You are here:Home/Resources/ Byzantine Seals/ Search the Catalogue/ John VIII Xiphilinos, patriarch of Constantinople (1064–75)

John VIII Xiphilinos, patriarch of Constantinople (1064–75)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4951 (formerly DO 55.1.4951)
Diameter 33 mm
Field diameter 27 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 118.2; Laurent, Corpus 5.1: no. 18, but for similar specimens see Zacos, Seals 2: nos. 17a–e; Spink I, no. 20 (= Zacos, Seals 2: no. 17a); and Seibt–Zarnitz, no. 5.1.2. Cf. Galavaris, “Thokos,” no. 21 (p. 175).


The Mother of God, seated on a backless throne, holding Christ on her knees. At left and right, sigla M-P-ΘV: Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Circular inscription. Border of dots.


Θ[(εοτό)κε βοήθε]ι τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


Inscription of six lines followed by decoration. Border of dots.


Ἰω(άννῃ) ἀρχ(ι)επισκόπ[ῳ] Κων(σταντινου)πό(λεως) Νέα[ς] Ῥώμης καὶ ο[ἰ]κουμενικῷ π(ατ)ριάρχῃ.


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ ἀρχιεπισκόπῳ Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Νέας Ῥώμης καὶ οἰκουμενικῷ πατριάρχῃ.

Mother of God, help your servant John, archbishop of Constantinople, the New Rome, and ecumenical patriarch.


John Xiphilinos was born in Trebizond about 1010. He pursued studies in Constantinople and eventually became nomophylax of the law school there (ODB 2:1054). Later he became a monk and was eventually selected by Emperor Constantine X (1059–67) to succeed Constantine Leichoudes. In 1072 John presided over an assembly of metropolitans and archbishops at the oratory of St. Alexios in which the question of the election of bishops to vacant sees was discussed. Michael Keroularios had forbidden metropolitans who were resident in Constantinople from participating in such elections. John, however, recognized that metropolitans sometimes had to remain for a long period in the capital due to ecclesiastical business or illness. The assembly with John’s consent decreed that metropolitans who gave the patriarch advance notification of their intent could again vote while resident in Constantinople (See Oikonomides, “Décret synodal,” 56). After his death his remains were buried at the monastery of Angourion on 2 August 1075 (Janin, Grands centres, 27).

Laurent lists a group of similar seals, but illustrated the present seal, cited by its negative number, and BZS.1958.106.308 in the concordance published in Corpus 5.3 (p. 299).