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Theophylaktos hegoumenos (of the monastery) of Kathara (eighth/ninth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.917
Diameter 24 mm
Field diameter 21 mm
Condition Chipped and corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 48.1.


A cruciform invocative monogram (type V). In the quarters: το-σο|δ-λο. Wreath border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει το σο δούλο


Inscription of four lines. Wreath border.

.ν /τν

Θεοφυ[λ]άκτῳ ἱγου[μ]έν(ῳ) τῶν Καθαρᾶ


Θεοτόκε βοήθει το σο δούλο Θεοφυλάκτῳ ἱγουμένῳ τῶν Καθαρᾶ.

Theotokos, help your servant Theophylaktos, hegoumenos of (the monastery of) Kathara.


After the final α we have an abbreviation sign, so that the final word could be read as Καθαρᾶ(ς).

The monastery was certainly in Bithynia, inside the theme of Opsikion, probably at the thermae of Pythia, 10 km inland from Pylai. It is attested for the first time in the early seventh century and would have been founded, according to a legend, well before; it appears for the last time in the eleventh century. It was dedicated to the Virgin. Its name, τῶν Καθαρᾶ, appears in this form in several texts, on an inscription, and on our seal; it comes from the name of a man, Καθαρᾶς, τὰ Καθαρᾶ (cf. τὰ Στοθδίου), and it has nothing to do with the Cathar haeretics. See Janin, Grands centres, 158-160; J.-Cl. Cheynet and B. Flusin, "Du monastère de Kathara à Thessalonique: Thédore Stoudite sur la route d'exil," REB 48 (1990) 193-211 (for the monastery, see 205-7).