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Manuel I Komnenos and the Stone of Unction

  • Ivan Drpić (a1)


For John Duffy

This article explores the fate of the Stone of Unction — the marble slab upon which, according to tradition, the dead body of Christ had been anointed for burial — in twelfth-century Byzantium. Focusing upon the Stone's association with Manuel I Komnenos, the article examines the imperial handling of this Passion relic in relation to broader trends in the devotional culture of the contemporary Byzantine élite. The special bond between the emperor and the relic, it is argued, should be seen as a manifestation of the pervasive desire, much in evidence during the Komnenian era, to personalise and even privatise the sacred.



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Robert Ousterhout provided insightful comments on an earlier draft of this article, for which I am deeply grateful. Thanks are also due to the anonymous reader for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, as well as to the journal's editor, Ruth Macrides. Unless otherwise indicated, translations from the Greek are mine.



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1 Oikonomake-Papadopoulou, G., Pitarakis, B., and Loverdou-Tsigarida, K., Ἱερά Μεγίστη Μονή Βατοπαιδίου: Ἐγκόλπια (Mount Athos 2000) 166–67 (no. 64). For the date of the enkolpion, see below n. 30.

2 On breccia corallina, also known as marmor sagarium, see Gnoli, R., Marmora romana (Rome 1971) 203–5; Lazzarini, L., ‘The origin and characterization of breccia nuvolata, marmor Sagarium, and marmor Triponticum’, in Herrmann, J. J., Herz, N., and Newman, R. (eds.), ASMOSIA 5: Interdisciplinary Studies on Ancient Stone (London 2002) 5867; Borghini, G. (ed.), Marmi antichi (Rome 2004) 166–7 (no. 22 [A. Sironi]); Attanasio, D., Yavuz, A. B., and Bruno, M., ‘White and colored marbles from Turkey in the ancient Roman world’, in Tuğrul, A. et al. (eds.), V. Global Stone Congress, 22–25 October, 2014, Antalya (Antalya 2016) 6062. I am grateful to Gianni Ponti for his help with identifying the stone.

3 Caillois, R., The Writing of Stones, trans. Bray, B. (Charlottesville 1985) 2.

4 See especially Mango, C., ‘Notes on Byzantine monuments’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 234 (1969–70) 372–5; Ousterhout, R., ‘Architecture, art and Komnenian ideology at the Pantokrator monastery’, in Necipoğlu, N. (ed.), Byzantine Constantinople: Monuments, Topography and Everyday Life (Leiden 2001) 148–50; Lerou, S., ‘L'usage des reliques du Christ par les empereurs aux XIe et XIIe siècles: Le Saint Bois et les Saintes Pierres’, in Durand, J. and Flusin, B. (eds.), Byzance et les reliques du Christ (Paris 2004) 165, 169, 177–82; Ševčenko, N. P., ‘The tomb of Manuel I Komnenos, again’, in Ödekan, A., Akyürek, E., and Necipoğlu, N. (eds.), Change in the Byzantine World in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries: Proceedings of the First International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium, Istanbul 25–28 June 2007 (Istanbul 2010) 609–16; Ševčenko, N. P., ‘The service of the Virgin's Lament revisited’, in Brubaker, L. and Cunningham, M. B. (eds.), The Cult of the Mother of God in Byzantium: Texts and Images (Burlington VT 2011) 256–62; Antonopoulou, T., ‘George Skylitzes’ Office on the Translation of the Holy Stone: a study and critical edition’, in Kotzabassi, S. (ed.), The Pantokrator Monastery in Constantinople (Boston 2013) 109–41. For another Stone of Unction that came to be venerated at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in the later Middle Ages and beyond, see Rachman-Schrire, Y., ‘Christ's Unction and the material realization of a stone in Jerusalem’, in Bartal, R., Bodner, N., and Kühnel, B. (eds.), Natural Materials of the Holy Land and the Visual Translation of Place, 500–1500 (Abingdon 2017) 216–29. Cf. also L'Occaso, S., ‘Mantova, i Gonzaga, le reliquie di Gerusalemme’, Rendiconti dell'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Classe di Scienze morali, storiche e filologiche s. 9, 19 (2008) 695726.

