Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents

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This is an extract from:
Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents:
A Complete Translation of the Surviving Founders’ Typika and Testaments
edited by John Thomas and Angela Constantinides Hero
with the assistance of Giles Constable
Published by
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection
Washington, D.C.
in five volumes as number 35 in the series Dumbarton Oaks Studies
© 2000 Dumbarton Oaks
Trustees for Harvard University
Washington, D.C.
Printed in the United States of America
39. Lips: Typikon of Theodora Palaiologina for
the Convent of Lips in Constantinople
Date: 1294–13011
Translator: Alice-Mary Talbot
Edition employed: H. Delehaye, Deux typica byzantins de l’époque des Paléologues (Brussels,
1921), pp. 106–36.
Manuscript: British Library Additional 22748 (14th c.)2
Other translations: None
Institutional History
A. Prior History of the Foundation
Constantine Lips was the founder of the original monastery on the site of this foundation in the
Lykos valley in west-central Constantinople.3 A frequently unreliable source indicates that a hospital (xenon) was attached.4 The dedication of a church named in honor of the Mother of God in
June 907 was attended by Emperor Leo VI (886–912).5 It is not known whether the foundation
housed male or female religious at this time. The founder was killed fighting the Bulgarians in
917. Nothing more is known of the monastery until its restoration in Palaiologan times.
B. Restoration and Expansion under Theodora Palaiologina
Towards the end of the thirteenth century, Theodora Palaiologina, widow of Emperor Michael
VIII Palaiologos, undertook the restoration of this foundation. She contributed a second church
dedicated to St. John the Forerunner which was joined to the south side of the original church
erected by Constantine Lips and a twelve-bed hospital. The new church, like the middle chapel
dedicated to St. Michael at the Komnenian Pantokrator monastery, was intended to serve as a
mausoleum for the imperial family.
The typikon for the foundation, while professedly composed by the founder herself, was actually drawn up by an anonymous ghostwriter.6 The founder became a nun in her own foundation
with the monastic name of Eugenia.7 She died in 1303, and her passing was noted in a stillunedited funeral oration by Theodore Metochites that refers to the construction of her tomb that is
also mentioned [42] in the typikon.8 After her death, her son the former emperor Andronikos II
(1282–1328), who died in 1332, was buried at the Lips foundation, as was another son, Constantine,
in 1306.9
C. Subsequent History of the Foundation
In 1324, Irene of Brunswick, the wife of the founder’s great grandson Andronikos III (1328–41), was
buried at Lips.10 In the middle of the fourteenth century, a perambulatory exonarthex was built around
[ 1254 ]
39. LIPS
the south and west sides to allow for additional burial sites.11 The last recorded burial at Lips was
of the Russian princess Anna, bride of John VIII Palaiologos, who died of the plague in
Constantinople in 1417. The deacon Zosima, during his visit to Constantinople a few years later,
notes Anna’s burial at Lips (which he calls “Lipesi”) and identifies it as an imperial convent.12
The Russian Anonymous, writing in the second quarter of the fifteenth century, also mentions the
Lips convent, so it is likely that it survived down to the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in
D. The Fenari Isa Camii Mosque
The structure that housed both of the foundation’s churches has survived down to our own times
in modern Istanbul. Circa 1460–80, Alaeddin Ali of the Fenari family converted the south church
of St. John into a mescid, a mosque without a pulpit, under the name Fenari Isa Camii, to which a
minaret was added on the southwest corner.14 The tombs located in the former south church were
cleared of human remains, while those in the nave, narthex, and exonarthex of the former north
church were left undisturbed until they were rediscovered by Theodore Macridy in 1929. A general conflagration that swept through Constantinople in 1633 damaged the building. In 1636, the
Grand Vizier Bayram Pasha restored the mescid as a regular mosque, instituting some important
changes to the exterior architecture and removing the interior decoration. The former north church
was put to use as a tekke for dervishes. There was another fire in the eighteenth century, perhaps in
1782. The damages were not repaired until 1847/48. A final fire damaged the structure in 1917
and left it in ruins. The Turkish Ministry of Mosques began the work of restoring the interior of the
structure in 1960, and the work on the exterior was continued by the American Byzantine Institute
under Arthur Megaw. In recent times the building has been returned to use as a mosque.
A. Sources of the Typikon
Like most Palaiologan documents, this typikon is a work of diverse conceptual and ideological
ancestry. Certain features of traditional (pre-reform) imperial monasteries reassert themselves
here, such as the extraordinary elaboration of privileges conceded [40], [41] to members of the
imperial family and the nobility who might want to join the convent. Naturally, this typikon invites comparison to (27) Kecharitomene, the only previous document in our collection written for
a nunnery. There are similar treatments of many usages and institutions in these two documents.15
Many of these can also be traced back, through (27) Kecharitomene, to (22) Evergetis itself. There
are, however, only a few possibly independent links to (22) Evergetis.16 In addition to their shared
usages and institutions, the close organizational parallelism between the present document and
(27) Kecharitomene makes it highly likely that the author had the typikon of the Komnenian
nunnery, or one derived from it, at hand as this typikon was composed. Indeed, a document of the
next generation, Irene Choumnaina Palaiologina’s (47) Philanthropos, contains an actual quotation that can be traced back to (27) Kecharitomene, suggesting that the latter document was still
circulating in Palaiologan times. The many permutations in the long history of the Evergetian
reform tradition have also had a detectable impact on this document.17 Finally, the present typikon
incorporates some contemporary institutions and approaches to problems.18
[ 1255 ]
B. Composition of the Typikon
Talbot (“Theodora Palaiologina,” p. 299, n. 40) has established that this typikon was actually
written by an anonymous “ghostwriter” rather than by the empress herself, based on verses he
wrote in the margins of a manuscript of Pseudo-Dionysios the Areopagite, Vaticanus graecus
1787, folio 4v. The chapters indicated by Roman numerals in Delehaye’s edition are original to
the document.19 The first six chapters observe the order, with some omissions, of the equivalent
chapters in (27) Kecharitomene.20 Of the twenty-one original chapters in the document, all except
Chapter 20, which regulates the foundation’s hospital, have easily identifiable equivalents in (27)
Kecharitomene.21 It is entirely possible that this typikon’s ghostwriter was utilizing a now lost
intermediary document closely related to (27) Kecharitomene, if not that Komnenian typikon itself. In any event, the ghostwriter appears to have employed his model to determine the structure
of his own typikon, then to have drawn up his own regulations that are textually independent of
(27) Kecharitomene and frequently somewhat different in content as well. The result was a generally well-ordered and edited document which, like (37) Auxentios, can be considered an exemplar
of the neo-Evergetian monasticism that was popular in various Byzantine monasteries of the
Palaiologan era.
C. State of the Manuscript
There are some gaps of varying length in the text of this document as it has come down to us.
There is a gap of uncertain length at the beginning [1] that may have contained important information on the constitutional status of the convent and perhaps also on the unalterability of the cenobitic life.22 There are lacunas of about three lines in [3] and in [5] as well as a brief one at the end
of [4]. The lacuna in [3] may have had some important additional information on the election of
the superior. There is about one folio missing in both [25] and in [27]. The former must have
provided more details on the responsibilities of the steward as well as a discussion of the requirements of the cenobitic lifestyle, while the latter may have once contained an exhortation analogous to (22) Evergetis [33].
In the documentary analysis which follows in sections D–G, it is assumed that the provisions
of the anonymous ghostwriter reflect the wishes of the formal author, the empress Theodora
D. Lives of the Nuns
1. Number of Nuns
There were to be [4] fifty nuns at this foundation, including thirty assigned to the performance of
the canonical hours and twenty for various household duties. In addition to the superior, the officials mentioned in the typikon are the steward [25], [26], the sacristan [23], the ecclesiarchissa and
two assistants [24], the treasurer [22], [24], and the gatekeeper [21].
2. Liturgical Duties
The primary function of the nunnery was [4] the performance of the canonical hours by the nuns
assigned to this task. The hymnody was to follow [30] the prescriptions of the liturgical typikon of
St. Sabas, which this document describes as “both moderate and the royal road” (cf. (57) Bebaia
[ 1256 ]
39. LIPS
Elpis [79]). The liturgy was to be celebrated [30] simultaneously in both of the foundation’s churches
on Sundays, four other times during the week, on feasts of the Lord, and on the feasts of major
saints, just as in (32) Mamas [32], but less frequently than the daily liturgies prescribed in (22)
Evergetis [5]. There are also detailed provisions for celebration of the patronal feasts, the birthday
of the Mother of God [37], and the feast of St. John the Baptist [38] as well as for the illumination
[39] of the churches. On the other hand, the observances [38] for feasts of the Lord and for the
feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God as well as the illumination [39] of the churches during
the liturgical performances were matters left to the discretion of the superior and the leading nuns.
Four priests, two for each church, were salaried [6] for the performance of the liturgies. The
typikon obliges them to summon replacements if they fell sick, an indication of how important the
author thought it to be that the liturgies were performed as prescribed. Ordinarily, the professional
psalm-singers known as kalliphonoi, whose counterparts were also banned in (27) Kecharitomene
[75], were to be excluded [39] from participation in services, except when the emperor was scheduled to attend.
3. Manual Labor
There is no specific regulation of manual labor in the document as it has come down to us, but it
must have been an important part of the lives of the twenty nuns assigned [4] to household duties
(cf. also [17]).
4. Length of the Novitiate
The ordinary term of the novitiate was to be [18] a year, during which time a novice would be
tested [17], as in (37) Auxentios [12], by being rotated through the various duties of the convent. A
mature woman, such as a widow, was allowed to serve an accelerated novitiate of six months.
Girls brought up in the convent as infants or children should be examined [18] in the presence of
all the nuns when they reached the age of sixteen and either tonsured or dismissed at that time.
Young women wishing to join the convent were not to be tonsured [17] before reaching the age of
twenty, prior to which time they should serve a novitiate of three years. Thus the typikon’s provisions on this subject are even more complicated that those laid down in (27) Kecharitomene [30],
probably because the present document envisions internal recruitment as an important source of
supply of nuns for the convent. Nuns of a “seemly and irreproachable life” tonsured in other
convents were welcome [20], but should be read the typikon and give assent to it.
5. Sacramental Life
There is no regulation of the frequency of communion, but the nuns were to have a spiritual father,
to whom they were to make [11] their confessions exclusively, on the analogy of the provisions in
(22) Evergetis [15] and most of the documents in the reform tradition. He was to be a virtuous
monk, either cenobitic or hesychastic, who would visit the convent for three days every month. He
would be boarded in some small rooms in the monastery’s guest house and hear confessions in the
morning in the narthex of each of the churches. Echoing (22) Evergetis [7], the typikon urges [12]
the nuns to make their confessions unreservedly to him. He would also make [11] special visitations to the convent as required.
[ 1257 ]
6. Cenobitic Life
The typikon’s prescriptions for the cenobitic life of the community are lost in the large gaps in the
text of [25] and perhaps also [2]. Elsewhere, the description [29] of refectory procedures, including the common table, a ban on secret eating, and an instruction that the nuns should keep to the
prescribed seating order “so as not to quarrel over places at table,” is close to the regulations found
in (22) Evergetis [9]. Although we cannot be certain about the rest of the typikon’s provisions for
the common life of ordinary nuns, it is clear that the empress wished to exempt her daughters,
granddaughters, other female relatives, and women “of distinguished families” from the obligation to participate, for all these the typikon allows [40], [41] to abstain from communal meals and
be waited on by personal servants, either their own or nuns supplied by the convent.
7. Diet
Generally speaking, the liturgical typikon of St. Sabas was to be [29] authoritative for the regulation of the nuns’ diet: nuns were “to eat what he permits and abstain from what he forbids,” except
for the elderly [34] and the sick [29] who would follow their doctor’s recommendations. This
typikon, like that of the empress’ husband Michael VIII, author of (37) Auxentios [8], asserts [32]
an Aristotelian awareness of the organic needs of human beings, and does in fact provide specific
dietary guidelines: three dishes of fish, cheese, and legumes on non-fast days (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays); for the fast days, legumes, vegetables and seasonal shellfish (on
Mondays) or vegetables and legumes only (on Wednesdays and Fridays). Moreover, unlike (36)
Blemmydes [20], this typikon permits dispensations from the usual diet of the day on feasts of the
Lord and other major feasts.
