How did the Hagia Sophia become a mosque? By Robert Spencer. Today’s history lesson, of relevance to today’s issues.
Today is the anniversary of an awesome tragedy. On May 29, 1453, Constantinople, once the greatest city in the Christian world, finally fell to the warriors of jihad, after they had tried to conquer it for seven hundred years.
In my new book The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS, I recount what happened then. Muslims raided monasteries and convents, emptying them of their inhabitants, and plundered private houses. They entered the Hagia Sophia, which for nearly a thousand years had been the grandest church in Christendom. The faithful had gathered within its hallowed walls to pray during the city’s last agony. The Muslims killed the elderly and weak and led the rest off into slavery.
The Hagia Sofia today
The Byzantine scholar Bessarion wrote to the Doge of Venice in July 1453, saying that Constantinople had been
…sacked by the most inhuman barbarians and the most savage enemies of the Christian faith, by the fiercest of wild beasts. The public treasure has been consumed, private wealth has been destroyed, the temples have been stripped of gold, silver, jewels, the relics of the saints, and other most precious ornaments. Men have been butchered like cattle, women abducted, virgins ravished, and children snatched from the arms of their parents.
When the slaughter and pillage was finished, Mehmet II ordered an Islamic scholar to mount the high pulpit of the Hagia Sophia and declare that there was no God but Allah, and Muhammad was his prophet. The magnificent old church was turned into a mosque; hundreds of other churches in Constantinople and elsewhere suffered the same fate. Millions of Christians joined the ranks of the dhimmis; others were enslaved, and many were killed.
hat-tip Stephen Neil