30 results in English
Art of Ancient Rus’-Ukraine
This book is a short history of the art of Ancient Rus’, the medieval polity centered on Kiev, which flourished from the 9th to the 13th centuries, and which formed the basis for much of later Russian and Ukrainian culture. Topics covered include the influences of the Varangians and of Eastern Orthodoxy, the importance of Christianity, wooden architecture, churches and monasteries in Kiev, art and architecture in the historic city of Chernigov, and the arts of enamel and icon painting. Particular attention is paid to Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev ...
Letters, Essays, and Sermons by Saint Gregory Nazianzus
This 18th-century manuscript is a collection of letters, essays, and sermons by Saint Gregory Nazianzus (died circa 389). The manuscript is thought to be the first Arabic translation from the original Greek and has not yet been edited or published. It is the second volume of a two-volume work. Gregory of Nazianzus, also known as Gregory the Theologian, is recognized as a Father of the Church in both the Eastern and Western traditions. He was born in Cappadocia (eastern Anatolia), where he spent much of his life. He was a ...
Letters, Pedagogical Teachings, and Sayings of Saint Anthony of Egypt
This manuscript opens with the 20 letters “to the sons who follow his [Anthony’s] gentle path…and prayers to keep us from Satan’s example.” The letters are for the most part short, many not exceeding five folios. According to an introductory note, they are addressed to both men and women. The work is in a bold but relaxed hand. Each letter or other significant section is set off in red. There are no contemporary marginal glosses, but comments and corrections (some in English) in pencil were made by ...
Historical Books of the Old Testament
This Biblical manuscript contains portions of the Old Testament historical books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. The volume is incomplete at the beginning and end. The scribe, whose name might have appeared in the missing colophon, is unknown. The copying was done in 1748 (Joshua) and 1749 (Second Kings). There are guide words but no page numbers. Chapters are inconsistently marked. The work is carefully written but appears to have received little use, as indicated by the lack of the fore-edge smudging observed in some other manuscripts in the ...
Gospel of Saint Mark
This manuscript copy of the Gospel of Saint Mark can be dated to the 18th century. The text is copied clearly and enclosed in a double-lined frame in red. The folios are numbered with Coptic numerals. The manuscript has many marginal notes and Old Testament references in Arabic, with Coptic numerals employed for chapter and verse citations. The marginalia may have been added by Wadi’ Muftah, whose name appears on the front endpapers. The text is complete and is in excellent condition. The binding is brown leather over boards with ...
Gospel of Saint Luke
This manuscript of the Gospel of Saint Luke can be dated to the 18th century. The text is written clearly and enclosed in a double-lined frame in red. The folios are numbered with Coptic numerals. The manuscript has many marginal notes and Old Testament references in Arabic, with Coptic numerals employed for chapter and verse citations. The marginalia may have been added by Wadi’ Muftah, whose name appears on the front endpapers. The text is complete and is in excellent condition, although the last page is copied in a different ...
Gospel of Saint John
This Arabic manuscript of the Gospel of Saint John dates from the 18th century. The text is written clearly and enclosed in a double-lined frame in red. The folios are numbered with Coptic numerals. The manuscript has many marginal notes and Old Testament references in Arabic, with Coptic numerals employed for chapter and verse citations. The marginalia may have been added by Wadi’ Muftah, whose name appears on the front endpapers. The text is complete and is in excellent condition, although the last page is copied in a different hand ...
The Sublime Pearl in the Sacrament of the Eucharist
This manuscript volume contains two drafts of a work on the Eucharistic sacrament (Arabic, sirr al-‘Afkharistiya). The sacrament is revered in many Christian churches, including the Coptic Orthodox Church, as the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. It is the central event of every mass in the Orthodox tradition and in many Western denominations. The volume contains two versions of the same essay. Authorship is ascribed to Iryan Moftah (1826–86), even though his name does not appear anywhere in the notebook ...
Reconciling Mercy with Justice
This manuscript is a notebook containing the draft of a sermon or essay by Coptic thinker and teacher Iryan Moftah (1826–86) on the theme of the reconciliation of justice with mercy. The author’s notes are in a careful Ruqah script on unlined commercial notebook paper with holes punched for insertion into a binder. The main text is heavily annotated with Biblical citations and textual emendations in the margins. Some pages are missing, as are the last pages of the volume. The author is not named in the text ...
Litanies of the Virgin Mary
This Arabic manuscript contains two works pertaining to the Virgin Mary, who is recognized as the mother of Jesus Christ in both Christian and Muslim scriptures. The first manuscript is a personal prayer to the Virgin, to be recited daily for spiritual benefit. It includes a review of Mary’s place in the life of Jesus as recounted in the New Testament, beginning with the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement of the birth of Jesus and ending with Mary’s presence at the crucifixion. The second manuscript is a litany, or ...
Calculating Coptic Orthdox Easter
This manuscript deals with the calculation of Easter Sunday according to the Coptic calendar. Fixing this date each year governs much of the liturgical and devotional life of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Coptic calendar begins in 284 AD, which is called Anno Martyrum (AM), or Year of the Martyrs. The first folio contains a table of the four seasons with their corresponding Coptic months and zodiacal signs. The following pages, some of which are torn or badly stained, provide instructions for calculating the movement of the moon and reconciling ...
