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Matthew I, Patriarch of Constantinople (1397–1402; 1403–10)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.316
Diameter 40 mm
Field diameter 30 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 127.1; Zacos, Seals 2: 51a; Laurent, Corpus 5.3: no. 1635; Oikonomides, Dated Lead Seals, no. 158. Cf. Galavaris, “Thokos,” no. 70 (p. 181).


The Mother of God, seated on a backless throne, holding Christ on her knees. At left and right, two sets of sigla, M-P-ΘV: Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ, and IC-XC: Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς Χ(ριστό)ς. Border of dots.


Inscription of eight lines. Border of dots.


Ματθαῖος ἐλέῳ Θ(εο)ῦ ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Νέας Ῥώμης καὶ οἰκουμενικὸς π(ατ)ρ(ι)άρχης.


Ματθαῖος ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Νέας Ῥώμης καὶ οἰκουμενικὸς πατριάρχης.

Matthew, by the grace of God, archbishop of Constantinople, the New Rome, and ecumenical patriarch.


Matthew began his ecclesiastical career at age 15, when he entered the Charsianeites Monastery in Constantinople. He received instruction first from the abbot Mark and then his successor, Neilos, who later became patriarch and whom Matthew succeeded as abbot. He held this position throughout his reign as patriarch. He is remembered for writing a typikon of the monastery in which he reasserted the spiritual guidelines established by Mark and Neilos. See Janin, Églises, 501–2; ODB 2:1316; PLP 7, no. 17387; and Monastic Foundation Documents 4:1625.

In the last line on the reverse the alpha and rho are in ligature. Zacos (Seals 2: nos. 51b and c) has published two additional examples of Matthew’s seals: one from his own collection and a specimen from the Hermitage Collection (for this see also Likhachev, Molivdovuly, no. LXIX.11).