ISTANBUL (Ahval) — Turkey has ordered the re-conversion of Istanbul’s Chora (Kariye) church, which has served as a museum since 1945, into a mosque and opened it to worship, according to a presidential decree published in the Official Gazette on Friday, August 21.
The decree stated that the site has been transferred to the administration of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and will be opened for Muslim worship in accordance with Article 35 of the Law on the Establishment and Duties of the Presidency of Religious Affairs.
The move comes shortly after a similar decision to re-convert Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a mosque from a museum.
Located in Istanbul’s Fatih district, the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora was constructed as part of a monastery complex in the fourth century during the Byzantine era.
It was converted into a mosque around 50 years after the Ottoman conquest of the city in 1453. It was changed into a museum by a Council of Ministers decree in 1945.
In November 2019, Turkey’s Council of State — Turkey’s highest administrative court — ruled that the 1945 decision to change its status to a museum was unlawful. But the change in its status to a mosque had not been implemented until Friday’s decree.