University of Chicago Library, Goodspeed Manuscript Collection Ms. 879, Lectionary (Lectionary of Constantine the Reader). Greg. l 1663. Greece or Asia Minor, 13th century.


Gospel lectionary in Greek. Includes both Synaxarion and Menologion. Formerly Goodspeed Ms. Grk. 34.

  1. fols. 1r-3r Synaxarion. John, Weekday, Saturday, and Sunday Lections.
    Note: 3 lections extant. Begins with Friday, 7th week, John 17:18-26 (begins with 17:22 at, ινα ωσιν εν καθως).
  2. fols. 3r-15r Synaxarion. Matthew, Saturday, and Sunday Lections.
  3. fols. 15r-33r Synaxarion. Luke, Saturday, and Sunday Lections.
  4. fols. 33r-40v Synaxarion. Great Lent, Saturday and Sunday Lections.
  5. fols. 40v-58v Synaxarion. Holy Week, Monday through Thursday Lections.
  6. fols. 58v-73r Synaxarion. Twelve Lections of the Holy Passions.
  7. fols. 73r-77r Synaxarion. Good Friday and Holy Saturday Lections.
  8. fols. 77r-81r Synaxarion. Eleven Resurrection Lections (Heothina).
  9. fols. 81r-88r Menologion. September through October.
  10. fols. 88r-96r Menologion. November through December.
  11. fols. 96r-101v Menologion. January through February.
  12. fols. 101v-104r Menologion. March through April.
  13. fols. 104r-107r Menologion. May through June.
  14. fols. 107r-109v Menologion. July through August.
  15. fol. 110r Lections for vigils.
  16. fol. 110r
    Colophon: The theologian Constantine the Reader (undated).



Headpieces of scrollwork in brown and red (fols. 33r, 40v, 81r). Horizontal bars placed at divisions of the Menologion text.


Major initials in red (40-115 mm) set off from text and embellished with foliate, bead, and knot motifs.

Physical Description


Parchment. 240 x 185 mm.

Number of Leaves

112 leaves, of which 2 are flyleaves of paper.


1 (unfoliated paper flyleaf) + 110 + 1 (unfoliated paper flyleaf). Modern foliation in Arabic numerals in pencil, leaves 1 to 5, and every 5th leaf thereafter. Pagination in the lower outer margin.


14 quires of an original 17, each of 8 leaves, with the exception of quire 17, of 6 leaves. Estimate of content lost: 3 initial quires of the Johannine section for Weekdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, Easter through Pentecost.

Quire numbers on the first leaf of each quire (recto, upper right), and infrequently on the last leaf (verso, lower right).


Written space 185 x 140 mm (fol. 10r). Each column is 185 x 60 mm with a space of 20 mm between.


2 columns, 28 to 31 lines. Ruling with hard point.


Written in minuscule script in dark brown ink.

Punctuation includes high point, low point, and double point, comma, marks of interrogation and elision. Cross for full stop.


Numerous holes in the parchment. Several leaves splitting along ruling lines. Some marginal notation lost owing to trimming.

Binding Description

Bound in blue leather over boards. Paper pastedowns and flyleaves (front and back) conjoined. Edge decoration in red.



The manuscript is judged to have been written in the 13th century, and is the work of the theologian Constantine the Reader (his undated colophon, fol. 110r). The place of origin is thought to be either Greece, or Asia Minor.


Medieval to early 20th century provenance unknown. Belonged to philanthropist Naomi Donnelley (bookplate, pastedown), who purchased it from antiquarian bookseller Erik von Scherling of Leyden, November 1934.

Undated prayer and notation (fol. 110v). Sale catalogue description and University of Chicago Libraries bookplate (front pastedown).


Gift of Naomi Donnelley to the University of Chicago, January 1935.


  1. 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. 600.
  2. Morgan W. Redus The Text of the Major Festivals of the Menologion in the Greek Gospel Lectionary, Studies in the Lectionary Text of the Greek New Testament. Edited by Allen Wikgren (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1936), vol. 2.
  3. Kenneth W. Clark, A Descriptive Catalogue of Greek New Testament Manuscripts in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937), pp. 267-268.
  4. Merrill Mead Parvis, The Story of the Goodspeed Collection ([Chicago]: s.n., 1952), p. 22.