5 Kinnamos, John, Epitome rerum ab Ioanne et Alexio Comnenis gestarum, ed. Meineke, A. (Bonn 1836) 277.7–278.5; Choniates, Niketas, Historia, ed. van Dieten, J.-L. (Berlin 1975) 222.76–86. For the date of the translation, see Antonopoulou, ‘George Skylitzes’ Office on the Translation of the Holy Stone’, 109, n. 3.

6 Choniates, ed. van Dieten, 222.77.

7 Estrada, F. López, Ruy González de Clavijo. Embajada a Tamorlán (Madrid 1999) 138.

8 Kinnamos, ed. Meineke, 277.15–20; trans. Brand, C. M., Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus by John Kinnamos (New York 1976) 207. The same tradition is recorded in an oration on Mary Magdalene attributed to the early Palaiologan scholar and cleric Nikephoros Kallistou Xanthopoulos: J.-P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca 147, col. 569D. Curiously, the late-twelfth-century Ekphrasis of the Holy Places by John Doukas (formerly mistakenly identified as John Phokas) mentions the presence of the stone ‘upon which the Giver of Life was laid, dead and naked’, within the tomb aedicula at the Holy Sepulchre. The author records that this stone was sheathed or somehow embellished (ἐνδεδυμένος) with pure gold by the emperor Manuel I: Migne, Patrologia Graeca 133, col. 944A; A. E. Fadi, Ἰωάννου Φωκᾶ Ἔκφρασις, M.A. thesis (Aristotelian University of Thessalonike 2008) 49. The stone that Doukas saw is probably to be identified with the bed-like altar (lectus) shown to pilgrims within the tomb aedicula as early as the eighth century. See Y. Rachman-Schrire, ‘Christ's Unction’, 219. I am grateful to Yamit Rachman-Schrire for sharing her thoughts on Doukas’ account. For the Ekphrasis of the Holy Places and the identity of its author, see also Messis, Ch., ‘Littérature, voyage et politique au XIIe siècle. L’Ekphrasis des lieux saints de Jean “Phokas”’, Byzantinoslavica 69 (2011) 146–66.

9 Attanasio, Yavuz, and Bruno, ‘White and colored marbles’, 61–62, 65.

10 On the Pharos church and its relics, see Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'Empire byzantin: Le siège de Constantinople et le patriarcat oecuménique, vol. 3, Les églises et les monastères, 2nd edn (Paris 1969) 232–6; P. Magdalino, ‘L’Église du Phare et les reliques de la Passion à Constantinople (VIIe/VIIIe–XIIIe siècles)’, in Durand and Flusin (eds.), Byzance et les reliques du Christ, 15–30; Lidov, A., ‘A Byzantine Jerusalem: the imperial Pharos Chapel as the Holy Sepulchre’, in Hoffmann, A. and Wolf, G. (eds.), Jerusalem as Narrative Space / Erzählraum Jerusalem (Leiden 2012) 63103. See also Bacci, M., ‘Relics of the Pharos Chapel: a view from the Latin West’, in Lidov, A. M. (ed.), Vostochnokhristianskie relikvii (Moscow 2003) 234–46; Klein, H. A., ‘Sacred relics and imperial ceremonies at the Great Palace of Constantinople’, in Bauer, F. A. (ed.), Visualisierungen von Herrschaft: Frühmittelalterliche Residenzen—Gestalt und Zeremoniell (Istanbul 2006) 7999.

11 On this idea, see especially Flusin, B., ‘Construire une Nouvelle Jérusalem: Constantinople et les reliques’, in Amir-Moezzi, M. A. and Scheid, J. (eds.), L'Orient dans l'histoire religieuse de l'Europe: L'invention des origines (Turnhout 2000) 5170; Ousterhout, R., ‘Sacred geographies and holy cities: Constantinople as Jerusalem’, in Lidov, A. M. (ed.), Ierotopiia: Sozdanie sakral'nykh prostranstv v Vizantii i drevneĭ Rusi (Moscow 2006) 98116.

