did it anyway?
Aaaaahhhhh!… See, this is the question. We in the Christian World have become shallow in the head and tend to judge the book by its cover. President Erdogan looks like a Western President, all suit & tie, and polished brogues. How very Oxford dandy indeed! Make no mistake! President Erdogan of Turkey is a radical Muslim at heart. He just doesn’t like flip-flops.
But we shouldn’t mistake his looks as moderation, for there is nothing even remotely moderate about the beast. President Erdogan is best pals with the worst possible Islamic fundamentalist criminals in the Islamic Republic of Iran. They love his Western dandy looks, a great travesty, game-playing enfant terrible of Middle-Eastern politics. President Erdogan went ahead and ordered the conversion of Hagia Sophia Cathedral into a Mosque, because his assertive Islamic radical agenda has the blessing of his horrid, sebaceous little friends in criminally managed Iran.
That pat on Erdogan’s back (see photo)… It just speaks volumes as to what the relations between Turkey and the monstrous, vicious and malignant authorities in Iran, truly are. It is this State-sponsored, malignant, murderous, radical version of Islam that causes so much trouble. This is the literal, brutish interpretation of Muslim Faith, violent, hostile, deeply aggressive, expansionist and above all, absolutely full to the brim with deep-rooted hatred against the Christian World and all it represents.
Christianity and radical Islam do not share the same God. We see Love, they see destruction and hatred. We see opportunities to build bridges, radical Islam sees bridges as opportunities to further undermine and eventually defeat Christianity. The theological differences could not be greater and so, here we are once again… Weakened by the COVID-19 Pandemic, we were vulnerable and sure enough our weakness provided once again the perfect bridge, opening an opportunity to strike deep against Christianity.
Conversion of the 7th oldest Christian Church in Christendom is exactly that. A deep strike! It is spiritual rape! In that sense, I fully understand why His Beatitude the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia perceives it as a threat to all Christianity. It is threatening behaviour, because it signals what could come our way, should radical Islam ever be successful in making advances on European shores.
Christianity fails consistently to respond in a position of strength, something that says “do not trifle with us”. We make the same mistake again, and again, and again, without ever learning the Lesson… We can’t extend our hand to radical Islam, because we always burn our fingers. No matter how much we convey a message of peaceful co-existence, they only and always read it as an opportunity to strike further. Radical Islam reads and only understands the Qur’an literally. It does not interpret their Sacred Text within the cultural and social environment of the time it was written. The result is always aggravation, violence and permanent hostility.
Christians need to wake up. Sleepwalking is not an option. The conversion into a Mosque, of Hagia Sophia Cathedral must be assimilated as an event within reach of radical Islam thinking. They own it, because it is in Muslim territory. But that is not the end of it, it does not say it all. Christianity needs to read ahead, think out of the box, anticipate what would most certainly happen to other Cathedrals in Christendom, should they become one day in the future within Muslim Territory.
Amicable relations however desirable they may be, do not mean Christians should lower their guard. In Christian Territory, Christianity needs a re-kindle, spiritual renewal, and draw the strength it needs from that re-kindled Faith, in order to be firm, hold its ground and patiently away the Second Coming.
And Goodness, we do need that Second Coming. Urgently. Tomorrow preferably!
Good night and God bless.