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John monk, hegoumenos of St. Sergios, and synkellos (829–837)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.5744
Diameter 31 mm
Condition Two halves; the split occurred when the specimen was holed in the center.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 58.1; Laurent, Corpus 5.3: no. 1917. A parallel specimen is published in Zacos–Veglery, no. 2031. See also Dated Seals, no. 47.


Cruciform invocative monogram (type VIII); in the quarters: τσ|δλ: τῷ σῷ δούλῳ. Wreath border.


Inscription of five lines. No visible border.


Ἰωάννῃ μοναχῷ ἡγουμ(ένῳ) τοῦ ἁγ(ίου) Σεργ(ίου) (καὶ) συγκέλλῳ


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ μοναχῷ ἡγουμένῳ τοῦ ἁγίου Σεργίου καὶ συγκέλλῳ.

Lord, help your servant John monk, hegoumenos of St. Sergios and synkellos.


The specimen quite likely belonged to John Morocharzanios Grammatikos, a supporter of iconoclasm, who was appointed at a somewhat advanced age as hegoumenos of the μονὴ τῶν καλλινίκων μαρτύρων Σεργίου καὶ Βάκχου (Skylitzes, 84.93–85.95). He became patriarch of Constantinople in 837.

The full name of the monastery of St. Sergios was Sts. Sergios and Bacchos (ἐν τοῖς Ὁρμίσδου). The phrase ἐν τοῖς Ὁρμίσδου refers to the palace of Hormisdas, an imperial complex named after a Persian prince. According to the Patria (231 and 279) Justinian, while living at the palace, founded a church of Sts. Sergios and Bacchos before becoming emperor. He may well have added a monastery since an abbot of the μονὴ τῶν Ὁρμίσδου was present at the council of 536 (Janin, Églises, 451). A hegoumenos τῶν Ὁρμίσδου, Gregory, attended the second council of Nicaea in 787.