Muezzin Osman Aslan who was serving at the Hagia Sophia since it started to operate as a Mosque died suddenly in the building from an apparent heart attack on Sunday, the Governorship of Istanbul informs in a Twitter post.
“We wish mercy from God to the family and relatives of Uhud Mosque, Muezzin-Kayyum, who passed away during the voluntary guidance service in Hagia Sophia, due to a heart attack,” the Governorship said.
His death came a few days after the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque
Aslan served in Hagia Sophia from the first day of its conversion into a mosque as a volunteer, informing Muslims about the measures of the coronavirus inside the building.
After 86 years, a full-fledged Muslim prayer was held in Hagia Sophia on July 24.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree July 10 converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Hagia Sophia was built in 537 under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I as the cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. After the Ottoman capture of Constantinople in 1453, the basilica was converted into a mosque. Under the Ottomans, architects added minarets and buttresses to preserve the building, but the mosaics showing Christian imagery were whitewashed and covered.
In 1934, under a secularist Turkish government, the mosque was turned into a museum. Some mosaics were uncovered, including depictions of Christ, the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, Justinian I, and Zoe Porhyrogenita. It was declared a World Heritage Site under UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in 1985.