Aya Sofya Tk, Hagia Sofia Gk, Sancta Sophia Ltn, Church of Divine Wisdom Eng.

3rd Completed 537 by Emp Justinian r 527-65 on site of Byzantium’s Acropolis, and site of two earlier ASs
1st AS a basilica w timber roof, completed 360 by Constantius, son and successor of Constantine r 324-37 , burned down 404.
2nd AS built by Theodosius II r 408-50 in 415, destroyed in 532 in riot.

Greatest church in Christendom till 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmet the Conqueror, converted to a mosque.
1934, Ataturk claimed it as a museum.

Justinian enter first time..Glory to God that I have been judged worthy of such a work.
Architects Anthemeus of Tralles, Isodorus of Miletus.
Enormous dome with apparent lack of support.
30 million gold mosaic tiles covered dome’s interior.
Rebuilt after dome came down during earthquake 559.
And several times down the years.

Dome is 30m diam, supported by 40 ribs of hollow bricks resting on 4 pillars concealed in walls.

Originally great dome, semidomes, n and s tympana, vaults of narthex, aisles and galleries all covered with gold mosaics.

After conquest, conversion to mosque, mosaics covered with plaster. Then uncovered in 1847, painted over and restored upon deconsecration of the mosque
In apse, mosaic of Madonna and Child, nearby archangel Gabriel.
Above Imperial door Christ as Pantocrator, Ruler of All. He holds book with inscription Peace be with you. I am the Light of the World. And to his right an emperor –probably Leo VI-prostrates himself.

On exit of inner narthex, above door, late 10c mosaic, Constantine the Great on right, offering Mary, who holds JC, the city of Constantinople. On left is Emp Justinian offering Aya Sofya.

Upstairs, south gallery, Deesis Mosaic. –The Last Judgement from early 14th c.
Virgin Mary on left, Christ center, John the Baptist on right.

At east end of south gallery mosaic of Empress Zoe r 1028-50 with husband Constantine IX Monomachus an eminent senator. Done when Empress was 50 with new husband Romanus III Argyrus. On his death face changed for next husband Michael IV. He died 8 years later, Zoe and sister Theodora ruled-badly, so Zoe, at 64, then married Constantine.
Inscription reads Constantine, by the Divine Christ, Faithful King of the Romans.

And Mary holding Christ Child with Emp John Comnenus II –Johannes the Good- to left and Empress Eirene to right with son Alexius


Aya Irini Hagia Eirene Church of Divine Peace
Site of pagan temple, early Christian church, present one built by Justinian in 540s.

Church was retained in grounds when Mehmet Conqueror began building Topkapi Palace.
Used as an arsenal, artillery museum, now occasionally as concert hall.

Constantine the Great
274 c born. Father Constantius (Chlorus) the Pale, successful army general.
Mother Helena, innkeeper’s daughter from Bithynia
293 Emperor Diocletian split imperial power into 4, self, comrade in arms Maximian, Galerius-soldier from Thrace, and Constantius Chlorus.
305 Voluntary abdication of Emperor Diocletian and with him, Maximian.
Galerius and Constantine Chlorus proclaimed Augusti-senior Emperors. Constantine fled from Galerius's court in Nicomedia to join his father at Boulogne, preparing expedition to Britain.
306 July 25 Constantius died at York, legions proclaimed Constantine as Augustus. Sent official notification of father's death and claim as Augustus of the west. Galerius refused to recognize him as Augustus, but acknowledged as Caesar. Remained in Gaul and Britain 6 years.
307 Replaced wife with Fausta, daughter of Maximian. Maximian revoked his abdication and with son Maxentius, controlled Italy.
311 Galerius, the senior Augustus, died, three now shared power. Licinius, friend of Galerius, nephew Maximin Daia and Constantine. But Maxentius, son of Maximian, and Galerius's son-in-law, felt deprived of his claim to throne. He hated Constantine, his brother-in-law. With war unavoidable Constantine allied with Licinius-who married Constantia, Constantine's half sister.
312 October 28, the twoarmies met at Saxa Rubra, just north east of Rome. Just before battle, Constantine had vision, cross of light in sky with inscription Hoc Vince, Conquer by This. Routed Maxentius south to where Milvian Bridge crosses the Tiber. Victory made Constantine master of Europe. Also marked, if not his conversion to Christianity, the moment when he set himself up as patron and protector of his Christian subjects.
321 Law to proclaim Sunday-the venerable day of the sun, as a of rest.
324 Defeated Licinius, successor of Galerius, at Chrysopolis to become emperor r 324-37
Now Constantine could be more open about supporting Christians.
325 May 20-June 19, Convened First Ecumenical Council at Nicea to solidify power and establish emperor’s supremacy in church affairs.
327 Mother Helena, over 70, pilgrimage to Holy Land, found True Cross, became Saint.



337 at Easter, health began to fail, gave orders for tomb to be prepared in the Church of Holy Apostles.
Sought cure with baths at Helenopolis, rebuilt in honor of his mother, there "..received the imposition of hands in prayer.." according to Eusebius, becoming a catechumen.
Started back to capital, got no further than Nicomedia, there, on deathbed, converted to Christianity, baptized by Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia.
see p 17 Byzantium for reason of deathbed baptism.
After reign of 31 years, from July 306, died at noon on Whit Sunday, May 22 337.
Was the first of 88 Emperors of Byzantium

Body brought back to Constantinople, in state in the palace for 3 1/2 months-court carried on in his name as if not dead, while succession from 5 Caesars determined.
Two nephews, Delmatius and Hannabalianus-married to Constantine's daughter Constantina.
Three sons born to Fausta, first born Crispus dead.
Army wanted the 3 sons to rule jointly.
Empire divided among 3 sons Constantius, Constantine and Constans.

















330 Established New Rome at site of Byzantium as new capital of Roman Empire, soon called Constantinople.