If you got the joke I made in the title, then you’re smart! When translated to English, Hagia Sophia is read as “Divine Wisdom.” And like I said, the structure lives up to its name. This was to be the highlight of my trip. I have studied this structure in many different classes in both college and Seminary (more in college within the context of my classes with Dr. Hotle). If you don’t know the history of the church/mosque/museum, then you should quick look it up! BTW if you are wondering why I used slashes, the fact is that the Ayasofya (in Turkish) has been all three of those things within its history. What is more is that it has been a Catholic church and Eastern Orthodox church too. It’s just so versatile.
Enough of me talking. That’s not what you came to the blog for. You came for pictures and pictures you shall get! (I will provide very little commentary on these pictures other than where they are and/or their importance to me/the world/hopefully you)
Unlike the Gallery part of building the outer narthex ceiling is still made mosaic, not plaster with painting over it. What you see is gold is actually gold.
(Largest Dome in Hagia)
(Mary with Sweet Baby Jesus)
This mosaic is Mary with the baby Jesus. Ten points to whomever can comment with the name of the movie I quoted in the parentheses! But moving on, the picture is actually one huge mosaic, and it is the oldest one in the entire place. What you can’t see is Mary being flanked by Gabriel on her and Jesus’ right.
(The upstairs or Gallery where women had to be for services)
Call it vanity. Call it blacked out memory. Call it male privilege. Call it whatever you want, but I completely forgot about the segregation of women within the Christian tradition. This view coupled with the fact that the women in our group had to wear a scarf when we went into the Blue Mosque (sorry, not posting pictures of that unless requested) makes me think about how the fight for gender equality is still well and raging (of course I know it’s still going, but it takes reminders like this to awaken the soul).
(Constantine offering Constatinople to Mary/Jesus, while Justantine I offers up the Hagia)
This is the mosaic at the exit of the Hagia. I have seen it many times, but nothing compares to in person. You’ll just have to go and see it yourself!
Tomorrow is a couple of more sites, but what I have posted was the bulk of what I found most interesting within the trip. I will provide a reflection upon the whole trip at a later date to be announced. Right now though I am looking forward to coming back to the States and seeing Hannah.