Home » Galleries » Faith and Belief

Agia Sophia, Eternal Symbol of Orthodoxy

The Greek Orthodox temple of Agia Sophia, in present day Istanbul, Turkey, is considered to be a unique and invaluable part of the world's cultural heritage. It is also the most important religious monument of the Byzantine Empire.

Some 15 centuries ago Emperor Justinian disposed all of his resources and a great deal of Byzantine wealth to create a temple dedicated to God's Wisdom - the Greek word, "Sophia" means "divine wisdom."

At its inauguration in AD 548, after more than 16 years of work, the structure was considered truly worthy to represent the grandeur of the Byzantine imperial power at its greatest.

Agia Sophia's huge dome had been constructed with especially large bricks that were transported from the island of Rhodes to its site in Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine world (renamed Istanbul by the Ottoman Empire).

The temple consists of 107 pillars, a number with symbolism, and the magnificent building took more than 16 years to complete.

The temple's inauguration was accompanied by ceremonies and prayers to God that lasted for two weeks.

I will offer this displayed handmade embroidery as a gift to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Vartholomeos.

Agia Sophia