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HAGIA SOFIA
chase
post 11/25/05 08:03 PM
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BYZANTINE MONUMENT

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HAGIA SOFIA

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Hagia Sophia — View from the East. The most remarkable feature of the church, which belongs to the transitional type of domed basilica, is the huge dome supported by four massive piers.

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Hagia Sophia — The church of Hagia Sophia had been identified with the Ecumenical Patriarchate for more than one thousand years. When speaking of the Great Church of Christ, historians refer to both Hagia Sophia and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The magnificent monument, a landmark of human creation, has also been identified with one of the greatest epochs in the history of the human race.

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Hagia Sophia — View from the East. The most remarkable feature of the church, which belongs to the transitional type of domed basilica, is the huge dome supported by four massive piers.

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Hagia Sophia — View from the South. The thrust of the huge dome is countered by the two half-domes and the smaller domes, to the east and west, and the massive buttresses to the north and south.

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Hagia Sophia lithograph from the album by the Fossati brothers, Aya Sofia Constantinople, London 1852, pl. 25 (Athens Gennadeios Library).

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Hagia Sophia lithograph from the album by the Fossati brothers, Aya Sofia Constantinople, London 1852, (Athens Gennadeios Library).

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Hagia Sophia Interior. Four arches swing across the piers, linked by four pendentives. The apices of the arches and the pendentives support the circular base of the huge central dome.

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Hagia Sophia. The south doorway of the esonarthex. The lunette is decorated with a superb mosaic composition of the enthroned Virgin and Child flanked by Constantine the Great who presents a model of the city and Justinian who offers a model of the Church.

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Hagia Sophia. South doorway of the esonarthex. The excellent mosaic composition in the lunette showing the enthroned Virgin and Child between the Emperors Constantine the Great and Justinian must have been executed in the reign of Basil II (976-1025), who held in great admiration both these Emperors.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/images/215_263_hagiasophia.jpg[/img]
Hagia Sophia’s south gallery. Mosaic depicting the Empress Zoe (1028-1050) and her third husband, Constantine IX Monomachus (1042-1055), presenting to the enthroned Christ a bag containing gold coins and a scroll inscribed with a list of donations. The composition, along with another dedicatory mosaic panel placed next, illustrates in a most eloquent manner, the association of the Byzantine Emperors with the Great Church.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/images/219_267_hagiasophia.jpg[/img]
Detail from the mosaic panel of Christ between the Empress Zoe and the Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus. Christ is the dominant figure of the mosaic composition and His depiction on a larger scale than the other two figures is meant to stress the difference between the divine and human natures.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/images/217_266_hagiasophia.jpg[/img]
One of two angels flanking the enthroned Virgin and Child, the only figure of Gabriel executed in splended colors against a gold background, has been partly preserved on the south side of the apse.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/images/221_272_hagiasophia.jpg[/img]
Detail of Christ from the magnificent composition of the Deesis showing Christ between the Holy Virgin and John the Baptist.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/auto_generated_images/img_45a3c00d.jpg[/img][img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/auto_generated_images/img_45a3c00e.jpg[/img]
Detail of the Deesis — The magnificent mosaic composition of the Deesis showing Christ between the Holy Virgin and St. John the Baptist. The mosaic is executed in fine tesserae of soft hues and the figures are set against a background of gold. The wistful and grave expressions reflect a profound spirituality and announce a new epoch marked by high aesthetic standards and classical trends. At the same time, they signal the general feeling of insecurity caused by the fluid state of affairs and the uncertainty of the Empire’s future.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/images/223_275_hagiasophia.jpg[/img]
Hagia Sophia — Mosaics of St. John Chrysostom and St. Ignatius of Antioch. Two of the 14 bishops and 16 prophets portrayed in the blind arches above the galleries of the north and south sides. A third surviving figure is that of the Patriarch Ignatius the Younger, the well-known opponent of the Patriarch Photios I. Portrayals of Patriarchs are not uncommon in the decoration of churches and other public buildings.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/images/Justinian_142.jpg[/img]
Hagia Sophia. Detail of the mosaic in the lunette over the south doorway showing Justinian who presents a model of the church of Hagia Sophia to the Virgin and Child.

