Moscow, January 23, 2017
An ancient Trebizond church of Agia Sophia, built between 1238 and 1263 and defiled by being converted into a mosque in 1461, is now set to undergo a restoration project worth about 2 million Turkish liras (about $530,000).
The building, regarded as an exemplary piece of Byzantine architecture, located in northeastern Turkey, served as a museum for fifty-two years before being opened to worship again in 2013. The new project plans to continue prior measures taken to conceal the church’s Orthodox Christian frescos from the eyes of Muslims, who, despite their dogmatic opposition to it, have chosen to worship in a Christian temple filled with iconography, reports Daily Sabah.
Currently the iconography is being covered with curtains “to create rooms for prayers,” while the new project proposes a more technological solution.
The dome and walls in the northern part of the tourist attraction will be covered with special transparent screening system, which will cover the depictions of Christ, the Mother of God, and the saints with an electrical film which turns opaque at the push of a button, allowing the praying Muslims to imagine they are not in a Christian building.
The project is to be launched within a year and is planned to last for two years. The former church is to remain open during restorations, according to İsmet Çalık, the Trebizond provincial director of foundations, as opposed to the nearby Sumela Monastery which has been closed during restorations, writes Hurriyet Daily News.