Hagia Sophia - Hagia Sophia History Extracted from Al...

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Hagia Sophia History Extracted from Al Altan's Hagia Sophia at www.focusmm.com on April 25, 2010 and edited to include additional illustrations Hagia Sophia is a magnificent domed church constructed in the early Middle Ages in Constantinople (Istanbul) and converted to a mosque when the Turkish forces conquered the city nearly a thousand years later in 1453. Although there are no artifacts confirming it, it is said that Hagia Sophia was built on the site of an ancient pagan temple. Hagia Sophia underwent two phases of construction before attaining its present state. Documents indicate that the first Hagia Sophia was built by Emperor Constantius, son of Emperor Constantinos I, and was opened for services in 360 AD. Although very little is known about this Church it’s assumed that it was a basilica-type structure with a rectangular floor plan, circular apse and timbered roof. It was similar to St. Studios, a basilica in Istanbul, the ruins of which still exist. Ancient sources emphasize that the eastern wall was circular. Constantius donated gold and silver as well as religious objects to his church but these were vandalized by Arians during the Council of 381 AD. Hagia Sophia was first named "Megale Ekklesia" (the Great Church) as it was the largest Church in Constantinople, and was later renamed Sophia. The name given to the church symbolized the second divine attribute of the Holy Trinity. Originally, Sophia, which means "Holy Wisdom", was a name given to Christ by 4th century theologians. Both names, Megale Ekklesia and Hagia Sophia are used today.
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2 The original Church was destroyed in 404 AD by mobs during the riots when Emperor Arcadius sent the Patriarch of Constantinople, John Chrysostom, into exile for his open criticism of the Empress. Emperor Theodosius II built a new Church which was completed in 415 AD. The architect of this
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