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Emperor leads heads of state in condemning Hagia Sophia conversion

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Jonathan I has led a group of seven heads of state in condemning the recent decision by Turkish President Erdoğan to convert the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

The statement, published yesterday, was also signed by Quentin I of the Holy Roman Empire and Wyvern, Aikaterini I of Imvrassia, Emmanuel I & II of Rhomania (formerly Mouzilo), Edward I of Ashukovo, Denis I of Vlasynia, and former Austenasian PM Lord Admiral Kennedy in his capacity as provisional head of state of New Virginia.

Hagia Sophia was built as a cathedral by the Emperor Justinian and completed in 537. It stood as the greatest cathedral in the world and the centre of the Orthodox Church for almost a thousand years, until the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in May 1453.

During the fall of the city, thousands of civilians and refugees took shelter in Hagia Sophia while a Liturgy was served. When the city fell, the Turks broke down the doors to the church and slaughtered, raped and enslaved those inside.

The Ottomans destroyed or plastered over the Christian elements of the church, and installed minarets and other features to convert the cathedral into a mosque.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the caliphate, Kemal Ataturk – the founder of modern Turkey – ordered Hagia Sophia to become a museum in a drive towards modernity and secularism. Archaeological and restorative work uncovered many of the Christian mosaics, and the building was open for all to appreciate its unique history.

Hagia Sophia was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

The decision of President Erdoğan to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque has been seen as a regressive move aimed at bolstering his support among Turkey’s Islamists, as well as intentionally insulting Turkey’s Orthodox neighbours in Europe.

Reports state that the building’s Christian mosaics will now be covered with screens and lighting effects, and that visitors will have to remove their shoes upon entry.

The action has immense significance for Orthodox Christians, for whom Hagia Sophia remains a building of intense spiritual importance. Many legends and prophecies concern the cathedral.

For example, one legend says that when the city fell to the Turks, the clergy paused the service they were conducting and vanished through a door on the south side of the church, where they await to complete the Liturgy. To this day the door has not been opened, and some say chanting can be heard from the other side.

Of more concern are prophecies by Orthodox saints of the past century which warn that the building becoming a mosque again will herald a war.

Regardless of any eschatological significance of this action, it remains one calculated to intentionally offend and belittle Turkey’s already victimised Christian minorities.

The statement published yesterday by Emperor Jonathan I and others is as follows:

It was with the utmost disgust and devastation that we learnt of the decision of the Turkish government to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. At a time when so many nations around the world are looking back at their history, critical of the colonialism and oppression of the past, the Republic of Turkey – a state built on the genocide and ethnic cleansing of its Greek, Armenian, Assyrian and Kurdish minorities – has chosen to continue to insult and attack the culture and history of the people whose land it took. This action, which is illegal under international law, has been denounced by UNESCO, by the EU, by the USA, and of course by Greece and by the Orthodox Church. Under the government of Erdogan, Turkey is becoming an Islamist rogue state and international pariah, and we condemn this action unreservedly. It is an intentional insult not only towards the Christian religion, but also towards all who descend from or value the Orthodox civilisation of the medieval Roman Empire. The whole civilised world has united in condemnation of this atrociously insulting act, but we may take consolation in the knowledge that despite Erdogan’s claims, Hagia Sophia does not belong to Turkey. Rather, it belongs to God, and may His will be done.

15 July 2020 (7528)

Emperor Jonathan I of the EMPIRE OF AUSTENASIA
Emperor Quentin I of the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE and KINGDOM OF WYVERN
Empress Aikaterini I of the EMPIRE OF IMVRASSIA
Basileus Emmanuel I & II of the BASILEIA OF THE ROMANS
Prince Edward I of the REPUBLIC OF ASHUKOVO
Sir Joseph Kennedy of the COMMONWEALTH OF NEW VIRGINIA
Despot Denis I of the DESPOTATE OF VLASYNIA

UPDATE 16 JULY 21:20 – Princess Hannah of Wildflower Meadows and King Ciprian of Juclandia have also expressed their explicit support for the statement.

Crown Dependency of Trebizond founded

Crown Dependency of Trebizond

A new Austenasian Crown Dependency has been founded, consisting of territory formerly belonging to the Empire of Trebizond.

