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Athos Holy Mount

Greek Manuscripts
18.29 Gregory the Theologian, Homilies
Dionysiou Monastery, Cod. 136
Paper, 31.5 x 22 cm, ff. 355


The Original New Testament

Scribe. Theonas. Other manuscripts by Theonas in the same monastery include nos. 139, 413, 432, 493 and 527. This scribe also wrote Panteleimon Cod. 419.

As the late Linos Politis discovered, in post-Byzantine times and particularly in the sixteenth century and part of the seventeenth, apart from the scribes who worked alone but systematically in various monasteries on Mount Athos (e.g. Theophilos in the milieu of the Iviron Monastery - see 18.27 - and Sophronios or Euphrosynos at Koutloumousiou - see 18.28 - amongst others), at least two proper scriptoria functioned where many scribes were active either at the same time or in different periods. These scriptoria were located in the Dionysiou and Xeropotamou Monasteries.

The foundation and productivity of the scriptorium at the Dionysiou Monastery are, according to Linos Politis, to be connected with the wide-ranging activity of Theonas, who was hegumen of the monastery during the decade 1590-1600 and a man of considerable learning and renown, whose various talents included that of scribe. Many manuscripts were written at his bidding.

The scribes at this scriptorium, according to the same researcher, adopt a uniform script which displays practically no personal variations, a 'crystallized formal script' which follows the well-known angular, forward-sloping style of the Hodegon Monastery but is less free and more austere. At the same time, however, they also use a 'laxer' style of writing, a style of their day, for their various notes. Their manuscripts also share common codicological characteristics.

The scriptorium at Dionysiou is known to have functioned during the period 1577-1599. Its scribes, who were all monks at the monastery except Theonas, included Daniel, Ignatios, Joseph and Galaktion.

Scribe's note. At the end of the manuscript (fols. 354v-355r):

'On finishing this I said: Glory be to thee, O Christ.

Written in the year 7088 (= 1580).

These sixteen homilies appointed for reading by our father St Gregory the Theologian were written in our holy and venerable monastery of St John the Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, that is, the Dionysiou Monastery, to which they belong. May anyone who seeks to steal them from the monastery be cursed by the devout and holy fathers. They were finished by me, the hieromonk and sinner Theonas, on Saturday 14 June.'

Bibliography: Lambros 1895, p. 342. Vogel - Gardthausen 1909, p. 149. Politis 1963, pp. 125-6. Politis 1977 (2), pp. 372 and 373 pl. 3. Politis - Politi 1994, p. 452. Kadas 1996, p. 35, cf. p. 23, n. 18, and the entries Θέων and Θεωνάς in the indexes.

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