John IX Patriarch of Jerusalem in Exile: A “Holy Man” from Mar Saba to St Diomedes/New Zion

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A series of seven epigrams from the Anthologia Marciana (MS Marc. gr. 524) sheds light on the life of John IX Merkouropoulos, patriarch of Jerusalem in exile (1157-before 1166). The evidence that comes to light reveals traces of a monastic network connecting Jerusalem with Constantinople. According to the epigrams, John became a monk at Mar Saba - something further evinced by the double vita of St John of Damascus and Kosmas of Maiouma that he composed [BHG 395]. After staying at the Koutsovendis monastery, he travelled to Constantinople, where Manuel I appointed him on the patriarchal see and also made him abbot of the monastery of St Diomedes/New Zion in Constantinople. Shortly before or after John’s departure from life, his disciple, the monk Clement, attempted to manifest that his spiritual father was a holy man. Thus, Clement had John’s portrait placed next to that of St James, the brother of God. John’s complex relationship with the Syropalestinian monastic tradition make his life and the survival of his memory an exceprional case study for understanduing the phenomenon of Holy Men in twelfth-century Constantinople.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179–206
Number of pages27
JournalByzantinische Zeitschrift
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


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