Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
Next Liturgy: Saturday 9th September, 4pm

To purchase The Divine Liturgy: an Anthology for Worship (in English), order from the Sheptytsky Institute here, or the St Basil's Bookstore here.
To purchase the Divine Praises, the Divine Office of the Byzantine-Slav rite (in English), order from the Eparchy of Parma here.
The new catechism in English, Christ our Pascha, is available from the Eparchy of the Holy Family and the Society. Please email johnchrysostom@btinternet.com for details.

"It's Now or Never: The Return of the Eastern Christians to Iraq and Syria" - John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need gives the annual Christopher Morris Lecture in the Society's 90th year. Monday 27th November at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family. 6-15 pm Divine Liturgy, 7-15 pm Lecture, 8-15 pm Reception. £10 donation requested. RSVP to johnchrysostom@btinternet.com







Friday, 10 January 2014

Paris Review – Controversy at the Hagia Sophia, Kaya Genc

Kaya Genc writes:

...  Today, the building is on the brink of another transformation; 2014 may be remembered as the year that decided Hagia Sophia’s fate. Last month, Yusuf Halaçoğlu, a parliamentarian from the nationalist MHP party, filed a proposal founded on a curious historical argument that brings to mind the books of Dan Brown and Umberto Eco. According to Halaçoğlu, the 1935 decree that transformed Hagia Sophia into a museum was forged. Atatürk, he argued, had never wanted the building to be a museum, and thanks to a legal loophole, the current parliament could easily transform the museum back into a mosque.

Was it conceivable that a forgery could be at the heart of arguably the most significant decision in Turkey’s early republican history? Halaçoğlu’s argument hinged on Atatürk’s name. Before the parliament had christened him Atatürk (“the father of Turks”) on November 27, 1934, he’d been known simply as Mustafa Kemal. Only after the Turkish parliament retitled him did he start to sign documents under the new name. But the motion that desanctified Hagia Sophia was passed on November 24, and it was signed “K. Atatürk”—three days too soon, to Halaçoğlu’s mind.
Further complicating matters, the decree’s issue number was 1589, while another decree issued two days earlier was numbered 1606. Halaçoğlu also pointed out that the decree was never published in the Official Gazette (Resmi Gazete) of the Republic, which may signal that the decree had been added to the presidential archive at a later date.

To prove his theory, Halaçoğlu brought the decree document and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s signature to the Police Headquarters of Turkey and asked experts to compare the two; there does indeed seem to be a difference between them. The experts said as much, but not everyone was convinced—intellectuals and historians began to weigh in. In Yeni Akit, Turkey’s most conservative newspaper, well known for its opposition to republican reforms, Faruk Köse argued that the forgery theory was an absurd attempt to distance Atatürk from the cultural revolutions of early twentieth century. A forgery was impossible, Köse said. The mosque was turned into a museum in 1935 and opened its doors on February 1 of that year; since Atatürk died on November 10, 1938, how on earth could he not have known about the transformation of the greatest mosque of Islam into a museum? As for the experts’ verdict about the difference in signatures, Köse argued that it was natural for a person using a new signature for the first time to make slight alterations to it later. He also claimed that Atatürk would’ve executed anyone who attempted to forge his signature—so absolute was his authority.
 
One morning not long ago, I took a tram to Hagia Sophia ... I wanted to get at the heart of the controversy.

Read the full article online here:
Paris Review – Controversy at the Hagia Sophia, Kaya Genc
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