Chora Church conversion an act of ‘symbolic violence’

Chora Church conversion an act of ‘symbolic violence’

The Turkish government’s decision to convert another Orthodox Christian monument and UNESCO World Heritage site into a mosque is an act of “symbolic violence,” Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said in a social media post on Friday.

The conversion of the Byzantine Church of the Holy Savior in Chora in Istanbul, which has been a museum since after World War II and a protected world heritage site, is also “an act dictated by political arrogance, cultural insecurity, religious intolerance that condemns a treasure of Christian art and cultural nobility to obscurity,” Sakellaropoulou said in her post.

The change in Chora’s status was passed in December 2019 but the decision of the State Council of Turkey had not been implemented until earlier this month.

The Turkish government’s decision to move ahead with the conversion came just a few weeks after it reconverted the emblematic Hagia Sophia Byzantine cathedral and museum into a mosque, a move that was roundly criticized by the international community.

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