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venerdì 12 agosto 2011

Three-dimensional reconstruction of the Hagia Sophia's byzantine sanctuary

This three-dimensional reconstruction is based on the following study:

Maria Luigia Fobelli
Un tempio per Giustiniano.
Santa Sofia di Costantinopoli
e la descrizione di Paolo Silenziario.

The sanctuary of Hagia Sophia, which was destroyed by the Turks with the capture of Constantinople, had an altar and a ciborium made ​​of precious materials (gold, silver, precious stones).

In this reconstruction it's visible, above the altar, an antiminsion, that is an icon of cloth with Christ down from the cross. The liturgy could be celebrated on this cloth.
The cross on the altar has the design of the Byzantine church.
Immediately behind the altar is visible a reliquary chest.

The Patriarch and the concelebrants sat behind the altar, at the bottom, in the hemicycle. Above you can see the seat of Constantinople's Patriarch.

The table for the preparation of the saints gifts (bread and wine), for the offertory, was outside of this space. This was attained through the left door.
The Emperor never arrived in the sanctuary, although it is thought the opposite. He received the kiss of peace from the Patriarch and Holy Communion through the south door of the iconostasis. The Emperor reached the south door, starting from his seat, seen in this video, called metatorion.

The Mother of God (Panagia) is represented in the apse, as the one between heaven and earth. In the heaven (that is the dome) is, in fact, Christ.

Image by Stathis Chionidis

The same place today. Rather than what is visible above, you see the mizrab, a niche indicating the direction of the Mecca for prayer. Phrases of the koran are everywhere. The large circular tableaux with koran scriptures, have been placed here in the nineteenth century.

It's evident: when the faith changes .... changes the sanctuary also!

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