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Nikon (monk) of the monastery of St. Nikon (eleventh/twelfth century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.5024
Diameter 20 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 29.4.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1943; see also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden II, no. 2689.


Inscription of three lines, a cross above. Border of dots.


Σφραγὶς Νίκωνος


Inscription of three lines, a cross above and a pellet below. Border of dots.


τῆς μονῆς ὁμονύμου


Σφραγὶς Νίκωνος τῆς μονῆς ὁμονύμου.

Seal of (the monk) Nikon from the monastery of the same name.



The monastery mentioned here could be the one of St. Nikon of Sparta (rather than Nikon of the Black Mountian near Antioch). Our specimen dates to a period well after the time when Nikon was recognized as a saint (he is named Ὁ ἅγιος in an inscription accompanying his imsage in the Katholikon of Hosios Loukas), but this epithet is omitted on the seal because the Nikon mentioned therein is not the saint but the owner of the seal, a monk (perhaps an abbot) of the monastery. Of course our attribution contains considerable uncertainty, as nothing excludes the existence of another monastery of St. Nikon or founded by a man called Nikon, unknown to us from other sources.

Lakedaimonia (modern Sparta) was functioning as a bishopric by the middle of the 5th century; it became the suffragan first in order of Patras sometime between 802 and 806 and exercised authority in Arcadia. It was established as a metropolis in 1082/83. We have the list of the bishops (synodikon) of Lakedaimonia from the mid-9th to the late 12th centuries, published and discussed by R. J. H. Jenkins and C. Mango (DOP 15 [1961] 235-42) and by V. Laurent (REB 19 [1961] 208-26); cf. Gouillard, Synodikon, 112-13, 277-78.

See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 478, 624; Fedaalto, 505-7; Philippidis-Braat, no. 42; ODB II, 1169-70.