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Clement higoumenos of the monastery of St. Theophanes (tenth/eleventh century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.460

Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 42.3b.

Laurent reproduced the photograph of this seal in Corpus V/2, no. 1290.

 

Details

Diameter:
17 mm
Field:
14 mm

Obverse

Clement higoumenos of the monastery of St. Theophanes (tenth/eleventh century)

Bust of St. Theophanes, with thick hair and a short beard, holding the martyr's cross in his right hand and a round object, certainly not a book (as described by Laurent), perhaps a censer or a rotulus in his left hand. On either side the inscription: ο|ο|σι|οσ-θ|εο|φα|ν|/ : ὁ ὅσιος Θεοφάν(ης). Border of dots.

Reverse

Clement higoumenos of the monastery of St. Theophanes (tenth/eleventh century)

Inscription of five lines. Border of dots.

+τον
ποιμενα
κλημεν
τασησμο
νησκεπ,

Τὸν ποιμένα Κλήμεντα σῆς μονῆ(ς) σκέπ(ε)

Translation

Τὸν ποιμένα Κλήμεντα σῆς μονῆς σκέπε.

Watch over Clement, the shepherd of your monastery.

Audio

Commentary

This seal, BZS.1958.106.459, and BZS.1947.2.1383 all appear to come from the same boulloterion.

Dodecasyllabic. The single sigma bridging μονῆς with σκέπε may be an instance of haplography. Laurent attributed this seal and another from the Athens Museum (Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 1290) to the monastery of St. Theophanes tou Megalou Agrou. Both these seals are decorated with an image of St. Theophanes, with thick hair and short beard, but in different posture (in the Athens specimen the saint is depicted orans). Both seals are metrical and implore the saint to protect the abbot of the monastery named for him. It is obvious that these seals come from the same institution. Moreover, on BZS.1955.1.4941, we have another portrait of a monk-saint (with no inscription) on the seal of Christopher higoumenos tou Agrou, and we have suggested that this must be another portrait of St. Theophanes (but very different from the two others).

Would this mean that the monastery had more than one – and variable – portraits of the founder? Or could it be that we have another monastery of St. Theophanes, not the Chronographer, such as Theophanes Graptos (October 11; Syn. Eccl. CP, 130) or Theophanes the martyr, less known but who was also a monk (September 9; Syn. Eccl. CP, 29)? No such institution is known from other sources.

The monastery τοῦ Ἀγροῦ or τοῦ Μεγάλου Ἀγροῦ was founded ca. 786 by St. Theophanes the Confessor at the foot of Mt. Sigriane (near the modern Turkish village of Kursunlu) between Kyzikos and the mouth of the Ryndakos River (Laurent, Corpus V/3, 242; Janin, Grands centres, 195-99). The monastery probably suffered decline in the later eleventh century, but revived in the thirteenth century, and was still functioning in the early fourteenth century. It is porbably that it was also called the monastery of St. Theophanes.

 

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