More photos from inside Hagia Sophia: The Church of the Holy Word (now a Museum), Istanbul, Christmas 2012

The first photo is of a ceiling mosaic depicting in the center the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child: on the left side as you look at it is a model of Constantine with his new city of Constantinople and on the right Constantine with a model of his new Church.

The above photo and the one after it record the existence of Hagia Sophia in the heyday of the 6th-century Roman Emperor Justinian.

The above photo, as you can see, records a 9th century mosaic panel of the Archangel Gabriel and the last one a dateless marking of the place in the Hagia Sophia where emperors were crowned.

Taken together these photos speak to me, along with the wonders of Byzantine art in the first one, an excessive partnership between Church and State during the Byzantine period. That situation has persisted in many places and is by no means confined to Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Islamic religions.

Published by ronwendlingoutlookcom

My life has had three phases: one as a Jesuit seminarian, recorded in my 2015 memoir (Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past, Oak Tree Press); another as a college teacher and scholar of 19th century British Literature, best recorded in Coleridge's Progress to Christianity: Experience and Authority in Religious Faith (Associated University Presses, 1995); and finally my current phase as a retiree given to social media posts and photo commentary on my travels with my wife, Mary.

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