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. The manuscript was copied at and still belongs to the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, an Antiochan Orthodox monastery located on a plateau about eight kilometers south of Tripoli, in present-day Lebanon. Founded in 1157 as an abbey for French Cistercians, Our Lady of Balamand derives its name from the French bel mont (beautiful mountain). In 1604, the monastery came under the authority of local Orthodox monks.

Last updated: October 3, 2014