Oct 9, 2020
Last night's event at our parish on 'Hagia Sophia Throughout the Ages,' held with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia -- represented by His Grace Bishop Emilianos of Meloa -- and with the initiative of Very Revd Fr Athanasios Giatsios, was a great success! It featured talks by Professor Vrasidas Karalis (Sir Nicholas Laurentus Professor of Modern Greek, University of Sydney), Dr Andrew Mellas (Senior Lecturer in Church History and Liturgical Studies, St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College), and Dr Mario Baghos (Lecturer in Patristics and Church History, St Andrew's).
The event was opened with prayer by His Grace and MC'd by Mr Chris Baghos (PhD candidate, USyd). Present also were representatives from the Modern Greek Departments of both Macquarie University, Dr Patricia Koromvokis (Department of International Studies Languages and Cultures) and UNSW, Dr Efrossini Deligianni (School of Humanities and Languages).
Dr Baghos addressed the broader architectural and artistic context of Hagia Sophia from a theological and historical perspective. This was followed by the analysis and practical demonstration of what chanting in Hagia Sophia would have sounded like by Dr Andrew Mellas. Finally, Prof. Karalis explored the apophatic dimension to the Church's architecture followed by its role in modern geopolitical conflicts, with its recent conversion into a mosque as an attempt to bolster Turkish hegemony contradicting the fact that this building is a monument of global and multi-religious/ethnic importance.
The event ended with final, spiritual reflections by His Grace as well as a note of thanks by Father Athanasios, who presented the speakers with gifts. It was co-sponsored by St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College and the Sydney University Greek Society (SUGS); we are grateful for their attendance and support!
Robust Q&A ensued with coffee and sweets at Cielo's dessert bar. An excellent night.
Photos (c) Eirini Alligiannis
The full video of the event can be viewed here (thanks to George from St Nicholas, Marrickville for filming): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf02bDc4qhI&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1ANhOLZbhq9lPaoBQt4n0QCRnqjboeNlheqA8YkQaqdY6-SN_LgQ1GOss