Quite a few of our web guests and visitors have taken the time to send our staff questions regarding the location on earth thought to be considered the most prolific source for Seraphim related art, literature, and theology. To find that place, one would have to travel to the heart of Byzantium, which of course is Constantinople, the imperial capital of the Roman Empire. Many angelologists consider Constantinople to be the Seraphim capital of the world, having produced and hosted many of the oldest and most renown works of art representing this rank and class of angels, and contributing much of the foundation that modern Seraphim angels rest upon. Obviously the core source for Seraphim angels is Biblical scripture, however it was in ancient Byzantium that they were celebrated in proportions unparalleled. From breathtaking Seraphim mosaics scattered throughout the kingdom, to epic poems, literature, and even woven decor.
One such example of the Seraphim being honored within Constantinople, are the beautiful and world renown Seraphim mosaics within the Hagia Sophia. Thought to be some of the oldest artistic representations of the Seraphim angels, these mosaics were recently rediscovered in 2007 by experts conducting some routine renovation work. It is thought that the beautiful Byzantine artworks were covered up with plaster and metal roughly one hundred and sixty years ago, under the orders of Swiss architect Gaspare Fossati, who was commissioned at the time to restore the interior of the great basilica. These mosaics are quite large, measuring about one and a half by one meter in overall size. According to art historians, the mosaics themselves were created during the 14th century, a century before the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. The Hagia Sophia was turned into mosque by the Turks, and a lot of the relics were destroyed.
Outside of the Orthodox patriarchal basilica, the Hagia Sophia, there are also many other historic examples showing how revered the Seraphim were in ancient Byzantium. Many Byzantine era tapestries have been found adorned with the traditional Eastern Orthodox representation of the Seraphim, which is that of a face or head, wrapped in a body made of six wings, as described in the Bible. Many of these tapestries were thought to hang within Byzantine basilicas, as well as in some of the extravagant Byzantine era palaces that used to exist within the city walls. Outside of tapestries, there have been other decorative Seraphim relics found from the Byzantine era, many of which are in remarkable condition considering how old they are. Such items include paintings, wood and stone carvings, jewelry items, grave and headstones, as well as on old scripture parchment. Many of these Seraphim relics can be traced to the 14th century.
One of the most beautiful Seraphim related artworks that I have seen to date, is a Byzantine era painting, that is octagon shaped. In the center of the painting, is a circle that has one of the archangels within it, either Michael or Gabriel, with their wings filling the background. Then going around the circle, is a long chain of Seraphim angels, shown in the typical Eastern Orthodox fashion. The awesome painting is bursting with vibrant colors and gold embossing typical of what you would see in the iconography work of the same genre. I am in the process of attempting to get a temporary copyright authorization so that I can publish it here on the site, so until then you'll just have to patiently wait. That brings this quick article to a close, we hope that you found it interesting. For more information about the Seraphim angels, please be sure to continue browsing through our website, where we have a huge database full of information and interesting facts.