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The monastery of the Vigilants (Ἀκοιμήτων) (tenth/eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.5078
Diameter 24 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 61.1.


St. Michael (a wing appears at right) standing, holding a globus cruciger in his left hand. Remains of a circular inscription at right. Border of dots.


[Ἀρχισ]τράτ(η)[γ(ε)] β(οήθει)


Inscription of four lines preceded and followed by decoration. Border of dots.


τῆς μονῆς τῶ[ν Ἀ]κοι[μήτ]ων


Ἀρχιστράτηγε βοήθει. Τῆς μονῆς τῶν Ἀκοιμήτων.

Commander of the heavenly host, give thy aid. (Seal of) the monastery of the Vigilants.


A monastery of the "Vigilants" was established about 420 by the Syrian archimandrite Alexander in the vicinity of St. Menas. A decade or so later it moved to Irenaion on the right bank of the Bosporos (Janin, Églises, 16; idem, Grands centres, 15 [Çubuklu, where substructures of a monastery are visible]). Laurent, in publishing a seal of the IFEB Collection, dating from the eighth/ninth centuries and bearing the name Martyrios, hegoumenos of the Akoimetoi, asserts that the monastery at Irenaion is no longer attested after the sixth century (Corpus 5.2:62), but this is not wholly certain. There is attestation of a monastery of the Akoimetoi dating from the eighth century found in the signature list of the second council of Nicaea (787): "Joseph, hegoumenos of the Akoimetoi" (col. 152B of Mansi [vol. XIII]). Laurent, noting that a monastery of the Akoimetoi is mentioned in the Greco-Venetian Treaty of 1148, was inclined to believe that at some early date, perhaps during the seventh century, a monastery of the Akoimetoi was founded in Constantinople and that the IFEB specimen is to be assigned to this new foundation.

In any event, since this specimen dates from the tenth/eleventh century, it seems preferable to assign it to the Constantinopolitan monastery of the Akoimetoi, attested in the 1148 treaty and in Anthony of Novgorod, and situated somewhere along the Golden Horn (Janin, Grands centres, 17). In addition to the IFEB and present specimens, there is another that refers to this monastery in the Zacos Collection (Zacos, Seals II, no. 207), belonging to Leo, monk and hegoumenos of the Akoimetoi (tenth century). See ODB 1:46.