Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Holy Wisdom Church

     In the 6th century three of these churches were built and this is the third one, the first two being destroyed. It remains the 2nd largest building in modern Turkey. Aghia Sophia is in the city of Constantinople which the conquering Turks renamed as Istanbul.

     It is an engineering marvel which dates back to the 6th century and although huge was made without the use of steel. 

It is 270' long, 173' wide and the dome is 108 ft. in diameter; the crown rises 180 ft. above the pavement; and it took 6 yrs. to construct. Windows immediately beneath the roof cause the roof to appear to be suspended and floating in the air. This was the largest and among the most beautiful church building for a thousand years, and is the oldest in Christendom. In its glory it was one of the largest and most adorned churches in the world.

     During its more active period there were 80 Priests, 150 Deacons, 60 Sub-deacons, 160 Readers, 25 cantors, and 75 doorkeepers. This church became a model for many other churches and for mosques.  Moslems saw its beautiful dome and copied it for their mosques. It is filled with beautiful marbles. So wonderful is this 1400 year old church, which was an Orthodox cathedral  church from 537 to 1453. After 1453 the conquering Turks stripped away much of the church’s icons and other artwork, then changed the church into a mosque which remained so until 1931 It was than closed for four years and in 1935 it was reopened as a museum which it remains

     This magnificent building is known throughout the world and attracts 3.3 million visitors annually. It retains a 49 ft. iconostasis, which is made of silver. It is sometimes called by people as St. Sophia church, but it is correctly called the Aghia (Holy) Sophia (Wisdom),that is the church or temple of the Holy Wisdom. This ancient Temple having been preserved since the sixth century, will, according to prophecy, be returned to the Orthodox Church, no longer will it be desecrated as a mosque or museum. The holy and divine Liturgy will again be continually celebrated in Aghia Sophia when it returns to Orthodoxy.

Sunday, March 20, 2016



By St. Cyril of Jerusalem

     “This is He who is and He who was, co-essential with the Father, Only-begotten, Only enthroned. Equal in power, Almighty, Without beginning, Uncreated, Unchangeable, Indescribable, Invisible, Inexpressible, Incomprehensible, Immense, Unthinkable, Uncircumscribed. He is the Brightness of the glory of the Father” (Heb. 1:3).  He is the Creator of the substance of all created things. He – the Light of light – shines from the bosom of the Father. He is the God of gods (Ps. 49:1), and God of God, who gives us the knowledge of Himself.  He is the Well of life (Ps. 35:10). flowing forth from the Father’s well of life. He is the River of God (Ps. 45:5; 64:10), which comes forth from the infinity of God but is not separated from Him. He is the Treasury of the Father’s good gifts and endless blessings. He is the living Water (Jn. 4:14) that gives life to the world. He is the uncreated Ray that is begotten but not cut off from the primal Sun.  He is God the Logos (Jn 1:1),  who with one word brought all things from non-being into being . . .  This is He who created us in the image of God, and has now made himself man in our image; man, but at the same time God.”

     Today, Sixteen centuries after this confession of faith was written, the Orthodox Church holds the same faith word for word and letter for letter.

     During the present time there are those who dispute the truth that Christ is both true God and true man, with two natures, divine and human. He is eternally born of God and in time was born of the Virgin Mary, and called Jesus Christ. Among the arguments against His divinity that are used today is that the ancient Church did not believe that Christ was the eternal God who became man. But this was the belief of the ancient Church 1600 years ago in the 4th century. St. Cyril of Jerusalem composed the above which was always the faith held by the Church from the  beginning and is also supported by Holy Scripture.