12 Magdalino, ‘L’Église du Phare’, 25.

13 According to Magdalino, ‘L’Église du Phare’, 25, the timing of the translation of the lithos may be significant in this respect, for in 1169, following Manuel's alliance with king Amalric I of Jerusalem, a joint Byzantine-crusader expedition attempted to conquer Egypt.

14 Antonopoulou, ‘George Skylitzes’ Office on the Translation of the Holy Stone’, 118.

15 Magdalino, P., The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 1143–1180 (Cambridge 1993) 178–9; Avramea, A., ‘Επαρχιακά ιερά κειμήλια στην Κωνσταντινούπολη από τον Μανουήλ Κομνηνό’, in Kypraiou, E. (ed.), Ευφρόσυνον: Αφιέρωμα στον Μανόλη Χατζηδάκη (Athens 1991) I, 2933; S. Kotzabassi, ‘Feasts at the monastery of Pantokrator’, in Kotzabassi (ed.), The Pantokrator Monastery, 175–89; Drpić, I., Epigram, Art, and Devotion in Later Byzantium (Cambridge and New York 2016) 347–9.

16 For the second translation of the relic and its display and veneration at the Pantokrator, see below.

17 For the possibility that, following the Ottoman capture of the city, the lithos may have been moved to the Seraglio, see Mango, ‘Notes on Byzantine Monuments’, 374–5.

18 See Nicholas Mesarites’ account of the church in his logos on the failed palace revolt of John Komnenos the Fat in 1201: Heisenberg, A., Nikolaos Mesarites. Die Palastrevolution des Johannes Komnenos (Würzburg 1907) esp. 29–32.

19 Antonopoulou, ‘George Skylitzes’ Office on the Translation of the Holy Stone’, 129.125–6.

20 The literature on the Pantokrator monastery is vast, but see Janin, La géographie ecclésiastique de l'Empire byzantin, III, 175–6, 344, 515–23; Müller-Wiener, W., Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls: Byzantion, Konstantinupolis, Istanbul bis zum Beginn des 17. Jahrhunderts (Tübingen 1977) 209–15; Ousterhout, ‘Architecture, art and Komnenian ideology’; and the studies collected in Kotzabassi (ed.), The Pantokrator Monastery.

21 On Manuel's tomb and its appearance, as briefly described by Choniates, see Mango, C., ‘Three imperial Byzantine sarcophagi discovered in 1750’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 16 (1962) 397–9; Sode, C., ‘Zu dem Grab Kaiser Manuels I. Komnenos’, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 94/1 (2001) 230–1; Ševčenko, ‘The tomb of Manuel I Komnenos, again’.

22 Choniates, 222.76.

23 Megaw, A. H. S., ‘Notes on recent work of the Byzantine Institute in Istanbul’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 17 (1963) 342.

24 Μελετίου Γεωγραφία παλαιὰ καὶ νέα (Venice 1728) 426. For two recent critical editions of the epigram, see I. Vassis, ‘Das Pantokratorkloster von Konstantinopel in der byzantinischen Dichtung’, in Kotzabassi (ed.), The Pantokrator Monastery, 239–42; and Rhoby, A., Byzantinische Epigramme auf Stein. Nebst Addenda zu den Bänden 1 und 2, vol. 3 of Byzantinische Epigramme in inschriftlicher Überlieferung (Vienna 2014) 668–73 (no. TR78), with the argument that the verses may have been composed by George Skylitzes (see also Rhoby, Byzantinische Epigramme auf Stein, 95–6). Meletios almost certainly copied the epigram from a manuscript rather than in situ. He seems to suggest that the poem had been inscribed on the lithos itself, but this is improbable. It is much more likely that the verses graced the krepis mentioned by Choniates.

25 On Maria of Antioch, see Varzos, K., Ἡ γενεαλογία τῶν Κομνηνῶν, 2 vols. (Thessalonike 1984) I, 459–60; Garland, L., Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium, AD 527–1204 (London 1999) 201–09; Hill, B., Imperial Women in Byzantium, 1025–1204: Power, Patronage and Ideology (London 1999) 201–04.

