Before conquered by a Roman Emperor, Byzantion was founded by a Greek colony-Byzas. This little sea shore town -Byzantion flourished to a capital of the empire. Constantine the Great who reunited the West & East Rome under his rule renamed the city as ‘’Constantinople’’.
Constantine had been a pagan before he converted to the Christianity. After Constantine died, his successor Constantinus decided that Byzantine needed his own Pantheon. It was Hagia Sophia, Sophia of God, Holy Wisdom; that is the second person of Trinity: Christ.
The first name of the Church was ‘’Megale Ekklesia’’ which means ‘’the Grand Church’’. The first Hagia Sophia was built in 360. It was a wooden-roofed basilica, built on the site of a pagan temple. On the contrary to the popular belief, it was donated by Constantinus II not by Justinian. When the church was built, severe conflicts arose between the Pagans & new Christians.
When its roof was burned by a fire in 404 and destroyed mostly in a second fire in 414, a great believer of orthodoxy Theodisius II dedicated a church in 415. Among the ruins of Theodisius’ church, you can see the architrave of 12 sheep that represents the twelve apostles of Christ in front of the monumental entrance.