RUSSIAN OLD BELIEVERS -- ANDREAS OF CAESAREA (fl. 5th century). Tolkovanie na Apokalipsis Sviatogo Ioanna Bogoslova [Commentary on the Apocalypse of St John the Divine], in Church Slavonic, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
360 x 260mm. 224 leaves, written in black ink in a regular semi-uncial Church Slavonic hand on laid paper watermarked 'J. Kool', rubrics in red, initials in red, opening letters in red in elaborate scrolling and floral penwork, FOUR FOLIATE HEAD- AND TAILPIECES, TWO ELABORATE FOLIATE INITIALS with bird ornaments, and the opening leaf of the commentary within an ELABORATE FOLIATE FRAME WITH BIRDS, all shaded in yellow, green and crimson in the Pomorian style, SEVENTY-THREE LARGE ILLUMINATIONS, most full-page, pen and ink and watercolour, and some gilt, in a fine archaic Pomorian style, within a double-rule frame shaded in yellow (light marginal soiling, a few tears mostly in the inside margin, ff. 214-15 stained near the gutter). 19th-century Russian red morocco, sides panelled in gilt with foliate and floral tools, brass catches and clasps, spine tooled in gilt, red cloth index tabs, edges gilt (extremities and sides rubbed, some stains on the upper side, spine with some loss of gilt); red morocco-backed case. Provenance: Vikul Eliseevich Morozov (1829-1894; blindstamp and manuscript shelfmark '76').
THE MOROZOV APOCALYPSE: a fine illuminated manuscript made for the use of members of the Old Believers, in its first binding and from the collection of Vikul Morozov. St John's Revelations had particular relevance in the often-persecuted Old Believer communities where, since the schism from the Church in the mid-17th century, discussions of the Antichrist's presence or imminent arrival were always current. Andreas of Caesarea's commentary is the earliest Greek patristic work on the Apocalypse; it preserved existing written and oral traditions and had a lasting influence on most subsequent Eastern Christian commentators. The Morozov Apocalypse was evidently commissioned by a notable Old Believer community or individual, possibly Savva, founder of the Morozov industrial dynasty, or his son Elisei. While Old Believer texts are often illustrated in a coarse or naïve style, here the seventy-three mostly full-page illuminations are especially fine, evoking earlier icons in the Pomorian style. The Morozov family, Russia's leading textile manufacturer until nationalization in 1918, made its fortune in the textile industry that flourished locally when Russia lost access to English textiles during the Napoleonic wars. The Morozovs were themselves Old Believers, and the family factories recruited, when possible, from ascetic Old Believer communities, whose workers were often teetotal and especially diligent.
List of illustrations:
f.15v, St John the Evangelist on the island of Patmos.
f.16v, St John receives the vision of the sky of the seven angels with seven golden trumpets.
f.21v, St John falling at the feet of the Living One. In the lower portion, St John directs his young amanuensis, Prochoros, to write down all that he tells him.
f.26v, St John receiving a direct revelation from the Living One (who sends a beam of light directly from his mouth to St John's head).
f.29v, St John receiving a direct revelation, and delivering the words to the angel in the doorway of the church at Smyrna.
f.31v, St John delivers the words of 'him who has the sharp, double-edged sword' to the angel at the church at Pergamum (Rev. 2:12-17). The Living One sends down the double-edged sword into a pit in which a blue demon and three of his followers are crouching.
f.34v, St John receiving a direct revelation from the Living One, and delivering the words to the angel of the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2: 18-27).
f.38v, St John receiving a direct revelation from the Living One, and delivering the words to the angel of the church at Sardis (Rev. 3: 1-6).
f.40v, St John receiving a direct revelation from the Living One, and delivering his message to the angel of the church at Philadelphia. In the left foreground is depicted the 'synagogue of Satan', a Hell Mouth with sharp fangs and from which a blue demon emerges to address a crowd of believers.
f.43v, St John, receiving a direct revelation from the Living One, delivers the words to the angel of the church of Laodicea. Behind the Living One is the bearded God the Father on his throne with his orb.
f.47v, St John, in a landscape, accompanied by an Angel who is directing his gaze to the vision of the throne of Heaven on which the Living One is seated surrounded by three angels, twenty-four crowned (or crown-carrying) elders and the four living creatures (Rev. 4: 1-11).
