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John bishop of Servia (ninth/tenth century)

 
 

Obverse

Bust of the Virgin holding medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: ..ΧΥ̅: Μήτηρ Χριστοῦ. Circular inscription, beginning at 6 o'clock, between two borders of dots.

ΘΕΟΤ.ΚΕΟ......ΣΔΟΥΛ

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of four lines, decoration below. Border of dots.

ΙΑΝ
ΗΕΠΗΣ
ΚΟΠΟ..
ΡΙΟΝ

Ἰωάνῃ ἐπησκόπο Σερβίον

Obverse

Bust of the Virgin holding medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: ..ΧΥ̅: Μήτηρ Χριστοῦ. Circular inscription, beginning at 6 o'clock, between two borders of dots.

ΘΕΟΤ.ΚΕΟ......ΣΔΟΥΛ

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of four lines, decoration below. Border of dots.

ΙΑΝ
ΗΕΠΗΣ
ΚΟΠΟ..
ΡΙΟΝ

Ἰωάνῃ ἐπησκόπο Σερβίον

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4650
Diameter 20.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 25.1.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1729.

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάνῃ ἐπησκόπο Σερβίον.

Theotokos, help your servant John bishop of Servia.

Commentary

The portrait of the Virgin is practically a replica of the one on the seal of Sabas, metropolitan of Athens, attested between 879/80 and 913; Oikonomides, Dated Seals, no. 56. One should also note the appellation μήτηρ Χριστοῦ; it shows that the formula μήτηρ Θεοῦ was not completely generalized, not to mention the Nestorian/iconoclastic trait that it reveals.

Servia (modern Servia), southwest of Berroia, was established as a suffragan see of Thessalonica by the turn of the tenth century (Darrouzès, Notitiae, 278), if not earlier (see DO Seals 1, no. 25.1); cf. Laurent, Corpus V/3, 84-85. A strategos was also set up in Servia shortly before 1001; cf. Kekaumenos, 174, 433-35; Konstantopoulos, Stamoules, no. 85; Zakythinos, Mélétai 17 (1941) 226-27.