Medieval Slavic Manuscripts and Culture

Category: Research Query

Research Query: Sinai Greek Manuscripts


Several recent inquiries have referenced Greek manuscripts of the Holy Monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai. In 1950 the Library of Congress co-sponsored an expedition to St. Catherine’s to microfilm manuscripts in the monastery’s library: 1,687 of the 3,300 manuscripts and 1,742 firmans were filmed. The microfilms of Sinai manuscripts held by the Library of Congress are enumerated in the Checklist of Manuscripts in St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai, edited by Kenneth W. Clark.

Image of the front cover of Clark's checklist of manuscripts - beige paper cover, with title in blue over the seal of The Library of Congress

In 1970 Murad Kamil published a Catalogue of all manuscripts in the Monastery of St. Catharine on Mount Sinai. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. Kamil (1) describes the collection as containing “3329 manuscripts in twelve languages and a collection of Arabic and Turkish scrolls, totaling 1742.” Kamil organizes the manuscripts in his catalog first according to language and then by genre, with the Arabic and Turkish scrolls listed at the end. A brief description precedes each section, and it is here in the description of the Greek Collection that Kamil notes (61), “The [American Foundation Mt. Sinai] Expedition microfilmed 1083 codices, 400 of which were of Biblical texts, out of 2319 Greek manuscripts.”Image of the front cover of Kamil's catalog of Sinai manuscripts - a dull blue/gray paper cover with the author, title, and publisher i

In May 1975 additional manuscripts leaves and fragments were discovered in a tower of the monastery. The “New Finds” have been described in various publications, e.g. The New Discoveries in St. Catherine’s Monastery: A Preliminary Report on the Manuscripts by James H. Charlesworth and George Zervos (Cambridge, MA: American Schools of Oriental Research; Winona Lake, IN: Distributed by Eisenbrauns, 1981) and Ioannis C. Tarnanides, The Slavonic Manuscripts Discovered in 1975 at St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai.



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.




Research Query re: Symeon Eulabes and Kallistos Angelikoudēs

Black and white image of folio 1 recto from Hilandar Monastery Slavic manuscript number 197

Paradeisos of Kallistos Antilikoudēs, 18th cent.


Someone working with Hilandar Monastery Slavic Manuscript 205, an 18th-century Russian manuscript of the works of Symeon the New Theologian, as well as HM.SMS.219, asks:

Kто-то встречал какие-то фрагменты житий св. Симеона Благоговейного, составленное преп. Симеоном Новым Богословом (11 век), а также Каллиста Ангеликуда – 14 век (Он же Каллист Катафигиот, он же  Меленикеот)? Эти тексты несомненно существовали в средние века, об этом есть упоминания у самого преп. Симеона.

Translation: Has anyone encountered fragments of the life of St. Symeon the Pious, written by Symeon the New Theologian (11th cent.), or of Kallistos Angelikoudēs (14th cent., possibly the same as Callistos Cataphygiota or of Melnik)? These texts undoubtedly existed in the middle ages; there are references to this by the Venerable Symeon himself.

The Tusculum-Lexikon notes that Symeon Eulabes is also known as Symeon Studites, 917-986/7, a monk of the Studite Monastery in Constantinople and the spiritual elder of Symeon the New Theologian. A reference is provided to Migne PG 120: 668-686 (32 chapters).


Sources:  Wolfgang Buchwald, Armin Holhweg, Otto Prinz, Tusculum-Lexikon griechischer und lateinischer Autoren des Altertums und des Mittelalters (München: Artemis Verlag, 1982), 753; Syméon le Studite, Discours Ascétique, Introduction, Texte critique et notes par Hilarion Alfeyev, traduction par L. Neyrand s.j., Sources Chrétiennes № 460 (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 2001).

Image Source: HM.SMS.197, f. 1r, an 18th-century Russian text that is a translation of the Paradeisos of Kallistos Antilikoudēs, from microfilm in the HRL.