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The Holy Fathers (tenth/eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4942
Diameter 17 mm
Field diameter 11 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 59.13.


Bust of St. Spyridon blessing and holding a book. On either side the inscription: Ο|ΑΓ|Ι|Ο|,Σ|ΠΥ|ΡΙ|Δ|, : ὁ ἅγιο(ς) Σπυρίδ(ων). Border of dots.


Inscription of four lines. Border of dots.


Εὐλογήα τ(ῶν) ἁγίων πατέρ(ων)


Εὐλογήα τῶν ἁγίων πατέρων.

A blessing from the Holy Fathers.


Although it offers a "blessing," this specimen is a seal (with channel) and not a tessera. In all likelihood, it was attached to something blessed. It is not specified from which institution it came precisely because it was not made in order to name the sender but rather to offer reassurance to the holder.

Laurent (Corpus V/2, no. 1216) has published a tenth-century tessera decorated on the obverse with a bust of St. Spyridon. The reverse carries the inscription Διακονία τῶν Ἁγίων Πατέρων ἐν Βοτρεππίῳ. Since our specimen also shows St. Spyridon, it may be that both were issued by the same charitable institution.

Laurent listed his specimen (IFEB Collection) under "Constantinople" because this was the place where one would expect to find a diakonia, but he admitted that nothing confirmed its assignation to the capital and was perplexed that this placename, Botreppion, is not known from other sources. We have placed our specimen under "Nicaea" for no better reason than the fact that there existed in Nicaea a church dedicated to the memory of the Holy Fathers of the Council of Nicaea (cf. Janin, Grand centres, 119), a council in which St. Spyridon was said to have participated. THe name of the "Holy Fathers" was also used later for the monastery of Medikion, possibly in order to indicate its saintly founders (cf. BZS.1951.31.5.3226).