University of Chicago Library, Goodspeed Manuscript Collection Ms. 129, New Testament. Gospels (Nicolaus Gospels). Greg. 1152. Édhessa, Greece (Macedonia), 1133.


Four gospels in Greek. Ammonian section and Eusebian canon numbers, lectionary headings, and incipits in the margins. Contains 15th century lectionary tables. Formerly Goodspeed Ms. Grk. 11.

Foliation cited in the description follows the numbering written before the loss of fols. 4, 61, and 149.

  1. fols. 2r-3r Kephalaia of Matthew.
    Note: Blank (fol. 1r).
  2. fols. 3r-3v Prologue of Matthew. Introduction to the four gospels.
  3. fols. 5r-60r Matthew. Subscription.
  4. fol. 60v Kephalaia of Mark (lacking).
  5. fols. 62r-92v Mark.
  6. fols.93r-93v Kephalaia of Luke.
    Note: Consists of 83, but incorrectly numbered to 84.
  7. fol. 93v Prologue of Luke.
  8. fols. 94r-148v Luke.
  9. fols. 150r-192v John. Subscription.
  10. fols. 192v-193r
    Colophon: Here is the end of the Christ-spoken words. Remember Lord the writer Nicolaus of Edessa the sinful monk and his family. Amen. This book was finished in the month Artemision which is in the Roman reckoning May on the 4th day the 11th indiction in the year 6641 (1133) in the Christ-blessed city of Edessa.
  11. fols. 195r-219v Lectionary tables (Synaxarion, Menologion).
    Note: Tables contain saints' names, or date references, gospel source and Ammonian section number, incipits and explicits, marginal cross references, and indications of mode. Blank (leaves 194, 220, 221).



  1. fol. 1vVirgin Mary: with Suppliant. Virgin at left, wearing a blue robe and wimple or kerchief, and red shoes; her hand extends over a female suppliant kneeling, lower right; suppliant, dressed in gray cape, blue head covering, robe, and pectoral decorated with a red cross; hand of god emerges from clouds, upper right.
    Note: Inscriptions, partially illegible. Miniature attached with tape to fol. 6.


In an 1864 catalogue entry, Emmanuel Joannides described 5 miniatures within the manuscript as portraits of the Evangelists, and of the Hyperagia Theotokos (most Holy Mother of God) pictured with a young woman. A second catalogue description by Athanasios Papadopoulos-Kerameus, published in 1915, notes 4 extant miniatures, all of which were said to be Evangelists, as the Virgin Mary (fol. 1v) was misidentified as St. Matthew.


Headpieces embellished with birds and foliate motifs in blue, rose, gold, and green (fols. 5r, 62r, 94r, 150r).


Major initials (30 mm) composed of bead and foliate designs in blue, rose, and gold. Minor initials in red set off from the text (occasional duplication of an end letter of the preceding line).

Physical Description


Parchment and paper. 125 x 98 mm.


Watermark of lectionary leaves, fols. 196, 207, and 208, similar to Briquet, Balance dans un cercle à plateaux circulaires suspendus à l'attache mediane, 2551 (Ferrare, 1475). For fols. 210, 211, and 221, the watermark is similar to Briquet, Tête de boeuf au serpent s'enroulant autour d'une croix ou d'une tige, 15366 (Brescia, 1474).

Number of Leaves

222 leaves, of which 189 are parchment, 32 are of 15th century paper, and 1 is modern paper (flyleaf, yellow). Flyleaf conjoint with back pastedown.


219 + 3 (foliated paper leaves). Foliation in Arabic numerals in pencil 1-219. Blank lectionary end leaves and flyleaf foliated 220-222 by a second hand.


Quires 1 and 3 through 24 are of 8 leaves, quires 2 and 25 contain 6 and 5 leaves respectively. The block and writing space dimensions of the 3 paper quires match that of the parchment leaves (fols. 194-221). Estimate of content lost: Miniatures of Matthew and Luke (fol. 4); Mark (fol. 61); and John (fol. 149). A 15th century replacement paper leaf containing the text of Matthew 19:1-19:19 was inserted between fols. 40 and 42.


Written space 90 x 70 mm (fol. 34r).


1 column, 21 to 25 lines. Ruling with hard point. Pricking in the outer margins.


Written in minuscule script in dark brown ink (some flaking).

Punctuation includes high and low points, comma, marks of elision and interrogation. Quotation marks in left margin next to each line of quoted text.

Text Divisions

Titles and indicators αρχε (beginning) and τελος (end) in red.


Parchment darkened, cracking around cords. Several leaves reinforced with tape or paper. Text block detached from binding. Fragmentary pieces of lost leaves after fols. 60 and 149. Some marginal notation marred owing to trimming. Water stains.

Binding Description

Bound in marbled paper over millboard, quarter green morocco. Stamped title ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ ΜΕΜΒΡΑΙΝΟΝ and panels of floral design on spine in gold.



The manuscript was written in Macedonia in the city of Edessa, the present-day Édhessa, Greece by the monk Nicolaus, who completed his work May 4, 1133 (his colophon, fols. 192v-193r). The miniature of the Virgin Mary with suppliant is judged to be a later addition.


Provenance from the 12th to the mid-19th century is unknown. The manuscript was in the collection of the Metochion of the Holy Sepulchre in Constantinople, the present-day Istanbul, Turkey, where it was seen and catalogued by Emmanuel Joannides in the early 1860s, and by Athanasios Papadopoulos-Kerameus in the early 20th century. Catalogues and scholarly publications have noted the shelfmarks 419, 767, and 799 as those assigned at various times to the gospels while it was part of the Metochion Library.

University of Chicago Libraries bookplate (pastedown, front); stamp (illegible, fol. 1r); notation, 62.94.150 (pastedown, back).


Acquired by the University of Chicago in 1929 from Rudolf M. Riefstahl (New York), with funds provided by Chicago businessman Frederick T. Haskell.


  1. Emmanuel Joannides, "[Catalogue]," Ho en Konstantinopolei Hellenikos Philologikos Syllogos 2 (1864), pp. 62-63, no. 5 (Holy Sepulchre 419)
  2. Caspar René Gregory, Textkritik des Neuen Testamentes (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1900-1909), vol. 1, p. 243; vol. 3, pp. 1131, 1474. no. 1152.
  3. A. I. Papadopoulos-Kerameus, Hierosolymitikē Vivliothēkē, ētoi Katalogos tōn en tais vivliothēkais: tou hagiōtatou apostolikou te kai katholikou orthodoxou patriarchikou thronou tōn Hierosolymōn kai pasēs Palaistinēs apokeimenōn Hellēnikōn Kōdikōn En Petroupolei: ech tou typographeiou V. Kirspaoum, 1915), pp. 291-292, 555. no. 799.
  4. Samuel A. Cartledge, "A group of Gospels manuscripts" (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1930).
  5. Seymour de Ricci, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1935), vol. 1, p. 568.
  6. Kenneth W. Clark, A Descriptive Catalogue of Greek New Testament Manuscripts in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937), pp. 231-233.
  7. Merrill Mead Parvis, The Story of the Goodspeed Collection ([Chicago]: s.n., 1952), pp. 12-13.