Medieval Slavic Manuscripts and Culture

Category: Manuscript Descriptions

Incipitaria Project: Drafts of the Contents of Hilandar Miscellanies

Over the years the Hilandar Research Library (HRL) and the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic (RCMSS) have engaged in various research projects related both to the HRL materials and to the use of these materials. One such project are the Incipitaria or listings of the titles, incipits, and explicits of the various texts contained in the miscellanies (sborniki) found in the Hilandar Monastery Slavic manuscript collection from the 14th-15th centuries.

This project was one of the recommendations made by working groups that met during the First International Hilandar Conference held in Columbus, Ohio, 1981. A number of RCMSS graduate research associates (GRAs) have worked on this project; drafts of these works are available on our HRL website.

HM.SMS.388 and HM.SMS.389 are two fourteenth-century miscellanies of sermons that form a set of panegyrical triodia.




HRL/RCMSS Webpage on OSUL Website


Check out the HRL/RCMSS webpage on the University Libraries’ website for updates on MSSI 2013 and the Sixth International Hilandar Conference (July 19-21, 2013). The website also lists contact information for the faculty and staff of the HRL/RCMSS, publications of the RCMSS, manuscript collection descriptions, how to request copies of materials in the HRL, and provides information on how to donate to the Hilandar Research Library.



Iosif-Volokolamsk Monastic Library: the Eparchal Collection


The Iosif-Volokolamsk Monastery retained a very large and impressive library of manuscripts and old printed books – over 700 items – until the mid-19th century. In 1859 part of the collection (236 items) was transferred to the Moscow Theological Academy and, from there, in the 1930s to the Manuscripts Division in the Lenin Library, now known as the Russian State Library. This portion of the Iosif-Volokolamsk library was described by Hieromonk Iosif (“Опись рукописей, перенесенных из библиотеки Иосифова монастыря в библиотеку Московской духовной академии,” ЧОИДР 1881, кн. 3 [Москва, 1882]).Image of the front cover of the book on Scribal centers of Ancient Russia, the Iosifo-Volokolamsk monastery.

In 1863, 432 manuscripts from the Iosif-Volokolamsk monastic library became part of the Moscow Eparchal Library, which were later transferred, in 1921, to the Manuscripts Division of the State Historical Museum (GIM) in Moscow. There are now 428 manuscripts, numbered between 1-432, in GIM. (Mss. 42, 378, 382, and 428 are not part of this collection.)

The Hilandar Research Library has 427 of the Eparchal GIM manuscripts on microfilm. Eparkh.431, a Stoglav, is damaged and was judged too fragile to photograph for preservation purposes.

The manuscripts are described in Dianova, Kostiukhina and Pozdeeva (see below). For the most part, the collection contains Russian manuscripts from the 14th-19th centuries, with the bulk of the materials dating to the 16th century. There are three manuscripts that are designated as Bulgarian: a 15th-century Tetraevangelion (Eparkh. 6), a Psalter with Supplement dating in part to the 14th cent. and in part to the 16th cent. (Eparkh.144), and a Miscellany from the first quarter of the 15th cent. (Eparkh.376).


Дианова, Т. М., Л. М. Костюхина, “Рукописные книги Иосифо-Волоколамский библиотеки (По материалам Отдела рукописей Государственного Исторического Музея),” в кн. Книжные центры Древней Руси: Иосифо-Волоколамский монастырь как центр книжности, 100-121. Ленинград: Наука, 1991.

Дианова, Т. М., Л. М. Костюхина, И.В. Поздеева. “Описание рукописей библиотеки Иосифо-Волоколамского монастыря из Епархиального собрания ГИМ,” в кн. Книжные центры Древней Руси: Иосифо-Волоколамский монастырь как центр книжности, 122-475. Ленинград: Наука, 1991.


South Slavic Fragment NB SPbGU E III 141


In the collection of the research library of St. Petersburg State University there is a parchment fragment from the Gospels dated to the 14th century. A. A. Savel’ev, the SPbSU local cataloger, describes the manuscript:


Tetraevangelie, fragment. 14th cent., 4 (26 x 19), 4 ff., uncial


Text in two columns, initials and notes in cinnabar.

Contains a fragment from the Gospel according to Matthew: 5:25-6:23. Bulgarian recension (?).

Without binding.

On f. 1 is an owner’s inscription dated 1858 “бысть в руце агаряна и избависе”; on f. 2 in the same hand is an inscription that indicates the Gospel belonged to Holy Trinity Monastery.

Literature: “Предварительный список славяно-русских рукописей ХI-XIV вв., хранящихся в СССР.” Археографический ежегодник за 1965 г. Москва, 1966.  177-272, № 1025.



Research Query: Descriptions of Hilandar Monastery Greek Manuscripts


Several recent research queries have referenced the Greek manuscripts of Hilandar Monastery. Below is a selected bibliography of descriptions of these manuscripts. If you know of additional publications about the Greek codices, please let us know.

Color image of leaf 85 verso in Hilandar Greek manuscript 105. It's a close up of an illuminated letter E, where the middle bar of the capital letter is a hand drawn in the position used to make the sign of the cross. the Greek lower case letters appear to be in gold ink.

