CAIRO – 27 July 2020: Controversial Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan turned the Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque and opened it for prayers for the first time in 86 years, which sparked a global outrage.
Who is Hagia Sophia?
Saint Hagia Sophia was born in Egypt, specifically in Badrashin. At the beginning of her life, she worshiped idols, but her feelings were directed towards Christianity thanks to her Christian neighbors and their perseverance to go to church, and spread love and meekness.
Sophia, influenced by her friends and neighbors, wanted to learn more about the Christian faith, and regularly went to Church to learn. A few days after she went to church, she asked for the sacrament of baptism and was baptized by the bishop of Memphis.
But the question that arises is: Does Saint Hagia Sophia have icons in the Coptic Museum?
Jihan Atef, general supervisor of the Coptic Museum, said that St. Hagia Sophia was indeed born and lived in Egypt, but she has no icons at the Coptic museum at all.
According to Atef, there are no icons within the displayed or stored icons in the museum that resemble the saint in any way, as all the icons in the museum are specified, and registered.
“The museum possesses about 130 icons, all of which are known, and none of them belong to Saint Hagia Sophia. All the saint's belongings are found in her museum in Turkey, which has been converted into a mosque by the Turkish government,” said Atef in statements to the press.
It is worth noting that when the Byzantine ruler of Constantine learned that St. Hagia Sophia demanded the sacrament of baptism and was baptized by the bishop of Memphis, he ordered for her to be brought and tried.
When he asked her why she had gone from idolatry to Christianity, she answered, "I was blind and now I see."
However, the Byzantine ruler of Constantine saw that her speech angered the gods and ordered her to return to idolatry. She told him that the idols he worships are nothing but a pile of stones, devoid of any power.
The Byzantine ruler of Constantine ordered his soldiers to torture her with whips, but Hagia Sophia was praying for him and his guards to be blessed with the grace of faith.
Although the Byzantine viceroy commanded his guards to burn her joints, she did not give up her faith. He even sent his wife to try to talk her into returning to idolatry, but that also failed. Frustrated, he then ordered her tongue to be cut off, and imprisoned her in a dark cell. Astonishingly, Sophia prayed for those who tortured her.
After that the Byzantine ruler of Constantine ordered his guards to decapitate her. Before her head was cut off, she prayed and asked her Lord to forgive Euclidius and his soldiers and bent to the swordsman to cut her head off.
It is also said that there was a woman who gave the soldiers a lot of money to take her body. She wrapped it with valuable wraps and placed the dead body in her home. Legend has it the dead body of Sophia was blessed, and on her anniversary, light beams come out of it accompanied by beautiful smells.
When King Constantine and his mother Queen Helena heard of the many blessings that appear on the name and body of the saint in Egypt, he ordered to transfer her body to the city of Constantinople after he had built a great church in her honor.