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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 chattering throng.


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 evidence?

As Clark's research continued, he found many intriguing oddities and tantalizing curiosities:

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 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.


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