Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Church converted into a Mosque

Here we see the interior of the Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul. (see the other articles below for details on the history.) The Muslim Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 and changed the church into a Mosque. It was later changed to a Museum.

Notice the icon of Mother Mary and baby Jesus; and the Arabic calligraphy sign "Allah" to the right and "Muhammad" to the left. The icons were plastered over for centuries; only in recent years were the icons restored. When they heard Christians calling Mary, "the Mother of the God"; they thought the Trinity was "The Father, the Son, and the Mother".

Many Muslims have said to me, "If you call God "the Father", and Jesus "the Son of the God", then there must be "mother"; and this is Mary and we have seen the Christians praying to her and bowing down in front of her statue and picture; this is a blasphemy and idolatry and paganism; and the Qur'an confirms this is what you believe about this Trinity thing." Calling her "the Mother of the God" confirms your idolatry for us!" (Qur'an 5:116; 5:72-75)

The church had neglected and long since left its first love (see Revelation 2:4-5; Jude 1:3 & 1:21; 1 Peter 3:15); so God allowed Islam to judge and conquer. The church neglected their Biblical love relationship with Jesus; drifted from sound doctrine; added man-made traditions; fought with themselves over territories and were plagued with political intrigue; neglected evangelism and missions; the Chalcedonian Orthodox and Byzantine methods and soldiers were too harsh against Monophysites and Nestorians; the wars of Persia and Rome left a vacuum for Islam to fill; then the aggressive Jihad wars of Islam came and filled that void; and the heretical and nominal Christians in the east and the desert influenced Muhammad and gave him a wrong impression of what Christianity is.

I wanted this picture to go with the article below, but I had trouble with the technicalities of how this thing works. other articles on this issue:


Darlene said...


All you need to conclude with is:


Darlene said...


In case you hadn't heard...

The Church of Scotland which emerged from the Scottish Reformation and based its teachings upon John Calvin's has elected its first GAY clergyman, Rev. Scott Rennie. That' right, the church that was so influenced by Reformers such as John Knox has taken the plunge into liberalism.

So now what does that say about Reformed Calvinism?

Equal opportunity critiquing on all belief systems, right?

I would venture to say that you don't want to use the same kind of reasoning you're using against the Orthodox to attack the Reformed Calvinists. Right?

Matthew Bellisario said...

Once again this post is nonsense. Learn your history before you start posting.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Bellisario,

Please name one inaccuracy or outright error in the post.


Ken said...

Thanks for sharing that info. I did not know, so I googled the news and saw it.

Sad and very grievous. There was a big petition of conservatives in the denomination who protested.

Many of the people are being deceived by these false shepherds.

God's judgment is on all churches and people who leave and prove that they never had a relationship with Him in the first place; Jesus said, "I never knew you"; Matthew 7:21-23

So, the same judgments are coming upon the dead and liberal Protestant churches as came upon the early churches in the east.

The difference is, we have clear testimony from the Muslim's holy book itself (5:116; 5:72-73) that they misunderstood the Trinity because of the unbiblical traditions of man in the Marian piety, practices, prayers to her, icons; etc. that later became dogmas.

Viisaus said...

See below for an online sermon written by Theodore the Syncellus in honor of failed 627 AD siege of Constantinople by Persians and Avars (in other words, on the very eve of Islam's rise).

And I am sorry to say it, but one can see from this sermon that already at this point the Byzantines seemed to have turned Mary almost into protective deity of Constantinople. An example:

"While the children of the emperor, in the oratory of the Mother of God, being attached to the palace, offered their ingenuous innocence and their heart, just as the virginity and the purity of their bodies, as an entreaty and an aromatic incense, and they exclaimed all in tears: "All-Powerful Lady! our father had entrusted to you your city and us, your servants who are still children, as you see it, very Holy Lady, and he had given us to you; then, raising his cross, he went against these wolves which were ravaging the sheep of the sheep-fold of your son. So save us, save the city and its inhabitants, save us from the snake who attacks us."

If I counted correctly, Mary is invoked much more often in this sermon than Jesus Himself.

Here's Mary as Athena-like warrior goddess!

