HRS_140-Hagia_Sofia_Final Draft

HRS_140-Hagia_Sofia_Final Draft - Sofi a 1 HAGIA SOFIA THE...

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Sofi a 1 HAGIA SOFIA T HE C HURCH OF DIVINE W ISDOM
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Sofi a 2 There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, and a hidden wholeness. This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all, Natura naturans. Thomas Merton, “Hagia Sophia,” 1963(Merton, 2005) The World’s religions emphasize the importance of adhering to a prescribed spiritual path that facilitates emotional maturity and offers the hope of transcendent wisdom. Such wisdom is accompanied by a heightened consciousness, a sense of inner silence, joy, gratitude, and a spontaneous morality. To develop wisdom, both Western and Eastern religions teach constraint, a disciplined morality, charitable concern, and compassionate action. Among churches, the traditional setting for religious practice, Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia is one of the most well-known. Hagia Sophia exemplifies Istanbul. The church is the pulse of Istanbul, the heart of the city, and the focus of this paper. The paper begins with a brief historical background that will contextualize the extraordinary permanence of Hagia Sophia, emphasizing how the structure has been a constant in a land notorious for religious and geophysical instability. It will then explore the extraordinary architectural ingenuity that is manifested in the structure before entering the church and highlighting its elaborate ornamentation. This examination makes clear the building’s status as a Modern Wonder of the World (Hayes, 2009). Approaching Istanbul by water, as travelers have done for centuries, the skyline is an overwhelming scene of domes and minarets. The formidable Blue Mosque sails by, followed by the Sultan's palace, and then the “strange ancient-futuristic form of Hagia Sophia, bulking like a giant Jedi helmet cast from dark-red masonry”(Kaylan, 2007). Today, Hagia Sophia, which stands atop the first hill of ancient Constantinople, surrounded by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn, is a museum. In his effort to unify the infant nation, Kemal
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Sofi a 3 Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, secularized the building in 1934. But, for a majority of its lifetime, Hagia Sophia was affectionately glorified by two of the world's great religions, Christianity and Islam. For Christians, Hagia Sophia, Holy Wisdom, was the home of the Orthodox faith. For Muslims, the building was Ayasofya, a divine mosque. For all, it was, as the sixth century scholar Procopius wrote, a "spectacle of marvelous beauty, overwhelming to those who know it… altogether incredible. For it soars to a height to match the sky. ..stands on high and looks down on the remainder of the city. ..."(Procopius, 1940). The
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HRS_140-Hagia_Sofia_Final Draft - Sofi a 1 HAGIA SOFIA THE...

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