The imam at Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia mosque announced on April 8 he is stepping down from his duties to return to academic studies, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
Mehmet Boynukalin, whose assignment at the nearly 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia was temporary, asked to leave the post, and his request was accepted.
He will continue his academic career at Marmara University Theology School, also located in the Turkish metropolis.
Boynukalin has served at the mosque alongside two other imams since last July, when Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque.
In the past, Hagia Sophia served as a church for 916 years and 86 years as a museum.
In 1985, Hagia Sophia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.