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John monk and archbishop of all Bulgaria (eleventh century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1955.1.4701

Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 29.6c.
Cf. Laurent, Corpus V/3 no. 2016 and idem, Corpus V/2, no. 1494 (with corrected reading).

Details

Diameter:
16 mm

Obverse

John monk and archbishop of all Bulgaria (eleventh century)

The Virgin seated on a throne (unclear traces of a high back) holding medallion of Christ before her. No epigraphy or border visible.

Reverse

John monk and archbishop of all Bulgaria (eleventh century)

Inscription of six lines. Border of dots.

ΘΚΕ
ΤΣ
ΙΜΟΝΑ
ΑΡΧΙΕ
ΚΠΠ
ΛΓ

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ μοναχῷ καὶ ἀρχιεπισκόπῳ πάσης Βουλγαρίας

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ μοναχῷ καὶ ἀρχιεπισκόπῳ πάσης Βουλγαρίας.

Theotokos, help your servant John monk and archbishop of all Bulgaria.

Audio

Commentary

This specimen is considerably smaller than its counterparts BZS 1958.106.5308 and 1951.31.5.1035 but seems to reproduce them faithfully, including the unusual abbreviation ἀρχιεπισκόπῳ. It is all but certain that the three specimens belonged to the same individual, who must have been John of Lampe, a former monk of Mount Olympus and archbishop of Bulgaria 1064-1077/8. In the (incomplete) list of archbishops of Ohrid, published by Gelzer, Achrida, 6-7, and discussed by P. Gautier (Theophylacti, Opera, 29-37), three archbishops named John are mentioned in the eleventh century: (1) John (alias David), mentioned in 1019, the last "patriarch" of Ohrid during the reign of Samuel; demoted to archbishop by Basil II after 1018; (2) John of Lampe, the former monk; and finally (3) his successor, John Aoinos, a former abbot, who became archbishop in 1078. Laurent, for technical reasons, rightly eliminated from consideration the John of 1019 (it is true that all specimens have the ligature , which first appears on seals in the 1030s); and excluded John Aoinos on the assumption that another aniconic seal (see Corpus V/2, no. 1492) of a John archbishop of Bulgaria and former abbot, was likely to be that of John Aoinos.

 

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