University of Chicago Library, Goodspeed Manuscript Collection Ms. 234, New Testament. Gospels (Yovanēs Gospels). Constantinople, 1654.


Four gospels in Armenian. Section numbers in the margins against the text. Concordance numbers in the lower margins. Pentecostal lection numbers. Formerly Goodspeed Ms. Arm. 63.

  1. fol. 2v (p. 4) Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. 260-ca. 340), letter to Carpianus, on the gospel canons.
  2. fols. 3v-10r (pp. 6-19) Canon tables I-X.
    Note: Blank (fols. 4v, 5r, 6v, 7r, 8v, 9r, 10v).
  3. fols. 11r-12v (pp. 21-24) Index of Matthew.
  4. fols. 12v-13r (pp. 24-25) Concordance of Matthew.
  5. fols. 13r-13v (pp. 25-26) Preface of Matthew.
    Note: Blank (fol. 14r).
  6. fols. 15r-87r (pp. 29-173) Matthew.
    Note: Blank (fols. 87v-88v).
  7. fols. 89r-90r (pp. 177-179) Index of Mark.
  8. fols. 90r-90v (pp. 179-180) Preface of Mark.
    Note: Blank (fol. 91r).
  9. fols 92r-140v (pp. 183-280) Mark.
  10. fols. 141r-143r (pp. 281-285) Index of Luke.
  11. fols. 143r-143v (pp. 285-286) Preface of Luke.
    Note: Blank (fol. 144r).
  12. fols. 145r-223v (pp. 289-446) Luke.
    Note: Blank (fol. 224r).
  13. fols. 224v-225v (pp. 448-450) Index of John.
  14. fols. 225v-226r (pp. 450-451) Preface of John.
    Note: Blank (fols. 226v-227r).
  15. fols. 228r-[286r] (pp. 455-571) John.
  16. fols. [286r]-[287r] (pp. 571-573) Pericope: The Woman taken in Adultery.
  17. fol. [287r] (p. 573)
    Colophon: The scribe Yovanēs (dated 1654).
    Note: Blank (fols. [287v]-[288r]).


A full-page miniature of an Evangelist precedes each gospel's text. Marginal miniatures from the cycles of Christ's infancy, miracles, and Passion: Matthew (22), Mark (14), Luke (18), John (7). Examples include: Flight into Egypt (fol. 18r); Miracle of raising of Lazarus (fol. 258r); and The Crucifixion (fol. 219r). Marginal vignettes of arabesques, flowers, and birds.


  1. fol. 2v (p. 4)Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, Palestine, Portrait: Eusebius, dressed in liturgical vestments, holds a scroll and spear.
  2. fol. 14v (p. 28)Evangelist, Matthew, Portrait: Matthew writing, seated in high-backed chair before desk; church in background.
  3. fol. 91v (p. 182)Evangelist, Mark, Portrait: Mark writing, seated in chair; church and other buildings in background.
  4. fol. 144v (p. 288)Evangelist, Luke, Portrait: Luke writing, seated in low-backed cushioned chair; church in background.
  5. fol. 227v (p. 454)Evangelist, John, Portrait: John seated on a bench, at center inside a cave; the deacon Prochorus, holding a book, sits at right.

Canon Tables

Citations of concordant gospel sections are framed by architectural columns. These support red and blue headpieces of floral and foliate designs on which animals (peacocks, roosters, lions, and panthers) stand.


Headpieces of multi-colored floral and foliate design at each gospel opening (fols. 15r, 92r, 145r, 228r), and with Eusebius's letter to Carpianus (fol. 2v).


The major initial of each gospel's opening line is formed by an Evangelist symbol: Matthew (angel, 70 mm), Mark (lion, 40 mm), Luke (ox, 70 mm), and John (eagle, 75 mm). Minor initials are formed by figures of birds or flowers.

Physical Description


Parchment and paper. 183 x 128 mm.


Watermarks (unidentified) on several of the guard sheets for the canon tables, Evangelist portraits, and gospel openings.

Number of Leaves

296 leaves, of which 2 are flyleaves and 7 are paper guard sheets.


1 (foliated and paginated parchment flyleaf) + 1 + 1 (unfoliated paper guard sheet) + 1 + 1 (unfoliated paper guard sheet) + 4 + 1 (unfoliated paper guard sheet) + 2 + 1 (unfoliated paper guard sheet) + 82 + 1 (unfoliated paper guard sheet) + 53 + 1 (unfoliated paper guard sheet) + 83 + 1 (unfoliated paper guard sheet) + 61 + 1 (paginated parchment flyleaf). Modern foliation and pagination in Arabic numerals in pencil 1-281 and 1-578. Foliation erased from fol. 282r forward.


23 numbered quires.


Written space 120 x 80 mm (fol. 16r). Each column is 120 x 35 mm with a space of 10 mm between.


2 columns, 24 lines. Frame ruling with lead point and ink.


Written chiefly in bolorgir script in black ink. Each gospel's first line is inscribed in bird letters. The second line of Matthew, and second and third lines of Mark, Luke, and John are written in erkat’agir script.

Text Divisions

Titles in red.


Some leaves torn. Margins trimmed resulting in the marring of a number of miniatures. Partial erasure of a miniature (fol. 97v). Several leaves detached from the binding. Occasional dirt and grease stains.

Binding Description

Bound in dark brown leather over boards. Holes of lost clasp and metal attachments. Repairs (and a possible rebinding) in the year 1681 noted in the principal colophon. Doublures of triangle-patterned rose colored fabric.

Blind stamped front cover with diamond and foliate motifs and a double floral patterned border (front and back).



The manuscript was written in 1654 (Armenian Era 1103) by the scribe Yovanēs at the Church of St. Sergis the General (Surb Sargis Zōravar) in Constantinople, the present-day Istanbul, Turkey (his colophon, fol. [287r] (p. 573).


The mahtesi Jazar, his brother P‛ilipos, and their parents the mahtesis Petros and Mariam, after acquiring the manuscript, offered it in memory of themselves and their family to the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damianus (Srboc‛ Anarcat‛ Bzhshkac‛n Kozmai ew Damianosi) at Karushlay near Akn the present-day Kemaliye, Turkey. Belonged to an antiques dealer the mahtesi Yovhannēs Tēr T‛ashchean of Sebastia, the present-day Sivas, Turkey (his undated inscriptions, fols. 14v, 91v, 144v). Later provenance unknown.

A restoration of the manuscript was completed August 24, 1681 (Armenian Era 1130), according to notation added to Yovanēs' colophon. Notation in pencil, No. 15 (front flyleaf, fol. 1).


Acquired by the University of Chicago, date unknown.


  1. Erroll F. Rhodes, An Annotated List of Armenian New Testament Manuscripts, Annual Report of Theology 1 (1959), p. 135 (1045).
  2. New Testament manuscript traditions. An exhibition based on the Edgar J. Goodspeed Collection of the University of Chicago Library, the Joseph Regenstein Library, January-March, 1973. University of Chicago. Library. Dept. of Special Collections. Exhibition catalogs ([Chicago: s.n., 1973]), 36, no. 53.
  3. Avedis K. Sanjian, A catalogue of medieval Armenian manuscripts in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pp. 200-203.
  4. Treasures in heaven: Armenian illuminated manuscripts, edited by Thomas F. Mathews and Roger S. Wieck (New York: Pierpont Morgan Library; Princeton, N.J.: distributed by Princeton University Press, 1994), pp. 161-162 (cat. 21).