Nicholas I Mystikos: A Canon on the Lament of the Virgin at the Crucifixion

BZS.1958.106.1671.D2013.o.jpg St. Longinus. John 20:34: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Gospel according to St. John 20:26–27

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.


The Crucifixion is found on eleven Byzantine seals ranging from the sixth to the twelfth centuries. Above is the standard Middle Byzantine scene depicting the crucified Christ flanked by the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist.Cotsonis, "Narrative Scenes on Byzantine Lead Seals," 58 and 65.

Occasionally, iconography was chosen for reasons beyond individual piety. The seal here, belonging to Michael chartoularios of the dromon and of Charsianon, exemplifies this. The reverse depicts St. Nicholas and St. Menas Kallikelados, raising their hands toward a medallion of Christ. The same design was also used by Constantine vestarches, judge of the Velum, and grand kourator of the sekreton of the Mangana, a nephew of Patriarch Michael I Keroularios. The iconography was likely a "family design," linking members across time and space.


Document Actions

Engraving Lives