Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ohrid: St. Sophia - Sveta Sofija

We took a boat ride from Sv. Jovan Kaneo to Sva. Sofija.

We are familiar with the arches of St. Sophia - as we see them on the 1,000 MKD note:


it was a treat to see the church in person.

From the guide that I bought at the church: "The church Consecrated to St. Sophia, i.e., to the Holy Wisdom (the Person of Christ) was built on the foundations of an older religious structure erected in the period following the great mission of Cyril and Methodius, when Macedonian Slavs accepted the Christian faith. Most probably it served as a cathedral during the reign of Emperor Samuilo who in the late 10th century transferred his capital from Prespa to Ohrid. However, it has been established with certainty, on the basis of original data and analyses from the frescoes, that the pictorial embellishments were painted after the fall of Samuilo's empire, during Archbishop Leo (1037-1056), i.e., before the middle of the 11th century."

While we have seen so many beautiful frescoes while we have been exploring churches and monasteries in the Balkans, I found these in St. Sophia to be of great interest.  On the walls were painted pictures of six Roman Popes -- which I think is the first time that I saw Roman Popes in an Orthodox church/cathedral/monastery. (Painted before the Schism?)

Our guide mentioned that when the Ayasofya / Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque in Istanbul, that all churches and cathedrals named "Sophia" where turned into mosques as well - and such was the fate of the Sveta Sofija. 

(My daughter and I visited the Ayasofya when we were in Istanbul...the only time I was greeted by a mosaic of Jesus Christ as I walked into a mosque....see more on our Moldovan blog )

another boat ride while in Ohrid. :-)
what a treat to be out on the lake!
I love love love the water (that's why we moved to Florida!) so this was just a wonderful weekend on the lake - the natural beauty combined with the many historical sites made it a perfect place to visit - we were constantly reminded of why this site deserved to be on the UNESCO World Heritage list

approaching St. Sophia

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