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Photo of Hagia Sophia

This Mosaic Tops Imperial Entrance to Hagia Sophia's Interior

This mosaic tops the imperial entrance to the Hagia Sophia's interior. It depicts Christ Pantocrator holding a book with the inscription "Peace be with you. I am the Light of the World." Christ is surrounded by roundels portraying the Virgin Mary and the angel Gabriel (who also feature in the apse mosaics). At Christ's feet is a bearded emperor, who is believed to represent Leo VI asking for forgiveness for his four marriages. The mosaic dates to between 886 and 912 AD, which is the reign of Leo.

Photo © Helen Betts.