8. Clothing
Old garments were to be returned [36] to the storeroom and new ones distributed in April and in
October. Some durable garments were to be handed out every other year, while others, along with
shoes, were to be distributed annually (cf. the similar provisions in (37) Auxentios [7], (56) Kellibara
II [8], and (57) Bebaia Elpis [98], [99]).
9. Bathing
Generally, nuns were to bathe [34] only four times a year, “especially if they are young,” immediately before Lent and before the fasts of the Holy Apostles, the Dormition of the Mother of God,
and Christmas. As in diet, elderly nuns were to follow their doctor’s recommendations. There
were to be no restrictions on bathing for the sick.
10. Relations with Family
The typikon advances [15] a strict interpretation of monastic law requiring the nuns to spend their
entire lives within the convent, but as a concession it permits the virtuous to visit their relatives
unaccompanied in times of dire necessity. Others needed to be accompanied by elderly nuns and
return before sunset. Visiting relatives had to be met at the gate house in the company of “respected” nuns, but they could not enter. Entrance to the convent was generally forbidden [16] to
visitors of either sex, except for the emperor and his retinue and the founder’s own relatives, who
were allowed to visit the churches in order to worship or to see the tombs of family members. A
[ 1258 ]
39. LIPS
mother, sister, or other female relative who was “without reproach in her conduct and way of life”
could visit a seriously ill nun, but the visitor could not stay in the convent overnight, even if the
nun’s death was imminent. Overall, the regulation of visitations is considerably stricter than that
found in (27) Kecharitomene [17].
11. Servants Permitted to Privileged Nuns
The empress’ daughters [40] and granddaughters [41] were permitted to bring their personal attendants with them on entrance to the convent. Alternately, the convent would assign nuns for their
service, three for one of the founder’s daughters or two for one of her granddaughters. Other
female relatives of the imperial family and women of the nobility were to be allowed [41] one
attendant or one nun for their service.
12. Care of Sick Nuns
A doctor was to visit [35] the convent once a week, except during Lent when no visitors were
allowed, but even then the doctor could come to treat a medical emergency. Nuns who were ill
would be put [33] on a special diet as prescribed by their doctor and approved by the spiritual
father. The hospital storehouse would supply salves and bandages as needed. Care was to be taken
to assure that nuns were genuinely sick and not just feigning illness (cf. (56) Kellibara II [5]).
E. Constitutional Matters
1. Independent Status of the Convent
The typikon makes [1] the customary proclamation of the convent’s independence even though in
many respects this institution is structured more like a traditional imperial monastery. The inclusion of treasury officials on the short list of potential threats to this independence is instructive.
The typikon likewise warns against either the emperor or patriarch joining it (through henosis) or
subordinating it as a dependency to another convent, both of which were common administrative
practices in this era (cf. (38) Kellibara I [13], [17]).
2. The Protectorate
The typikon justifies [3] the imposition of a protectorate on the convent on the grounds that women
need strong protection “inasmuch as they are accustomed to staying at home and the silence which
is most appropriate to [them].” The empress’ son, the emperor Andronikos II, is nominated for the
office of guardian (prostates) and protector (ephoros), to be followed in turn by his successors in
perpetuity. Her husband Michael VIII, implicitly in (37) Auxentios [3]. [5] and explicitly in (38)
Kellibara I [16], also endorsed the notion of a powerful imperial protectorate, even for male
3. Selection of the Superior
The typikon provides [5] for the internal selection of the superior. She is to be chosen “amicably”
from among the choir sisters (i.e., the thirty nuns devoted to hymnody) during not more than a
week’s deliberations, our first indication in these documents of how long the process of selecting
a superior might take. Accompanied by the oldest priest and twelve of the most worthy nuns, the
superior-elect was to present [7] herself to the emperor who would give her the superior’s staff of
[ 1259 ]
office. On her return to the convent, the priest would conduct a ceremony marking her installation
including entrusting her with the box containing the typikon.
4. Role of the Superior
The superior’s authority was restricted in several ways. She was obliged [21] to consult with the
spiritual father, who was evidently more than a confessor at this institution, in the appointment of
the convent’s most important officials and their discipline, should they require it. She was also to
share most of her discretionary authority with the convent’s “leading nuns” in such matters as
relaxations of diet [32], the illumination of the churches during liturgical services [39], the celebration of feasts [38], and the lending out of documents [23]. She needed only to inform [10]
them of her appointments to the convent’s lesser offices. Moreover, should she behave “in a manner unworthy of the typikon,” these same nuns were to report [10] her to the spiritual father. With
their concurrence, he could remove her from office and designate a successor. As in (22) Evergetis
[14] and its close copiers, the deposed superior was allowed to remain in the convent if she accepted the judgment. The new superior was to treat her with “appropriate kindness and respect.”
This may indicate that the latter was thought to have some sort of abiding property interest in
lifetime maintenance in the convent.
The superior, the spiritual father, and the leading nuns were jointly to select [25] “a man or a
eunuch” as the steward of the convent’s properties. The typikon includes a description of his
duties [25] as well as those of the sacristan [23], the ecclesiarchissa [24] who was subordinate to
her, and the treasurer [24].
5. Style of Rule
The typikon stresses [27] the importance of the superior and the leading nuns reaching a consensus on the governance of the community. While they are obliged to deal considerately with the
other members of the community, the typikon instructs the latter to “be content with your lot and
be obedient.” The efficacy of the community’s prayers for themselves, the founders, and the Christian community at large were thought to be dependent on the existence of harmonious relations
among the convent’s inhabitants. Elsewhere, the typikon [9] orders that nuns may not leave the
convent or receive anything from someone outside, even a remedy for a disease, without the
superior’s permission, thus endorsing the authoritarian approach to leadership also seen in (34)
Machairas and (45) Neophytos, on the grounds that the superior is directly accountable for them
to God on the Day of Judgment.
6. Patronal Privileges
The typikon boldly asserts [11] the empress’ prerogative to order the foundation as she sees fit “for
I am permitted to decree my wishes in my own affairs, especially since I happen to be a despoina
by the mercy of my all-powerful God.” In this spirit she claims [40] preferential admission privileges for her daughters and granddaughters. If one of her daughters chose to join the convent, she
was to receive the provisions of four ordinary nuns, have her personal attendants tonsured along
with her, and have three nuns selected by the superior and the leading nuns assigned to her for her
service. Moreover, it was to be up to the daughter herself to decide whether she would eat at the
common table with the rest of the nuns or observe the other provisions of the typikon. If she chose
to live by herself “on account of ill health” and join the rest of the nuns only for church services,
[ 1260 ]
39. LIPS
her personal attendants or any accompanying relative were still to be supported [41] by the monastery; otherwise a nun was to be assigned to live with her while two others attended to her household affairs. The empress’ granddaughters were entitled [41] to the same privileges, but with only
two of their own attendants or two nuns supplied by the convent.
These provisions far exceed the comparable regulations of the empress’ distant predecessor
in (27) Kecharitomene [4] in their indulgence of an extraordinarily privileged and essentially
separate residence within the convent for her descendants.
The typikon also provides that the empress, her ancestors, her mother, her son the emperor
and his wife, and her other children were to be [30] the beneficiaries of eucharistic offerings made
on their behalf during the liturgies celebrated in the foundation. The empress asks [52] the nuns to
remember her in their common and private prayers. Finally, the foundation is to serve [42] as a
place of burial for herself and her family “for all of whom there are to be annual commemorations.”
7. Reading and Preservation of the Typikon
As usual in independent foundations, the regulatory authority of the typikon is recognized and
perpetuated by providing [8] for its being read aloud at the dinner hour, here three times a year on
the two patronal feasts and at Easter. The sacristan was responsible [23] for the preservation of all
paper documents that were, like the typikon (cf. [7]) kept in sealed boxes.
F. Financial Matters
1. Financial Administration
As in (27) Kecharitomene [14], it was apparently thought impractical for a cloistered nun to serve
as the convent’s steward. There is a provision [25], however, for an installation ceremony in
which the newly chosen steward—a layman of some sort (a eunuch is suggested)—kneels before
an icon of the Mother of God and receives a blessing from the spiritual father and the attendant
priest. He was responsible for the appointment of property administrators for the convent’s estates, the management of its fields and vineyards, the prevention of theft and damage, and for
building maintenance. He was not to be resident at the convent, but to consult [26] instead with
the superior in the presence of the leading nuns in the morning, departing, ordinarily, before the
midday meal.
As in (27) Kecharitomene [19], [24], both the cellarer [24], here assisted by an assistant
ecclesiarchissa, and the sacristan [23] were nuns. Among other responsibilities, the sacristan was
to guard the foundation’s reserve funds, including money donated by the founder, surplus revenues, and any subsequent bequests by benefactors. This typikon fails to endorse Michael VIII’s
command in (37) Auxentios [9] that his monastery should not stockpile surplus money but should
donate it to charitable causes instead. The official with the title of cellarer, on the other hand,
seems to have functioned both as a cellarer and as a provisioner, being primarily concerned with
the supply and preparation of food and wine.
Following practices similar to but less stringent than those established by post-Evergetian
institutions like (27) Kecharitomene [19], [24] and (32) Mamas [9], [10], the typikon provides
[22] that both the sacristan and the cellarer were to receive a written record of the property
[ 1261 ]
entrusted to them and subsequently provide an accounting for it, the cellarer annually, and the
sacristan at the end of her tenure of office.
The empress endowed her foundation with numerous landed properties in [49] and around
[44] Constantinople and near Smyrna [44] in Asia Minor. Her son Andronikos II had given her
many of these properties ([44] through [47]), while others came from her mother [48]. They included villages, arable land, vineyards, olive groves, mills, a fish pond, a pier, and various rental
2. Inalienability of Property
As usual for foundations created after the monastic reform movement of the late eleventh century,
the alienation of landed property was strictly prohibited [43]. Like (27) Kecharitomene [10], however, this document allows the foundation some flexibility with movable property. In the event
that poor harvests or an enemy attack should lead to a decrease in revenues, it permits the foundation to pawn one of the sacred vessels, provided that it is redeemed after a few years or a better one
is bought to replace it.
3. Entrance Gifts Not Mandatory
The typikon orders [14] that postulants are to be given “sufficient necessities” immediately so that
no contribution will be required of them, “not even the usual so-called entrance gift,” i.e, prosenexis.
This suggests that some other foundations expected postulants to live off their own resources,
whether self-administered or turned over to the monastery, from the moment of their arrival. Here,
the empress follows the traditional distinction of (22) Evergetis [37] permitting voluntary offerings, which, however, should not serve as an excuse for boasting or vanity on the part of the donor.
Elsewhere in the typikon there is a record [49] of a small convent of St. George “called Trapeza”
at Skoutari which the nun Tzakalina donated to Lips as her entrance gift. As in the traditional
Evergetian formulation, nuns who have been tonsured could not reclaim [18] any entrance donations they may have made should they decide to leave later, or (here) be dismissed for cause.
4. Other Gifts Welcome
Unlike some earlier documents (e.g., (27) Kecharitomene [8] or (31) Areia [M10], [T6]), this
typikon expresses [19] no reservations about unconditionally accepting gifts of property, money,
sacred vessels, or other furnishings offered “by anyone whosoever with pious intentions.” While
the particular reasons for the more critical policies of her predecessors may no longer have been
relevant by the late thirteenth century, the contemporary document (46) Akropolites [7], [8] illustrates the potential extent to which conditions that benefactors might place on their donations
could still make a serious and quite possibly disruptive impact on the operations of the beneficiary
G. Overall Philosophy
The extent of the founder’s willingness to acquiesce [40], [41] in extraordinary privileges not only
for her daughters and granddaughters but also for other noble ladies who wanted to join the monastery is unprecedented among the documents in our collection written since the monastic reform
movement made the rejection of such privileges one of its most important principles. Most likely
this is a revival, unconscious or otherwise, of an accepted institution of traditional religious foun-
[ 1262 ]
39. LIPS
dations, in this case of the imperial nunnery, in which it was accepted as a matter of course that a
founder-in-residence or her close relatives, would be a special case exempt from the rules applicable to others.