The Empire of Trebizond existed between 1204 and 1461 as a break-away state from the medieval Roman Empire, begrudgingly recognised by the latter in 1282.

The new Crown Dependency of Trebizond consists of a small farm near the Turkish city of Trabzon (the medieval empire’s former capital).

The crown dependency was claimed for Austenasia by its landowner, Prince Dionisiy I (the Duke of Lycaonia, whose Principality of Montescano was recently recognised as sovereign by the imperial government).

Prince Dionisiy has been appointed governing commissioner of Trebizond, with the title of Despot. He is a descendant of the medieval Trapezuntine rulers through his maternal ancestry.

Trebizond does not have any permanent residents, but may in future be rented out to tenants, who would be made aware that they were living on Austenasian land.

This annexation represents a further expansion of Austenasia in the former Roman lands of the East.

Midget titles abolished

In an Imperial Decree passed on Thursday 16th, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor has decreed the abolition of all Austenasian titles derived from the Midget Nation-in-Exile.

The Midget Nation-in-Exile was an entity which existed between 2009 and 2011. It was the government-in-exile of the Midget Empire, a playground-based micronation that functioned between 2002 and 2007, and was comprised of several former members of said micronation.

The Midget Empire and Nation-in-Exile were both run by a “Midget Master,” a title which has been held by the Austenasian Monarch since 2010. The Nation-in-Exile was annexed by Austenasia in April 2011, with its remaining members becoming a unit in the Austenasian Army.

The word “Midget” was chosen by the founders of the Midget Empire for no real reason; it is important to note that said founders were between eight and nine years old at the time.

The micronation had no relation to dwarfism or little people, for whom the word “midget” is a pejorative term now regarded as politically incorrect.

It is in an attempt to avoid offence and confusion that Emperor Jonathan I has therefore decreed that the instances of “Midget” in Austenasian titulature which remain from the annexation of the Nation-in-Exile in 2011 are to be abolished or revised.

Most notably, the office of Midget Master is to be dissolved and subsumed into the throne of Rushymia, an entity which represents the heritage of an earlier micronation which was based at the same school as the Midgets.

Furthermore, Centuria II Midgetae – the military unit comprised of former members of the Midgets – will be renamed to Centuria II Ruscimiae.

The changes to titulature mandated by the Emperor will come into force on 1 January 2020.

New Town established at Chalcedon

A new Austenasian Town was yesterday founded as an enclave of Kadikoy, Turkey, the modern-day site of the ancient town of Chalcedon.

The new Town consists of a section of an apartment building and is home to six people. One of its residents, İsmetcan Saraç – who initiated the process of having the properties join Austenasia – has been granted the title Count of Bithynia and appointed Acting Representative of the new Town.

Said new Town has taken its name, Chalcedon, from the settlement which has occupied the site since prehistoric times and is most famous as having been the venue of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in 451.

Chalcedon was only renamed to Kadikoy in the sixteenth century, and is now a suburb of the Anatolian part of Constantinople (Istanbul).

The Austenasian Town’s resurrection of the prestigious Greco-Roman name of the location can be seen as a further emphasis of the Empire’s Roman and Christian heritage, although all six residents of Austenasian Chalcedon are Muslim.

Lord Saraç has become the fourth Representative to join the Fatherland Party, giving the Opposition an equal number of seats in Parliament as the governmental coalition.

Furthermore, this most recent expansion has increased Austenasia’s population to 97, the highest so far in its history.

Emperors to rescind recognition of Reylan imperium

29 September 2019 1 comment

As of 1 October 2019, Emperor Taeglan I Nihilus of the Reylan Imperial Triumvirate will be recognised as holding the rank of Caesar rather than of Augustus, in a major change to rank and precedence on the imperial stage.

Emperor Taeglan I Nihilus

Following discussions of Emperor Jonathan I with Taeglan I Nihilus and with the government of the Holy Roman Empire, it was decided that the Treaty of Wrythe – by which Austenasia granted recognition to the Reylan claim to imperial rank – would be revoked.

