The bells of many churches in Crete ringed today at noon. It was a symbolic act of a Cretan church in response to the transformation of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque and the first Muslim prayer at the site. In Chania, the bells were rung for 10 minutes, and so were Heraklion, Rethymno and several other places. Particular moving celebrations took place in the Cathedral of St. Menas in Heraklion, where many faithful gathered to take part in a peaceful protest against the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. This is a moving moment that the leaders of the Church of Crete say it is a day of mourning and a special day for Hellenism, Christianity and the entire Western world.
The emotional reaction of the Cretan church hierarchs should come as no surprise. During the Turkish occupation of Crete, many of the island's churches were converted into mosques. In many places you can still see the minaret next to the church bell tower. It is a testimony to the turbulent history of the island.