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

Accession Number:
BZS.1955.1.4952 (formerly DO 55.1.4952)

Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 118.1.


41 mm


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

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. Faint remains of a circular inscription. Border of dots


Θ(εοτό)κε β[οήθει] τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


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

Inscription of six lines followed by a decoration.


Ἰω(άννῃ) ἀρχ(ι)επισκόπο Κων(σταντινου)πό(λεως) Νέας Ῥώμης καὶ οἰκουμενικῷ π(ατ)ριάρχῃ.


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ ἀρχιεπισκόπο 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).

At the end of the second line, it is possible to read an omega for the omicron, but the latter is here preferred.


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