26 The subject has already been addressed by Lerou, ‘L'usage des reliques’, 177–82.

27 On stones and rocks of the Holy Land and their place in pilgrims' experience and Christian piety more broadly, see Bagatti, P. B., ‘Eulogie Palestinesi’, Orientalia Christiana Periodica 15 (1949) passim; Y. Rachman-Schrire, ‘Evagatorium in Terrae Sanctae: Stones telling the story of Jerusalem’, in Hoffmann and Wolf (eds.), Jerusalem as Narrative Space / Erzählraum Jerusalem, 353–66; and the studies collected in Bartal, Bodner, and Kühnel (eds.), Natural Materials of the Holy Land.

28 Lambros, S., ‘Ὁ Μαρκιανὸς κῶδιξ 524’, Νέος Ἑλληνομνήμων 8 (1911) no. 112; F. Spingou, Poetry for the Komnenoi. The Anthologia Marciana: Syllogae B & C, forthcoming, no. B168. My thanks to Foteini Spingou for allowing me to consult her unpublished edition of the anonymous epigrams from the Marcianus.

29 Lambros, ‘Ὁ Μαρκιανὸς κῶδιξ 524’, no. 328; Spingou, Poetry for the Komnenoi, no. C14. On John Komnenos Batatzes, see Varzos, Ἡ γενεαλογία τῶν Κομνηνῶν, II, no. 147.

30 In Oikonomake-Papadopoulou, Pitarakis, and Loverdou-Tsigarida, Ἱερά Μεγίστη Μονή Βατοπαιδίου: Ἐγκόλπια, 166–7 (no. 64), the Vatopedi enkolpion is tentatively assigned a post-1453 date on the assumption that this fragment of mottled reddish marble was chipped from the lithos after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. While the fate of the lithos in the wake of Byzantium's demise is unknown, the disruptions caused by this event, it is implied, may have facilitated the fragmentation of the relic. The enkolpion, in my view, is more likely to be placed in the late Byzantine era, a date that, I should add, would accord with the chronology suggested by the object's serrated mount. See Oikonomake-Papadopoulou et al., Ὶερά Μεγίστη Μονή Βατοπαιδίου, 166.

31 Lambros, ‘Ὁ Μαρκιανὸς κῶδιξ 524’, no. 255; Spingou, Poetry for the Komnenoi, no. B88. On John IX Merkouropoulos, see Spingou, F., ‘John IX Patriarch of Jerusalem in exile: A holy man from Mar Saba to St Diomedes/New Zion’, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 109/1 (2016) 179205, with further bibliography.

32 The phrase probably alludes to the patriarch's ‘exile’, his distance from Jerusalem, and his separation from his spiritual flock.

33 Lambros, ‘Ὁ Μαρκιανὸς κῶδιξ 524’, no. 254; Spingou, Poetry for the Komnenoi, no. B87.

34 Lambros, ‘Ὁ Μαρκιανὸς κῶδιξ 524’, no. 215; Spingou, Poetry for the Komnenoi, no. B52. The title attached to the epigram in the Marcianus begins by identifying the enkolpion’s owner as follows: Εἰς ἐγκόλπιον τοῦ Ἀλουσιάνου Μιχαὴλ τοῦ γραμματικοῦ τοῦ ἐπὶ τοῦ κανικλείου τοῦ Ἁγιοθεοδωρίτου. Depending on how one punctuates this phrase, two readings are possible: ‘On the enkolpion of Michael Alousianos, the grammatikos of the epi tou kanikleiou Hagiotheodorites’ or ‘On the enkolpion of the grammatikos and epi tou kanikleiou Michael Alousianos Hagiotheodorites’. For the question of the owner's identity, see E. Madariaga, Η οικογένεια των Αγιοθεοδωριτών και τα σχετικά με αυτούς κείμενα, Ph.D. thesis (University of Crete 2001) 40–3, 64–5, with references to the relevant bibliography.