"The Mother of God, in the sea battle, in front of her holy church of Blachernae, made the monoxyles with their men sink. If this expression were not serious, one could have said that all the bay could have been passed on dry foot because of the corpses lying there, and the monoxyles tossing randomly quite empty and moving without a goal. The fact that the Virgin herself won this fight, and won this victory, was shown clearly by the following facts: those who fought on the sea, on our vessels, turn around at the first attack of the enemy force and they failed to beat a retreat, and by that they would have made almost possible attacks by the enemy, if the pity of the Virgin had not prevented this misfortune, refusing to endure such a spectacle. She put in action her own force and power. Not like Moses, dividing and uniting again the floods of the Red Sea by his staff, but only by her gesture and her pure will she made the chariots of Pharaoh and his army to sink. Everyone sank there, with the sailors and their instruments. Some say that ours were not withdrawn from the fear of the enemy, but that it is the Virgin itself which ordered ours to pretend to retire, because she wanted to achieve a miracle. In consequence of that, the barbarians sank completely, in front of her holy church, in the bridge of our rescue, our calm harbour, because all that was the church of the Mother of God in Blachernae."

RCs and EOs claim they are just honoring Mary properly, something that Protestants fail to do. Not so - for they are honoring a CARICATURE-MARY of their own imagination that has little to do with that humble New Testament housewife who did not have aspirations to become Constantinople's (or Rome's) tutelary demi-goddess.

Ken said...


Also, we have real history of real biblical places that are now over-run by Islam:
Jerusalem - Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock


And post Biblical areas - North Africa. The Donatist controversy sapped the life out of the church. Augustine died. The Arian Goths and Vandals invaded and the culture accepted an Arian Jesus; this paved the way for Islam to come in with almost no resistence; only the Coptic church survived in Egypt.

Don't you agree that Jesus took their lamp stand away? Revelation 2:5

And that same principle applies to the former Protestant areas of Western Europe, God is judging the Church of Scotland because they have left their first love, apparently a long time ago.

Liberal Christianity is not Christianity at all; it is a false religion, as J. Greshem Machen rightly said and wrote in his book on Liberalism.

Muslims are immigrating to Europe and they believe in a similar morality to the ten commandments, and they believe in family and marriage and children. Europeans have left that for the most part; America is not far behind.

Every generation is responsible to hold fast to the gospel and the truth and be salt and light to the nations.

Viisaus said...

Whoops, I gave a bad link to Syncellus' Marialatrous siege sermon - here's the proper address:

Viisaus said...

Fuhgeddaboutit, the machine seems to automatically nip away the last part of web address as I post...

Curious people will just have to enter and find the sermon themselves. :)

Rhology said...

Darlene said:
That' right, the church that was so influenced by Reformers such as John Knox has taken the plunge into liberalism.

1) It's not very liberal (nor PC) of you to bring THAT up. ;-)
2) On a serious note, though, it's improper to respond to an identification of evil with a "yeah, but look at YOU!" This is called a tu quoque fallacy; please re-examine your attitude in this instance.


Darlene said...


Yes, you are right. As my good atheist mother used to say, "Two wrongs don't make a right." It's just so difficult to behave when I'm surrounded by Calvinists! :)

But Holy Scripture teaches us:

"Let no one seek his own good but the good of his neighbor."

"Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear."

"So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."

Living the Christian life is one of falling down and getting back up again. I am ever aware of my faults and transgressions when I am confronted with our Holy God. And so it is I pray the Lord's Prayer and ask forgiveness everyday. "Lord, if Thou shouldst mark iniquity, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee that Thou mayest be feared."

Hallelujah for His mercy!

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi ken, I read your comments that suggests how heresy damages the Church. I tend to agree with them.

Taking your argument to its natural conclusion, just as Arianism and Donatism weakened and harmed the Church in Africa and the near-East, Protestantism has done the same to Europe and Western civilization.

And Mr. Swan, the near-East has been continuously been conquered and overrun by competing cultures going back to the Sumerians and the Hittites. Blaming the conquering of Constantinople and the destruction of the Byzantine empire on the veneration of Mary seems to me to be a bit of a stretch particularly when the Byzantine empire managed to stave off Moslem incursions for almost eight hundred years before Constantinople fell in 1453. Such tends to undermine your argument that the undue veneration of Mary was the cause of the fall of the Byzantine empire.

As a more immediate cause of the fall of the Byzantine empire, I would suggest that the blame should more aptly be placed on incessant Byzantine in-fighting coupled with the ineffectual and belated assistance of the Venetian empire to provide meaningful military aid which seems to me to be a tad more accurate and historical than faulting veneration to the Blessed Virgin.

