Saint Sofia Church

Saint Sophia church is the second oldest church in the city of Sofia, Bulgaria, dating to the 6th century.

Front door into Saint Sophia.

The current building is on a site of several earlier churches as far back as the 4th century. The Council of Serdica was held here in 343.

The interior is stark and devoid of its earlier frescoes since the Muslims turned it into a mosque in the 14th century. The Muslims destroyed the 12th century ornamentation.

Although devoid of its interior beauty, in the 1900’s restoration began to convert it back to a church after 500 years as a mosque, and you can see the striking architecture that makes this one of the most valuable pieces of eastern Christian architecture.

When I walked in I was delighted.

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The sacrament of baptism was being celebrated.

The archaeological execavation under the church has preserved part of the necropolis of the ancient city of Serdica and the ruins of the previous churches.

Fragments from the floor mosaics of the 5th century church.

The interior of an ancient mausoleum.

The original floor mosaic is in the museum. This is a copy the paradise mosaic from the apse of the 4th century church. The mosaic is a scene from the garden of Eden. The cypress trees symbolize eternity. Notice the heavenly birds around the baptismal font. The mosaic is framed by a plaited pattern that is a symbol of infinity.

The original floor mosaic.

Looking from the current Saint Sophia into the floor mosaic of the earlier church.