Once in a while, a real-life “Indiana Jones” story takes place and makes my Seminarian sweat glands work overtime where My Fair Lady gets to meet my inner history dork.
Why? Imagine the Roman Empire. No, really.
You see, not all roads lead to Rome. Just ask Emperor Constantine who believed even his Roman roads led to the Cross of Christ.
That once Christian powerhouse is now home of Muslim central outside of Mecca.
Why the history lesson?
The seraphim figure — one of two located on the side of a dome — had been covered up along with the building’s other Christian mosaics shortly after Constantinople — the former name for Istanbul — fell to the Ottomans in 1453 and the cathedral was turned into a mosque.
The Haghia Sophia (seen here), better known as the Church of Holy Wisdom, was the centerpiece of the Byzantine empire until the Muslims took it over.
And once they kicked the good Christian folk out of the place, the Imams went looking for angelic faces in the frescoes because Muslim custom prohibits human representation.
So, the Muslim clerics went to a local Home Depot and bought buckets of plaster. Fast forward more than 2,500 years later and we find some angel staring back like she walked out of a plastic surgeon’s shop.
Some of the mosaics were revealed when the domed complex was turned into a museum in 1935, but the seraphim had largely remained covered, Ahmet Emre Bilgili, who heads culture and tourism affairs in Istanbul, told The Associated Press. “It is the first time that the angel is being revealed,” he said, adding that the figure had been covered with metal and plaster. “It is very well preserved.”
Breathtaking. Not one wrinkle, crow’s feet (or foot, as it were) or liver spot. That cherub still looked resplendent. And never mind her bulging eyebrows. It’s an angel. And now, Muslims are questioning this as an act of God – ours, not theirs.
For nothing will be impossible for God (Luke 1:37 NASB).
God can use anything to reach anyone at anytime. Halleujah.