God bless!

Ken said...

Paul Hoffer wrote:

Blaming the conquering of Constantinople and the destruction of the Byzantine empire on the veneration of Mary seems to me to be a bit of a stretch particularly when the Byzantine empire managed to stave off Moslem incursions for almost eight hundred years before Constantinople fell in 1453.

Short answer - Read the other posts on this issue, 4-5 posts in a row before this one; they run in a series.

Longer answer -
Yes, in and around Constantinople, but I am including the whole Byzantine Empire, which included much bigger areas at the time of Islam in 600s-1453; -- the Byzantine Empire lost the Levant (Palestine (Israel); Syria, Lebanon, Jordan (North Arabia), and Persia [Mesopotamia(Iraq) and Iran], Egypt, and North Africa and Spain from 632-732 AD, and the Qur'an said back then that they thought the Trinity was the Father, Mother, and Son. (Quran 5:116; 5:72-73). We just don't have many churches left in those areas like the Hagia Sophia that give us a good illustration as in the picture provided.

The Byzantine Empire later lost the Eastern part of Anatolia (today eastern Turkey and Armenia in 1071 AD, battle of Manzikert, near lake Van) and this prompted the Crusades.

The Latin Crusaders were very cruel to the Greek Byzantines in Constantinople and that is still one of the great issues that the Orthodox have with the RCC.

If you read all of my recent articles and posts, I do mention the other issues of disunity and the harsh treatment of the Monophysites and Nestorians by the Chalcedonian Orthodox.

My point is that the false doctrines of Marian devotion and prayers to her and bowing down to pictures and icons are clearly there in church history and the heretics were on the frontiers of the mission field and the EO/RCC failed to reach out to the Arabs with the Scriptures and the gospel.

I have pictures of Ephesus, Sardis, Philadelphia, Lystra, Derbe, Iconium, Galatia and Cappadocia, but the Hagia Sophia are the best preserved for the illustration.

It was a process that took the Islamic conquests centuries, but eventually they conquered Constantinople.

Such tends to undermine your argument that the undue veneration of Mary was the cause of the fall of the Byzantine empire.

No, when you see that I am spanning all of the centuries before this from before the beginning of Islam up to 1453, you will understand my argument better. Yes, it was a process, and the Crusades added other issues of back and forth loss of territory for "Christendom". But because that was also motivated by false doctrines of indulgences and penances (kill the Saracen and get forgiveness and time out of purgatory, etc.) [which grew in the west till God raised up Luther]and the brutality of the Roman/Latin/western European Crusaders on the Greek Byzantines in and around Constantinople left a great stain in the history of Christianity.

Ken said...

Persia [Mesopotamia(Iraq) and Iran]

I should clarify that this area was not Byzantine, but Mesopotamia was a mixture of Nestorianism, Monophysitism, and Zoroastrian Persian.

When the Roman/Greek world became officially Christian, (312/313 - 380 - Constantine to Theodosius and beyond - Justinian 500s; because of the previous wars with Persia, the Nestorians/Assyrians/church of the east were looked upon as spies and enemies of the Persian state in Mesopotamia and Iran; so the Zoroastrians persecuted them.

the Byzantines/Chalcedonians also treated them as heretics, so they were cut off from Christendom.

When Islam came in Jihads; the Nestorians "welcomed" them from their Zoroastrian oppressors; just as the Monophysites in Egypt/Syria "welcomed the Arab Muslims from their Byzantine/Chalcedonian oppressors".

The wars between Persia and Rome for over several centuries left a vacuum there in what is today Iraq, and the Levant, that combined with the heresies, lack of evangelical faith, lack of evangelism, false doctrines (more than just the Marian dogmas); these combined together with other factors were involved in the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Ken,

Let me premise this by saying I believe that Islam is a false religion and based on what I know and seen of its history and its more radical adherents, I do not doubt for an instance that Satan may well have had a hand in formulating it.

However, when I tried to go through all of the articles you mentioned, I found I couldn't get through all of them. Frankly, the hypothesis being advanced is nothing more than an exercise in fallacy known as "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" or a "Cum Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" (I never could tell the two apart) which occurs whenever one reasons to a causal conclusion based solely on the supposed cause preceding its "effect."

