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The bishop of Methone (eleventh/twelfth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.333
Diameter 20 mm
Condition Chipped at top. Oxidated.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 30.3; Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1756 (dated to the end of the tenth century). See also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden I, no. 953. A new specimen of this seal has been discovered at the Corinth excavations: information kindly provided by A. Dunn.


Bust of St. John the Theologian blessing and holding book. Inscription in two columns: |Ι̅|ΟΛ|ΟΓ|Ο: Ὁ ἅγιος ἸωάννηςΘεολόγος. No visible border.


Inscription of five lines preceded by cross. Border of dots.


Θύτην Μεθόνης, ἠγαπημένε, σκέπε


Θύτην Μεθόνης, ἠγαπημένε, σκέπε.

Beloved one, protect the bishop of Methone.


One twelve-syllable verse.

The interpretation of these anonymous seals of bishops has not been elucidated (DO Seals 1, 24.1, 24.2, 36.13, 50.2, 84.1, 87.1). We suppose that they did not necessarily belong to a specific bishop but were used during periods of vacancy of the throne by the administrators of the bishopric, who had to issue documents in the name of the bishop to come. We know that even in normal times. such vacancies could be long, especially since many of these elections and ordinations were in reality conducted away from the see itself, often in Constantinople, in spite of the canonical and synodal prohibitions. Cf. N. Oikonomides, "Un décret synodal inédit du patriarche Jean VIII Xiphilin concernant l'éelection et l'ordination des évȇques," REB 18 (1960) 55-78.