[GREEK MANUSCRIPT.] Leitourgikon, in Greek. Constantinople?, late 16th-17th century.
227 x 160 mm. MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER. 75 leaves. Two large ornamental chapter headings in gold and colors, and numerous large ornamental initial letters decorated with motifs of serpents, dolphins, fowl, peacocks, flowers and leaves, in gold and colors, other initials and decorations in colors. (Two leaves apparently excised, see below.) Contemporary binding of s style brown morocco, with flap extending from front cover over the fore edge and part of cover, inlaid central medallions on both covers and the flap, with red painted and stamped floral and leaf ornamentation of a gold ground. Provenance: purchased from Emil Offenbacher, 15 January 1955.
A FINE EXAMPLE OF A RICHLY DECORATED LATE GREEK MANUSCRIPT. The first part (leaves 2-28, following a blank leaf) consists of the Liturgy of St. John Chysostom. In this, the parts which are normally recited by the Priest are assigned to the Patriarch, probably that of Constantinople. The motif of the twined serpents used on the initial on leaf 22 is reminiscent of the serpent column, formerly at Delphi, and which was then and is now preserved at Constantinople.
The first part is written in a fine calligraphic hand, and is the most richly decorated section. The name of the illuminator, the monk Matthaios, is given in the initial on leaf 20 verso. The illumination is a mixed style found in Greek manuscripts of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in which traditional Greek, Asian and Western notions are blended. The second part consists of the Liturgy of St. Basil. The illumination is not as rich; the illuminator is the monk Hierotheos, signed by him on the initial on leaf 44 verso. Parts 3-7 are Offices for the ordinations of Reader and Chanter, Sub-Deacon, Deacon, Priest and Bishop. Parts 8-11 are the same offices, in a different hand. A leaf has been excised between leaves 32 and 33 and there is a break in the text between leaves 50-51.