When studying the history of Constantinople through the descriptions contained in the writings of chronographers, historians and travellers, and even in patristic works and legendaries, one is impressed by the great number of churches mentioned therein. Indeed, this is quite indicative of the deep religious faith of the city's inhabitants, the close relation of public and prIvate life with the ecclesiastical traditions and institutions, and the rallying of the "Christian congregation" round the Great Church and the Archbishop of Constantinople.

The Byzantine Empire lasted 1100 years and in this period we find mention of more than 450 churches -- a most appreciable number. Most of these churches were restored or remodelled in various epochs, a few continued to be used by the faithful even after the Conquest, while to this day many form the main body or part of Moslem places of worship. Some of the churches are known only from the writings of one or more travellers, and quite often it has not been possible to ascertain the exact location of the monument. On the other hand, a few forgotten churches, resisting the passage of time and human "renovations", are still displaying the sad sight of their silent ruins.

Of the sixty extant Orthodox parish churches in use today in and around Istanbul, many have a long history as they stand on the site or over the foundations of earlier churches and monasteries. The Hagia Sophia and the Hagia Eirene are unique instances of survival through the centuries. Despite the shattering and violent events that have occurred in the course of many centuries, they stand almost intact. Defying the ravages of time and the worldwide historical changes.

In addition to the churches, most of the monasteries that have been studied so far are located within the city. To this day they have preserved some characteristic feature, for example the katholikon or some other architectural section of the monastic compound, which is now part of a shrine or has been incorporated into a later building complex. These monasteries formed an integral part of Byzantine Constantinople and participated actively in the religious, political and social domain.

Monasteries were centers not only of religious practice but also of learning. Those most renowned had important libraries and, often, scriptoria for the copying of manuscripts. Modern historical and archaeological research has confirmed the existence of more than 340 monasteries within the walls of Constantinople in Byzantine times. To understand fully the density of Christian monuments, this amazingly large number of monasteries should be added to the 450 churches. The view filled travellers with a feeling of awe. This may also explain why monks and churchmen strove to make known to the faithful the "special feature" of their particular shrine. This could well be the imposing architectural appearance of the building or its splendid interior decoration, the possession of a miracle-working icon, the healing powers of a fountain of holy water, or even the venerated relics of Apostles and Saints.


The church of Hagia Sophia, associated with one of the greatest creative ages of man, had also been identified with the Ecumenical Patriarchate for more than one thousand years.

Originally known as the Great Church, because of its large size in comparison with the other churches of the Capital, it was later given the name of Hagia Sophia, the Holy Wisdom of the Logos, i.e. of Christ, the second hypostasis of the Holy Trinity. The ecclesiastical historian Socrates writes epigrammatically: Emperor Constantius <<built the Great Church, now called Sophia>>. Since the church was dedicated to Christ, Christmas was a day of special celebrations. With the passing of centuries, the designation Great Church acquired a wider spiritual significance: it included the entire Orthodox Church and was identified with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is titled <<the Great Church of Christ>>.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/images/199_244_hagiasophia.jpg[/img]
Hagia Sophia — (drawn by Giroux after A. Grabar and R. L. Van Nice).
Only scant information is available on this first, timber-roofed, Hagia Sophia. The historian Socrates, writing in 440 his ecclesiastical history of the years 305 to 439, attributes the completion of the church in 360 to Constantius II (337-361), son of Constantine the Great. The passage reads: <<..... at that time the king was building the Great Church, the one now called Sophia, adjoining it to that named Eirene. ..>>. The proximity and relation of the two churches is obvious. The consecration ceremony was conducted by the Patriarch Eudoxius (360-370), in 360.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/images/201_246_hagiasophia.jpg[/img]
Hagia Sophia isometric elevation (after Rowland J. Mainstone).

The Second Ecumenical Council was convened in Hagia Sophia in 381, during the reign of Theodosius I (378-395). Some twenty years later, on 20 June 404, the people angered by the banishment of John Chrysostom burned down the church .

