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Article: The Shell of the Great Church

December 13, 2006

From The Brussels Journal:

The Great Church is a dead shell. One enters it, and one is struck by its immensity and antiquity. But then, as one walks about it, one is struck by something else: its stasis. The house of God has no God in it, no worshippers of any kind, and no future to complement its past. The other great churches of Christendom are at the least well-preserved, and most even have active congregations. Aggressively secular Paris manages to find congregants — and funds — for Notre Dame. The Basilica of St Peter retains an active glory. St Mark’s in Venice, nearest to the Hagia Sophia in decor and form, is yet alive with something more than tourists. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is patrolled by prickly monks of various denominations. With the exception of St Peter’s, I have been to all of these, and now, this morning, to the Hagia Sophia. I have seen the great spaces of Christianity. And among them, only the Hagia Sophia is dead. It is a metaphor and a warning — of the Ecumenical Patriarchate under the Turks, and of Christianity under Islam.

Full article here.

Related Posts:
Scene: Turks Terrorize the Byzantines
Article: Why the Pope should call for the return of the Hagia Sophia

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