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John bishop of Belikeia (eleventh/twelfth century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4651
Diameter 16 mm
Field diameter 11 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 38.1.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1775.


Bust of the Virgin holding Christ. SIgla: Μ̄Θ̄: Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. Border of dots.


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


Θεοτόκε βοήθει Ἰωάννῃ ἐπισκόπῳ Βελικίας


Θεοτόκε βοήθει Ἰωάννῃ ἐπισκόπῳ Βελικίας.

Theotokos, help John bishop of Belikeia.


The exact location of Belikeia is unknown, and indeed it may not have been a town but a region peopled by Slavs, located along the borders between the ecclesiastical jurisdictions of Philippoi and Philippoupolis. As Laurent notes, all ecclesiastical lists, beginning with the tenth century, record a Belikeia, suffragan of Philippoi, and a Belikeia, suffragan of Philippoupolis (e.g.Darrouzès, Notitiae, 285, lines 593, 616). Laurent is undoubtedly correct that if these double mentions simply involved an error, the mistake would eventually have been corrected. Accordingly, it seems that we are dealing with a group of people that engaged in herding and moved from one region to the other, according to the season. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 540-41.