f.53v, St John, alone in a landscape, sees the scroll with the seven seals and the angel searching for one worthy to break the seals.
f.55v, St John is accompanied by an Angel directing his gaze to the vision of the Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes, worthy to open the seals and receiving the scroll from God the Father.
f.59v, St John accompanied by an Angel directing his gaze to the result of the opening of the first seal: the rider on the white horse. In the upper portion, the Lamb is depicted opening the seal while the Lion-like creature from the throne sends out its message, 'Come'.
f 61v, St John, alone on a grassy hillock, witnesses the opening of the second seal, resulting in the appearance of the rider who had 'the power to take peace from the earth'. In the upper portion, the Ox-like creature sends out its message, 'Come'. In the foreground is a small, almost pig-like lion.
f.63v, St John, alone on the a mountain top, witnesses the opening of the third seal, resulting in the appearance of the rider on the black (here brown) horse, holding a pair of scales in his right hand (Rev. 6: 5-6 ) and a helmet in the other.
f.65v, St John is visited by a small angel directing his gaze to the vision of the opening of the fourth seal, resulting in the appearance of the pale horse with Death as its rider, and Hades (here represented by a Hell Mouth with a fiery red tongue) following close behind him (Rev. 6:7-8). Death carries an enormous scythe and leaves decapitated corpses in his wake.
f.67v, St John accompanied by an Angel directing his gaze to the vision of the opening of the fifth seal, resulting in the appearance under the altar of the souls of those slain for the word of God (Rev. 6: 9-11).
f.69v, St John witnesses the opening of the sixth seal, resulting in a great earthquake, black sun (here brown 'like sackcloth'), a blood red moon, stars falling to earth, the sky receding like a scroll, and the disruption of every mountain and island. In the right foreground, the kings, princes, general, the rich and the mighty and every slave and free man hide in caves
f.72v, St John watching from high above as the four angels at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds.
f.76v, St John sees the vision of the great multitude holding palm branches in their hands, kneeling before the Throne.
f.79v, St John, in a landscape, observes the worship of the Lamb on the altar. The seventh seal is opened, releasing the angel with the golden censer to be filled with fire and hurled on the earth.
f.82v, St John witnesses the sounding of the trumpet by the first angel which brings hail and fire, mixed with blood, burning up one-third of the earth.
f.84v, St John witnesses the sounding of the trumpet by the second angel causing a huge mountain, all ablaze, to be hurled into the sea. In the sea, ships are being abandoned by panic-stricken sailors.
f.86v, St John witnesses the sounding of the trumpet by the third angel which results in the falling of the great, blazing star named Wormwood. In the foreground is a pile of corpses poisoned by the water.
f.88v, St John receives a revelation from an angel, as the fourth angel in green-tinted clouds sounds the trumpet which strikes a third of the sun, a third of the moon and a third of the stars, turning them dark.
f.90v, St John is shown the results of the sounding the trumpet by the fifth angel. The star with the key to the Abyss descends and the sun and the sky are darkened. Locusts emerge along with the Angel of the Abyss, Abaddon, here presented as a green demon riding a three-headed locust.
f.93v, St John hears a voice coming from the golden altar before God. The sixth angel sounds the trumpet, releasing the four angels bound at the river Euphrates. In the foreground the four angels decapitate a group of people.
f.96v, St John stands on the shore of the sea, as the seventh angel stands ready to blow the final trumpet.
f.99v, St John is instructed by an angel to take the scroll (here a book) from the angel and eat it.
f.101v, St John sees the two witnesses who have the power to shut up the sky and turn the water into blood.
f.103v, St John sees the resurrection of the two witness and the reaction of the inhabitants of the earth who escape in terror from the walls of the city.
f.105v, St John sees the seventh angel sounding the trumpet, the worshipping of the twenty-four elders, and the opening of God's temple.
f.107v, St John sees the vision of the pregnant Mary clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars, threatened by the seven-headed beast.
f.112v, St John sees the vision of the war in heaven between the dragon and Michael and his angels, in which the dragon Satan is hurled down to the earth.
f.115v, St John sees the vision of the dragon attempting to overtake Mary by spewing water from its mouth.