Rebuilt by Theodosius 11 (408-450) and consecrated in 415, the church was again burnt to the ground by the rioting crowds during the Nika Revolt (15 January 532).

After the repression of the frightful revolt, Justinian conceived the grandiose project of rebuilding the Great Church from its foundations. This time it was to be built on plans well in advance of the times, using new daring vaulting techniques and statics. The men for the task were available. The mathematician Anthemius of Tralles and the architect Isidorus of Miletus worked with imagination and scientific accuracy to create a new design and build a masterpiece that stands unique throughout the centuries. Nothing like it was ever built before or after.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/images/201_247_1_hagiasophia.jpg[/img]
Hagia Sophia cross section. (Drawing by Giroux after A. Grabar).

Hagia Sophia — The church of Hagia Sophia had been identified with the Ecumenical Patriarchate for more than one thousand years. When speaking of the Great Church of Christ, historians refer to both Hagia Sophia and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The magnificent monument, a landmark of human creation, has also been identified with one of the greatest epochs in the history of the human race.

[img]http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_patriarchate/chapter_4/assets/images/201_247_2_hagiasophia.jpg[/img]
Hagia Sophia Longitudinal section (Drawing by Giroux after A. Grabar0.

Anthemius and Isidorus had at their disposal a very large number of specialized craftsmen: technicians, masons, marble-carvers and many others. They were given a wide choice of building materials. The marble workshops of the empire, those of the Proconnesian islands, of Athens, Paros and Thessaly, furnished a variety of colored marble. Marble members from ancient sanctuaries (Delphi, Rome, Ephesus, Egypt) were skillfully re-used in the new edifice. Construction works lasted five years (532 537) and on 27 December 537, Patriarch Menas (536-552) consecrated the magnificent church. Some scholars maintain that construction was completed in 20 years, that thousands of crafts men were employed and that the church was consecrated in 552, in the patriarchy of Eutychius (552-565).

Hagia Sophia belongs to the transitional type of the domed basilica. Its most remarkable feature is the huge dome supported by four massive piers, each measuring approximately 100 sq. m. at the base. Four arches swing across, linked by four pendentives. The apices of the arches and the pendentives support the circular base from which rises the main dome, pierced by forty single-arched windows. Beams of light stream through the windows and illuminate the interior, decomposing the masses and creating an impression of infinite space.

Twelve large windows in two rows, seven in the lower and five in the upper, pierce the tympana of the north and south arches above the arched colonnades of the aisles and galleries. The thrust of the dome is countered by the two half-domes opening east and west, the smaller conchs of the bays at the four corners of the nave, and the massive outside buttresses to the north and south.

The esonarthex and exonarthex, to the west, are both roofed by cross-vaults. Two roofed cochliae (inclined ramps). north and south of the esonarthex Iead up to the galleries. The vast rectangular atrium extending west of the exonarthex had a peristyle along its four sides.

At the center stood the phiale (fountain of purifications) with the well-known inscription that could be read from left to right and from right to left:

NIYONANOMHMATAMHMONANOYIN

”Cleanse our sins, not only our face”

The church measures 77 x 72 m. and the impressive huge dome soaring 62 m. above the floor has a diameter of about 33 m. According to R. van Nice, a scholar well versed in the problems posed by the architecture and statics of Hagia Sophia, the nave is 38.07 m. wide, slightly more than twice the width of the aisles, which measure 18.29 m. each. The vertical planes formed between the two north and the two south piers by the arcades of the aisles and galleries and the tympana above them are aligned flush with the side of the piers facing the nave. Thus, the mass of the piers is pushed aside into the aisles and galleries. By this clever arrangement the bearing structure is hidden from the eye, creating the impression that space expands in all directions and that the dome floats in the air.

