Greek Codex from the Abbey of Grottaferrata


Saint Nilus the Younger (circa 910–1005) was born in Rossano (Calabria, southern Italy) into a notable and wealthy family. Calabria was at that time a district of the Byzantine Empire and members of Nilus’s family held important offices under the Byzantine emperors. He distinguished himself from a young age by his voracious reading and learning. Later in life he founded libraries devoted to the production of manuscripts and the teaching of calligraphy. He became a monk at about age 30 and, as a follower of the teachings of Saint Basil of Caesarea (circa 329–79), was known for both his asceticism and theological learning. He established a number of monasteries, the most important of which is the Abbey of Grottaferrata near Frascati, southeast of Rome. The codex presented here, attributed to Nilus, is one of a series of manuscripts produced and preserved at the Abbey of Grottaferrata relevant for the study of the Greek-rite monastic communities in southern Italy during the 9th–11th centuries. According to the incipit, it contains a collection of teachings by “Mark the Monk,” who is otherwise unidentified.

Last updated: February 12, 2016