Example: Arabs weren't converted to Christianity which allowed Islam to come into existence because Bibles weren't printed in Arabic. Arabic didn't become a standardized written language until the after Mohammed's death and the rise of Islam. Before then, writing in that region was done in Sahidic, Bohairic, Coptic, Syriac, and Aramaic AND THERE WERE BIBLES WRITTEN IN THOSE LANGUAGES as early as the 2nd century AD.
I am aware of at least one Arab language Bible that dates back to 867 AD which is only a hundred years or so newer than the oldest English bibles. So what language should the early Christians have written it in to attract all of the those nomadic semitic people? The premise advanced by these articles fails from the get-go.

The question I am putting to you is this:

What documentation do you have that shows that a devotion to Mary or any of the other particular religious practices of the Byzantine Church or any of the other eastern Christian Churches led to Christendom's downfall in the Arabian peninsula or central Asia?

Moreover, how do you reconcile your notion with the fact that it was a Catholic army that defeated the Muslims at the gates of Vienna or a Catholic armada that defeated the Muslims at naval battle of Lepanto with nary a Protestant about. Prior to both battles, the Pope directed that all Christians pray the rosary which many did fervently. After these battles, Muslim forces never again obtained ant meaningful foothold in Europe. Given that the battle was won by the Catholic forces, we should adopt your rationale and proclaim that victory was due to Mary's intercession as noted by this:

"O Lady of Last Assurance
Light in the laurels, sunrise
of the dead,
Wind of the ships and
lightning of Lepanto
In honour of Thee, to whom
all honor is fled." ~G.K. Chesterton

Historically, civilizations have risen and have fallen since Adam and Eve. To my knowledge, there is only one civilization that was obliterated because of a falling away from the Word of God and I believe that because God revealed it to be so in the OT.

I would counter your assertion by noting that many Muslims who convert to Christianity do so precisely because of their high regard for Mary in their own books. I would humbly sugget The Blessed Mother has brought alot more Muslim converts to Christianity than anything preached by Luther or the French lawyer, Calvin.

God bless!

Ken said...

Paul – thanks for a spirited response.

Sahidic, Bohairic are dialects of Coptic, the Egyptian language; and they are a different people than the Arabians, the Arabs could not have understood that. They had drifted from their first love (Rev. 2:4) and so did not reach out to the Arabs.

Syriac was the main language of Palestaine/Levant/Syria, and provided a lot of the words in the Quran for the Arabs understanding of Christianity.

But, as Philip Jenkins writes:
“But generally, the most potent outside influences seem to have come from Eastern forms of Christianity. Most of the Quranic stories about Mary and Jesus find their parallels not in the canonical four gospels but in the apocryphal texts that circulated widely in the East, such as the Protoevangelium of James and the Arabic Infancy Gospel. The Quran sites the miracle in which the infant Jesus shaped a bird out of clay and then breathed life into it, a tale also found in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. The Quran also presents the death of Jesus in exactly the language of those heretical Eastern Christians known as the Docetists, who saw the event as an illusion rather than a concrete reality: “They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, but it was made to seem so to them.” [Quran 4:157] One surah includes the common Christian legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, the saintly young men who escaped a persecution by sleeping many years in a cave.”

These apocryphal and Gnostic gospels and communities are the sources for the growing Marian piety, the vow of perpetual virginity, no pain in childbirth, metaphors of God being a woman with breasts and milk, (Odes of Solomon, 18-19), etc.

Where is your source for the Sahidic, and Bohairic? ( I am curious as to how wide and extensive these dialects of Coptic was in the Scriptures; as I knew about Coptic, Syriac, and Aramaic, and I mentioned those three communities either directly or indirectly. (The Coptic Church, the Monophysite Jacobite Syrian church, and the Nestorian church of the east (Assyrian).

The evidence was there; the Qur'an clearly shows their misunderstanding of the Trinity. (5:116; 5:72-73) I quoted the historians about the first translations of the Bible into Arabic, being 2 hundred years after Muhammad; and one of them, Robert Wilken, is a former Protestant who converted to Rome years ago (like the whole Scott Hahn, Thomas Howard, Richard Neuhause movement) the early church drifted from sound doctrine.

Ken said...

Paul Hoffer wrote:

Arabs weren't converted to Christianity which allowed Islam to come into existence because Bibles weren't printed in Arabic.

