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This antiphonary (a book containing the choral parts of the Holy Office) was transferred to the Biblioteca comunale degli Intronati di Siena in 1811 from its place of origin, the Augustinian monastery of San Salvatore in Lecceto near Siena. By virtue of its specific liturgical function, the antiphonary, designed for the use of the monastic community, contains both the daytime and the nocturnal services. It was illuminated in 1442 as part of an extensive artistic program within the monastery promoted under priors Bartolomeo Tolomei and Girolamo Buonsignori. A bull by ...
Psalter of Frederick II
This remarkable illuminated psalter decorated in the Byzantine style was commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Sicily (1194–1250) for his third wife, Isabella of England (1214–41). Frederick married Isabella in 1235. By design and execution, the manuscript illuminations combine the color palette of Byzantium with the stylistic rendering of the plasticity of the human body common to the Italian school of the period. Probably executed at the scriptorium in Acri, a hill town in Calabria, the manuscript is decorated with a full-page initial letter encompassing ...
A Handbook on Theoretical and Practical Music
This 1825 manuscript, prepared for a print edition, is a handbook on theoretical and practical music, written in Katharevousa, a purist form of Modern Greek developed in the early 19th century and at that time widely used for literary and official purposes. The work is an introduction to the Byzantine notation for the liturgical chant used in the Greek Orthodox Church that most likely was intended for students of Byzantine ecclesiastical music. The text probably was written by a scribe named Basileios Nikolaḯdes Byzantios. On the first page, which is ...
The Apostle Lectionary, written on parchment in the second half of the 13th century, is one of the important linguistic sources delimiting the early (Preslav) from the later (Athonite) redaction of this liturgical book. The lectionary contains the portions of scripture, the lessons, to be read at divine service on particular days of the church calendar. This manuscript is remarkable for the completeness of the readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, and for its detailed menologion, a monthly calendar indicating the feast days of saints that ...
Menaion for June-August with Synaxarion
This parchment manuscript of the Menaion for June–August with synaxarion (a collection of brief biographies of the saints) can be dated to the second half of the 13th century. It is important as the earliest known manuscript to include the service of Saint Ioakim Osogovski (Joachim of Osogovo), hermit and founder of the monastery known as Sarandapor. His memory, celebrated on August 16, was popular in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the Balkans during the Middle Ages and in the period of the Bulgarian National Revival of the 18th and ...
This Flemish Psalter from the library of the Irish College in Paris was made in Bruges (present-day Belgium) around 1500. The manuscript is written in Latin on vellum, and it has a 19th-century binding. Psalters are religious books, especially popular in the Middle Ages, containing the psalms (poems that are sung) from the Bible, often with other devotional texts. Richly decorated, the Psalter includes a fully illuminated page depicting the Tree of Jesse and a miniature of King David, the main author of the psalms. Twelve illuminations, each composed of ...
Manifestations of Goodness
Dalā’il al-Khayrāt (Manifestations of goodness) is a manuscript by Abu Abdullah Muḥammad ibn Sulaymān al-Jazūlī, a Moroccan Sufi and Islamic scholar who died in 1465. The contents of this work are known to Muslims as one of the best compilations of litanies of peace and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad. The book was often given to pilgrims on their voyage to Mecca. The beginning of the manuscript shows the varied names by which Allah is called, and several pages portray the names by which the Prophet Muhammad is ...
The Festive Maronite
This Maronite prayer book was copied in 1888 by the self-styled “wretched, lazy scribe” Yūsuf Dib. The text is partly in Syriac, partly in Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac letters). Instead of rubrication—indicating titles and important words in red ink—purple ink is mostly used for this purpose. The manuscript provides a fine example of a carefully written and well-preserved text. The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See in Rome. Centered in Lebanon, the church takes its name from Saint Marun (died ...
The Four Gospels
This volume contains a lectionary—a collection of biblical texts to be read according to the church calendar—for readings from the Gospels. The language is Arabic, but it is written in West Syriac script (Serto) rather than in Arabic letters, a phenomenon known as Garshuni. The table of readings given at the beginning of the manuscript, however, is in Syriac, not Arabic. Each reading is numbered in the margin, and the proper time in the year for it is indicated in red ink at the head of each reading ...
The Divine Office for Lent
This late 17th century manuscript, copied by a deacon named Jacob, contains the Maronite Divine Office for Lent in Syriac. The numeration, using Syriac letters, is in pages rather than folios. The colophon is in Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac letters). The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See in Rome. Centered in Lebanon, the church takes its name from Saint Maron (died 410), a Syrian monk whose followers built a monastery in his honor that became the nucleus of the Maronite Church.
