This exhibition is a photographic exploration of 37 historic churches around the world dedicated to hagia sophia. The name hagia sophia, literally “holy wisdom,” was equated with Jesus, the “wisdom of God,” by early Christian theologians.
The first Hagia Sophia church was erected by Constantine the Great (r. 306–37) when he transferred the capital of the Roman Empire to the site of ancient Byzantium, later named Constantinople. This large cathedral was dedicated to Christ as the "wisdom of God," a phrase originating from 1 Corinthians 1:24, where the apostle Paul writes, “But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” As Christianity spread across the globe, more churches dedicated to hagia sophia were built. Many evoke the lavish and innovative building techniques of the Byzantine era, and some incorporate stylistic changes and cultural influences reflective of the region in which they were built.
Through a series of prints and panels, this exhibition explores the origin of each church, its architecture and iconography, and how the structure is being used today. Some of the buildings are still used as churches, while others have been repurposed as museums, civic centers, or mosques, which raises ethical challenges concerning the appropriation of sacred spaces. Regardless of its current use, each church was erected as a testament to the faith its community professed, and they continue to stand as monuments to the greatest architectural and cultural achievements in the world.
Open: October 12, 2023 – January 21, 2024
Location: Floor 5
Cost: Included with general admission
Join us October 11 for the opening of this special exhibit. Click below to learn more.
This initiative is a joint collaboration of Museum of the Bible and the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). The exhibition is comprised of submissions to the third IAO. International Photo Contest, with the subject “The Churches of the Wisdom of the God in History and the World,” which concluded in October 2021, and are provided courtesy of the IAO.