Tetraevangelion, Illuminated letter “E” from the end of the 13th cent.


Lampros, Spyr. P. Catalogue of the Greek Manuscripts on Mount Athos. Cambridge: University Press, 1895-1900. Reprinted Amsterdam: A. M. Hakkert, 1966.

Hilandar Greek manuscripts are described in vol. 1: 28-30.

Јаковљевић, Андрија. “Инвентар музичких рукописа манастира Хиландара.” Хиландарски зборник 4 (1978): 193-234ff, plates 1-24.

Jakovljević includes descriptions of Greek music manuscripts in Hilandar.

Color image of an illuminated letter Tau from a Greek manuscript in Hilandar Monastery.

Litsas, Euthymios. “The Greek Manuscripts at Chilandar.” Кирило-Методиевски студии 3 (1986) 191-193.


Litsas, Efthymios. “The Mount Athos Manuscripts and their Cataloguing.Polata Knigopisnaia: an Information Bulletin Devoted to the Study of Early Slavic Books, Texts and Literatures 17-18 (December 1987): 106-118.

In this general article on the Greek manuscripts on Mount Athos, Litsas gives a brief survey of the libraries on Mount Athos and their holdings. He also discusses the catalogues of the manuscripts to date.

color image of an illuminated letter from a Greek Hilandar Monastery manuscript

Ε. Κ. Λίτσας & Δ. Κ. Κύρου, “Συνοπτικός συμπληρωματικός κατάλογος των ελληνικών χειρογράφων της μονής Χιλανδαρίου,” Τεκμήριον 7 (2007): 9-87, 8 (2008): 229-256 with pls. 1-14.

Thanks to Georgi Parpulov (Oxford) for bringing this publication to our attention.

Image source: Photos of illuminated letters from the collection of  Hilandar Monastery Greek Manuscripts by Mateja and Predrag Matejic, 1975.




Watermarks: Identification of Hilandar Fragment 739.III


Prior to the publication of his catalog of the Cyrillic manuscripts of Hilandar Monastery, Dimitrije Bogdanović identified fragments HM.SMS.758.IX and 759.VII as being part of HM.SMS.646 Lestvica (circa 1360-1370), so there is not a separate entry in his catalog for either fragment (cf. Bogdanović 1978: 222, 255 and 256). The fragments were placed with the original manuscript №646.

Напомена. Рукопису придружени листови које су били нађени и заведени као фрагменти 758/IX и 759/VII.” Bogdanović 1978: 222.

Therefore, there is also not a separate record for HM.SMS.758.IX or 759.VII in the two-volume print version of the Matejic & Thomas Catalog (2: 662, 743-746), the OSU Library Catalog, or WorldCat. When the Hilandar manuscripts were photographed, these two fragments thus appear on the reel of microfilm of HM.SMS.646 and not on the reel containing fragments HM.SMS.757.1-III, 758.I-VIII,X, and 759.I-VI, VIII-X.

Image of the description of watermarks in manuscript No. 646 from Bogdanovic's catalog, with the watermark "dragon" and the reference to the watermark album underlined in yellow.

Subsequent research by Predrag Matejic on the watermarks of the Hilandar Monastery manuscripts revealed that fragment HM.SMS.739.III was also from manuscript №646. The publication of this discovery, however, appeared with several critical typos that are now corrected below (noted in boldface):

“Први доказ ваљаности овог метода атрибуције је чињеница да сам помоћу њега утврдио да два фрагмента, бр. 739/III и бр. 759/X припадају хиландарским рукописима бр. 646 и бр. 396 [односно]. У ствари, фрагмент 739/III је део фрагмента 759/VII за који је Димитрије Богдановић утврдио да је део хиландарског рукописа бр. 646.” P. Matejic 1995: 288.

Image of description of Hilandar fragment 739.III from Bogdanovic's catalog, with watermark "dragon" and reference to watermark album underlined in yellow

Tatiana G. Popova today identified fragment HM.SMS.739.III as part of the Lestvica text “Слово к пастырю.”


Image Sources: Bogdanović 1978: 222 and 243.


Богдановић, Димитрије. Каталог ћирилских рукописа Манастира Хиландара. Београд: Српска Академија Наука и Уметности и Народна Библиотека Србије, 1978.

Matejic, Predrag, and Hannah Thomas, comp. Catalog: Manuscripts on Microform of the Hilandar Research Library (The Ohio State University). 2 vols. Columbus, Ohio: The Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies (The Ohio State University), in cooperation with the “Ivan Dujchev” Research Centre for Slavo-Byzantine Studies (Sofia, Bulgaria), 1992.

Матеич, Предраг. “Атрибуција рукописа помоћу анализе папира Хиландар у XIV веку.” В књ.: Проучавање средњовековних јужнословенских рукописа: Зборник радова са међународне хиладнарске конференције одржане од 28. до 30. марта 1989, уред. Павле Ивич, 287-299. Београд: Српска академија наука и уметности, одељенње језика и књижевности, 1995.