May 9, 2010

A Divine Liturgy At Hagia Sophia on 09/17/2010?

I've noticed that yesterday many people heard for the first time about the proposed Divine Liturgy to be celebrated at Hagia Sophia on Friday 17 September 2010. I heard about this a while ago and never really took it seriously, but I guess as the days draw near the inevitable will be attempted. Personally, the only reason I have not spoken about it is because I don't think it will happen. They have not received permission to conduct a Divine Liturgy there, and they most likely will not. The Prime Minister of Turkey has been (rudely) invited to attend, but the invitation makes no effort to cordially ask permission. Halki will have to be reopened before such a thing takes place, and I think such a move on the part of Chris Spirou and the International Congregation of Hagia Sophia is irresponsible as it could potentially damage much of the work the Ecumenical Patriarch has put into establishing a peaceful relationship with the Muslim population and the "secular" government. Without the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarch such an action should not be conducted. It should be noted also that this is an international organization comprising many nations and religions, so the Divine Liturgy, as the invitation to the Prime Minister indicates, is meant to unite representatives of all religions in common worship. Let alone the fact that the feast on which Hagia Sophia celebrated its feast day was not that of St. Sophia and her three daughters (September 17), but on Mid-Pentecost when we celebrate Christ as the Wisdom of God. It will be interesting to see what happens, but Greeks have been hasty in trying to acquire Hagia Sophia in the past as well, and I refer to the time in the 1920's when Greek's almost temporarily accomplished their "Great Idea" by capturing territories in Asia Minor and Constantinople almost in their grasp, but lost it all for being a bit too hasty and cocky, leading to the Greek expulsion from Turkey. Could we see a new "Great Idea" being proposed too hastily that will inevitably fail? We will know shortly.

Read the news story here, here and here. A video can also be seen here from a few years back about the issue. And here is a song composed by Stamatis Spanoudakis about how Greeks will one day take back Constantinople and Hagia Sophia.