The Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.) organizes the third in a row photography competition and invites all interested parties to participate in it. The new photography competition is organized after a proposal of the Committee on Culture of the Secretariat of the I.A.O. in the context of preserving and promoting the Christian Orthodox culture and in collaboration with the website OrthPhoto.net.
The purpose of the competition is to highlight the concept of "Wisdom of God" in the modern world and to honor the churches that have been built in its honor for centuries.
The Church of the Holy Wisdom of God in the City of cities, Istanbul, the "Great Church,", the "Great Monastery,”, is a unique monument with a universal character that "belongs to humanity and the world cultural heritage.”
That’s the place of honor of the Wisdom of God. The New Testament will in fact identify the Wisdom of God with Christ, the Son and Word of God.
The Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Corinthians refers to Christ as the "Wisdom of God”. “But we preach (…) Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God”. (1Co 1:23-24)
Newer Russian theologians consider the Wisdom to be the same as the idea of God, the eternal model of the world created by God, sometimes it appears as an intermediary between God and creation, and sometimes it’s identified with God or the creation. From then until today, the believers of the Christian Orthodox Theology and Tradition constantly build churches in its honor.
The 27th General Assembly of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.) which was held virtually on 17 September 2020, adopted a declaration which strongly condemns the arbitrary decision of the Executive Power of the Republic of Turkey, to repeal the museum status of the historic Hagia Sophia Church and proceed to its conversion into a mosque. This act signals a relapse to obsolete rationales and practices contrasting 21st century values that are aspiring towards peace, tolerance and mutual understanding among religions and civilizations.
This decision practically refutes Turkey’s role to serve as guardian of this universal monument and its history. The monument’s instrumentalization to serve political agendas and purposes, ultimately fuels inter-religious conflicts and tensions. Nobody should ignore the fact that this unique World Heritage Site, situated in Istanbul, between the East and the West, is a distinctive symbol of reconciliation between world history and common world culture; moreover, it is reminded that nationalistic grandiose narratives cannot be built on monuments of other cultures. It is also noted that in the context of globalized information, humans' knowledge of the monumental wealth of humanity is increasingly getting limited, as well as their ability to recognize cultural monuments and their value. Such ignorance leaves the monuments unprotected in various risks. At this critical time for humanity, where monuments are destroyed or their use is part of harsh political expediency, we as a society and as politicians are obliged to defend and highlight the cultural treasures. Thus the General Assembly decided to publish a special album entitled "The churches of the Wisdom of God in history and the world", dedicated to these beautiful churches around the world. In addition, it was decided to announce this photo competition.
The Hagia Sophia of Istanbul was the model which was followed by the construction of hundreds of churches until today, all over the Orthodox world dedicated to the Wisdom of God.
This dynamic that the Wisdom of God, Jesus Christ, has in the Orthodox world, is proposed to be depicted by the present photo competition.
The I.A.O. is an interparliamentary body created 27 years ago on the initiative of the Greek Parliament. In the I.A.O. parliamentary delegations from more thans 30 countries are participating. More information can be found on the official website (http://eiao.org).
The competition refers to church buildings in honor of the Wisdom of God and not to some saints named Sophia and were sanctified.
How to participate
Entering the competition is free of charge. Entries must be received between 12th of March and 31st of May 2021.