The Treaty of Wrythe was signed between Jonathan I and Taeglan I Nihilus at the coronation of the former in February 2013. By the terms of the treaty, the Austenasian and Reylan thrones were both recognised to be of equal Augustan imperial rank.

A subsequent agreement in September 2016 between Austenasia and Wyvern, made with the consent of Reyla, legitimated the claim of King Quentin I of Wyvern to restore the Holy Roman Empire. From then onwards, the three emperors reigned in a state of mutual recognition of each other’s claim to imperium.

However, the decreased prominence of Reyla on the international stage in recent years – coupled with a decline in its internal activity – led Taeglan I to respond sympathetically to an Austenasian request for a review of its status as an Empire (in the Austenasian/Holy Roman understanding of the term). Specifically, permission was given to revoke the Treaty of Wrythe.

The other two Emperors therefore co-authored a declaration on Friday 27th September, in which it was declared that as of 1 October, Taeglan I and his successors as Reylan sovereigns will no longer be recognised as emperors “in the full sense of an imperium-holding monarch of Augustan rank.”

From henceforth the Reylan head of state will be recognised as instead holding the rank of Caesar, equivalent to Tsar, but may be referred to as “emperor” out of diplomatic courtesy with the understanding that the actual rank has been downgraded.

Similar negotiations among emperors regarding the rearranging and downgrading of ranks took place during the Tetrarchy period of the classical Roman Empire, in the early fourth century.

The Austenasian government has been keen to stress that the diplomatic relationship between Austenasia and Reyla remains strong and friendly, despite this change in rank. Indeed, just last week, Taeglan I was given a title of nobility in the annual Independence Day honours list.

From 1 October, then, there will be three recognised Emperors: Jonathan I of Austenasia, Quentin I of the Holy Roman Empire, and Naruhito of Japan.

Austenasia breaks population record

A graph tracking the growth of Austenasia’s population since its foundation.

Earlier today Austenasia’s population reached its highest number in history, with the registration of six new residents in New Richmond pushing the number of Austenasians up to 89.

New Richmond is already the most populous inhabited claim of the Empire, with twenty residents now living in its five different boroughs.

The previous population record had been 88, between March and June 2016, reached after a period of almost uninterrupted growth since Austenasia’s foundation (with the sole exception of former emperor Declan I losing Austenasian nationality in August 2013).

The population began to decline with a net loss of one person upon the simultaneous cession of Harenfall and annexation of Ionathanopolis on 27 June 2016. This culminated in a low point of 74 after Zephyria, Thanasia, and Porthbokon were dissolved in August the following year.

However, the number of Austenasians has since begun to steadily climb, and out of Austenasia’s population of 89, at least 53 will be eligible to vote in the upcoming general election.

Austenasia itself is home to 71 people, with 18 Austenasian nationals living abroad; the largest populations of expatriate Austenasians are in the United Kingdom (8 people) and the United States of America (4 people).

“MicroWiki schism” comes to an end

The dispute which began in 2012 over which website should be considered the “true MicroWiki” came to an end yesterday evening, when Wikia staff officially renamed micronations.wika to MicroNations Fandom.

The website generally considered MicroWiki is at micronations.wiki, but another, smaller wiki at micronations.wikia – known by most as “MicroWikia” – has for six years now claimed to be the “true” MicroWiki due to being the original domain at which the community was founded.

The MicroWiki community left the Wikia site in 2010 in order to create a website independent from the Wikia corporation, but two years later some younger users left MicroWiki and reactivated the original website in a successful attempt to start their own community. Attempts to heal the rift were rejected by Wikia staff, who encouraged the new community in order to maximise advertisement revenue.

It had been intended for the original Wikia site to be left as an archive, displaying a “snapshot” of the community as it had been in 2010. However, subsequent editing and deletions by the break-off community lost a substantial amount of community and micronational history.

Poor leadership and generally immature users at MicroWikia prevented it from being seen by most as a serious alternative to the independent MicroWiki, but the very existence of the break-away community remained a sad reflection on the inability of some members of the wider community to work together.

Over the past few months, Emperor Jonathan I was able to get himself appointed as a leading administrator on the Wikia site, and lead the way in petitioning Wikia staff to rename the website.

