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Very Rev. Dr. Joachim Cotsonis, Director of the Archbishop Iakovos Library and Learning Resource Center at HCHC, was invited to spend one month, July 6–August 6, at Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard Center for Byzantine Studies, Washington, DC, as a research consultant in order to contribute to the ongoing work of the Dumbarton Oaks’ online Byzantine lead-seal database.

From left to right: Eric McGeer, Fr. Joachim, John Nesbitt, and Jonathan Shea

Fr. Joachim is focusing on a large number of religious figural iconographic seals for the project. Dumbarton Oaks possesses the largest collection of Byzantine lead seals in the world: 17,000 examples. The seals are the richest body of evidence for the iconography of saintly figures and their cult in Byzantium, and key documents for the study of both Orthodox piety and the political/social use of religious art.

Fr. Joachim is one of two leading scholars in North America specializing in the area of the iconography of Byzantine lead seals. While at Dumbarton Oaks, he had the opportunity to collaborate with Eric McGeer, Consultant for Byzantine Sigillography, Jonathan Shea, Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow in Byzantine History/Sigillography and Numismatics, and John Nesbitt, Emeritus Consultant for Byzantine Sigillography.

For further information concerning the Dumbarton Oaks online seal database, please visit