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giovedì 25 agosto 2011

The baptistery of the Hagia Sophia' church in Constantinople in a three-dimensional reconstruction



Rebuilding the ancient monuments is always a special experience because, through the choices and architectural solutions, one man is placed in direct contact with the mentality of those who wanted them. The simple observation does not always help to get in the ancient Christian perspective, as the rebuild, step by step, of a building.

The baptistery of the Hagia Sophia's basilica, still exists today and it'is on the way that the tourist must do when he has to visit the museum site.

This building, located on the south side to the old empirial entrance (the so-called "door of the clock") is normally closed to tourists today. Inside it houses the tombs of Turkish dignitaries. With the turcocracy, in fact, the baptistery was converted into a mausoleum. The baptismal font has been uprooted and today are located, along with other artifacts, in a secluded place.

If you look at the baptismal tank, you immediately take the impression of the anatomical shape of a uterus. Even the color of the marble seems to remember the human flesh. This is not accidental. Baptism, in fact, is seen as a rebirth from the womb of the Church. The water must completely immerse the body of the baptized three times in remembrance of the death and resurrection of Christ. The same steps leading down into the water are three, a symbolic number (along with seven), which are often used in Christian architecture.

Perhaps for the current mentality, everything looks like a game. At that time, however,  anything had to do with the mysteries (sacraments) of the Church and of the church itself as a building, was considered as a living organism. No wonder that, from this point of view, the baptismal font can resume an anatomical organ in form and color.

The ancient Christian literature remind us that the Church wishes to witness the life and the giving life, because life dwells in her. And if the biological life is tangible, even more must be to see in baptism a spiritual rebirth. All this signify that, in the construction and organization of a Christian church, there are certain choices. The basic principles of these choices are eternally valid and are useful also to renew the current bleak situation of the christian architecture.

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