The vast expanse under the dome and the half-domes seems to expand further: <<The eye follows the vertical axis, rising into the immensity of the main dome, and moves longitudinally until it encounters the apse of the sanctuary>>(Mavridis). The capitals bearing Justinian's monogram are exquisitely carved producing a lacework effect. The marble revetments of the piers and walls glow with the beauty of their rare coloring. The imposing bronze doors are adorned with the monograms of Theophilus and Michael among inscribed prayers. Everything creates an impression of preciousness and perfect harmony. The few but so important surviving mosaics disclose the awe and diffidence of each epoch that did not dare or could not proceed to decorate the church with an iconographic programm worthy of the monument's fame.

By the end of the 5th century the basilical type of church had spread over the entire Mediterranean region with the exception of a few centralized buildings. From the early 6th century, however, the Christian world was preparing the ground for a major change in art and particularly in architecture. New methods of vaulting and statics were tried. Barrel-vaults. half-domes and domes prevailed in building techniques. The one great problem which found its solution in the age of Justinian was the transition from the square to the circle. i.e. the raising of a circular dome over a square base.

This new technical achievement, tried first in the church of St. George at Ezra. Syria, then in that of the Sts. Sergius and Bacchus at Constantinople, found its most perfect expression in the Hagia Sophia, this masterpiece of Christian architecture. Innumerable descriptions praise the classical merit of the monument. <<The spiritual character of Byzantine art found its completion in the Hagia Sophia>>, (Kalokyris). Polychrome marbles, elegant columns and fine wall revetments, gold vessels and ornaments, exquisite mosaics, the huge dome, half-domes, vaults and arches, the elaborately carved capitals, friezes and cornices, the arcades, the one hundred windows and the interplay of light and shade, all dissolve substance, filling the faithful with awe and delight and revealing to the beholder the everlasting beauty of perfection.

Some twenty years after the consecration of the church, a severe earthquake caused serious damages to the dome and the eastern half-dome. During repairs these structures partly collapsed, destroying the Lord's Table, the ciborium and the ambo (May 7, 558). Reconstruction was entrusted to Isidorus the Younger. The dome was rebuilt steeper and of lighter materials and the supporting base was reinforced. The church was re-dedicated on December 23, 563.

From time to time the Emperors repaired, restored and embellished the Great Church, or made generous donations, as it appears in the following list: Justin II (565-578) and empress Sophia, donations; Maurice (582-602) donations, in particular a gold crown; Michael I Rangabe (811-813) donations; Basil I (867-886) repairs and possible the mosaic of the Theotokos in the sanctuary apse; John I Tsimisces (969-976) donations; Basil II (976-1025) repairs to the dome and eastern apse that had been damaged by earthquakes in 989; Romanus III Argyrus (1028-1034) decoration of the capitals with gold and silver; Constantine IX Monomachus (1042-1055) and John II Comnenus (1118-1143) donations of money and properties. Patriarch George II Xiphilinus (1192-1199) is reported to have restored the interior decoration: <<He embellished anew and adorned the great church restoring all the icons of the saints that are in it>> (Chronicle of George the Sinner, Migne, Vol. 110, 1237). The buttresses at the east wall were erected in the reign of Andronicus II Palaeologus (1282-1328).

More history of this great Church here: http://www.patriarchate.org/ecumenical_pat...ia__page_1.html
Video viewing here: www.patriarchate.org/HAGIA_SOPHIA/Video_Gallery

Today it's being used as a library and as you can see the mosaics are falling into disrepair with many of them having being lost already. icon_sad.gif
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Kizilarslan
post 01/02/06 11:17 AM
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Finally, after a long break dealing with some traitors, I am back.

Lets see, new members, new topics, new propoganda. But a good topic. I hope I can contribute some.

THE MOSQUE OF AYA SOFYA- Now a Turkish Museum

Conquest of Istanbul, 1453

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Sultan Mehmed II Khan

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Aya Sofya, since 1453:

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Aya Sofya, until eternity:

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Mordoth
post 01/02/06 01:11 PM
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Thanks to Sultan i Rum ( The Roman sultan ) and thanks to our ancestors who kept the ancient monuments till today . We mourn for them , God let them be under your holy light icon_sad.gif
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Azertos
post 01/03/06 05:01 PM
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Merhaba Kizilarslan, I loved the pics!!
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