Turkey’s Hagia Sophia might open to guests outdoors prayer instances and its Christian icons will stay, non secular officers mentioned on Tuesday, after a courtroom ruling paved the best way for it to develop into a mosque.
The sixth-century Istanbul landmark’s museum standing — in place since 1934 — was revoked on Friday and management was handed to the non secular authority, Diyanet.
The choice sparked condemnation from Western governments, Russia and Christian leaders — Pope Francis saying he was “very distressed”.
Hagia Sophia spent nearly 1,000 years as a cathedral earlier than being transformed right into a mosque in 1453 and later a museum.
Diyanet mentioned in an announcement on Tuesday that Christian icons in Hagia Sophia had been “not an impediment to the validity of the prayers”.
“The icons needs to be curtained and shaded by means of applicable means throughout prayer instances,” it mentioned.
“There isn’t a impediment from a non secular perspective to Hagia Sophia Mosque being open to guests outdoors prayer instances.”
Hagia Sophia, a significant vacationer attraction, has been the scene of Islam-linked actions in recent times. In 2018, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited a verse from Koran on the constructing.
Erdogan, who mentioned the primary Muslim prayers in Hagia Sophia would start on July 24, has insisted the constructing might be open to all, together with non-Muslims.
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