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John monk and metropolitan of Nikomedeia (ninth century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.14
Diameter 33 mm
Field diameter 26 mm
Condition Chipped at upper exit of the channel
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 83.7.
Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 376.


The Virgin standing holding Christ. Within a border of dots, a circular inscription.


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


Inscription of four lines, rows of pellets above and below. Border of dots.


Ἰωάννῃ μοναχ καὶ μητροπολίτῃ Νικομηδείας


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ μοναχῷ καὶ μητροπολίτῃ Νικομηδείας.

Mother of God, help your servant John monk and metropolitan of Nikomedeia.


As Laurent observed, the decoration on the obverse resembles the one found on patriarchal seals of the ninth century (in particular, the seals of Methodios, Photios, Stephanos, etc.: Zacos, Seals II, nos. 5, 7,a, 8: cf. Dated Seals, nos. 50, 54). On the other hand, the inscription on the reverse echoes the one on the seal of patriarch Ignatios so closely that one might wonder if their matrices were carved by the same craftsman (Zacos, Seals II, no. 6; cf. Dated Seals, no. 51). Laurent was right in attributing this seal to John of Nikomedeia, a partisan of Ignatios, to whom Photios (858-867, 877-886) addressed a severe letter, most probably during his first patriarchate, and in any case before 879, when the metropolitan of Nikomedeia was named George.