Byzantine Seals. Seal (Lead, 32 mm, 28.26 g, 12 h), Loukas (Chrysoberges), Patriarch of Constantinopolis, 1157-1170. MHP-ΘV ('Mother of God') The Virgin Mary seated facing on a backless throne, nimbate and holding Infant Christ before her, placing her right hand on his shoulder and gently touching his feet with her left; Christ is raising his right hand in benediction and holds a scroll in his left hand. Rev. ΛOUKAC/EΛEω ΘV APXI/EΠICKOΠOC KωN/ΠOΛEωC NEAC POMHC KAI OIK૪UMENIKOC /ΠPIARXH[C] ('Loukas, by the mercy of God, archbishop of Constantinopolis the New Rome and ecumenical patriarch') in seven lines; above, cross. Metcalf, Cyprus 481. Seibt & Zarnitz 5.1.3. A very interesting and highly important clerical seal. Minor scrape on the reverse, otherwise, good very fine.
Loukas Chrysoberges was ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinopolis during the reign of Manuel I Komnenos (1143-1180). His tenure lasted from 1157-1170 and involved several doctrinal controversies, the most important of which revolved around the words of Christ in the Gospel of John (14:28), declaring that 'the Father is greater than I'. In the course of this heated dispute, Loukas almost lost his position. The Patriarch also addressed the separation of church and state, ruling against clergy holding wordly positions and dignities, and he concerned himself with the Armenian Apostolic Church, which adhered to monophysite doctrine and was therefore considered to be heretical. The Armenian Church was led by Grigor III Pahlavuni (1113-1166) at the time, who had become Catholicos at the young age of twenty years, but who was under constant pressure by the Seljuks and therefore entered into negotiations with both the Latin and the Orthodox Churches. In the last years of his patriarchate, Loukas combatted the heresies in the western provinces of the empire, particularly the Bogomils and Paulicians.