13.19 Chrysobull issued by Alexios III Comnenos
Dionysiou Monastery, Archives
18th c. copy
Paper, 103.8 x 36 cm
This is a copy of the chrysobull charter founding the Dionysiou Monastery, by which the Emperor of Trebizond gave Dionysios the sum of 100 somia of silver, which is the equivalent of about 1000 gold hyperpyra, in order to build his monastery, and promised him an annual grant of 1000 Comnene aspers (silver coins of Trebizond) for the future. In exchange, Dionysios was to see that the names of the Emperor and his family were remembered in perpetuity in the services in the church and was to accord a special welcome to any from Trebizond who should arrive at the Monastery, either as monks or as ordinary visitors.
The huge original chrysobull (paper, 301 X 40.3 cm.) is decorated with a beautiful and original miniature, retains its gold seal (the two discs, having become detached, are now stitched to the document next to the miniature), and is written in the ornamental hand typical of the twelfth century, which is extremely difficult to decipher; some words have been written in red ink, and some in gold. The miniature represents St John the Baptist (the patron saint of the foundation) blessing the Emperor of Trebizond and his Empress, Theodora.