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March 2, 2013

Studios Monastery Will Be Turned Into a Mosque

January 29, 2013

A correspondent of the Greek church news agency "Amen" in Istanbul, reported that the Studios Monastery, famous in the history of Orthodoxy, will be transferred from Turkey's Ministry of Culture to the General Directorate of Endowments, and will be transformed from a branch of the "Hagia Sophia" Museum into an active Mosque.

Studios Monastery, dedicated to John the Baptist, was founded in Constantinople in the middle of the fifth century by [Senator] Studios, the Roman patrician.

The monastery played a prominent role in the history of Byzantine culture and spirituality. In the second half of the seventh century to the first half of the eighth century, the monastery became a stronghold of the Iconodules and a center of the struggle against the Iconoclast heretics.

Studios Monastery was turned into a mosque by the Ottomans in 1486. The monastery was severely damaged by fire in 1782, was renovated in 1820, but again was severely damaged during the earthquake of 1894. In 1908, the roof of the cathedral collapsed. To date, the building has not been renovated and remains in a ruinous condition.

From Zaman, 30th January 2013:

Turkey’s Zaman newspaper reported on 22 January 2013 that the Church of the Monastery of St. John of Studios (İmrahor Camii) in the Samatya district (Ypsomatheia) is to be reopened as a functioning mosque. The paper’s reporter Fazlı Mert writes that following a government decision the building will be restored and returned to worship. In recent years, the building has been under the jurisdiction of the Hagia Sophia Museum within the Ministry of Tourism and Culture but is now, according to Zaman, to be transferred to the General Directorate of Religious Foundations (Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü).

In recent years the building has been closed, although visitors have been able to arrange visits through the Director of the Hagia Sophia. In the seventies it was open at various periods to visitors as a museum.