Saturday, May 7, 2022

Codex Zographensis

Codex Zographensis

Codex Zographensis, also known as Tetraevangelium Zographense, is an illuminated Old Church Slavonic canon manuscript. It comes with 304 parchment folios. The first 288 are available in Glagolitic, organized as Tetraevangelium (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and the rest are available in Cyrillic, containing a 13th-century synaxarium. The manuscript was back to the end of the 10th or early 11th century.

About Codex Zographensis:

The project runs a challenging program of the National Library of Russia for digitizing the most important manuscripts. It started in 2013 with the digitized Laurentian Codex. The project's objective is to make cultural and historical treasures available online.

This project is the eighth in a series and deals with the rare Tetraevangelium Zographense. It is a rare example of an almost complete Glagolitic book. The major part of the book was made in the 11th century and kept in the Zograf Monastery on the Holy Mt. Athos for multiple years.

When it was the mid 19th century, people used this unique manuscript of Emperor Alexander II by the monastery's monks. Then, in 1861, this manuscript was given to the Manuscripts Department of the Imperial Public Library that we know as the National Library of Russia. It has preserved the manuscript until today.

The Zograf Monastery monks came to Russia in January 2016 and visited the Manuscripts Department. They said how they put effort into making the «Zographensis Room.» It is a digital library of ancient manuscripts from the Zograf Monastery located at Sofia University.

People made the online presentation of the manuscript using the Information Retrieval System "Depositary," invented by the Library's specialists. They created it to form a database of the manuscripts, and the search system helps to link digital pages of the manuscript.

The basic idea of the project is an integrated approach to the representation of the landmark manuscript. As a result, the online source is valuable for the general public, students, and researchers as it can fulfill the information needs and objectives.

Tetraevangelium Zographense:

Furthermore, the manuscript allows you to trace the Glagolitic script's evolution and its transformation into the Cyrillic alphabet.

The parchment contains three parts written in various scripts at different times. When it was the 12th century, people inserted many sheets into the body of the book to finish the text lost by the time. We know these added pages as palimpsests, and it was those on which people wrote sheets twice or even three times.

You should know that these are precious materials if you want to know about the history of ancient texts or study them. These contain visible traces of the previous writing, and you can use optoelectronic methods to read the lower layer. Besides, the project contains seven palimpsest sheets in which the four Gospels have been erased. Priest John was the scribe of this part who left his name in the record read on f. 288 v. manuscript.

The manuscript's last part contains supplements to the Gospels, the book of saints with the church calendar. You can find many details in the margins of the manuscript sheets, both in the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabet.

These include all additions, corrections, explanations of the main text, opening words of the readings, etc. The note's content is a unique thing to study. Characteristic headpieces of geometric ornament and initials arrange the manuscript.

History of Codex Zographensis:

As per the oral tradition, the project took place in the conventual church of the Bulgarian Zograf monastery, besides the Ierisso on the Athos peninsula.

The landmark came to its existence in 1843 to scientists after serving as Austrian consul in Constantinople of Antun Mihanović, the Croatian writer and collector of manuscripts.

A historian and Slavist, Viktor Grigorovich, visited the Zograf Monastery. He was a professor at universities in Kazan, Moscow, and Odessa, who mentioned the manuscript as one of the vital ones stored at that time on Mount Athos. In 1860, Archimandrite Anthimus gave the manuscript to the Russian Emperor Alexander II.

Tetraevangelium Zographense Discovery:

The real source of the manuscript belonged to the Bulgarian Zograf Monastery on Mount Athos. Antun Mihanović, who was a Croatian writer and Habsburgian diplomat, found it in 1843 while staying at the monastery. Victor Grigorovich, the Russian historian and folklorist, described the manuscript's importance. He is regarded as the founder of Slavonic studies in Russia.

Izmail Sreznevsky revealed the first transcription of some of its parts in 1856. After that, monks from the Zograf monastery gave it to Russia in 1860 during an archaeological expedition of Pyotr Sevastyanov (1811-1867). People divided and shared the archaeological collection in 1862 with different institutions in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Victor Grigorovich described the manuscript in 1877. After two years, Slavist Vatroslav Jagić published it in Berlin as Quattuor evangeliorum codex glagoliticus Olim Zographensis Nunc Petropolitanus. It contains an extensive philological commentary in Latin.

It was 1954 when the Jagic edition was reprinted as a facsimile edition. Many other scholars have studied the manuscript's language, including Josef Kurz, Leszek Moszyński, and the librarian Vyacheslav Zagrebin. However, it was the Vyacheslav who restored it during the 1990s.

In January 2016, monks of the Zograf monastery came to Saint Petersburg to report about it, and they wanted to make it available to the public. As a result, a Zographensis room was set up at the SS for their diplomatic visit. In addition, there were several things, such as Cyril and Methodius National Library in Sofia and a virtual exhibition that was published on the homepage of the Russian National Library.

The Bottom Line:

According to the modern research, you get to know that the actual manuscript, Codex Zographensis, was decorated with miniatures of the Evangelists. Scientists found plenty of traces of the paint on the folios proceeding from the order of the Gospels. These help to contact the missing sheets with miniatures. But they can't still find these miniatures. The article lets you know about the details of this manuscript. Go through the article correctly to get the best from it.

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