Monday, March 7, 2016

The Fading Crosses – St Sophia, Constantinople

Walking around the Imperial Church of St Sophia one can see evident on its walls and all around its ‘scars’ from its troubled history. Its Christian life coexists with its Muslim past. Both are present and prevail together. However, this coexistence has not been a healthy one. St Sophia, after the invasion of the City by the Ottoman Turks (29 May 1453), became a mosque. When this happened, the icons and the Christian symbols inside were either destroyed or covered, since Islam does not allow for icons or any depictions to be present within a mosque.

Interestingly enough, since St Sophia has become a museum, many icons and Christian symbols have been uncovered, showing thus the Christian past and grandeur. One thing evident all around the interior of the Church is, of course, the cross. Fading crosses adorn the Church. Sometimes they are more evident than in other cases, underneath the Islamic art. You can call this coexistence or destruction. However, it shows both co-inhabiting the same walls.

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