Today the Turkish state reconverted the Great Church (Agia Sophia) in Istanbul into a mosque, and began offering Muslim Friday prayers there. Bells are tolling all over the Orthodox world to mourn this monstrous event.
Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia in Greece has proposed that “A new imposing temple to the Wisdom of God” be built in Greece, near Athens.
I think this would be great. Specifically, construction of the Great Church according to the original plan of the church in Constantinople. Here’s why:
If it were made an international Orthodox project it would, I think, be a much-needed rallying point for Church unity. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of Greek, Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs who could put up the money, even if states with large Orthodox populations were hesitant. The millions of ordinary faithful around the world might also be happy to contribute what they were able.
Art historians and artisans around the world would be delighted to reconstruct the mosaics that adorned the original building, and which haven’t been seen in their original glory for 500 years.
The original plans called for a light, airy, soaring dome that, unfortunately, couldn’t be realized using the technology of the time. A couple of domes collapsed in earthquakes, and the current one is much heavier compromise. With modern building methods, the original design could easily be realized.
I sincerely hope that this proposal will quickly gain traction. Various governments will be disturbed, but perhaps the Church can realize that its work transcends the fussings of princes.