Παρασκευή 24 Ιουλίου 2020

Eldress Konstantia from Africa, a Saintess in Greece

The eldress Konstantia lived in the first half of the 19th century and came from the land of Africa. She served as a slave in the household of a Turk, who was a resident of the old city of Zaverda. For some unknown reason till this day, she was abandoned to her fate by the Turks who after the liberation of the Greek nation left the area. She possibly could have escaped by her own means, but found refuge in the Holy Monastery of Saint Demetrios of Zaverda (now Paleros Aitoloakarnania, Greece) in which she received Holy Baptism and later the Angelic Schema. She lived here for many decades, adorning her life ascetically with the virtues and helping her neighbor in every possible way.

She highlighted the Monastery as a spiritual oasis in which all the downtrodden found refuge. Her physical and spiritual asceticism reached the height of the great male ascetics. God graced her with many gifts, such as that of clairvoyance and wonderworking. And Saint Demetrios, the protector of the Holy Monastery, made her worthy to see him visually and appeared to her and directed her in her spiritual struggle and in the struggle for the correct functioning of the Monastery through which many people were spiritually benefited. Her life ended peacefully in the Monastery she so loved and was buried within it.

The translation of her holy relics took place in 2004 and were stored in a wooden coffin in the Katholikon of the Monastery. On 2 February 2009 the holy relics of Eldress Konstantia were stolen from the Monastery of Saint Demetrios, but were later returned.

See also
African-American Orthodoxy — Eight principal areas of convergence between African spirituality and Ancient Christianity
Fr. Moses Berry, a descendant of African slaves, Orthodox priest and teacher in USA


Τετάρτη 22 Ιουλίου 2020

The Church of Hagia Sophia, the largest church of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, the Christian cathedral of Constantinople, dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity (Jesus Christ) – 1453: Being trapped in the church, the many congregants and yet more refugees inside became spoils-of-war to be divided amongst the triumphant invaders – In early July 2020, the Council of State in Turkey ordered the reclassification of Hagia Sophia as a mosque!...

Image from here

Hagia Sophia - Wikipedia
Hagia Sophia (/ˈhɑːɡiə sˈfə/; from the Koinē Greek: Ἁγία Σοφία, romanized: Hagía Sophía; Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia, 'Holy Wisdom'), officially the Great Mosque of Ayasofya (Turkish: Ayasofya-i Kebir Camii Şerifi)[2] and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia,[3] is a Late Antique place of worship in Istanbul. Built in 537 as the patriarchal cathedral of the imperial capital of Constantinople, it remained the largest church of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire until 1453, when it was converted into an Ottoman mosque upon the fall of the city. In 1935 it became a secular museum, and in 2020 will re-open as a mosque. Completed during the reign of the eastern Roman emperor Justinian I, it was then the world's largest interior space and among the first to employ a fully pendentive dome. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture[4] and is said to have "changed the history of architecture".[5]
Built as the Christian cathedral of Constantinople between 532 and 537 on the orders of Justinian I, the basilica was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles.[6] The present Justinianic building was the third church of the same name to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed in the Nika riots. Being the episcopal see of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, it remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.
The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity,[7] its patronal feast taking place on 25 December (Christmas), the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ.[7] Sophia is the Latin transliteration of the Greek word for wisdom and although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia, 'Saint Sophia', it is not connected with Sophia the Martyr.[8][9] The centre of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius officially delivered by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act that is commonly considered the start of the East–West Schism. In 1204, it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire, before being restored to the Eastern Orthodox Church upon the return of the Byzantine Empire in 1261. The doge of Venice who led the Fourth Crusade and the 1204 Sack of Constantinople, Enrico Dandolo, was buried in the church.

After the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453,[10] it was converted to a mosque by Mehmed the Conqueror. The patriarchate moved to the Church of the Holy Apostles, which became the city's cathedral. Although some parts of the city had fallen into disrepair, the cathedral had been maintained with funds set aside for this purpose, and the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers who conceived its conversion.[11][12] The bells, altar, iconostasis, ambo and baptistery were removed and relics destroyed. The mosaics depicting Jesus, his mother Mary, Christian saints, and angels were eventually destroyed or plastered over.[13] Islamic architectural features were added, such as a minbar (pulpit), four minarets, and a mihrab – a niche indicating the direction of prayer (qibla). From its initial conversion until the construction in 1616 of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque, aka the Blue Mosque, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul. The Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other religious buildings from the Hagia Sophia, Thessaloniki and Panagia Ekatontapiliani to the Blue Mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex.
The complex remained a mosque until 1931, when it was closed to the public for four years. It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the secular Republic of Turkey.[14] Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting almost 3.3 million visitors annually.[15] According to data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Hagia Sophia was Turkey's most visited tourist attraction in 2015[16] and 2019.[17][18]
In early July 2020, the Council of State annulled the Cabinet's 1934 decision to establish the museum, revoking the monument's status, and a subsequent decree of the President of Turkey ordered the reclassification of Hagia Sophia as a mosque.[19][20][21] The 1934 decree was ruled to be unlawful under both Ottoman and Turkish law as Hagia Sophia's waqf, endowed by Mehmed II, had designated the site a mosque; proponents of the decision argued the Hagia Sophia was the personal property of the sultan.[22][23][24] This redesignation is controversial, invoking condemnation from UNESCO, the World Council of Churches, and many international leaders.[25][26][27][28]

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