According to the story often told in 1988, when Soviet Russia decided to celebrate the millennium of Russia’s conversion to Christianity, in 988 Prince Vladimir of Kiev sent out emissaries to discover the true religion. When the emissaries reached Constantinople and witnessed a liturgy there in Hagia Sophia, they knew they had achieved their goal. They returned to Kiev and reported to Vladimir: “We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere upon earth. We cannot describe it to you. Only this we know, that God dwells there among men, and that their service surpasses the worship of all other places. For we cannot forget its beauty.” (179)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Heaven on Earth
From Four Cultures of the West by John W. O’Malley.