An Anglican church in London has apologized for allowing a Turkish fashion designer to use its altar as a runway for models who donned outfits with demonic symbolism, including inverted crosses and devil horns, for what was publicized as a satanic fashion show.
St Andrew's Church in Holborn, which was founded 1,000 years ago, was used by designer Dilara Findikoglu to flaunt her spring/summer 2018 collection as part of the fashion week, but the Diocese of London says it didn't know what it entailed.
"The parish of St Andrew's has always supported London Fashion Week. We took this booking in good faith and were not aware of the content or design before the show took place," a spokesperson said in a statement to the U.K.'s Premier news portal.
"This was obviously a mistake, and the content of this show does not reflect the Christian faith of the Church," the Diocese added. "We will be looking at our booking processes going forward to ensure this does not happen again."
It "glorified demon worship," theologian Adrian Hilton from the Archbishop Cramner blog told Premier, and called the church's decision to host the event — that included tarot card imagery and models exposing their breasts — "bizarre" because it "glorifies Satan."
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"How can the Church ask godparents to reject Satan in its liturgy of christening when it's hosting this sort of event?" he asked. "There are people dressed up of Lucifer! There are women and men walking around with demonic symbols."
Hilton also criticized the church, asking, "How is this consistent with its (the church's) mission? Did the resident clergy approve this event? … How is it possible that a sacred space can be used for what can only be described as Lucifer lauding? How does hosting a Satanic Fashion Show glorify God?"
The church was founded 1,000 years ago and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Its current vicar is the Bishop of Fulham, Jonathan Baker.
Since the church requires that the backdrop be approved by it before an event, Hilton further asked, "Did they seriously consent to the altar being shrouded by pentagrams, goat heads, inverted crosses, all-seeing eyes and other occult paraphernalia?"
Designer Findikoglu, who grew up with Muslim parents in Istanbul, recently told Vogue magazine that she is interested in parapsychology, the occult and "magic stuff."
"I'm into parapsychology and all the occult and magic stuff, so when I was reading those books, they thought I was going to be a Satanist," she said. "I don't like how religion divides people into groups."
About her work, she said, "Most of my instinct comes from what I like and who I am. My work is mostly the things that are in me and I'm exploring. I use a lot of religious iconography — or occult symbols, magic symbols — even if I don't believe in them."