That said, the empress’ typikon still shows the impact of the egalitarian ideology of (22)
Evergetis and of cenobitical monasticism in general. It declares [18] the empress’ willingness to
bring up infants and children offered to the convent regardless of whether they were nobly born or
not, and all would have to wait till they reached age sixteen before being offered tonsure. There is
also the traditional refusal to tolerate [29] quarrels over seating or demands for better food from
noble (but presumably non-imperial) nuns or those who have made large donations to the convent.
The latter, in fact, are told to behave [14] as if they “had made no contribution, respecting equality
of privilege (isotimia—a new technical term) and submitting to this rule [the typikon] and abiding
by the commandment (kanon) which is common for all nuns.” These provisions are not unnoticed,
mechanical survivals from (22) Evergetis, but either original contemporary ideas (as in [14] and
[18]) or (as in [29]) evidence of a creative re-use of Evergetian diction in a new context. Therefore, they need to be interpreted as evidence of the author’s own heartfelt, if hardly consistent,
belief in the value of monastic equality for the assurance of good order in her convent.
H. External Relations
1. Relations with the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy
The patriarch had no role in the installation of the convent’s superior. Perhaps he could be more
readily excluded seeing that the superior, unlike the superior of a male monastery, did not need
ordination in order to hear confessions, a function handled here by the spiritual father. The typikon
limits [1] the patriarch’s privileges to his inclusion in the liturgical commemorations (anaphora),
the customary memorial commemoration (mnemosynon), and the right of spiritual correction “if
any situation should arise that required greater discernment than that possessed by the superior
and the nuns’ spiritual father.” The last concession is significant, particularly in view of its explicit
denial in (38) Kellibara I [15].
2. Institutional Philanthropy
The foundation’s principal philanthropic contribution was its maintenance [50] of a hospital capable of bedding down twelve patients. The hospital was supported by revenues derived [46] from
certain specially earmarked properties that Andronikos II had donated to his mother. These sufficed to pay [51] salaries for three doctors, an assistant, a nurse, a head pharmacist, two apothecaries, six attendants, a bloodletter, three servants, and a cook, as well as to pay a laundress for her
Notes on the Introduction
1. See Talbot, “Theodora Palaiologina,” p. 299.
2. According to Talbot, “Theodora Palaiologina,” p. 301: “a deluxe codex, probably the original version of
the typikon”; see also Delehaye, Deux typica, pp. 14–16, and Nelson and Lowden, “Palaeologina Group,”
pp. 65–67, with plates 9, 11, 13.
3. For Constantine Lips, see Janin, Géographie, vol. 3, p. 307, with references to sources in notes; Mango
[ 1263 ]
and Hawkins, “Additional Notes,” pp. 299–300; and Anthony Cutler and Alexander Kazhdan, “Lips,”
ODB, pp. 1232–33. The sources for the original Lips foundation are especially problematic.
4. Patria Konstantinoupoleos, ed. Th. Preger, Scriptores originum Constantinopolitanarum (Leipzig, 1901;
repr. New York, 1975), p. 289.
5. See Mango and Hawkins, “Additional Notes,” p. 300.
6. Talbot, “Theodora Palaiologina,” p. 299, n. 40, based on a marginal note in Vaticanus graecus 1787, fol.
7. Talbot, “Theodora Palaiologina,” p. 300, based on J. Gouillard, “Le Synodikon de l’Orthodoxie,” T&M 2
(1967), p. 101.
8. Theodore Metochites, Monodia epi te basilidi Theodora te tou basileos metri, in Codex Vindobonensis
philologicus graecus 95, fol. 184v; see H. Hunger, Katalog der griechischen Handschriften der
österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, pt. 1 (Vienna, 1961), p. 203 (giving fols. 179r–189r for the entire
text); cf. Pachymeres, De Andronico Palaeologo, ed. I. Bekker, CSHB, vol. 2 (Bonn, 1835), p. 377.
9. Nikephoros Gregoras, Byzantina historia, ed. L. Schopen and I. Bekker, CSHB, vol. 1 (Bonn, 1829), p.
463; Pachymeres, De Andronico Palaeologo, ed. Bekker, p. 425.
10. John Kantakouzenos, Historiarum libri IV, ed. L. Schopen, CSHB, vol. 1 (Bonn, 1828), p. 193.
11. See Macridy, “Monastery of Lips,” pp. 267–69.
12. Majeska, Russian Travelers, p. 309.
13. Majeska, Russian Travelers, pp. 310–11.
14. For the Fenari Isa Camii, see Macridy, “Monastery of Lips,” pp. 253–54 and Müller-Wiener, Bildlexikon,
p. 127.
15. [14] no mandatory entrance gifts, cf. (27) Kecharitomene [7]; [15] visitation privileges, cf. (27)
Kecharitomene [17]; [16] reception of visitors, cf. (27) Kecharitomene [17], [80]; [18] length of the
novitiate, cf. (27) Kecharitomene [30]; [18] entrance gifts not reclaimable, cf. (27) Kecharitomene [7];
[23] treasury of stored-up money, cf. (27) Kecharitomene [24]; [23], [24] duties of the sacristan and the
treasurer, cf. (27) Kecharitomene [24]; [25] external steward, cf. (27) Kecharitomene [14]; [29] special
diet for the sick, cf. (27) Kecharitomene [44]; [34] frequency of bathing for the sick, cf. (27)
Kecharitomene [58]; [39] psalm-singers, cf. (27) Kecharitomene [75]; [40] special privileges for relatives, cf. (27) Kecharitomene [4].
16. [10] role of the leading nuns in removing the superior, cf. (22) Evergetis [14]; [10] respect for the
deposed superior, cf. (22) Evergetis [14]; and [12] unreserved confession, cf. (22) Evergetis [15].
17. [4] liturgical and servant monks, cf. (29) Kosmosoteira [3]; [8] less frequent reading of the typikon, cf.
(32) Mamas [16]; [30] frequency of the liturgy, cf. (32) Mamas [32].
18. [1] patriarchal privileges, cf. (37) Auxentios [3]; [3] choice of the emperor as protector, cf. (38) Kellibara
I [16]; [33] precaution against feigned illness, cf. (56) Kellibara II [5]; [36] cycle for exchange of
garments, cf. (37) Auxentios [7], (56) Kellibara II [8].
19. Our cross-references, however, utilize exclusively the chapters with Arabic numerals devised by Delehaye
for his edition.
20. (39) Lips I and (27) Kecharitomene [1]; (39) Lips II and (27) Kecharitomene [3]; (39) Lips III and (27)
Kecharitomene [5]; (39) Lips IV and (27) Kecharitomene [11]; (39) Lips V and (27) Kecharitomene
[13]; (39) Lips VI and (27) Kecharitomene [16].
21. For details, see the Document Notes.
22. A conjecture based on the possibility that (27) Kecharitomene [2] as well as [1] and [3] were utilized in
the document’s first two original chapters.
Beck, Hans-Georg, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich, 1959), p. 696.
Cutler, Anthony, and Talbot, Alice-Mary, “Lips Monastery,” ODB, p. 1233.
Delehaye, H., “Le typikon du monastère de Lips à Constantinople,” AB 38 (1920), 388–92.
[ 1264 ]
39. LIPS
Janin, Raymond, La géographie ecclésiastique de l’empire byzantin. vol. 2: Les églises et les monastères
des grands centres byzantins (Paris, 1975); vol. 3: Les églises et les monastères [de Constantinople],
2nd ed. (Paris, 1969), pp. 307–10, 417–18.
Krautheimer, Richard, Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture, 4th ed., rev. Slobodan Çurciç
(Harmondsworth, 1986), pp. 358–61, 423–26.
Macridy, Theodore, “The Monastery of Lips and the Burials of the Palaeologi,” DOP 18 (1964), 253–78.
Majeska, George, Russian Travelers to Constantinople in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (Washington, D.C., 1984), pp. 309–12.
Mango, Cyril, and Hawkins, Ernest J. W., “Additional Notes on the Monastery of Lips,” DOP 18 (1964),
Mathews, Thomas, The Byzantine Churches of Istanbul: A Photographic Survey (University Park, Pa., 1976),
pp. 322–45.
Megaw, Arthur H. S., “The Original Form of the Theotokos Church of Constantine Lips,” DOP 18 (1964),
Miller, Timothy, The Birth of the Hospital in the Byzantine Empire (Baltimore, Md., 1985), pp. 201–4.
Müller-Wiener, Wolfgang, Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls (Tübingen, 1977), pp. 126–31.
Nelson, Robert S., and Lowden, John, “The Palaeologina Group: Additional Manuscripts and New Questions,” DOP 45 (1991), 59–68.
Talbot, Alice-Mary, “Empress Theodora Palaiologina, Wife of Michael VIII,” DOP 46 (1992), 295–303.
Van Millingen, A., Byzantine Churches in Constantinople, Their History and Architecture (London, 1912),
pp. 122–37.
Volk, Robert, Gesundheitswesen und Wohltätigkeit im Spiegel der byzantinischen Klostertypika (Munich,
1983), pp. 244–51.
I. [Concerning the independence of the convent.]1
1. . . . [lacuna] . . . I entrust [the convent to] our common Mother and Protectress and Mistress,
and, as I know clearly from many indications, my own special Protectress and Lady, and I forbid
anyone else to control anything therein. For if these nuns, who have rejected the whole world and
disregard all worldly things, have promised to serve God alone, and “have taken up the cross” and
chosen “to follow him throughout their life,” (cf. Matt. 16:24) and for such a purpose indeed my
[plan] has proceeded, what just cause remains for anyone to assume authority, or who would be so
bold and daring as to appropriate the rightful property of God and oppose him in any way? I
hesitate to say this, but whoever did such a thing would be fighting against God. Therefore let no
one in authority or any treasury official ever have any opportunity to remove any monastic property or transfer anything at all or take it away or give it to another [monastery]; not even the
emperor or the patriarch may subordinate it or add2 it to any convent, as they provide for this or
that convent.
For it is my will and decree that [the convent] remain independent, [p. 107] connected to no
[other monastery] in any way, attached indivisibly only to the hospital which I built nearby, and
making as much provision for all the patients therein as for its own [nuns]; and if our successors in
power exercise good judgment, they will certainly decide that they should respect the wishes of
[ 1265 ]
their predecessors, and confirm their decrees even more strongly, in the knowledge that it is inevitable that someday they, too, will die—for they are human and share in the transitory nature
common to all mankind—and that, if they observe the rules laid down by their predecessors, they
will provide an example for their successors to treat their decrees in the same way.
To the divine and ecumenical patriarch we grant this privilege alone at the convent, the mentioning of his name at the holy services, and the traditional commemoration if he attends, as well
as the [right to] investigate spiritual faults and [impose] an appropriate penance, if any situation
should ever rise (I certainly hope not) that required greater discernment and ability than that possessed by the superior and the nuns’ spiritual father.
2. Concerning all other matters my imperial majesty will ordain and set forth a prescribed form of
appropriate behavior, according to which [the nuns] should conduct themselves and manage all
their own affairs, and make amends for their own benefit and salvation. I have made clear my
wishes for both my contemporaries and my successors. If anyone at all should wish to act contrary
to my regulations, I myself would say nothing against him, carrying out the commandment (cf.
