Nipson anomēmata mē monan opsin

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ΝΙΨΟΝ ΑΝΟΜΗΜΑΤΑ ΜΗ ΜΟΝΑΝ ΟΨΙΝ (translation: Wash your sins, not only your face) in the monastery of Panayia Malevi [el].[1]

Nipson anomēmata mē monan opsin (Ancient Greek: Νίψον ἀνομήματα, μὴ μόναν ὄψιν), meaning "Wash the sins, not only the face",[2] or "Wash my transgressions, not only my face",[3] is a Greek palindrome[fn 1] that is said to be first inscribed upon a holy water font outside the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople:[4]


The phrase is attributed to the fourth-century Saint Gregory of Nazianzus.[3]

When the sentence is rendered in capital letters, as would be usual for an inscription (ΝΙΨΟΝΑΝΟΜΗΜΑΤΑΜΗΜΟΝΑΝΟΨΙΝ), all the letters are vertically symmetrical except for the Ν. As a result, if the N is stylized Ͷ in the right half (ΝΙΨΟΝΑΝΟΜΗΜΑΤΑΜΗΜΟͶΑͶΟΨΙͶ). The sentence is not only a palindrome but also a mirror ambigram.


Examples of the inscription
Preveli Monastery, Crete, Greece
Baptismal font, St Martin's Church, Ludgate

The inscription can also be found in the following places:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ The romanization is not a palindrome because the Greek letter ψ (psi) is transcribed by the digraph ps. The modern diacritics, which are not symmetrical, are usually omitted from inscriptions of the sentence.


  1. ^ "Παναγία Μαλεβή: Το Άγιο Όρος της Πελοποννήσου". (in Greek). Archived from the original on 2023-11-15. Retrieved 2023-11-15.
  2. ^ Blake, Barry J. (2010). Secret Language: Codes, Tricks, Spies, Thieves, and Symbols. Oxford: University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-19-957928-0.
  3. ^ a b Preminger, Alex; Brogan, Terry V.F.; Warnke, Frank J. (1993). The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (3rd ed.). Princeton University Press. p. 874. ISBN 0-691-02123-6.
  4. ^ Langford-James, R. A Dictionary of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Ayer. p. 61. ISBN 0-8337-5047-X.
  5. ^ "Wash the sins, not only the face". Flickr. 2012-07-20. Retrieved 2013-10-01.