Updated: Feb 15, 2022
The Story Behind our Name: Sophia Homeschool
By Judith Jolma
At an ancient crossroads of civilizations stood a magnificent cathedral. Crowned with a dome rising 180-feet overhead and adorned inside with mosaics and colored marble, it was the seat of worship, learning, and government for nearly one thousand years, and its name means “Holy Wisdom.”
The Hagia Sophia still stands in Constantinople (today called Istanbul in Turkey.) Before being conquered by the Ottomans in 1453, the Hagia Sophia would have been decorated inside with arches of silk and fine woven rugs. Thick clouds of sweet-smelling incense would have filled the sanctuary where priests sang theologically rich worship skillfully composed over hundreds of years. The Hagia Sophia was designed for acoustics, causing the music to fill its halls with the sounds of the liturgy.
This is where Eastern Roman emperors were crowned, scholars studied, historians wrote, artists embellished, and the average Christian prayed.
It was the apex of culture, learning, government, and worship.
The name “Sophia Homeschool” is a nod to this great cathedral, which lives in the memory of Orthodox Christians as our beloved home on Earth. Although Sophia Homeschool serves all homeschool families regardless of faith or belief, in our home Holy Wisdom is our highest aim.
As an Orthodox family, we live the liturgy fostering a domestic church that aspires to the truth, goodness, and beauty once on display in those great halls.
In 987 AD, Vladimir the Great of Russia sent envoys to study world religions hoping to discover a suitable national faith on which to build his government. Frustrated by what they discovered in other parts of the world, the envoy eventually traveled to what was at the time the capital of Christianity. In a letter to their emperor they wrote describing a majestic Divine Liturgy in Hagia Sophia: "Then we went to Greece [Constantinople], and the Greeks (including the Emperor himself) led us to the edifices where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth, there is no such splendor or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We only know that God dwells there among men, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget that beauty.”
It is our humble prayer that our homeschool may also reflect the reality that “God dwells there among men.”