35 Lambros, ‘Ὁ Μαρκιανὸς κῶδιξ 524’, no. 217 provides only the incipit. For the full text, see Spingou, Poetry for the Komnenoi, no. B54.

36 Durand, J. and Laffitte, M.-P. (eds.), Le trésor de la Sainte-Chapelle (Paris 2001) 73–7 (no. 20 [J. Durand]) with further bibliography.

37 Karakatsanes, A. A. (ed.), Θησαυροὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Ὄρους (Thessalonike 1997) 339–41 (no. 9.18 [K. Loverdou-Tsigarida]); Pitarakis, B., ‘Byzantine works’, in Papadopoulos, S. and Kapiolidasi-Sotiropoulou, Ch. (eds.), The Treasury of the Protaton (Mount Athos 2001) I, 4855; Triantaphyllides, G. et al. , Ἅγιον Ὄρος: Κειμήλια Πρωτάτου (Thessalonike 2006) 119–20, 125 (no. 67 [B. Pitarakis]); Rhoby, A., Byzantinische Epigramme auf Ikonen und Objekten der Kleinkunst. Nebst Addenda zu Band 1 ‘Byzantinische Epigramme auf Fresken und Mosaiken’, vol. 2 of Byzantinische Epigramme in inschriftlicher Überlieferung (Vienna 2010) 201203 (no. Me34); B. Hostetler, ‘Image, epigram, and nature in Middle Byzantine personal devotion’, in Bartal, Bodner, and Kühnel (eds.), Natural Materials of the Holy Land, 172–79.

38 Durand, J., ‘Le reliquaire byzantin du moine Timothée à l'abbaye du Mont-Saint-Quentin’, in Erlande-Brandenburg, A. and Leniaud, J.-M. (eds.), Études d'histoire de l'art offertes à Jacques Thirion des premiers temps chrétiens au XXe siècle (Paris 2001) 5169; Rhoby, Byzantinische Epigramme auf Ikonen und Objekten der Kleinkunst, 178–80 (nos. Me16–Me17), with further bibliography.

39 Lemerle, P., Dagron, G., and Ćirković, S. (eds.), Actes de Saint-Pantéléèmôn (Paris 1982) 74.16–17.

40 Late Byzantine epigrammatic poetry offers further evidence for enkolpia with stone relics. See two epigrams by Maximos Planoudes in Taxidis, I., Les Épigrammes de Maxime Planude (Berlin 2017) 146–9 (nos. 25–6). A stone from the Holy Sepulchre recorded in a poem by Manuel Philes (Manuelis Philae carmina ex codicibus Escurialensibus, Florentinis, Parisinis et Vaticanis, ed. E. Miller, 2 vols. [Paris 1855–57] II, 202 [no. 188]) may have been kept in an enkolpion. For the presence of stones inside bronze reliquary crosses worn around the neck, see Pitarakis, B., Les croix-reliquaires pectorales byzantines en bronze (Paris 2006) 115–16, 125, 224 (no. 125), 271 (no. 272). Tellingly, Saint Sava of Serbia sent a stone, which he had found while on pilgrimage in the Holy Land, to the abbot Spyridon of Studenica with the instruction to carry it about himself (pri sebe): Daničić, Gj., ‘Poslanica sv. Save arhiepiskopa srpskoga iz Jerusalima u Studenicu igumnu (sic) Spiridonu’, Starine Jugoslavenske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti 4 (1872) 231, with Popović, D., ‘Eulogiae Terrae Sanctae of St Sava of Serbia’, Balcanica 45 (2014) 5569.

41 On enkolpia, see Gerstinger, H., ‘Enkolpion’, in Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, ed. Klauser, T. et al. (Stuttgart 1950– ) V, cols. 322–32; Kartsonis, A., ‘Protection against all evil: function, use and operation of Byzantine historiated phylacteries’, Byzantinische Forschungen 20 (1994) 73102; Oikonomake-Papadopoulou, Pitarakis, and Loverdou-Tsigarida, Ἱερά Μεγίστη Μονή Βατοπαιδίου: Ἐγκόλπια; Pitarakis, Les croix-reliquaires pectorales; Drpić, I., ‘The enkolpion: object, agency, self’, Gesta 57/2 (2018) 197224.

