Thursday, July 04, 2019

A Virtual Reconstruction of Hagia Sophia in the Early Byzantine Era

A few years ago, I shared a video which offered a virtual reconstruction of the ancient basilica of St Peter in Rome. Somehow I didn’t realize at the time that the same YouTube channel had a similar reconstruction of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, along with others of the church’s sanctuary, its baptistery and the “skeuophylakion”, which literally means “the place where the vessels are kept”, i.e. the sacristy. This was a completely separate building, which still exists in part, although now much ruined. In his famous study of the Byzantine and offertory procession The Great Entrance, Fr Robert Taft S.J. demonstrated that the rite of preparation known as the “proskomedia” was for many centuries performed in the skeuophylakion, and the Great Entrance of the Divine Liturgy was originally an entrance from the sacristy building into the church, and not simply a procession out of and back into the sanctuary as it is today. (p. 189-194; Orientialia Christiana Analecta, no. 200, 1975)

The same channel (lamprotes1) has quite a few recording of liturgical services, including various Masses and Vespers, and our readers may find it interesting to explore a bit.

Hagia Sophia
The Sanctuary
The Baptistery
The Skeuphylakion

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