Liturgical Texts (Kacmarcik Codex)


This 14th-century manuscript was written in the Monastery of Saint Antony near the Red Sea in Egypt. It contains a unique set of prayers for the Eucharistic liturgy, displayed in parallel texts in both Greek and Arabic. These are the Order of the Liturgy, with the Anaphoras of Saint Basil, Saint Gregory the Theologian, and Saint Mark, along with prayers for the sick, the dead, and other needs. The Anaphora is part of the Divine Liturgy or mass, in which the bread and wine are consecrated as the body and blood of Christ. The Greek is written in Coptic-style letters and has several misspellings, which are explicable by the Coptic milieu. Although Greek had not been commonly used in Christian worship in Egypt for some centuries, these precious texts were thought worthy of preservation and of translation into the now-dominant language of the region, Arabic. The date in the manuscript is given as the year “1061 of the Martyrs” (1344–45). This reflects the fact that the Coptic Church begins its calendar from 284 AD, the year that Diocletian became emperor of Rome. Determined to crush Christianity, Diocletian unleashed waves of persecution throughout the empire. The persecutions were especially severe in Egypt.

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Monastery of Saint Antony

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Physical Description

149 leaves ; 16.8 x 14 centimeters

Last updated: September 11, 2012