42 On weight as an aesthetic and devotional category, albeit in a different context, see Kim, D. Y. (ed.), Matters of Weight: Force, Gravity, and Aesthetics in the Early Modern Period (Emsdetten 2013).

43 Choniates, 222.80.

44 Antonopoulou, ‘George Skylitzes’ Office on the Translation of the Holy Stone’, 134.247.

45 Psalm 117(118):22; Isaiah 28:16; Daniel 2:34; Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6. See, e.g., Lampe, G. W. H., A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford 1961) s.v. λίθος, Β.2.

46 Antonopoulou, ‘George Skylitzes’ Office on the Translation of the Holy Stone’, 131 (Kontakion 3–4). For the repeated references to Christ's blood in the Akolouthia, see ibid., 115–16.

47 Aristotle, Meteorologica 1.341b, 3.378a, 4.389a; Eichholz, D. E., Theophrastus. De lapidibus (Oxford 1965); Duffy, J. M. and O'Meara, D. J., Michaelis Pselli Philosophica minora, 2 vols. (Leipzig 1989–92) I, 116–19 (no. 34). See, selectively, Barry, F., ‘Walking on water: Cosmic floors in antiquity and the Middle Ages’, The Art Bulletin 89/4 (2007) 627–56; Pietsch-Braounou, E., ‘Manuel Philes und die übernatürliche Macht der Epigrammdichtung’, in Hörandner, W. and Rhoby, A. (eds.), Die kulturhistorische Bedeutung byzantinischer Epigramme (Vienna 2008) 8592; Avgoloupi, E., Simbologia delle gemme imperiali bizantine nella tradizione simbolica mediterranea delle pietre preziose (secoli I–XV d.C.) (Spoleto 2013); Bosselmann-Ruickbie, A., ‘The symbolism of Byzantine gemstones: Written sources, objects and sympathetic magic in Byzantium’, in Hilgner, A., Greiff, S., and Quast, D. (eds.), Gemstones in the First Millennium AD: Mines, Trade, Workshops and Symbolism (Mainz 2017) 293306. Cf. in addition Robertson, K., ‘Exemplary rocks’, in Cohen, J. J. (ed.), Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects (Washington, D. C. 2012) 91121.

48 Kinnamos, 277.12–15; trans. Brand, Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus by John Kinnamos, 207.

49 Majeska, G. P., Russian Travelers to Constantinople in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (Washington, D. C. 1984) 95, 153, 187, 292; I. Taxidis, ‘The Monastery of Pantokrator in the narratives of Western travellers’, in Kotzabassi (ed.), The Pantokrator Monastery, 99, 101–02. This interpretation of the white spots is surely behind the prominence accorded to the theme of the Virgin's tears in Skylitzes’ Akolouthia. See Antonopoulou, ‘George Skylitzes’ Office on the Translation of the Holy Stone’, 116.

50 Loparev, K. M., Kniga Palomnik: Skazanie mest sviatykh vo Tsaregrade Antonia arkhiepiskopa Novgorodskago v 1200 godu = Pravoslavnyĭ palestinskiĭ sbornik 17/3 (1899) 24–5.

51 López Estrada, Ruy González de Clavijo, 139. Clavijo, it should be noted, here speaks of the tears shed by the three Marys and Saint John the Evangelist.

52 Rossabi, M., Voyager from Xanadu: Rabban Sauma and the First Journey from China to the West (Tokyo 1992) 113.

53 Spatharakis, I., ‘The influence of the Lithos in the development of the iconography of the Threnos’, in Mouriki, D., Moss, C. F., and Kiefer, K. (eds.), Byzantine East, Latin West: Art-Historical Studies in Honor of Kurt Weitzmann (Princeton 1995) 435–41.

54 Tsigaridas, E. N., ‘The mosaics and the Byzantine wall-paintings’, in The Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopaidi: Tradition, History, Art, 2 vols. (Mount Athos 1998) I, 259–60, 269–71, figs. 223–4, 233.

