Sunday, May 8, 2011
May 8 -- Feast of Pope St. Boniface VI
I'm a little conflicted about the most famous achievement of Boniface. He was the first to convert a polytheistic temple into a Christian Church.
On one hand, I don't like jacking one faith's sacred space for the celebration of another faith. I don't like that the Soviets and their allies in Eastern Europe took synagogues and churches to turn into concert halls, removing all the symbols of faith and replacing them with garish expressions of veiled nationalism in the guise of "The People." I can't say that I like the idea that the Hagia Sophia was altered to be a mosque. I appreciate that it is today a museum, and that the Christian mosaics have been uncovered. I also appreciate that the mosaics were plastered instead of chiseled out -- some iconoclasts are more thoughtful (or perhaps less aggressive) than others.
On the other hand, many of the Christian iconoclasts and purists felt compelled to pull down the old polytheistic temples. Whether they were inspired by a desire to preserve, to gloat, or simply to utilize efficiently, the Turks, the Communists, and Pope Boniface all protected at least some part of the old sacred spaces.
Posted by Tom Major at 7:07 AM