10/14 On our last day in Istanbul the hostel owner talked us into seeing what is known as the “greatest cathedral” of all time.  Built in about 360 A.D. by the emperor Justinian of the Byzantine empire it was taken over and converted into a mosque from 1453-1931 during the Ottoman empire.  It was for me a great disappointment because of the absence of Christian artifacts which were removed, plastered over or overshadowed by Islamic symbols (see picture). There are over 72 million people in Turkey and only 5,000 Christian believers (the size of a single large church in the U.S.). That’s less than .01% of the population.   There’s considerable worship of other Gods including Allah. It’s a nation definitely worth reaching. – Claire

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