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Kosmas I, patriarch of Constantinople (1075–81)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.315 (formerly DO 58.106.315)

Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 119.1; for similar seals, but from different boulloteria, see Zacos, Seals 2: no. 18 and Laurent, Corpus 5.1: no. 19. Cf. Galavaris, “Thokos,” no. 22 (p. 175). Laurent mentions our seal in the concordance at Corpus 5.3 (p. 299).


36 mm
26 mm


Kosmas I, patriarch of Constantinople (1075–81)

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


Kosmas I, patriarch of Constantinople (1075–81)

Inscription of seven lines, the final line between two pellets. Border of dots.


Κοσμᾶς ἐλέῳ Θ(εο)ῦ ἀρχ(ι)επίσκοπ(ος) Κων(σταντινου)πόλεως Νέας Ῥώμης (καὶ) οἰκουμενικ(ὸς) π(ατ)ριάρχης.


Κοσμᾶς ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Νέας Ῥώμης καὶ οἰκουμενικὸς πατριάρχης.

Kosmas, by the grace of God, archbishop of Constantinople, the New Rome, and ecumenical patriarch.



Before ascending the patriarchal throne on 8 August 1075, Kosmas had come to Constantinople from Jerusalem and had lived at the capital in a monastery near the palace of the Blachernai. He was esteemed for his piety and became patriarch after the death of John VIII Xiphilinos on 2 August. Sitting at the head of a holy synod, he advocated for the abdication of Michael VII (1071–78) and the succession of Nikephoros III Botaneiates, a general whom he crowned in April of 1078. He opposed as adulterous Botaneiates’ marriage to Michael VII’s wife, Maria. When Alexios Komnenos raised the standard of revolt, Kosmas, in league with Caesar John Doukas, intimated to Botaneiates that the time had come for him in turn to step down from the imperial throne. After crowning Alexios in 1081, and obliging by synodal decree the emperor and his followers to undergo penance for certain deadly attacks that had occurred in Constantinople, Kosmas gave up the patriarchal throne and retired to the monastery of Kallios, that is, the monastery of St. Anthony Kauleas (see commentary at BZS.1958.106.309). See Skoulatos, Personnages, 165–66.


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