55 On the epigram, see above note 24.

56 Trans. Mango, ‘Notes on Byzantine Monuments’, 373 slightly modified.

57 Trans. Mango, ‘Notes on Byzantine Monuments’, 373 slightly modified.

58 Trans. Mango, ‘Notes on Byzantine Monuments’, 373 significantly modified.

59 Ševčenko, ‘The service of the Virgin's Lament revisited’, 259. See also Papalexandrou, A., ‘Echoes of orality in the monumental inscriptions of Byzantium’, in James, L. (ed.), Art and Text in Byzantine Culture (Cambridge 2007) 169.

60 See Magdalino, The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 413–88 passim. See also Kalavrezou, I., ‘Imperial relations with the church in the art of the Komnenians’, in Oikonomides, N. (ed.), Το Βυζάντιο κατά τον 12ο αιώνα: Κανονικό δίκαιο, κράτος και κοινωνία (Athens 1991) 31–2.

61 Regel, W., Fontes rerum byzantinarum: Rhetorum saeculi XII orationes politicae, 2 vols. (St. Petersburg 1892–1917) II, 191–228, at 212–13, cited after Magdalino, The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 487–8.

62 Ousterhout, ‘Architecture, art and Komnenian ideology’, 149–50; Ousterhout, Byzantine funerary architecture of the twelfth century’, in Drevnerusskoe iskusstvo: Rus i strany vizantiĭskogo mira, XII vek (St. Petersburg 2002) 912.

63 Papazoglou, G. K., Τυπικόν Ἰσαακίου Ἀλεξίου Κομνηνοῦ τῆς Μονῆς Θεοτόκου τῆς Κοσμοσωτείρας (1151/52) (Komotene 1994) 119–27, 145 (chaps. 89–90, 109). On the tomb of the sebastokrator Isaac, see also Ševčenko, N. P., ‘The tomb of Isaak Komnenos at Pherrai’, The Greek Orthodox Theological Review 29/2 (1984) 135–9; Ousterhout, ‘Byzantine funerary architecture’, 13–15; Parani, M., ‘On the personal life of objects in medieval Byzantium’, in Cutler, A. and Papaconstantinou, A. (eds.), The Material and the Ideal: Essays in Medieval Art and Archaeology in Honour of Jean-Michel Spieser (Leiden 2007) 170–4.

64 See, selectively, Kalavrezou, I., ‘Helping hands for the empire: Imperial ceremonies and the cult of relics at the Byzantine court’, in Maguire, H. (ed.), Byzantine Court Culture from 829 to 1204 (Washington, D. C. 1997) 5379; James, L., ‘Bearing gifts from the East: Imperial relic hunters abroad’, in Eastmond, A. (ed.), Eastern Approaches to Byzantium (Aldershot 2001) 119–31; Mergiali-Sahas, S., ‘Byzantine emperors and holy relics: Use, and misuse, of sanctity and authority’, Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 51 (2001) 4160; Lerou, ‘L'usage des reliques’; Klein, ‘Sacred relics and imperial ceremonies’; Mergiali-Sahas, S., ‘An ultimate wealth for inauspicious times: Holy relics in rescue of Manuel II Palaeologus’ reign’, Byzantion 76 (2006) 264–75.

65 Cf. Sullivan, D. F., ‘Siege warfare, Nikephoros II Phokas, relics and personal piety’, in Sullivan, D., Fisher, E., and Papaioannou, S. (eds.), Byzantine Religious Culture: Studies in Honor of Alice-Mary Talbot (Leiden 2012) 395409.

66 Aspects of this phenomenon are explored in Drpić, Epigram, Art, and Devotion.

67 P. Magdalino, ‘The foundation of the Pantokrator monastery in its urban setting’, in Kotzabassi (ed.), The Pantokrator Monastery, 38–48.

Robert Ousterhout provided insightful comments on an earlier draft of this article, for which I am deeply grateful. Thanks are also due to the anonymous reader for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, as well as to the journal's editor, Ruth Macrides. Unless otherwise indicated, translations from the Greek are mine.

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