Home Church & Religion St. Photios Shrine to Host Fourth Annual Fall of Constantinople Commemoration

St. Photios Shrine to Host Fourth Annual Fall of Constantinople Commemoration


The Saint Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine announced the Fourth Annual Drawing Competition, underwritten by the Toundas family of Jacksonville, Florida.  All children ages 9-12 of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America are invited to submit a drawing of this famous 13th century mosaic, the Deesis.

Located in the upper south gallery of Hagia Sophia, this icon was concealed for centuries after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.

The Virgin Mary and John the Baptist turn to Christ, the Son of God.  The figures are two and a half times larger than life. 

After a very tumultuous time in the Queen City, the icon was likely commissioned in 1261 by Emperor Michael VIII Paleologos.  He reclaimed the Byzantine capital after the Latin period.  The south gallery was traditionally reserved for imperial use.

ELIGIBILITY:  This competition is open to all children ages 9-12 of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. There are no fees for participation. 

PRIZE: One grand prize of $250.00.

DUE DATE:  All submissions must be sent in jpeg format with a photo of the artist.  The drawing and photo must be received at [email protected] by Friday, May 17, 2024 with Drawing Contest 2024 in the subject of the email.  The Winner will be announced on Wednesday, May 29, 2024 at the Fall of Constantinople Commemoration Memorial which will be streamed on the St. Photios National Shrine Facebook page.


  1. One 2-dimensional drawing of Haghia Sophia, on 8 ½” by 11” paper (landscape/horizontal view). All submissions will become property of the Saint Photios National Shrine.
  2. The following media (or combination of media) may be used: crayon, marker, colored pencil, watercolor paint.
  3. Two high-definition photographs of drawings; one of the drawing itself (alone), and one including the artist holding the original drawing.
  4. Contact information including artist’s name, age, home address, parish affiliation, and parent or guardian’s email address. Once this information is received, a parental consent form will be emailed, authorizing use of the photos solely for the purpose of the Drawing Contest ministry.
  5. Tip:  visit YouTube Channel, Smarthistory, Jun 8, 2014, Deësis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul for a close up look and more information about this icon.


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