Matt. 7:1–12), and refraining from cursing him, but it is my fervent wish that nothing be changed,
so that no accounting need be given for this person on the Day of Judgment. Whoever it may be,
let him fear lest he make himself subject to a curse thereby and, so to speak, liable to the ultimate
[punishment], or, as they say, lest he encounter horrors worse than the curse . . . [lacuna of at least
one folio] . . . [p. 108]
II. [Concerning the ephoreia and protection of the monastery, and its ephoros.]
3. . . . and disputes to trouble their quiet and tranquil way of life, and especially in the case of
women of a gentle and weak nature, who need strong protection, inasmuch as they are accustomed
to staying at home3 and the silence which is most appropriate for women. Since then there is thus
need for guardianship, we have decided that this holy convent of ours should be subject to a
guardian and ephoros, and the weaker we acknowledge the nuns to be, the stronger guardian will
we choose. What other man on earth could this be than the one who has received authority and
power from God the only Ruler? It is clear to everyone that I mean the emperor, whom God, who
is before all and above all, has placed over all men. Now, through God’s favor to me, it is my son,4
my support and ornament, who previously ruled together with his father, the emperor,5 but now, as
we prayed, has assumed sole power and rules alone over the Roman Empire, ably and more powerfully than I ever thought possible; together with him rules my second ornament and my consolation, his son and the heir to his power and crown;6 and so will the successors to the empire and
inheritance forever [protect the convent]; for we entrust its ephoreia to the emperor in perpetuity.
Wherefore his successors as emperor must take hold of the monastery with both hands, as they
say, and defend it worthily and treat it properly, so that they may persuade the Mistress of all and
Mother of God, and in addition [St. John] the Baptist of the Lord and Forerunner, to guard and
maintain them in this world and preserve them from any grievous occurrence, and in the death
which is to come to present them warmly to God, and entreat him not to deem them unworthy to
enjoy “the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). [p. 109]
[ 1266 ]
39. LIPS
III. Concerning the requisite number of nuns.
4. After this introduction I will now make known my wishes to the women whom this present
document concerns, and who understand all of my purpose herein. It is my wish that the total
number of nuns come to fifty and no more, of whom thirty should concern themselves with the
divine sanctuary, all of them together unceasingly rendering up to God the divine hymns and holy
doxologies prescribed for monastic life, [the services] at midnight, dawn and after sunrise, at the
third, sixth and ninth hour, vespers and compline. The remaining twenty should be assigned to
different household duties. All [of the nuns] should be subservient to the single mind and will of
their spiritual leader, [the superior], who is entrusted at all times with their protection. Her election should proceed as follows . . . [brief lacuna] . . .
IV. Concerning the election and installation of the superior and about the assignment of four
priests to the convent.
5. One of the thirty choir sisters, who is preeminent in wisdom and virtue . . . [lacuna of three
lines] . . . should be chosen and selected in an amicable fashion; an entire week will suffice for her
election. For I do not think [the nuns] will require more time, as they are seeking a protectress for
the benefit of their souls and wish to root out, even before they begin, the scandals which love to
spring up from [long deliberations]. [p. 110]
6. After the election a prayer service should be conducted all night and day for them by the priests—
and I ordain that the convent always have four of them, of whom two should be assigned to the old
church, and the others to the new, and each of them should receive an annual salary of 12 gold
pieces, 50 modioi of grain and 36 measures of wine. All of these then should celebrate the bloodless sacrifice individually and separately in the church of our Lady the Mother of God in honor of
her all-holy name, in the church of my revered [St. John the] Forerunner and Baptist in his name,
in the [chapel] near the old [church] dedicated to St. Irene, whose venerable relics are found in the
convent, and in any one [of these churches]7 in the katechoumenia, in honor of the saint of the day.
Since there are four priests, they should perform the above-mentioned services unceasingly; but if
one of them should be absent because of illness or has some other excuse, another should be
summoned as a replacement.
7. On the next day twelve of the most worthy nuns and the priest who is most distinguished by his
white hair and wisdom should escort the superior-elect to the emperor, so that she may be entrusted with the staff of the superior. After she receives it, they should return immediately to the
convent. After blessing the church, the priest should make the customary prayers on behalf of the
emperors, and should also pray on behalf of the new superior. Then he should take the box containing this typikon, which has been placed before the icon of our Mistress and Protectress, the
Mother of God, and should entrust it to [the superior] after she has knelt three times; and after
making the sign of the venerable cross, he should pray for God’s assistance to protect her. Finally,
after partaking of the consecrated bread from the altar, he should proceed home, and the nuns and
the superior should go to the refectory. I direct that on this day ten gold pieces’ worth of victuals
[ 1267 ]
be purchased, with the addition of legumes, olive oil and other sorts of condiments from the
monastic stores. [p. 111]
8. Then the reading of this testament of mine should be instituted: on the first day it should be read
for the length of the dinner hour, and on subsequent days be read through to the end. It is my wish
and command that the typikon be read aloud at least three times a year, beginning each time on a
feast day;8 first on the feast of the birthday of the venerable [St. John the] Forerunner and Baptist,9
second on the salvific birthday of the eternally Virgin Mother of God,10 and third and last after the
feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the closure of the feast of the enkainia.11 I
ask that all the nuns proclaim “Eternal be the memory of the founders” at the conclusion of each
V. About the necessity of rendering honor to the superior, and how the incompetent superior is to
be relieved of her position.
9. The superior will thus direct you in accordance with God’s will, and care for your souls and
your salvation . . . [lacuna of two lines] . . . For this is her duty, for this she was selected and
proclaimed before God and men, for whom she will have to give reckoning on the Day of Judgment; but all of you, young and middle-aged, elderly and aged, have the obligation to devote
yourselves to her as to a mother, and to rely on her will and judgment. You should do nothing
independently, neither leaving the convent without permission (for let me say this first), nor receiving anything from outside without asking her permission, whether a remedy for disease, or
treatment for the body; nor should you do anything else (to speak once and for all) without the
knowledge of the superior. [p. 112]
10. But if (and I pray this may not happen) she should appear to behave in a manner unworthy of
this typikon of mine, or indeed of the monastic condition, one or two nuns [alone] should not take
the opportunity to rebel against her or cause any sort of scandal for the convent, but if the witnesses are among the preeminent nuns, they should consult with each other, and make known the
charges against her to their spiritual father. If, on the other hand, they are of lesser rank, they
should report the facts to those of higher rank, and together with them they should refer to their
spiritual father their thoughts on this matter. After he examines the charges against her, with the
concurrence of the leading nuns he should remove her from the position of superior, if he deems
this right, and should entrust the position to another in accordance with the aforementioned procedure. He will command the [deposed superior] to accept the decision against her, or threaten her
with terrible punishment and dishonorable expulsion. If she agrees, he will instruct her successor
as superior to render her the appropriate kindness and respect, so that the nuns may thereafter lead
a quiet and truly spiritual life.
VI. Concerning the rule that all the nuns should have one spiritual father, and conditions for his
visits to the convent.
11. This is my wish, and I bid you as a mother, so to speak, or rather I command it as your mistress.
[ 1268 ]
39. LIPS
For I am permitted to decree my wishes in my own affairs, especially since I happen to be a
despoina by the mercy of my all-powerful God. It is my wish that all the nuns be subject to one
spiritual father, so that they may thus appropriately be called “sisters.” He should be a man who is
distinguished and known for his virtue, but it makes no difference whether he is a solitary or lives
in a cenobitic monastery. [p. 113] I order that he come every month for a stay of three days and no
more, and that he should reside in the small rooms assigned for this purpose in the hospital. From
early morning he should sit in the part of the narthex of one of the churches to receive the confessions of each nun. If some necessity befalls a sister so that she requires his visit sooner, then he
should be notified, come [to the convent], and leave as soon as he has made a proper visitation.
Since the [spiritual father] is an eminent man, as we have said, he will not need advice or counsel
from anyone else in order to diagnose and heal in the best way the sufferings of a soul, but the
sisters will perhaps have need of instruction and counsel.
12. O daughters, mothers and sisters—for I will call you each by the name your age assigns you—
or rather sisters in God, the Father and Creator of all—your spiritual father holds forth a model of
Christ the Judge and Lord of us all. Therefore, just as “when we present ourselves before him,
naked and laid bare,”12 our secrets will be revealed, I mean our temptations, struggles, beliefs and
deeds, so you should reveal your deeds and thoughts unreservedly before the one who is chosen
for us as a model of Christ, so that you may be healed of them. As John of the Ladder says, “Faults
which are publicly proclaimed do not get worse,” and again, “A soul which intends to confess is
thereby checked from sin as if by a bridle.”13
13. Therefore you must tell him your words, deeds and plans, everything except for the so-called
“secret thoughts,” which the holy fathers bid us leave unspoken.14 Thus you should receive from
him the cure for your sins, that is penances and forgiveness, as if from Christ himself or one of his
apostles and disciples, in the belief that “whatever he looses [on earth] shall be loosed in heaven,
and whatever he binds [on earth] shall be bound in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). So many times a year
should the spiritual father visit the convent. [p. 114]
VII. That in every case postulants need not offer gifts to enter the convent.
14. In any event I should indicate my wishes about postulants. My imperial majesty decrees that,
in my opinion, the nuns should immediately be given sufficient necessities, so that no contribution, either large or small, need be asked each time of postulants, and not even the usual so-called
“entrance gift.” If anyone wishes to make a contribution of her own accord, the offering will be
accepted, but she should not therefore have any excuse for boasting and vanity, so as to act in an
overweening manner towards the sisters in any way or to be excused from the prescribed way of
life, but she ought to behave as if she had made no contribution, respecting equality of privilege
and submitting to this rule and abiding by the commandment which is common for all nuns.
VIII. That the nuns should not go out, and how their visitors should meet with them, who and
when and where.
[ 1269 ]
15. All the nuns alike should refrain throughout their lives from leaving [the cloister], except in
the case of a nun whose virtue is long proven. In the event of dire necessity, she may go to visit one
of her male or female relatives, and return immediately. But if she has not proven her reliability,
she should be accompanied by elderly nuns and return before sunset. If one of her relatives should
wish to visit her, he should meet with her as she stands in front of the gatehouse in the company of
respected nuns. After she has held sufficient conversation in their presence, she is to bid farewell
[p. 115] and return with them [within the convent]. My imperial majesty enjoins this rule, making
a concession to the weakness of human nature. For I am well aware that monastic law makes
different provisions, separating [nuns] completely from their parents, and enjoining renunciation
even of their children, let alone their siblings or other relatives or friends and acquaintances of
long standing.
16. Thus the gates will be completely shut to those who approach the convent. No one except the
emperor and the respectable and eminent members of the emperor’s retinue are to enter the convent, except in the case of one of my relatives who wishes to see and venerate the holy churches in
a pious manner, or to see the tombs of our dear departed out of love for them. If it should be one of
my daughters or grandchildren or great-grandchildren, or any other kinswoman or noblewoman,
she may enter, but only eunuchs or women of mature years may accompany her. If one of the nuns
should be stricken with a serious illness, then she may be visited by her mother or sister or another
kinswoman who has given evidence that she is without reproach in her conduct and way of life.
After sending to the superior through the gatekeeper a petition to enter, she is to be admitted. After
she gains entrance, she should spend the day with the ailing nun, but depart in the evening. Even
if the nun’s death is imminent, she should come back in the morning and depart in the evening,
providing absolutely no hint of scandal for the convent, until it is clear that the patient will recover
or die.
IX. How long the novice should wait before receiving the tonsure.
17. It is also the will of my imperial majesty that this rule be followed in my convent: if a woman
who enters the convent to receive the tonsure is still young, and has not yet attained her twentieth
year, [p. 116] [she should remain in the convent, wearing the monastic]15 habit for three years,
living in exactly the same way as the nuns, being assigned to various duties, willingly switching
from this duty to that one, and from that one to this, if she is so ordered by the superior. For not
only do I forbid nuns who have not yet taken their final vows to beg off from duties assigned to
them without her approval, but even those of advanced age and monastic career. When the three
years are completed, she should be examined in the presence of all the nuns, and if she accepts the
renunciation of the world with all her heart, she should immediately perform the customary rite,
take off the [novice] rags and gloriously become the bride of Christ. Otherwise, excuse her and
urge her to return home.
