Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hagia Sophia Church

The Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) has been the site of a church or mosque since the fourth Century. The structure pictured and still standing was the third such church built on this site. Originally the largest Christian Church in the world, built by Emperor Justinian, this was a place of Christian worship for one thousand years. This was the spot where a thousand years of Emperor coronations were . Until the Ottomans captured Constantinople, removed the Christian elements and frescos were placed over the Christian icons (see picture of uncovered images of Jesus). It became Ayasofya (Holy Wisdom Mosque) in the mid 1400s. It remained an active Mosque until 1935 when Ataturk designated it a museum.

We are having an incredible time with wonderful hosts learning much about Islam and Christianity, making friends along the way.

Friday, December 11, 2009

On the ground Istanbul

Our plane dropped out of the bright sky and into a black cauldron of
Istanbul at night. lights did not appear until just before the runway.
Lights if a city heading into a holy day and light if boats on the
Bosphorous River. We touched down at 5:20 pm. As I type the call to
prayer is being sung this will probably be the fourh of the five daily

Already I could jump on a plane and return home having experienced
great conversations with our guides and with a professor I met on the
plane this is an amazing place. Tomorrow the sun will rise and the
black cauldron of mystery of this historic land will meet the light of
the son. Then I will actually see in the light what I've heard and
read from afar. A long night if sleep will be wonderful.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Turkey Trip

We are about to board a plane for Istanbul. Donna and I will spend almost two weeks abroad with a group meeting with religious leaders in Turkey. Amazing sites, amazing stories, and lots of fun are ahead. Please say a prayer for peace and for safe travels. I will (as internet allows) post info about our experiences here.