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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Schütz

Hagia Sophia 537 – 988 – 1453 – 1934 – 2020

Updated: May 16, 2021

While the youth are concerned about their survival on our planet, which their preborn shamelessly exploited, the multiple #religions continue to blare hateful tirades against their competitors, against contraception and abortion and protect the large number of children of their religious followers to strengthen their influence against competitive religions. In a hundred years the human population has quadrupled, and the potential growth seems to be endless. But a pleasant, ecologically justifiable and economically meaningful life for everyone can at best be led on our planet when the #population is finally thinned out, and perhaps reaches the state of 1913; the state before the world wars slaughtered man and nature in an unprecedented way; the state before industrialization turned the face of the earth into a grimace.

With the #Enlightenment, we finally tried to separate #church and #state, in Christian #Europe: revolutionized France, Frederick's Prussia, Katharina's Russia and in the Islamic world: Ataturk's Turkey. The place of religion #HagiaSophia, is the navel of the world, the 8th wonder of the Late Antiquity, it became a #Museum in 1934 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. But what makes Hagia Sophia so important? Its #architecture, which turned it into a #wonder of the world and #world heritage. Its history, which expresses more Europe than a European Union could ever have created. Its sacredness, equal to the #TempeMount in #Jerusalem and the #Kaaba in #Mecca. Its imperial claim, which made #Constantinople a #world city.

After the division of the empire in 395 into Eastern and Western Roman empires, #Rome as the city of #Antiquity ebbed into insignificance and Constantinople as New Rome became the #Emperor's city of the #Byzantine Empire and the heart of the (Greek) Orthodox Church. The Roman #Pantheon was replaced by the Hagia Sophia. After several constructions, Emperor Justinian I built the Hagia Sophia between 532 and 537 on the navel of the world, at the intersection between the #Mediterranean and the #BlckSea, between Europe and #Asia, between the #Orient and the #Occident, between antiquity and late antiquity. Hagia Sophia became the seat of the #Patriarch of Constantinople and #coronation place of the Byzantine #emperors. On the #Omphalion, a place in the middle of the world, marked with marble circles on the floor of Hagia Sophia, the budding emperors received their power given by God's grace.

When pagan #Kievan Grand #Duke Vladimir fell in love with Anna of Byzantium, sister of the Byzantine emperor Basil II in the 10th century and asked for Anna's hand, #Basileios must have thrown the following sentence at his head: “You old heathen and barbarian, you are already married to seven women, you have 800 mistresses, you cannot marry a #purpleborn ... unless you accept the #orthodox faith!” For love of Anna and the imperial connection of Kiev and Constantinople against their arch enemy Bulgaria, in 987 Grand Duke Vladimir pushed his people, the Kievan #Rus into the river #Dnieper. A mass baptism, which led the Orthodox faith into pagan #Russia. In 988 Vladimir I married Anna of Byzantium and received the #Monomakh's Cap as a thank you.

When Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, many Byzantine church members fled to Russia. The Orthodox faith spread throughout Russia. In order to stand united against the #Golden Horde, to preserve the Orthodox faith, Grand Duke Ivan III, the Great, took on the title of #Tsar and keeper of the Byzantine throne in 1478 and stocked it with the #double eagle of the Byzantine emperors. Since Hagia Sophia continued to rest in Ottoman hands, grandson Ivan IV crowned himself first Tsar in 1547/49 with the help of the #Metropoliten at #Moscow and the Monomakh's Cap in the Assumption Cathedral of the #Kreml (instead of in the Hagia Sophia). The Tsar ruled over all of Russia with capital Moscow as the third Rome. From now on it was the concern of the Russian tsars to get the coronation site, the Omphalion in the Hagia Sophia, back into their hands. When #Katharina II wrested Crimea from the Ottomans in the Russo-Turkish War in 1774, the Russians were closer to Constantinople than ever before. A #plagues epidemic, which drastically decimated the soldiers, as well as Katharina's greed for the Amsterdam diamond (which she got into her hand by looting the defence fund and with the help of Prince #Orlow) thwarted the way to Hagia Sophia. The Middle Ages behind her, the enlightened #Absolutism in her pocket, Katharina rejected the dusty tsar's (Monomakh's) cap and was instead crowned with a European-style crown from Switzerland showered with thousands of diamonds.

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 also heralded the end of the Middle Ages. The Islamic expansion carried science and medicine in its backpack and inspired Europe to be reborn, the age of the #Renaissance had dawned.

With president #Erdogan's arrogance, turning the Hagia Sophia in 2020 from a world museum back into a mosque, the anger of the Orthodox Church has flared up in Greece as well as in Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Romania. An anger that could also strengthen Europe, if one would remember the common European history with enlightenment and secularization. A strong Europe would increase the distance to re-islamized #Turkey and selfish #USA. #Christus #Pantokrator - world ruler, Deësis mosaic from the 12th century on the south pore of Hagia Sophia

Marcus Schütz

biologist & author

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