The Unique Explanation of the Secrets
This manuscript contains a work in Garshuni (Arabic language written in Syriac script) on the sacraments. At the beginning of the manuscript, the work is called The Unique Explanation of the Secrets (i.e., the sacraments), but in the colophon the book is called The Treasure House of the Secrets. The manuscript was copied by Stephen (Isṭifānūs), a monk of the St. Antony Monastery. The colophon mentions the date of completing the manuscript as the 11th day of Tammuz (July), 1740. The work has numerous marginal annotations, also in Garshuni.
Brief Interpretation of the Holy Church, and How Many Holy Vessels and Vestments are Kept There, and of the Everyday Services, of the Divine Liturgy, and of the Holy Church Mysteries
Brief Interpretation of the Holy Church, and How Many Holy Vessels and Vestments Are Kept There, and of the Everyday Services, of the Divine Liturgy, and of the Holy Church Mysteries is a Bulgarian translation of a liturgical work originally written in Greek. Shown here is the second edition. In 1837, when the first edition of this work was published, very few Bulgarian books existed for educational or even religious purposes. The Greek original is by the Hellenistic educator, Demetrios Nikolaos Darvares (1757–1853); the translation is by Raino Popovich ...
The Drogo Sacramentary
The sacramentary was a liturgical book used for prayer during the High Middle Ages, containing the prayers, prefaces, and canons for mass. Drogo (801–55), bishop of Metz, son of Charlemagne, and famous patron of his era, had a gorgeous copy of the sacramentary made in Metz around 845–55. The manuscript, which is on vellum, is the work of several artists employed by the imperial court. It is written in a clear Latin script and includes some of the most beautiful fleurons ever produced in Metz. The illumination is ...
Crozier of Saint Dimitrii Rostovskii the Miracle Worker. Museum Inventory Number 788. In the Rostov Museum. Rostov Velikii
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many different parts of the empire.
Olney Hymns: In Three Books
Olney Hymns was compiled by John Newton, the author of "Amazing Grace" and rector of a parish in Olney, England, and William Cowper, a poet and close friend of Newton. The book contained the first printing of "Amazing Grace," which is numbered "Hymn 41" and begins at the bottom of page 53. The profits from the hymnal went to the benefit of Olney's poor. Olney Hymns later was published in New York in 1790 and in Philadelphia in 1791. In his preface to the book, Newton argued that hymns ...
This late-17th-century volume in Arabic is a Euchologion, the prayer book and book of ritual for the Byzantine Rite. The text includes Arabic and Greek prayers side by side, along with extra notes and instructions in Arabic. Not surprisingly, there are a number of Greek loanwords in the text, for example: qundāq, from the Greek kontakion, referring to the liturgical book itself; aghrubnīya, from the Greek agrupnia, meaning “vigil”; and afšīn, from the Greek euchēn, meaning “prayer.” The Byzantine Rite is the liturgical rite used by the Eastern Orthodox churches ...
This liturgical manuscript is the daily office (Šḥimto) of the Maronites, partly in Syriac, but with some of the prayers in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac letters). Each page has the text blocked off in red ink. At the end of the manuscript, the ink has bled through in several places, and within the text, several folios have missing pieces (for example, folio 144v). The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See in Rome. Centered in Lebanon, the church takes its name from Saint Marun ...
This very clearly written Syriac manuscript is a 16th-century Purāš qeryānē d-ṭeṭrā ewangelyon (Gospel lectionary—a book containing the portions of scripture, the lessons, to be read at divine service on particular days). The pages are divided into two columns with 22 lines of text in each. The ink, black for letters and red for titles and diacritical points, has faded very little, so that the writing is in most cases quite crisp. As is common in carefully written west Syriac manuscripts, the main text is in a ...
This 18th-century manuscript, dated 1733 in the colophon, is called an Al-Sinkisār (Synaxarion), meaning a collection of brief biographies of the saints, mostly used in the Orthodox Church. The account of the life of a saint is read as a lesson when that saint’s day is celebrated in church. Each day of the year is marked in this synaxarion with red ink, and then follows a brief narrative for the particular saint or saints celebrated that day. The text is Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac script). Garshuni Arabic is ...
This 17th-century manuscript is a liturgical book in Arabic. It includes the prayers for vespers and matins, as well as the Eucharistic repetitions written by two early fathers of the Christian church, Saint John Chrysostom (circa 347–407) and Saint Basil the Great (circa 330–379). The manuscript is written in a clear Naskh script with rubrication. While there is some damage from worms, very little of the text is lost. Decorative circular designs adorn the front and back covers. The manuscript is from the library of the Monastery of ...
This late-16th-century manuscript is what is called in Arabic a Qundāq (from the Greek word kontakion), that is, a liturgical book. The text is partly in Arabic, partly in Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic once spoken in many of the lands of the Fertile Crescent. The manuscript is extensively rubricated, but the black ink has bled in many places. Of special interest here is that the Syriac script in this codex is of the variety known as Melkite, which is rather more angular than the more commonly seen Serto script ...