Turkey (MNN) — The Hagia Sophia, an ancient and iconic Christian church in Turkey, has been used by the government to broadcast Muslim messages.
David Curry of Open Doors USA says the Hagia Sophia represents the heart of the Eastern Orthodox Church and has been special to Christians for centuries. Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor, approved the initial construction. It burned down twice, but the version standing today was completed in the year AD 537.
Used for Muslim broadcasts
Curry says, “What Turkey has done during this current crisis is they have begun broadcasting Islamic messages from this Christian church. They had made it into a museum previously, but you now have the government of Turkey using this crisis to take over territory, to continue to push Christians into the margin of their community.” Read more here.
Turkey has persecuted Christians more and more in recent years, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has leaned towards more radical Islam.
Curry says Turkay has been the bridge between the East and the West for thousands of years. But President Erdoğan has backed ISIS consistently. “So there’s a battle going on there against Orthodox Christian faith and other manifestations of Christian faith. And I’m very concerned about it.”
Pray for Turkey
Curry points out that Turkey has had no qualms using its legal system and even military to undermine Christian communities in Turkey. He says, “We do need to pray for them because it is a very important country in the Islamic world. And they have tremendous potential and power to shift how the Islamic world sees Christians. And I would hope that over time we can we can see again a reconciliation in that community, for Christians to live peacefully into to practice their faith.”
Pray for Christians in Turkey, that they would be kept safe from persecution against them. Pray that they would not be emotionally crushed as they see Islamic messages broadcasted from a historic church, but that they would take great joy from the risen Christ himself.
Hagia Sophia in Turkey, a historic Eastern Orthodox church. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)