18. If she exceeds the above-mentioned age [of 20], but has no experience of life and worldly
affairs, then she should wait a full year. But if she is mature or has experience of misfortune, I
[ 1270 ]
39. LIPS
mean widowhood or the loss of children or some other of the woes of the world, she need spend
only six months [in the convent] before being consecrated in the holy and angelic [monastic]
habit. If a girl is brought to the convent during infancy or as a child (I do not care whether she is of
noble or common birth), on account of some misfortune such as is wont to occur, or on the other
hand because of her love for God, she should wait until her sixteenth year, and then, after being
openly examined and making responses in the presence of all the nuns, she should be consecrated
in the customary manner. Otherwise she should be dismissed to do as she wishes. In the case of
those who do not choose to receive the tonsure, whether they came as minors or adults or were
dedicated from infancy, it is possible for them to recover their property without the revenues, but
not their money. As for those who are tonsured and accept obedience, they should not receive
anything whatsoever if they leave or are dismissed for a fitting cause and justifiable reason. [p.
X. Concerning the acceptance of gifts offered by others with pious intentions.
19. It is my will that gifts offered by anyone whosoever with pious intentions be accepted, property and money, vessels and liturgical cloths, for the adornment of the houses of God, and the
memory of the donors.
XI. About receiving nuns from other convents who give evidence of a seemly and irreproachable
way of life.
20. We give permission that nuns from other convents who give evidence of a seemly and irreproachable way of life should be admitted, after this typikon of mine has been read to them, and
they promise to abide by the rules of conduct laid down therein.
XII. Concerning the procedure for appointment of the officials; and about the duties of the
ecclesiarchissa, the sacristan, and other officials.
21. Perhaps I should speak about those nuns who are appointed to offices. Some are entrusted with
the most important offices: the stewardship, responsibility for the church, the security of the treasures and sacred vessels (and I will add the guarding of the gates. For I think it is important that a
gatekeeper be chosen, since I wish to keep the convent secure). The superior will appoint all these
with the knowledge of the spiritual father, and, [p. 118] if they should deviate from proper conduct, together with him she will punish them, disciplining them in proportion to their offense, with
the approval of the spiritual father and the knowledge of the preeminent nuns. The superior alone
is responsible for the assignment of the other offices, after notifying the leading members of the
22. Each of these officials ought to receive a written record of the kind and amount of goods
entrusted to her, and to note the quantity and quality which she received, so that she can give an
accounting and be found above reproach at the time of reckoning. As for the others, the nuns who
are entrusted with the safeguarding of the [sacred] vessels and the purchase of necessary supplies
[ 1271 ]
(it is customary to call these the sacristan and the cellarer) each of these will have two assistants
under her who will know exactly what has been entrusted to them. It is my wish that both be
openly assigned to their separate positions, and be granted a receipt and give a receipt in return,
which includes the same information about the same matters. But the former [should do this] only
once, when she receives and hands back the [vessels] entrusted to her, the other [should do this] on
a yearly basis, because she receives [the provisions] annually and should dispense them annually.
23. The sacristan will have responsibility for the sacred vessels and liturgical cloths, that in good
weather as many of them as necessary are warmed in the sun and exposed to the air, and that the
paper documents of the convent are securely stored in boxes. With the permission of the superior
and in the presence of the preeminent nuns, she should produce the necessary [document], and
then ask for it back, and, after receiving it in the presence of the same nuns, she should shut it up
in a basket and affix a seal. The same is true for the reserves of coins and vessels, both what is
deposited now by my imperial majesty and whatever further acquisitions are made in the future,
through the good will of God, out of surplus revenues or from the contributions of certain pious
24. Subordinate to her will be the ecclesiarchissa, who receives her appointment from the superior; she is to ask the sacristan, however, for the vessels and for the psalters and lectionaries which
are used daily, [p. 119] and also for the precious vessels and cloths which are used on the great
feast days and especially on those that we order the convent to celebrate, as well as at the commemorations of the founders. She will also be in charge of their safekeeping, and their occasional
issuance and return, and she will be responsible for the illumination of the churches, by both oil
and candle. The sacristan will provide these services with the assistance of her two subordinates;
for I wish her to have two assistants.
The cellarer will provide [the following] services: she will have beneath her an assistant
ecclesiarchissa, who is privy to all her knowledge, and joins her in every action. The cellarer will
be responsible for all the other administration of the interior of the convent: thus she will be
concerned with what the nuns eat every day and what is served for meals, how it is prepared and
portioned out, the quantity and quality of wine that is consumed, instructing the servants in detail
about all of these matters.
XIII. Concerning the steward, and how the convent must be cenobitic, and that the nuns are to
have no personal and private possessions, and that the typikon of St. Sabas should be followed in
the convent.
25. There is to be one steward for all the convent’s property, both near and far away, and he will
appoint other subordinates over the estates in various locations, in accordance with his judgment,
either one for each estate, or one for many. I order that he be paid a salary of 36 gold pieces, 100
annonikoi modioi of wheat and 100 of barley, and 100 measures of wine. It makes no difference
whether he is a eunuch or not, but it is my wish that a man with a respectable way of life and [p.
120] irreproachable behavior be selected by the superior and the leading nuns and their spiritual
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father. I ordain that he be installed in the stewardship in the following manner: he is to enter the
church in the presence of the spiritual father, and, accompanied by one of the priests, he is to kneel
three times in front of the icon of the Mother of God; then, after receiving a blessing from the
spiritual father and the attendant priest, he will henceforth bear the title of steward, and will be
responsible thereafter for the monastic estates, managing fields and vineyards in a proper manner,
sometimes replanting them, and demonstrating worthy consideration for all the property, supervising both the interior and exterior of [the convent] as is fitting, so that there is no damage to the
roof of the church, or the roof of the living quarters, or the wall around the hospital. He is to
restore all the dilapidated buildings of the convent, and not permit the appropriation or theft of
land, or loss or damage of anything else, but should hang on tightly to the monastic property, and
eagerly care for it like a truly “faithful and wise steward” (Luke 12:42) . . . [lacuna of perhaps one
26. [He16 should] make the necessary consultations with the superior in the presence of the leading nuns and on an appointed day, and leave before the midday meal. But if he needs to consult
further, he should eat in one of the rooms of the hospital, and visit her again in the afternoon, and
depart before nightfall, offering no opportunity for base suspicion.
27. Now that I have discussed the election of the superior and the appointment of officials, I wish
to give some advice both to those who are entrusted with offices and those who are not. Those of
you in the former group know that you have the obligation to undertake your responsibilities with
honesty of purpose and earnest consideration; for you should carry out the responsibilities entrusted to you, as if you had received them from Our Lady herself, the Mother of God, through the
intercession of [St. John] the Forerunner and Baptist, and as if you had to render her an accounting
of your stewardship. As for those of you who have been allotted the contemplative life, [you
should] be content with your lot and be obedient, as the divine Paul counsels, exhorting you to
“obey your leaders and submit to them,” and giving the reason, “for they [p. 121] are keeping
watch over you and will give account for your souls” (Heb. 13:17). As another Father said, “If
those who have charge of us will have to give an accounting for us, how should we not obey them
in all affairs?”17 For the preeminent nuns, the superior herself and those who have assumed important offices must agree with one another and be concerned for the community, and all the nuns
together must conduct themselves in a gentle, conciliatory, loving and peaceful manner, and in
every way look to their own salvation and that of the other [nuns]; in this way you will receive a
favorable response to the prayers which you have been appointed to offer up to God on your own
behalf, and on behalf of the Christian community and the founders of this convent of yours, each
nun regarding her own condition and condemning only herself, “considering the specks in your
own eyes like logs, and overlooking the logs in the eyes of others as if they were specks” (cf. Matt.
7:3), and thus avoiding the arrogance of the Pharisees. But if someone should consider someone’s
fault or passion . . . [lacuna of at least one folio] . . .
28. . . . in the words of the disciple who was dear to the heart of Christ, “God is love; and he who
abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (I John 4:16) . . . God and the disciples of
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God have reckoned love of great value. For is it necessary to say that nature created man originally as a social and loving animal? Therefore, my sisters, you must pursue the highest virtue, but
not overlook exalting humility, and cling fast to love with all your soul; and all the nuns in this
sacred precinct should seek after the same piety since they are of the same purpose with regard to
God, and especially the nuns who are involved with the holy sanctuary and the divine hymnody,
inasmuch as they have been assigned to venerate the suprasubstantial and totally impassible God,
and have received a pure angelic model. For the angels above sing in an inspired fashion, while
the human choirs below sing in a more solemn manner, and the former sing without pause, the
latter continuously, [p. 122] the former serenely, the latter purely. But may you all continually
commemorate God, as the divine Basil teaches. For those of you who read or otherwise hear the
phrase, “[it is more important] to mention the name of God than to breathe,”18 should remember
29. It is time then to speak of the nuns’ diet. As the holy Sabas ordains, thus I wish you to chant the
psalms and thus to fast, to eat what he permits and abstain from what he forbids; and all [the nuns]
should assemble at a common table, and not keep or eat anything in their cells, unless one of them
on account of illness, and with the permission of the superior, should take the necessary items
from the storeroom. They should eat as quietly and make as little disturbance as if there were only
one nun or almost no one [present], and they should all listen attentively to the reading, as one of
the nuns reads aloud whatever the ecclesiarchissa selects. No one is to ask anyone for anything.
For how [would it be possible], since it is not permitted for any nun to own [anything] or to
appropriate it for herself? They are to be satisfied with the common stores and the food that is set
before them daily. They are to keep to the [prescribed] seating order, so as not to argue over places
at table, not to ask for different food because of pride in ancestry perhaps or advanced education
or supposed superior virtue, or the privilege of age, or because of a contribution of money of
property, anything else which puffs up people and alienates them from God.
30. It is my wish and command that the life-bringing sacrifice of Christ be celebrated four times a
week, and in both churches at the same time. But if one of the feast days of our Lord or an
anniversary of one of the illustrious saints occurs, the eucharist should also be celebrated on that
day, but there should [always] be regular celebration on these [four] days. For besides the sacrifices which are to be offered every Sunday and those on intervening feast days, I ordain that four
[liturgies] be celebrated every week. As there are four priests, the liturgies will be celebrated
without difficulty. They should consecrate eight loaves of bread each time, one for our Lord,
another19 for our Lady, the eternally Virgin Mother of God, another in the name of the saint of the
day, another [p. 123] on behalf of the departed nuns, another on behalf of my deceased ancestors,
one for my dearly beloved son the emperor and my dearly beloved daughter-in-law, the despoina,
one for all my children, and yet another for myself and my mother. Every Saturday stauria are to
be offered on behalf of my deceased ancestors and children and those who will die in the future. It
is my wish that all the rest of the divine hymnody be performed in accordance with the typikon of
St. Sabas. For my imperial majesty approves of it as suitable for women who choose to live in a
cenobitic manner, since it is both “moderate” and, as it were, the “royal road.”20
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31. But if zeal incites anyone to do even more than this, there is nothing to prevent it; but in the
belief that it is essential for nuns to carry out the instructions of this holy teacher, I ordain that they
should live in accordance with [the typikon]. If the path should seem hard to anyone, let her learn
that this is “the way that leads to life” (Matt. 7:14), this is the path which carries one to eternal
pleasure; for, as we have learned, “the sufferings of this present time” (cf. Rom. 8:18) are nothing
compared with the blessings of the future. If it is necessary to add this, what sufferings could one
endure which would be worthy of the sufferings which our Lord and Creator endured on our
behalf? He shed his blood for us; let us rid ourselves of the weight of our flesh. He endured violent
death; let us not avoid death, but freely choose it. “Suffer and die,” said one of the fathers, “so that
you may gain a better life.” Moreover the instructions of this holy father, which are moderate in
tone, will not, I think, so afflict you as to hasten you to an early death, nor will they permit you to
live at ease, so as to live luxuriously here on earth, but to hear in heaven, “you in your lifetime
received your good things” (Luke 16:25). But I repeat what I have already said, both spiritual and
material affairs must be directed as the great Sabas ordains, and may God assist you therein.