I did not write "printed", but I did say "the Bible was not translated into Arabic yet"; which is true. False doctrine, harsh treatment of the heretics, exiling them to the borders of Arabia, failure to go (Matthew 28:19; John 15:16) to them with apologetics and agape love outreach, set up a situation that made it ripe for Muhammad to long for revelation in his own language. His conviction about Monotheism and his passion for getting rid of the polytheism and idols and backwardness of his own culture made him and the others who he taught about Monotheism and the sin of idolatry to be very repulsed by the eastern Christians who had any appearance of worshiping Mary and idolatry; which most Muslims today still think Christianity is.

Ken said...

Paul -
On your claim of “Post Hoc” fallacy:

“Post hoc is a particularly tempting error because temporal sequence appears to be integral to causality. The fallacy lies in coming to a conclusion based solely on the order of events, rather than taking into account other factors that might rule out the connection."

I did not base things solely, on the order, and I included many other factors; and I will be fleshing those out in the future.

They exiled heretics to the desert.

If you read all of my articles (you admitted that you could not get through them); then you would see that I included many factors for the rise of Islam, not solely on the order of events. Apocryphal gospels, Heresies on the frontiers of the mission field, lack of evangelistic outreach, failure to translate into Arabic, the harsh treatment of the Monophysites and Nestorians by the Byzantine Chalcedonians, political intrigue, the wars between Persia and Rome /Byzantine); and so the growing Marian practices and dogmas were just one part of the evidence. In North Africa, the Donatist Controversy and especially the Arian invasions of the Vandals, which changed North Africa into an Arian theology, coupled with a warrior-king/leader culture, paved the way for Islam to be easily accepted and wiped out the church.

The early church failed to get the gospel to the Arabs; Muhammad and his followers filled that vacuum.

I mentioned Syriac, the Peshitta, and it is a different language also, although a cousin Semitic language. It is closely related to Aramaic. It survives today in the form of the modern Assyrian. (they had to hire Assyrians to help with the Passion of the Christ movie; as the closest surviving language to the ancient Aramaic.)

This became the main language and ethnicity of the Nestorian church or "church of the east", that spread through Mesopotamia and sent missionaries and established churches all along the silk road all the way to China.

Ken said...

The Quote from Philip Jenkins is from The Lost History of Christianity Harper One, 2008, p. 186.

Ken said...


Palestine/Syria area had more of the Orthodox /Byzantine/Chalcedonian Christians and is probably where Mohammad saw more of the icons, praying, bowing to Mary. (along with the gnostic groups and other heresies in N. Arabia)

So it was a combination of the bad witness of the Orthodox, nominalism, Marian piety, and heresies; along with the political and cultural issues I already mentioned.

The Syriac/Aramaic of the Christians in Palestine and Syria is probably where the word forms that Muhammad and others heard orally came from, that informed the information of much of the Quran, such as Jesus being the "word of God" and "The Injeel" as the Gospel. Injeel in Arabic is a corrupted form of "euangel" (evangel).

Greek words entered into Syriac and then entered into Arabic, and later entered into Persian and Turkish. ( like Injeel, etc.; Uqnoom, in Syriac, came from the Greek gnome, which was their word for hypostasis. Today, the minority churches of the Muslim world use this word "uqnoom" for "person/hypostatis".

In NT Greek, gnome meant "mind, opinion, thought, consciousness, consent, purpose, counsel, determination".

A German scholar has written a book on "The Syriac reading of the Qur'an" and has put forth compelling evidence that the word 'Allah" came from Syriac/Aramaic, (Elaha, related to “El” and “Elohim”)and it not "Al-ilah" (the God) as commonly thought. (Christoph Luxemberg, The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran. Berlin: Hans Schiler, 2007) He is Roman Catholic also.

He shows that Muhammad got a lot of information from the Syriac Nestorian and Monophysite peoples because of the entry of those words, (also other words from Greek into Syriac into Arabic) into Arabic.

there is evidence of fragments of pre-Quranic written poetry.

The Hadith and other sources show that Muhammad had secretaries that wrote the Quran on bone (shoulder blades), stone, animal skins, etc.

and of course, I mentioned the survival of the Coptic Church, maybe it was in the comboxes in debate with Darlene and others.

So, honestly, if you read it all, I did not include only one factor and I did not base it all on one issue, or solely on the order of something; but mentioned many factors and the evidence of the Quran and the Apocryphal gospels is powerful.

The reference from Schaff's The Creeds of Christendom that James provided also shows the realations of how the immaculate conception/sinlessness of Mary developed from heretical sources, to Islam, and then came back into Orthodoxy later.