With micronations.wikia no longer officially claiming the MicroWiki “title”, the rift between the two communities is formally at an end.

Although the community remaining at MicroNations Fandom is very small compared to that of MicroWiki, the fact that the former no longer claims the same name will make it far easier for its users to co-operate and interact with the main MicroWiki community.

Robert Lethler revealed as Sebastian Linden

Sebastian Linden, Steward of Rudno, shocked the MicroWiki community yesterday evening by revealing that he had been the creator of and true identity behind “Robert Lethler”.

Robert Lethler was the name used by an individual who claimed to be the leader of “Erusia”, a micronation which through its claims of an impressively active political system and developed socialist culture was able to achieve a high level of diplomatic influence over the early MicroWiki community.

From late 2008 to mid-2010, Lethler acted as one of the main architects of the MicroWiki community, serving both as an administrator of the website and holding high office in the Grand Unified Micronational.

In July 2010, a dossier – co-authored by none other than Sebastian Linden – exposed Erusia as entirely fictional, and Lethler as a fake persona. Lethler departed the community, leaving behind rumours that his guidance of the community had been a socio-political “experiment”.

Other than three subsequent, brief returns to the community’s Skype rooms – the last of which was in March 2012 – “Robert Lethler” disappeared from history.

Linden’s surprise announcement yesterday evening that he had been Lethler all along was verified when he logged into an old Skype account previously used by Lethler. Numerous other pieces of evidence were put together in support of his claim, conclusively proving that Robert Lethler had been Sebastian Linden all along.

Holy Roman Empire restored!

22 September 2016 1 comment

The flag of the Holy Roman Empire.

The flag of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Holy Roman Empire, an imperial polity which existed between 800 and 1806, has been re-established by King Quentin I of Wyvern.

Emperor Jonathan I yesterday signed a treaty with Quentin I in which the latter was granted recognition of his claim to imperial rank, thus finally legitimising his restored Holy Roman Empire (HRE), a project by Wyvern which has been ongoing since 2014.

Taeglan I Nihilus, the Reylan Emperor, gave his consent for Quentin I to be recognised as an Emperor.

With Jonathan I, Taeglan I, and Quentin I all now recognised as holding the rank of Emperor, this marks the first time since 1867 that there have been three Emperors of three different imperial states in the West.

The original Holy Roman Empire was effectively established in 800, before dissolving during the Napoleonic Wars. Quentin I based his claim to have re-established the HRE on the grounds that Wyvern is situated on land formerly belonging to the Empire, and that he himself is descended from various Holy Roman Emperors.

The re-established HRE is structured very similarly to the way in which the original was in the latter part of its existence, as an imperial confederation of sovereign states over which the Holy Roman Emperor holds imperium.

The member states of the new Holy Roman Empire are the Kingdom of Wyvern, the Kingdom of Natal, the Principality of Montania, and the Free City of Hoogland, the latter three of which are exclaves of the United States of America.

Emperor puts himself on trial

13 January 2016 1 comment

The first criminal trial since May 2009 has begun in Austenasia, with the Emperor himself on trial.

HIM Emperor Jonathan I has, in an unprecedented move, charged himself with three counts of treason against Esmond III for actions committed over December 2010 and January 2011 in regards to his role in bringing Declan I to power.

In the Emperor’s recent Christmas broadcast, he announced a desire to see the legality of his role in those events investigated in order to rectify any outstanding injustices.

A select committee of the Privy Council was gathered, which helped organise a trial.

The events in question took place during and after the War of the Orlian Reunification in December 2010, when the then Crown Prince Jonathan successfully orchestrated a conflict between the Carshalton Nations to bring Declan I to power as joint Monarch in opposition to Esmond III. Although the then Crown Prince admitted his role in events the following year, no legal action was ever taken against him.

With the trial taking place in the Imperial Court, the Emperor is by a technicality judge, defendant, and prosecutor. However, in the interests of simplicity and justice, the prosecution is being argued by Sir Sebastian Linden and the defence by King Adam I of Überstadt.

The trial is taking place over Skype due to differences in time zones between the prosecution and defence. As such, it will likely take several days. The smooth running of the government is not likely to be affected during this time.

More details about the trial will be made public as events unfold.