Towards Salvation through Fervent Prayer
This manuscript of devotions attributed to Butrus al-Sadamanti appears to have been copied in the 19th century by an anonymous scribe. The manuscript includes a 40-page introduction to the devotions. The title is not found in the work itself, but is noted on the inside front cover. The binding is small and tight and the text block is generally sound except for the last pages, which are missing. Little is known of the life of the presumed author, named in the incipit as anba (bishop) and qiddis (saint) Butrus al-Sadamanti ...
"Imperial" Menologion
This manuscript, created in the Byzantine Empire in the second quarter of the 11th century, contains the biographies of saints whom the church commemorates in the month of January. It was originally part of a set containing volumes for each month of the year. A companion volume, with texts for March, now survives in Moscow (State Historical Museum, MS gr. 183). Each chapter in both manuscripts opens with a miniature depicting the death of a respective saint, or less often, another significant event from his or her life. Each text ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Fathers of the Solovetsky Monastery and Their Sufferings
This manuscript was made around 1800 by an often-persecuted group of Russian Christians, the Old Believers. Because books were frequently confiscated from this group and its members were denied the use of printing presses, they continued to write important books such as this one by hand. This text chronicles and illustrates the story of a group of monks at the Solovetsky Monastery who opposed the controversial reforms introduced by Nikon (Patriarch of Moscow, 1652−58) and who endured a siege of eight years (1668−76) before they were finally betrayed ...
Contributed by Walters Art Museum
Monastery, Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior (1558-1566), Northwest View with Gallery (1602), and Church of St. Nicholas (1832-1834) Solovetskii Island, Russia
This photograph of the central ensemble of the Transfiguration-Solovetskii Monastery was taken in 1998 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Located on Large Solovetskii Island, part of an archipelago in the White Sea, the monastery was founded as early as 1429 by the monk Savvatii. Following his death in 1435, the enterprise was revived by the monk Zosima in 1436. After decades of tenuous existence, the remote monastery greatly expanded in the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
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 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.
Sepulchre of the Venerable Kirill. Kirillo-Belozerskii Monastery, Kirillov, Russian Empire
A major component of the Volga-Baltic Waterway (formerly called the Mariinsk Canal System), linking Saint Petersburg with the Volga River basin, is the Sheksna River, which drains the southeastern part of White Lake (Beloe ozero). One of the most important settlements near the Sheksna is Kirillov, founded in 1397 by the monk Kirill (Cyril) as part of his Dormition Monastery, subsequently named the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery. Seen in this 1909 photograph is the sepulcher containing the relics of Saint Kirill in the Church of Saint Kirill, reconstructed in 1792–94. The ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Syr Darya Oblast. Orthodox Churches. One in Khodzhend.
This photograph of a Russian Orthodox church in the ancient city of Khodzhent (Khujand, in Tajik) comes from Turkestan Album, one of the richest sources of visual information on the cultural monuments of Central Asia as they appeared in the 19th century. This multi-volume edition was produced in 1871-72 under the patronage of Konstantin P. von Kaufman, a Russian army general and the empire's first governor-general of Turkestan. Kaufman held that position from 1867 to 1886, during which time he played a major role in establishing Russia's dominant ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Chambers of Bishop Joseph Zolotoy (1764-69), East Facade, Vologda, Russia
This photograph of the chambers of Bishop Joseph Zolotoy in Vologda was taken in 1995 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Before the founding of St. Petersburg in 1703, Russia depended on a northern route through the White Sea for trade with western Europe. One of the main centers on this route was Vologda, whose importance is reflected in architectural monuments such as this distinctive structure. Located in Archbishop's Court adjacent ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Euchologion
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 ...
Daily Office
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 ...
Sermons
This manuscript, dated 1871, contains a selection of 87 homilies of John Chrysostom (circa 347–407), a church father and archbishop of Constantinople. Chrysostom originally wrote in Greek, but he was commonly read in Arabic translations, especially by Coptic and Melkite readers. This particular collection of 87 sermons remains extant in several manuscripts. This copy, however, lacks sermon 15, although the copyist indicates its subject: the casting out of Satan from the man dwelling among the tombs (see Mark 5:1-20). The Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches honor John Chrysostom ...
Collection of Canons
This Armenian manuscript is a collection of canons (regulations or dogma as laid down by a church council). It is dated 1710 and exhibits the script known as nōtrgir (late minuscule). Each page has a clear border and 25 straight lines in one column. The manuscript is in good condition throughout, but some evidence of text repair can be seen on page 261. There are very many page decorations, human representations, and birds. Nōtrgir, a later minuscule script dominant in Armenian from the 17th century, differs from Armenian uncial ...
Synaxarion
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 ...
Liturgy
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 ...
Liturgy
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 ...
Liturgy of John Chrysostom
This 18th-century manuscript contains the Liturgy of John Chrysostom, one of the early church fathers and archbishop of Constantinople, who lived circa 347–407. Directions for the priest and deacon are in Arabic, while what is read aloud is given in parallel columns of Greek and Syriac. The Syriac script is of the variety known as Melkite, which is rather more angular than the more commonly seen Serto script. The decorative title page has ornate writing in black, red, blue, and gold ink. Throughout the manuscript, the black ink has ...
Commentary on the Divine Eucharist
This 18th-century Arabic manuscript contains a commentary on the Orthodox liturgy. The work was compiled from earlier ecclesiastical authors by Yūḥannā Nāṯānā'īl, presumably an Arab monk about whom little is known. A chart at the beginning of the codex presents basic information on the first seven ecumenical councils, which took place between the years 325 and 787 in the cities of Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople (553), Constantinople (680), and Nicaea (787). The text, which is in Arabic, is rubricated throughout. There are many water ...