32. Since man is an organic being and is clad in a body which has need of food and requires
covering, and there is a divine law that one should not desire to die [p. 124] nor dissolve the bond
of union prematurely, my majesty has deemed it necessary to discuss the needs of the nuns, I mean
food and clothing and all other garments. Therefore, on so-called free days, Tuesday, Thursday,
Saturday, and Sunday, two or three dishes should be served, at the discretion of the superior and
the leading nuns, one fish, one cheese, and the third legumes. On Mondays, one should serve
boiled legumes and fresh vegetables with olive oil and shellfish, if they are abundant and in season. On Wednesdays and Fridays, one or two dishes should be served, of fresh vegetables and
legumes, unless it is a feast day of our Lord or of one of the great and holy divine apostles or of
celebrated martyrs or famous hierarchs. Then perhaps they might eat fish, or at least add olive oil
to their food. On feast days, the refectory table should offer more delicacies, fish and cheese and
milk, if they are in season. My majesty gives these instructions for no other reason than to acquaint you with the relaxation [of discipline] which I recommend on different days, and only with
regard to the increase in number of dishes. For in other respects, a change in the diet, such as
eating only dry foods, eating only pure foods, eating fish and eggs and cheese, should be in accordance with the rules of the holy teacher, I mean the one from Jerusalem, about whom I have
already spoken.21 Thus I ordain that you should obey and carry out everything according to his
typikon, not only with respect to divine hymnody, but also with regard to food and drink.
33. Since our constitution is organic and our wretched flesh is afflicted by disease, my majesty has
deemed it necessary to express her wishes concerning nuns who fall ill. They are not to be subject
to the rules of the typikon, but are to eat and partake of such drink as is appropriate for their illness,
in accordance with the instructions of the physician and the dispensation of the spiritual father
when he is notified. She is to receive from the store room of the convent what belongs to the
convent, [p. 125] and from the store room of the hospital salves and bandages and whatever she
needs. But it is my wish that such relaxation [of discipline] be granted only in cases of genuine
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illness in order to regain necessary health, and not in the case of feigned illness or for excessive
nourishment22 of the flesh. It is my wish that for no other reason there be the slightest deviation
from this set of rules.
34. Furthermore in the case of nuns who are ill, there is no restriction on bathing, but they should
be permitted by the superior to bathe as often as the doctor recommends, and should have as many
nuns to attend them as the severity of their illness requires. Otherwise it is my wish that nuns
should bathe four times a year, especially if they are young. As for elderly and aged nuns, as well
as those who are ill, my majesty commands that they should follow the recommendations of the
convent’s physician with regard to their diet and regimen. But those who are in good health should
bathe four times a year, on the eve of the Great Lent, on the eve of the fast of the holy and
praiseworthy Apostles, on the eve of the fast of the Dormition of the surpassingly pure Mother of
God, and on the eve of the Christmas fast.
35. A doctor should visit the convent once a week, except during Lent; for at that time the gatekeepers
should securely lock the doors to him (and all other men and women from outside), unless one of
the nuns should fall ill and require frequent visitation. Then he should come every day and visit
his patient daily, and prescribe the food and drink appropriate for her illness, even during Lent.
XIV. Concerning the distribution of garments to the nuns.
36. Garments should be distributed to the nuns and their old ones returned on a regular basis, some
annually, others at two-year intervals. [p. 126] The time for the distribution and return [of garments] is to be April and October; in April they should receive the essentials to clothe and cover
the body, in October sufficient [outer clothing] to withstand the force of winter and protect them
against the cold. The following are to be given out annually: two white tunics made out of remnants and a woolen cloak; three pairs of shoes, one pair looser and high enough to cover the legs23,
two protecting only the feet; every two years, a vest, headcloth and sleeveless woolen cloaks. To
repeat, the former will be distributed annually, the latter after the passage of two years, and the old
and worn-out clothes are to be returned to the store room.
It is not right to neglect the following instruction, since it is very important and must be
carried our precisely, if [you believe] it is really necessary to celebrate festivals piously and to
rejoice in a holy manner.
XV. Concerning the celebration in the convent of the Feast of the Birth of the Virgin, and concerning the Feast of the Birth of [St. John] the Forerunner, and about the candles and oil and other
37. “They must be celebrated in a spiritual manner,” exhorts one of the theologian teachers; and
David, the ancestor of God, says, “I have loved the beauty of thy house and the place of the
tabernacle of thy glory” (Ps. 25 [26]:8–9). Therefore they must be celebrated by you in a pious and
dignified manner; and let me speak first of the feast of the birthday of the Mother of God. The
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39. LIPS
customary glass lamps should be removed, and silver ones should be suspended, some single
lamps in the shape of pots, and others surrounded with many other small lamps, and they should
all be filled with pure oil and lit; there should also be sufficient candles [p. 127] before the icons
above the sanctuary, each weighing six ounces. The candelabra beneath (which some people call
“skewer-lights,” but are usually called “manoualia”) should be set up in front of the aforementioned holy icon of our Lady the Mother of God which is set out for veneration. On them [should
be placed] large candles weighing a litra, and around them smaller candles weighing four ounces.
In all there should be 24 candelabras, of which 20 will be sufficient for the old church, and the
remaining four will be for the new one. On the rest of these candelabra should be placed large
candles weighing six litrai and smaller candles of six ounces. At the tombs, and wherever else
appropriate, should be placed four-ounce [pieces] of aloes wood. At vespers and the nocturnal
vigil and at the holy liturgy, two ounces should be added. The lamps in the sanctuary and in the
apse conches and pterygia and in every part of the church should be hung up and lit after thorough
38. On the birthday of [St. John] the honored Forerunner and Baptist exactly the same amount
should be spent and the same instructions carried out. At that time in front of the gates there
should be a distribution to our Christian brethren of three modioi of bread and six trachea nomismata,
and sufficient gold coins for such provisions as the season requires and the superior and nuns
approve. Let precisely the same preparations be made and the same amount be spent on the feast
day of the divine Forerunner and Baptist.24 At the feast of the Dormition of our Lady the Mother
of God and at the Transfiguration of the Savior25 and his birth in the flesh, and at the splendid
Feast of Lights (Epiphany), and at his Resurrection from the dead, let the ceremonies be performed in accordance with the judgment of the superior and leading nuns. On the anniversaries of
saints, and celebrated holy men, and famous martyrs . . . [lacuna of one line] . . . [p. 128]
XVI. That chanters should not be invited to the convent.
39. It is my command that the chanters who are called kalliphonoi not attend any of the festivals,
but that only the nuns by themselves, together with the priests who are assigned to the convent,
perform the singing of hymns. On the feast of the birthday of my exceedingly pure Lady the
Mother of God, however, when the emperor is scheduled to attend, the kalliphonoi who have been
chosen by lot are to precede him unhindered, and when the emperor departs they are to leave
without any delay whatsoever.
Both these holy churches should be illuminated night and day. On the feast day of the exceedingly pure Mother of God, a lamp should shine continuously in the sanctuary, and outside there
should be a large candle, such as is usually called “perpetual.” On the feast day of [St. John] the
honored Forerunner and Baptist, there should be a lamp in the sanctuary, and in the church five
large candles burning in a similar manner, one before the icon of the Baptist, the others over my
tomb and those of my children, who are buried there. At the time of the daily matins and vespers
services, and during the divine liturgy, there should be as many lamps, and large and small candles,
as the superior and the leading nuns see fit; for a number appropriate to the day should be lit.
[ 1277 ]
XVII. Concerning the procedure to be followed in the convent if one of the daughters or granddaughters or other relatives of the despoina receives the tonsure.
40. Inasmuch as the renunciation of the world and worldly affairs is an attractive prospect for all
the faithful, since it gives assurance [p. 129] of future tranquillity and the resulting spiritual pleasure, all men and women desire to attain it, and hasten to arrive at the harbor of salvation from the
tempest of life. The following procedure should be observed if the daughters and granddaughters
whom I have by the grace of God, who is merciful and absolutely good, should ever enter the
convent. In case one of my daughters (two of them are still alive)26 chooses the monastic life after
reaching old age, or else in agreement with her husband, it is my express command that she be
granted the provisions of four nuns; and if she should require any of the nuns for her service and
wish to live separately, she should be assigned three nuns selected by the superior and the leading
sisters. But if her personal attendants are tonsured with her, the appropriate provisions should be
given to them, too. If, on the other hand, she chooses to abide by the rules of the typikon, and eat
at the common table, thanks be to God. For this is true perfection, this is dear to God, for her to be
totally obedient, and for worldly vanity to be brought back to the truth, and to choose uplifting
humility, continually turning over in her mind the words, “I was brought low, and the Lord delivered me” (Ps. 114 [116]:6).
41. In case she should prefer to live by herself on account of ill health, and join the other nuns only
for church services, if she has her own personal attendants, the same provisions are to be given to
them; otherwise she should live together with one nun of her choice, and, at her request, two
additional nuns may be assigned to attend her and take care of any necessary household affairs. If
one of my granddaughters [should enter the convent] two [attendants] are to be with her, either
both her personal [attendants] or both [nuns] from the convent, or one her own [attendant] and the
other [a nun] from the convent. Whoever is assigned to her, each of them is to receive the appropriate essentials for nuns. If one of my imperial relatives or a woman of distinguished family
enters [the convent], she is to have one attendant, either her own or one of the nuns, and, unless
she chooses to eat in the refectory, she is to receive daily provisions sufficient for two nuns. [p.
XVIII. Concerning the manner and location of the burial of the children or grandchildren of the
42. It is now time to be mindful of death, since there is no one “that lives and never sees death”
(Ps. 88 [89]:48). First I will make clear to my family and descendants my wishes concerning my
own burial. The body of my daughter28 is buried to the right of the entrance to the church of [St.
John] the Forerunner. My tomb and that of my honored mother29 (for I cannot bear to be separated
from her even after my death) should be built after the intervening door. In the future any of my
children or sons-in-law, who request during their lifetime to be laid to rest here, shall be suitably
buried. The same shall apply to my grandsons and granddaughters, daughters-in-law, and the
husbands of granddaughters, for all of whom there are to be annual commemorations. The oppo-
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39. LIPS
site side, on your left as you leave for the old church of the Virgin, will be totally reserved for
whatever purpose desired by my son the emperor.
XIX. Inventory of property.
43. Now I shall discuss the property which has been donated. It is my wish and command that it be
maintained in an inalienable manner, no matter what circumstances may befall the convent. In
case (and I pray this may not happen) the revenues of the convent should be decreased because of
poor harvests or foreign attack, they are not to sell any property, but should pawn one of their
treasures, “making the most of the time” (cf. Eph. 5:16) as they say, with the obligation, after a
period of good years, to redeem the same treasure, or a better one. [p. 131]
44. The estates which my majesty donates are as follows:
Of the estates given me [and confirmed] by chrysobull by my dearly beloved son, the most pious
emperor, the property in the theme of Pergamon called Kastellon,30 worth 350 gold pieces.
From the estates of Achilleion and Barys which my holy mother and I inherited from our
ancestors, a portion worth 300 gold pieces. Included in this amount is the fish pond there.
In addition to these, the mill of Thermene which is from the property of the same ancestral
estates; also the vineyard of Emporianos, which I purchased, and was added to the holdings of my
ancestral property.
In the vicinity of the same estates, a cattle byre called Kythrina together with its holdings, i.e.,
a vineyard of 32 modioi, a garden of 20 modioi, a smaller garden of 10 modioi, arable land of 390
modioi, and a double mill near Anaia that operates all year round, vineyards of 145 modioi, some
acquired by purchase, others through improvements and maintenance, gardens of 150 modioi,
arable land of 350 modioi, and 14 houses for rent, called enoikika in the vernacular.
45. Near Kordoleon in the katepanikion of Smyrna, arable land of 500 modioi purchased from
In the vicinity of Philopation near Constantinople, arable land of 2000 modioi.
