Ayasofya

İlk Ayasofya inşaatı Hristiyanlığı imparatorluğun resmî dini ilan eden Roma imparatoru Büyük Konstantin (Bizans’ın ilk imparatoru I. Constantinus) tarafından başlattırılmıştır. 337 ile 361 yılları arasında tahtta olan Büyük Konstantin’in oğlu II. Constantius tarafından tamamlanmış ve Ayasofya kilisesinin açılışı 15 Şubat 360’ta Constantius II tarafından gerçekleştirilmiştir. Socrates Scholasticus’un kayıtlarından gümüş kaplı perdelerle süslü ilk Ayasofya’nın Artemis Tapınağı üzerine inşa edilmiş olduğu öğrenilmektedir.

Adı “Büyük Kilise” anlamına gelen ilk Ayasofya Kilisesi’nin adı Latince’de Magna Ecclesia ve Yunanca’da Megálē Ekklēsíā (Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία) idi. Eski bir tapınak üzerine inşa edildiği belirtilen bu yapıdan günümüze ulaşan bir kalıntı bulunmamaktadır.

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Church of Constantius II

The first church on the site was known as the Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία (Megálē Ekklēsíā, “Great Church”), or in Latin Magna Ecclesia, because of its larger dimensions in comparison to the contemporary churches in the City. Inaugurated on 15 February 360 (during the reign of Constantius II) by the Arian bishop Eudoxius of Antioch, it was built next to the area where the imperial palace was being developed. The nearby Hagia Eirene (“Holy Peace”) church was completed earlier and served as cathedral until the Great Church was completed. Both churches acted together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire.

Writing in 440, Socrates of Constantinople claimed that the church was built by Constantius II, who was working on it in 346. A tradition which is not older than the 7th or 8th century, reports that the edifice was built by Constantine the Great. Zonaras reconciles the two opinions, writing that Constantius had repaired the edifice consecrated by Eusebius of Nicomedia, after it had collapsed.

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