f.118v, St John is directed by a tiny angel in the heavens to witness the vision of the beast with ten horns and seven heads.
f.122v, St John is directed by a tiny angel in the heavens to witness the vision of the beast coming out of the earth to preach to the inhabitants.
f.125v, St John sees the beast force all the inhabitants on earth to receive the mark of the Beast on their foreheads.
f.127v, St John holds an open book and a quill, as if prepared to write of the vision of the Lamb appearing on Mt. Zion.
f.130v, St John sees the first angel who has come to proclaim the Gospel to everyone on earth.
f.132v, St John observes the fall of Babylon, as announced by the second angel.
f.133v, St John observes those bearing the mark of the beast drinking the wine of God's fury and being tormented with burning sulphur.
f.135v, St John observes the son of man emerging from a cloud.
f.137v, St John observes the emergence of two more angels from the temple in heaven.
f.140v, St John observes the emergence from the tabernacle of the Testimony of the seven angels with the seven plagues contained in seven golden bowls. In the lower foreground, the Beast sits on an altar directing the beating of the faithful by three demons wielding heavy clubs.
f.146v, St John observes the angel pouring out the first bowl which rains ugly and painful sores on the people who had the mark of the beast.
f.147v, St John observes the angel pour out the second bowl, turning the sea into blood, and killing every living thing in the sea.
f.149v, St John watches the angel pour out of the third bowl a blood-red effluence that turns the rivers and springs into blood.
f.152v, St John observes the pouring out of the fourth bowl which gives the sun the power to scorch people with fire.
f.154v, St John observes the pouring out of the fifth bowl on the throne of the Beast and his kingdom, which is plunged into darkness.
f.157v, St John observes the pouring out of the sixth bowl which dries up the Euphrates in order to prepare the way for the kings of the East, who are shown armed and on horseback. In the lower right, three evil spirits who look like frogs are lying in wait to emerge from the mouth of the beast, dragon, and false prophet.
f.160v, St John observes the pouring out of the seventh bowl, which brings flashes of lightning, thunder, hailstones, and a severe earthquake that splits the city into three parts.
f.163v, St John is directed to see the punishment of the prostitute, Babylon the Great, who sits on many waters, and the kings of the earth with whom she committed adultery.
f.166v, St John is visited by an angel to announce the fall of Babylon.
f.171v, St John observes the angel hurling the boulder the size of a millstone into the sea while the prostitute burns on the hillside.
f.177v, St John genuflects before the vision of the twenty-four elders, and the four living creatures worshipping God (here Christ) seated on the throne.
f.179v, St John, with his book and quill, witnesses the wedding of the Lamb and his bride.
f.181v, St John witnesses the coming of the Rider on the White Horse, dressed in a robe dipped in blood, judging with justice and making war.
f.184v, St John, overlooking scenes of death and destruction, observes the coming of the angel on the sun who calls all the birds in the air to eat of mighty men. The beast and the false prophet are captured and thrown into a lake of burning sulphur.
f.187v, St John observes the angel with the key to the Abyss binding the serpent in the Abyss.
f.189v, St John is enraptured by the vision of Christ enthroned.
f.191v, St John sees the souls of the righteous rising in the first resurrection.
f.193v, St John sees Satan released from prison with the army assembled by Gog and Magog.
f.196v, St Johnsees Christ on the throne among the open books and the Book of Life by which the dead were judged.
f.199v, St John sees a new heaven and a new earth, where there is no longer any sea. In the sky above a rainbow appears.
f.202v, St John receiving the revelation from the enthroned Christ about the spring of the water of life and the fiery lake.
f.204v, St John with the angel with the measuring rod of gold is shown the Holy City coming down out of heaven.
f.214v, St John sees the river of the water of life flowing from the throne of God, and the tree of life.
f.217v, St John is shown the throne of God.
f.219v, St John is told by the angel that he is a brother to the prophets, and that he must share his prophecy.
f.220v, St John sees Christ on his throne looking down upon those doing wrong and those doing right.
f.222v, St John receives the book to which nothing can be added or taken away, while the Spirit and the Bride, seen on the church itself, bid those who are thirsty to come to the water of life. The gates of the netherworld are toppled and spirits emerge. In the portal of the Church, angels are waiting for the coming Revelation of John.
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