In addition, the buildings inside Constantinople which I acquired by purchase, that is, the
houses of Batrachonites and Gabras in the Kynegoi quarter, the workshop near the gate of Kynegoi,
the [house] of Chabaron near Blachernai, the [houses] at Tzochareia [near?] the Imperial Gate
purchased from the Syrian pitchmaker named Mafre, the houses of John Eulogios, which are
behind the Latin church of the exceedingly holy Mary, near them the houses of the magistrate [p.
132] of the stage, and the [houses] of Sampson near these, and apart from and beyond these the
guard house at the Beautiful Gate.
46. [The revenues of] all these are for the convent alone; but the [revenues from the] following are
for the care and treatment of the sick people in the aforementioned hospital. Out of the estates
granted me by chrysobull by my dearly beloved son the emperor, [I set aside] a portion of 600
nomismata, i.e., the village called Nymphai in the vicinity of Constantinople, whose revenues
[ 1279 ]
from dependent peasants and arable land are 260 nomismata, two mills near Aphameia worth 32
nomismata, so that altogether the income from Nymphai and the mills of Aphameia are 292
Another village, Skoteinon, in the region of Macedonia, whose income from dependent peasants is 138 nomismata, plus 70 nomismata from four mills, and 100 nomismata from arable land
of 2,600 modioi, altogether 308 nomismata from Skoteinon.
47. In addition the estates of Lachanas at Lopadion, i.e. a vineyard of 300 modioi, arable land of
860 modioi, a winter mill, a half share in another mill, and his houses. My majesty has endowed
with these estates the aforesaid convent of my exceedingly pure Lady, the Mother of God, and the
attached hospital, and they are to be inalienable and inseparable, as my dearly beloved son, the
most pious emperor, has agreed31 and confirmed by his chrysobull.
48. The property donated by my honorable mother is as follows:
From the village of Hennakosia near Constantinople 95 gold pieces from dependent peasants;
from the village of Plakos 66 nomismata from dependent peasants; 58 nomismata from Kalon
Neron; 18 nomismata from abandoned land of these three villages amounting to 500 modioi; in
the vicinity of the aforementioned village [p. 133] of Hennakosia, below the paved road, another
abandoned property of 1400 modioi worth 42 nomismata; at the same village of Hennakosia a mill
worth 8 nomismata; the pier there worth 10 nomismata; arable land of 700 modioi in the vicinity
of Martinakion worth 28 nomismata, the revenues from the aforesaid three villages together with
the aforementioned land coming altogether to 344 nomismata; in the neighborhood of St. Anne,
arable land of 3000 modioi, near Empyrites at Palatitzia arable land of 200 modioi, two mills at
Kamelogephyron and two other mills in the village of Apodroungarion in the theme of Selymbria.
49. The property owned by the convent inside Constantinople is as follows:
A vineyard of 125 modioi; gardens in different locations of 40 modioi; another garden of 15
modioi at Blanga; another called Dzefre of 40 modioi; at Galata a vineyard of 112 modioi and
garden of 3 modioi; also a vineyard of 237 modioi and gardens of 98 modioi; six mills reconstructed near the venerable monastery of the All-Seeing [Christ],32 and outside at the wall of the
Phanar; houses of Tzochareia which were purchased by the convent from Nikolezos; two other
houses at the Beautiful Gate which also came to the convent by purchase from Chrestine; 10 other
houses in the region of Blachernai, as well as another house with an upper floor in the region of
the Blachernai palace near the houses of Niketiates; half of the field of Diabatenos which has 112
olive trees, as well as one half of the field of Magistros which has 210 olive trees which up to the
present time are owned by the same venerable convent; other olive trees at Nikomedeia conveyed
to the same convent by written testament of Cheilas, the pansebastos judge of the God-guarded
army;33 the small convent of Skoutari [p. 134] of the great martyr St. George,34 which is called
Trapeza, which was donated to the same venerable convent as the entrance gift of the nun Tzakalina.
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39. LIPS
XX. Concerning the hospital, and its priest and other staff.
50. Since I have already said35 that the hospital which is next to the convent and newly built by me
is to be inseparable from the convent, I should make clear once and for all the procedures I wish to
be followed therein. For I have confirmed that the estates are to be held in common by the convent
and the hospital attached to it, since the superior of the convent and the steward of the monastic
property should concern themselves no less for the ailing women in the hospital than for the nuns
who live in the convent. It is my will and command that there should be twelve beds, plus three for
the attendants, and from time to time mattresses and bedcovers for them should be distributed, as
well as two shifts and one cape, and that an equal number of female applicants should be admitted
in turn, to whom the following will be given annually: 30 maritime modioi of wheat and 70 gold
pieces for wine, 60 for food, 18 for wood, 4 for oil, 6 for salt and flax-seed oil, 3 for the purchase
of barley or for barley-water.36
51. There is to be a priest to perform church services and celebrate the last rites or accompany the
funeral procession. He is to be paid 12 gold pieces annually and 24 annonikoi modioi [of wheat?].
Three doctors should care for [the patients]; their pay is to be 48 nomismata, or 16 apiece; an
assistant, who is to receive 12 nomismata; a nurse at 14 nomismata; a head pharmacist at 12
nomismata; six attendants receiving 10 nomismata apiece; 2 chief druggists at 12 nomismata; a
blood-letter at 4 nomismata, 3 servants at 10 nomismata apiece; a cook at the same salary; and 5
nomismata to be paid to the laundress. [p. 135]
XXI. Prayer and additional hortatory advice to the nuns.
52. My sisters in God, this small portion of the wealth I have received from God I have dedicated
to him and to our common Mistress, the Mother of God, in expiation of my sins in this life; and
may these [gifts] be found acceptable by God the Almighty, so that he may have mercy on me at
the Day of Judgment and give me a share of his blessings. May you live in God and walk in the
path of virtue without stumbling, and may you mention me constantly in both your common and
private prayers to God. If, incited by love for you, my imperial majesty should add a few instructions, I will not seem to do anything improper. But let no one ridicule me because I chose the easy
path of exhortation, but avoided the difficult path of action. For as we have heard, blessed is “he
who acts and teaches” (cf. Matt. 5:19), since he appears of the first and greater order. Nor will he
who teaches be cast aside, even if he be the least, especially if his teachings are not for display and
base hypocrisy, but for a divine purpose and creditable motive.
53. Therefore heed me; for I will speak solemn words. You have renounced the world, and life in
the world. “You have taken up the cross” (Luke 9:23) of the Lord, and have chosen to follow him,
so that at the end [of the world] you may appear perfect and inherit his kingdom. Cling fast to your
purpose; for the Lord says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the
kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). You have also heard the fate of the wife of Lot, who was fleeing
from the land of Sodom, and turned to look back (Gen. 19:26). This is a symbol of the women who
return to their previous sinful behavior and wicked way of life. Remember [p. 136] the blessings
[ 1281 ]
prepared in heaven, which “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived” (I Cor.
2:9). Let each nun remain in the rank to which she has been called: the superior should be vigilant
for her own salvation together with that of all the nuns, “ruling with zeal” (Rom. 12:8), in the
words of the holy apostle, while the rest of the nuns should remain “in submissiveness” (I Tim.
2:11), in accordance again with the same apostle, who enjoined us to “obey your leaders and
submit to them” (Heb. 13:17), and all of you should cling fast to one another . . . [lacuna] . . . , each
of you caring for her neighbors no less than for herself.
54. If thus you complete the road of life, if in this way you observe the divine commandments
which have been proclaimed by God Who is free from all deceit, you will obtain the pure blessings and the ineffable . . . [lacuna] . . . , through the intercessions of my [surpassingly pure]
Mistress, the Mother of God, through the supplications of [St. John] the venerable Forerunner and
Baptist. May you journey in this way and be strict guardians of the divine commandments, and
may you receive the blessings which have been prepared for you, through the grace and loving
kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is due all glory, honor and veneration together with his
eternal Father and the all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and forever more. Amen.
Notes on the Translation
Editors’ note: The assistance of our translator, Alice-Mary Talbot [AMT], is gratefully acknowledged for the
notes to this document. She has offered a number of amended readings of the text (ed.) based on an independent examination of the manuscript (MS.).
1. The beginning of the typikon, perhaps one folio, is missing; editor Delehaye has supplied the titles of [1]
and [2]. [AMT]
2. MS. reads synkatalexei, not synkatallaxei (ed.). [AMT]
3. MS. reads oikouriai (a with iota subscript), not oikouria. [AMT]
4. Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282–1328).
5. Co-emperor from 1272 with Michael VIII Palaiologos (1259–82).
6. Michael IX Palaiologos, named co-emperor in 1281, crowned 1294/95, predeceased his father in 1320;
see Alice-Mary Talbot and Anthony Cutler, “Michael IX Palaiologos,” ODB, pp. 1367–68.
7. MS. reads en d’heni tini ton; ed. omits ton. [AMT]
8. MS. reads aph’heortes, not eph’heortes. [AMT]
9. June 24; see also [38] below.
10. September 8; see also [37] below.
11. On the feast of the enkainia (lit. “inauguration”), held on the first Sunday after Easter to celebrate the
beginning of a new life in Christ, see J. Phountoulis, “Enkainion anamnesis,” TEE, vol. 5, col. 324.
12. Antiochos the Monk, Homilia 48, PG 89, col. 1584A; Anastasios the Sinaite, Oratio de sacra synaxi, PG
89, col. 845B; John Damascene, De imaginibus oratio 1.3, PG 94, col. 1233C. [AMT]
13. John Klimakos, Scala Paradisi 4, PG 88, col. 681B. [AMT]
14. John Klimakos, Scala Paradisi 4, PG 88, col. 684D. [AMT]
15. Lacuna in the ms.; these words are a conjecture of ed. Delehaye. [AMT]
16. Presumably, but not certainly, the steward as discussed above in [25].
17. Unidentified quotation.
18. Cf. Gregory Nazianzen, Adv. Eunomianos, PG 36, col. 16.
19. Ms. reads heteron not heteroi. [AMT]
[ 1282 ]
39. LIPS
20. Pseudo-Basil, Constitutiones asceticae 4.2, PG 31, col. 1349B.
21. In [29] above.
22. MS. reads prosthesin, not prothesin. [AMT]
23. anabolas ton podon. [AMT]
24. Feast of the Birth of the Mother of God, September 8; feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist, June 24.
25. Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, August 15; feast of the Transfiguration, August 6.
26. Probably Theodora’s daughters Irene and Eudokia; see Talbot, “Theodora Palaiologina,” p. 299.
27. In this chapter the translator has borrowed some phrases from the translation of Macridy, “Monastery of
Lips,” p. 270. [AMT]
28. Probably Anna, who died sometime before 1301; see Talbot, “Theodora Palaiologina,” p. 299.
29. Eudokia Angelina.
30. MS. reads Kastellon, not Kastellou. [AMT]
31. MS. reads esterxe, not esterixe. [AMT]
32. The monastery of Christos Pantepoptes, for which see Janin, Géographie, vol. 3, pp. 513–15.
33. krites tou phossatou: a military judge. See Alexander Kazhdan, “Krites tou phossatou,” ODB, p. 1159.
34. For this monastery, see Janin, Géographie, vol. 2, p. 26.
35. In [1] above.
36. MS. reads ptisanes chilou (read chylou), not ptises chilou. [AMT]
Document Notes
I. Independence of the convent. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [1].
[1] Inalienability of the convent and its properties; reciprocity appeal to future rulers; patriarchal rights. For
other assertions of institutional independence in thirteenth-century documents, see (34) Machairas
[21], (35) Skoteine [20], (36) Blemmydes [1], (37) Auxentios [2], (38) Kellibara I [15], and (40) Anargyroi
[3]. For the appeal to future rulers, see also (37) Auxentios [15]. For the treatment of the rights of the
ecclesiastical hierarchy, see (34) Machairas [9], [16], [19], [140]; (35) Skoteine [16], [17], [20]; (36)
Blemmydes [1]; (37) Auxentios [2]; (38) Kellibara I [15]; and (45) Neophytos [12], [15].
