Rome, 16 February 2023. Presentation of the Volume “Hagia Sophia”

Rome, 16 February 2023. Presentation of the Volume Hagia Sophia

On Thursday, 16th February 2023, the presentation of the Volume “Hagia Sophia: The Churches of the Wisdom of God around the World” was held in “La Sapienza” University in Rome.

Initially, the Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature, Mr. Arianna Punzi, the Director of the Department of History, Anthropology, Religions, Arts and Entertainment, Professor Gaetano Lettieri, addressed the audience, while the presentation was moderated by the Associate Professor of Modern Greek of Language and Literature of “La Sapienza” University, Mr. Christos Bintoudis.

The I.A.O. Secretary General Dr. Maximos Charakopoulos during his speech on the Volume expressed his gratitude for the presence “in the eternal city, in Rome, the birthplace of Roman culture and law, which together with ancient Greek literature and Christian tradition composed the foundations of the mosaic of modern Europe. We are happy, because you are giving us the opportunity at Europe’s largest university “La Sapienza” (the Wisdom), to present you a project concerning “La Sapienza del Dio”, the “Wisdom of God”. After all, I hasten to assume that Pope Boniface in 1303 wanted to name his creation –your university- after the Wisdom of God”.

Rome, 16 February 2023. Presentation of the Volume Hagia Sophia

Subsequently, he stressed: “It is true that the presence of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy in the Italian peninsula has been upgraded in recent years, starting with the organization of our 24th General Assembly here in Rome, specifically in the Hall of the Italian Parliament, in 2016. This is largely due to our tireless efforts to establish an open channel of communication and regular contacts with bodies and organizations of civil society, with the aim of highlighting the common principles and values of Christian culture and Christian tradition, useful concepts for the Future of Europe and the world”.

The I.A.O. Secretary General also highlighted that “the conversion of six historical churches of the Wisdom of God within Turkish state, as well as of a church in Turkish-occupied Cyprus into mosques indicate an obsessive regression. Against the falsification of historical truth, we favor scientific discourse and documentation: a) by showing today’s world the way to cooperation and preemption, b) by projecting networks of peace, far from war cries of the past and c) by highlighting the just demand for respect one of the most important monuments overall of Christian World and humanity”.

Moreover, excellent presentations were developed by Professor Antonio Lacobini with subject “Justinian’s Saint Sophia. A wonderful eternal monument” and by Professor Alessandro Taddei on “Hagia Sophia before Justinian. The prehistory of the Great Church of Constantinople”.

The composition of the IAO delegation in Rome included the Greek MPs Mr. Stavros Keletsis (I.A.O. Treasurer), Athanasios Davakis and Ioannis Sarakiotis, the Bulgarian MP Mr. Radomir Tcholakov, the Jordanian MP Mr. Derar Aldawood, the former member of the Albanian Parliament Mr. Genc Pollo, the I.A.O. advisors dr. Kostas Mygdalis and dr. Alexander Fomenko, as well as the liaison between the I.A.O. and Catholic Institutions Mr. Virgilio Avato.

During their stay in Rome, they had the opportunity to visit the Apostolic Library of the Vatican City, where the Archivist and Librarian mon. Angelo Vincenzo Zani received them.

Rome, 16 February 2023. Presentation of the Volume Hagia Sophia

The I.A.O. delegation received a particularly warm reception in the municipality of Grota Ferrata, where the deputy mayor Ms. Rits Consoli welcomed the deputies in the so-called “Gardens of Patmos” square. The deputy mayor informed them about the close ties of Grota Ferrata with Hellenism, its connection with Byzantium and Christianity, but also its twinning agreement with the Greek island of Patmos.

Rome, 16 February 2023. Presentation of the Volume Hagia Sophia

Finally, they visited the Byzantine-style Holy Monastery of Kryptoferris, where the abbot Fr. Francisco showed them around the monastery’s catholicon and library. It is noted that a group of Greek monks, coming from Southern Italy, founded the Byzantine-style Holy Monastery of the Virgin Mary of Kryptoferris, also called the Monastery of the Holy Nile of Neos, in 1004. Today, this Monastery is the last remaining of the numerous Byzantine monasteries of the Middle Ages in South Italy and Rome. They also went to the Basilica of St. Clement, in the crypt of which is the tomb of the Apostle Saint Cyril.

Rome, 16 February 2023. Presentation of the Volume Hagia Sophia

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