The Sophia Polygon
By Clark Wilson
Join our intrepid investigator Clark Wilson (ably played by Clark
Wilson) as he continues to pursue the topic of the Divine Feminine! In previous episodes
he journeyed back in time to the Iconoclast Controversies in the first millennium and also
traveled briefly to the mysterious lands of the Hindu goddesses. Here we are as he
receives his next hints, at the mysterious bookstore table, in the underground chambers
beneath an exotic, icon-filled Orthodox Church standing alone in a forest west of
Chi-ca-go, and then falls into
The Sophia Polygon
Clark is sipping coffee at the bookstore table, his drugstore reading
glasses tilted and askew as usual. He is lost in thought, wondering whether the glasses
are manufactured tilted or whether there is some conspiracy afoot to tilt them after they
leave the store. Suddenly a large figure, completely robed in black, materializes by the
table. "I hear you're looking for the Divine Feminine," he says. Clark sits up quickly,
further tilting his glasses. "Why, yes, I am!"
"Sophia!" says the figure.
"Gesundheit!" says Clark.
"Bulgakov," says the figure.
"Huh?" says Clark.
And with a sinister chuckle the figure disappears back into the
It turned out that a fellow named Bulgakov had written a book Sophia:
The Wisdom of God. And Bulgakov pointed back to an earlier writer, Florensky. And they
both pointed back to an earlier writer, Solovyov. And they all pointed back to the
mysterious figure Sophia, hovering in the flickering mists of the origins of the Church.
However, none of them -- not one! -- made any mention of tilted drugstore reading glasses.
Hmmm ... what better proof of a major conspiracy could re be than a complete absence of
As Clark's research continued, he found many intriguing oddities and
Even though Hagia Sophia (aka "St. Sophia" or "Holy Wisdom" or
sometimes "Wisdom of God" or even "Divine Wisdom") was for a thousand years the primary
church in the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the church at which the Emperor worshiped,
explanations of the name of the church varied widely and contradicted each other. One of
the reasons that the name of Hagia Sophia can be translated in many ways is because in
Greek and Russian the word used for "saint" is the same word used for "holy" so that the
name "Hagia Sophia" is rendered in English as "St. Sophia" or "Holy Sophia."
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church says that
the name of the Hagia Sophia (which it calls "Santa Sophia") is "dedicated to Holy Wisdom
(i.e., the Person of Christ)." As time went on, "Sophia" churches grew up in Kiev,
Bulgaria, Russia, even the USA. The feast days of these various Sophia churches varied
widely. The modern Greek Orthodox St. Sophia in Washington, DC celebrates its feast day
the Monday following Pentecost, i.e., the Monday of the Holy Spirit. The OCA web site
lists two feast days for "Sophia, the Widsom of God" -- September 8, the Nativity of our
Most Holy Lady the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, and August 15, the Dormition of
our Most Holy Lady the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary. The city of Sofia, Bulgaria
has a holy day on September 17, the feast day of the second-century martyr Sophia (and
her daughters Faith, Hope, and Love). So "Sophia" has been associated with Jesus, Mary,
the Holy Spirit, and a martyr.
In the primary Scriptural passages (Proverbs, Wisdom) Wisdom is a
feminine person, but by some (see above) Wisdom is equated to the "Person of Christ."
Amazingly, Clark had put a quotation from Wisdom on his St. Luke's web
page http://www.stlukeorthodox.com/html/ministries/adulteducation.cfm long before anyone
had ever asked him about the Divine Feminine! And that very same web page shows him with
tilted drugstore reading glasses!
One of the important Scripture passages about Sophia (Proverbs 8:22)
was used as a prime proof text by the Arian heretics (who were for a while in the
majority), since it was argued that Christ was "the wisdom of God" and in that passage
Wisdom says of herself, "The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before His
deeds of old." I.e., the Christ was not co-eternal with the Father but was created.
A nineteenth-century Russian thinker had mystical experiences relating
to Sophia and started a significant thread in Russian theology that has no real
counterpart in the West -- "sophiology."
Clark was struck by a contrast -- on the one hand, theological areas
like the Holy Trinity, though mysterious, seem to have settled down and remained fairly
consistent; on the other hand, the topic of Sophia, the name of the main church of the
Byzantine Empire, seemed to shift or vary at any one time and is associated here with
Jesus and there with Mary and elsewhere with the Holy Spirit and in the last two hundred
years has spawned a significant new thread in Orthodox theology. Normal rules of space,
time, and theological gravity seemed to Clark to flicker and change near Sophia, and
Clark was reminded of the Bermuda Triangle, in which laws of physics seemed to vary as
ships and aircraft mysteriously disappeard. But things didn't disappear in the Sophia
area, instead, new, good things appeared in this Sophia zone which, for the sake of snappy
title, Clark called
The Sophia Polygon
Okay, got it? Bermuda Triangle -- laws of physics are funky, stuff
mysteriously disappears. Sophia Polygon -- theological and liturgical regularities don't
seem to hold, stuff mysteriously appears.
TO BE CONTINUED