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John archbishop of Corinth (eighth/ninth century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4703
Diameter 30 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 25.1.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1747.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 1335.


The Virgin standing, holding Christ. On either side the cruciform monograms: Θεοτόκε βοήθει. No border visible.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει


Inscription of four lines beginning with a cross. Wreath border.


Ἰωάννῃ ἀρχιεπισκόπῳ Κορίνθου


Θεοτόκε βοήθει Ἰωάννῃ ἀρχιεπισκόπῳ Κορίνθου.

Mother of God, help John, archbishop of Corinth.


Zacos-Veglery dated this seal to the period 787-815; Laurent assigned it to the 9th century and identified its owner with a John who was active in 880. In our opinion, the specimen clearly dates before the mid-9th century (wreath border; double loop beta; round top rho).

Corinth was the capital of the roman province of Achaïa (which included the Peloponnesos and mainland Greece) and may have served as capital of the theme of Hellas (cf. Sig., 182; Κορίνθου Ἑλλάδος). It certainly became the capital of the theme of Peloponnesos from the time of its creation (ca. 800). The city, in which an archon exercised authority (Corinth XII, nos. 2695, 2723), remained the main urban center and port of the region, by far outclassing Athens and Thebes (cf. E. Malamut, Sur la route des saints byzantins [Paris, 1993], 310).

The church, founded by St. Paul, was the metropolis of all Achaïa, but its prelates signed often as archbishops following the main tradition. Corinth's jurisdiction will be limited in part of the Peloponnesos when new metropoleis will be created around 800. Athens in the now separated theme of Hellas, and Patras in the west of the Peloponnesos. It is probably that its metropolitan church was dedicated to the two Saints Theodore (no. DO Seals 2, 25.2). Cf. Laurent, Corpus V/1, 411 ff (cf. Seyrig, nos. 244, 245); Fedalto, 483-85; ODB I, 531-33.