[2] Curse against transgressors. See the use of similar curses in these thirteenth-century documents: (34)
Machairas [21], [162]; (35) Skoteine [46]; (37) Auxentios [2]; and (45) Neophytos [22].
II. Establishment of the protectorate. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [3]
[3] Perpetual protectorate entrusted to the emperor. For a contemporary imperial guardianship, see (38)
Kellibara I [16]; cf. the patriarchal guardianship in (37) Auxentios [16] and the private protectorate in
(57) Bebaia Elpis [18], [19].
III. Number of nuns. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [5].
[4] Division of the community into choir and household nuns. For this division in thirteenth-century documents, see (35) Skoteine [14], (37) Auxentios [6], (38) Kellibara I [17], (40) Anargyroi [6], and (45)
Neophytos [9].
IV. Election and installation of the superior; appointment of priests. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [11].
[5] Election procedure. See also other thirteenth-century provisions in (34) Machairas [17], (35) Skoteine
[17], (37) Auxentios [3], (38) Kellibara I [18], (40) Anargyroi [5], and (45) Neophytos [14].
[6] Number, salary, and assignments of priests. See also other provisions for convents in (27) Kecharitomene
[15]; (40) Anargyroi [5]; (54) Neilos Damilas [9], [14]; and (57) Bebaia Elpis [79]
[7] Installation ceremony. See analogous provisions in (27) Kecharitomene [11] and (37) Auxentios [3].
[8] Reading of the typikon; commemoration of the founders. For the reading of the typikon in other thirteenth-century documents, see (34) Machairas [167], (37) Auxentios [13], (45) Neophytos [11]. For the
founder’s commemoration, see [30], [52] below and (34) Machairas [31], [44], [150], [154]; (35)
Skoteine [19]; (37) Auxentios [13]; (40) Anargyroi [6]; and (45) Neophytos [12].
[ 1283 ]
V. Necessity of obedience to the superior; removal of an unfit superior. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene
[9] Requirement of obedience to the superior. Cf. similar provisions in (22) Evergetis [22], (32) Mamas
[24], (33) Heliou Bomon [24], (52) Choumnos [B4], (57) Bebaia Elpis [9], and (60) Charsianeites
[10] Procedure for removing an unfit superior. See also (27) Kecharitomene [13] and (34) Machairas [90];
cf. (37) Auxentios [5].
VI. Role of the spiritual father. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [16].
[11] Qualifications and procedures for hearing confessions. See also other provisions for convents in (27)
Kecharitomene [16], (40) Anargyroi [5], (54) Neilos Damilas [9], and (57) Bebaia Elpis [111].
[12] Nuns urged to make unreserved confessions. See also (22) Evergetis [7], (29) Kosmosoteira [17], (30)
Phoberos [14], (34) Machairas [52], and (57) Bebaia Elpis [109].
[13] Exception for “secret thoughts.”
VII. No mandatory entrance gifts. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [7].
[14] Communal supply of necessities; entrance fees not required but voluntary offerings acceptable; donors
to respect equality of privilege. See [18] below for recovery of entrance gifts in certain cases. For the
treatment of these gifts, see (27) Kecharitomene [7]; (34) Machairas [57], [58]; and thirteenth-century
examples in [49] below and in (35) Skoteine [31], [32], [33], [38], [39].
VIII. Nuns not to leave the premises; visitation procedures. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [17].
[15] Emergency visits to see relatives; reception of visitors at the gatehouse. See also other provisions for
convents in (27) Kecharitomene [17], (40) Anargyroi [5], and (57) Bebaia Elpis [72], [76]
[16] No access to the convent; exceptions for the emperor, the founder’s relatives, and female relatives of
sick nuns. See also exceptions permitted in (27) Kecharitomene [80].
IX. Length of the novitiate. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [30].
[17] Duration for novices under 20. (36) Blemmydes [9] likewise has a separate schedule for youths; cf. (54)
Neilos Damilas [5]. For testing by rotation in various manual assignments, see also (37) Auxentios
[18] Duration for novices over 20; recovery of entrance gifts. For the former, cf. the less complex provisions
of (27) Kecharitomene [30]; the latter is an unprecedented provision.
X. Acceptance of pious gifts. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [8].
[19] Gifts of property, money, sacred vessels, and liturgical cloths welcomed. Cf. reservations expressed
and conditions imposed elsewhere in (27) Kecharitomene [8] and (31) Areia [M10], [T6].
XI. Acceptability of nuns from other convents. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [54].
[20] Nuns from other convents welcomed; should be read and assent to the typikon. (45) Neophytos [C17]
and (55) Athanasios I [8] make similar provisions for reading rules to newcomers.
XII. Appointment and duties of officials. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [18], [19], [20], [24].
[21] Designation of authorities responsible for appointments. (27) Kecharitomene [18] and (37) Auxentios
[7] are more traditional in making all appointments the prerogative of the superior; (57) Bebaia Elpis
[73], on the other hand, orders the selection of officials by a general election.
[22] Officials accountable for goods received. See also similar procedures set out in (27) Kecharitomene
[24], (32) Mamas [10], (33) Heliou Bomon [10], and (34) Machairas [100], [101].
[23] Duties of the sacristan. See also provisions in (27) Kecharitomene [19], (32) Mamas [9], (33) Heliou
Bomon [9], and (58) Menoikeion [5].
[24] Duties of the ecclesiarchissa and the treasurer. See also provisions in (27) Kecharitomene [20], [24];
(32) Mamas [8], [10]; (33) Heliou Bomon [8], [10]; (34) Machairas [93], [100]; (37) Auxentios [7];
(38) Kellibara I [17]; (57) Bebaia Elpis [49] ff.; and (58) Menoikeion [4], [6].
[ 1284 ]
39. LIPS
XIII. The steward; dietary and liturgical requirements of the cenobitic life. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene
[12], [14], [25], [40], [41], [42], [49], [56], [57], and [58].
[25] Selection, installation, and duties of the steward. See also other provisions for convents in (27)
Kecharitomene [14], (40) Anargyroi [5], (54) Neilos Damilas [18], and (57) Bebaia Elpis [54], [55].
[26] Procedures for an official’s visit. Cf. provisions for the visit of the spiritual father in [11] above.
[27] Exhortation of officials; admonition to obedience; importance of concord. See also (27) Kecharitomene
[12], [25] and (57) Bebaia Elpis [127].
[28] Importance of humility; angelic model for choir sisters. See also similar discussion in (57) Bebaia Elpis
[47], cf. [127].
[29] Refectory procedures; no eating in cells; maintenance of prescribed seating order. See similar provisions in (27) Kecharitomene [40], [41], [42], [49]; (34) Machairas [62], [63], [64]; (55) Athanasios I
[4]; (56) Kellibara II [4]; (57) Bebaia Elpis [84], [85]; and (58) Menoikeion [8].
[30] Celebration of the liturgy; commemorative eucharistic offerings; endorsement of the liturgical typikon
of St. Sabas. So also (37) Auxentios [8], (56) Kellibara II [1], (57) Bebaia Elpis [78], (58) Menoikeion
[16]; cf. separate provisions in (35) Skoteine [12].
[31] More rigorous observances encouraged; defense of the typikon’s requirements. For the latter, cf. (57)
Bebaia Elpis [79].
[32] Summary of dietary provisions; Sabas typikon to regulate dietary matters also. So also (37) Auxentios
[10], (56) Kellibara II [1], (57) Bebaia Elpis [80], [81]; cf. separate provisions in (35) Skoteine [11] and
(58) Menoikeion [8].
[33] Dispensations for and care of the sick. See similar provisions in (27) Kecharitomene [56], [57]; (34)
Machairas [107]; (37) Auxentios [10]; (56) Kellibara II [5]; and (57) Bebaia Elpis [82], [90], [91].
[34] Regulation of bathing for the healthy and the sick. See also provisions in (27) Kecharitomene [58], (32)
Mamas [28], (33) Heliou Bomon [28], (45) Neophytos [C9], (56) Kellibara II [5], (57) Bebaia Elpis
[90], [101], and (58) Menoikeion [15].
[35] Doctor’s visits. See also other provisions for convents in (27) Kecharitomene [57] and (57) Bebaia
Elpis [90].
XIV. Communal wardrobe. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [52].
[36] Schedule of items to be distributed. See also (56) Kellibara II [7], [8] and (57) Bebaia Elpis [98], [99].
XV. Prescriptions for the celebration of feasts. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [59], [60], [61]. [62], and
[37] Illumination for the patronal feast. See analogous provisions in (27) Kecharitomene [59], (34) Machairas
[27], (37) Auxentios [14], and (57) Bebaia Elpis [112].
[38] Prescriptions for other feasts. See analogous provisions in (27) Kecharitomene [60], [61], [62], [63];
(28) Pantokrator [7]; and (34) Machairas [28].
XVI. Psalm singers banned from the convent. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [66], [67], [68], and [75].
[39] Singers banned except for emperor’s kalliphonoi on the patronal feast; ordinary illumination of the
churches. For the former, see also (27) Kecharitomene [75]. For the latter, see also (27) Kecharitomene
[66], [67], [68]; (28) Pantokrator [6], [29], [34], [53]; and (34) Machairas [26].
XVII. Special privileges for the founder’s relatives. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [4].
[40] Servants, additional provisions, and dispensation from cenobitic requirements for daughters and granddaughters. See also (27) Kecharitomene [4].
[41] Special privileges for sick relatives and noblewomen. See also (29) Kosmosoteira [55] and (57) Bebaia
Elpis [93], [94].
XVIII. Burial provisions for the founder’s relatives. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [76].
[42] Location of the tombs. See (40) Anargyroi [3], and the discussions in Macridy, “Monastery of Lips,”
[ 1285 ]
pp. 269–72, and Mango and Hawkins, “Additional Notes,” pp. 301–3. For tombs and burials elsewhere
in the monastic foundation documents, see (19) Attaleiates [16]; (23) Pakourianos [2], [12]; (27)
Kecharitomene [66], [76]; (28) Pantokrator [8], [29], [31], [32], [34], [44]; (29) Kosmosoteira [89],
[90], [95], [107], [109]; (45) Neophytos [5], [24]; and (57) Bebaia Elpis [142].
XIX. Inventory of landed property. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [9], Appendix A.
[43] Immovable property always inalienable; movable property can be pawned in fiscal emergencies. For
conditional alienability, see also (27) Kecharitomene [9] and (34) Machairas [111], cf. [94].
[44], [45] List of donated properties. See also similar lists in the following contemporary documents: (35)
Skoteine [31] ff., (37) Auxentios [17] (missing), (40) Anargyroi [4], and (57) Bebaia Elpis [121] ff.
[46] Revenues for support of the hospital: estates given the founder by Andronikos II. For the former, see
also (28) Pantokrator [65].
[47] Continuation of [46].
[48] Dedications made by founder’s mother. See also the separate identification of properties donated by
founders’ relatives in (28) Pantokrator [65] and (57) Bebaia Elpis [122].
[49] Donated properties located inside Constantinople.
XX. Regulations for the hospital. No equivalent in (27) Kecharitomene.
[50] Furnishings and provisions. See discussion by Miller, Birth of the Hospital, pp. 200–204 and the provisions for the hospital in (28) Pantokrator [36] ff.
[51] Hospital personnel and their salaries. See the chart of comparative salaries of personnel in this document and in (28) Pantokrator [52] in Miller, Birth of the Hospital, p. 203, Table One.
XXI. Prayer and additional hortatory advice. Equivalent to (27) Kecharitomene [78].
[52] Request for inclusion in common and private prayers. Cf. the appeals in (57) Bebaia Elpis [134], [144].
[53] Exhortation to perseverance. Cf. the language of (22) Evergetis [42] and (27) Kecharitomene [78].
[54] Final blessing. Cf. the concluding benedictions in (22) Evergetis [43], (27) Kecharitomene [78], and
(57) Bebaia Elpis [133].
[ 1286 ]

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