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Priests and ekklesiekdikoi (of Saint Sophia) (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1947.2.2173
Diameter 51 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 42.12; Laurent, Corpus 5.1: no. 113. Parallel specimen in Zacos, Seals II, no. 65.


The Mother of God (left) and Justinian (right) holding between them a model of the church of Saint Sophia. Inscription in the center: Η|Α|Γ|Ι|Α|Σ|Ο|Φ|Ι|Α : Ἡ Ἁγία Σοφία. Circular inscription, beginning at 9 o'clock.


Ὑπεραγία Θεοτόκε βοή[θει]


Inscription of six lines preceded by decoration. Border of dots.


τοῖς θεοσεβεστάτοις πρεσ[β]υτέροις [κ]αὶ ἐκκ[λη]σεκδ[ίκ(οις)]


Ὑπεραγία Θεοτόκε βοήθει τοῖς θεοσεβεστάτοις πρεσβυτέροις καὶ ἐκκλησεκδίκοις.

Most holy Mother of God, help the most reverent priests and judges of Hagia Sophia.


For a discussion of the ekklesiekdikoi, who formed a tribunal, operating out of Saint Sophia, and the iconography associated with their seals, see the brief introduction in DO Seals 5, pp. 88–89, as well as J. Cotsonis, "The Virgin and Justinian on Seals of the Ekklesiekdikoi of Hagia Sophia."

Note that the circular inscription at right invades the field of Justinian's halo, suggesting that the decoration was carved first and then the inscription was added. On this specimen the figure of Justinian is unidentified, in contrast with other seals belonging to the priests and ekklesiekdikoi.