University of Chicago Library, Goodspeed Manuscript Collection Ms. 131, New Testament. Gospels (Chrysanthus Gospels). Greg. 2394. Balkan Peninsula? 12th or 13th century.


Four gospels in Greek. Ammonian section and Eusebian canon numbers in the margins. Added tables to calculate the dates of Easter. Formerly Goodspeed Ms. Grk. 7.

  1. Pastedown (front) fols. 1r-3v Tables for calculating the dates of Easter.
  2. fol. 2v
    Colophon: The hieromonk Chrysanthus, dated 1700.
  3. fol. 4r Eusebius of Caesarea, ca. 260-ca. 340, Letter to Carpianus, on the Gospel Canons (lacking).
  4. fols. 4v-9r Canon tables I-X.
  5. fol. 10r
    Colophon: I hieromonk and priest Kosma came to Pološko to the Church of Saint George from Hilandar of the Holy Mountain and having found books of the Eucharistion ... [?] there began with zeal and labor and repaired the four Gospels the Acts of the Apostles the Tridion and the Psalter. Michael the Painter has written this. God have mercy on Kosma.
  6. fols. 10v-11v Kephalaia of Matthew.
  7. fols. 12r-121v Matthew. Subscription.
    Note: Blank (fols. 123r, 124r).
  8. fols. 125r-189v Mark.
  9. fols. 190r-192r Kephalaia of Luke.
    Note: Blank (fols. 193r-194r).
  10. fols. 195r-308r Luke. Subscription.
  11. fols. 308r-310r Prologue of John.
  12. fols. 310r-311r Kephalaia of John. Stichoi (2,300).
    Note: Blank (fols. 312r-313r).
  13. fols. 314r-400r John. Subscription.
  14. fol. 400v
    Colophon: I believe in one God almighty creator of heaven and earth. I Chekhra chief monk of Kovin transmit my church of St. Nicholas to the rule of my Lord Bishop Nicholas. Whoever wishes to take it away from him let him be cursed by him by the holy council and by Saint Nicholas to eternity. Amen.


The manuscript contains 6 Evangelist portraits, 3 original and 3 added at an unknown date. Portraits of the Evangelist Matthew are lost.


  1. fol. 122vEvangelist, Mark, Portrait: Mark reading book on lectern, seated on bench.
  2. fol. 124vEvangelist, Mark, Portrait: Mark writing, seated on bench; buildings in background.
  3. fol. 192vEvangelist, Luke, Portrait: Luke writing, seated on bench before writing desk.
  4. fol. 194vEvangelist, Luke, Portrait: Luke reading, seated on bench; buildings in background.
  5. fol. 311vEvangelist, John, Portrait: John reading book on lectern, seated in high-backed chair.
  6. fol. 313vEvangelist, John, Portrait: John reading, seated on bench before desk; mouth of cave in background.

Canon Tables

Citations of concordant gospel sections are framed by architectural columns. These support arched headpieces of multi-colored floral, foliate, and geometric designs. Drawings of lions in red added to the headpiece of the first table.


Headpiece of Matthew (fol. 12r), square panel topped with two peacocks; central roundel, Christ in Majesty, right hand raised in blessing. Four creatures (angel, eagle, ox, and lion) in small roundels, one in each corner. Headpieces of the other Evangelists embellished with floral, foliate, and geometric motifs in blue, red, and gold at each gospel opening (fols. 125r, 195r, and 314r).


Beta, the major initial of Matthew, is formed from intertwined figures of men and animals (35-40 mm). Zacharias the priest holding a censer represents the epsilon of Luke's opening. The initials of Mark and John are not decorated (20-25 mm). Minor initials in red set off from the text.

Physical Description


Parchment and paper. 200 x 140 mm.

Number of Leaves

401 leaves, of which 1 is a partially raised pastedown and two are flyleaves of paper that function as Easter tables.


1 (unfoliated paper pastedown) + 2 (foliated paper flyleaves) + 398. Modern foliation in Arabic numerals in pencil 1-400.


49 quires of 8 leaves, with the exception of quire 48 of 6 leaves, quires 15, 30, and 37 of 7 leaves, and quires 1 and 49 of 10 leaves. Estimate of content lost: leaf 10 of quire 1 and a bifolium (after fol. 11, original and later portraits of Matthew); 1 leaf of quire 15 (after fol. 121, kephalaia of Mark).

A second set of 4 Evangelist portraits was added at an unknown date, and 3 leaves of paper containing tables to determine the dates of Easter.


Written space 150 x 105 mm (fol. 29r).


1 column, 16 to 20 lines. Ruling with hard point. Lines previously ruled on the bifolium fols. 141 and 148 stand at right angles to the lines of the later ruling pattern.


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

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

Text Divisions

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


Leaves trimmed resulting in the loss of some text. Moderately cockled. Dirt and water stains.

Binding Description

Bound in red velvet over boards. Floral-patterned edge decoration, fore-edge in blue. Doublures (one remaining, back) of woven cloth in a diagonal pattern of rose, white, blue, and yellow, bordered with strips of rose silk glued down.



The manuscript may have been written in the Balkan Peninsula to judge from certain of the inscriptions, and in either the 12th or 13th century.


Medieval to late 17th century provenance unknown. Contains dated and undated colophons and inscriptions in Greek and Church Slavonic.

Kosma, a hieromonk of Hilandar, the Serbian monastery on Mount Athos, restored the manuscript when it belonged to the Church of St. George, Pološko, which today is located near Kavadarci in the Republic of Macedonia (undated inscription written by Michael the Painter; prayer of Kosma, fol. 9v).

The manuscript was in the possession of Chekhra, chief monk of Kovin, who documented the transfer of his authority over the Church of St. Nicholas to the Bishop Nicholas in an undated inscription (fol. 400v).

At the end of the 17th century, the book was rebound and restored by the hieromonk Chrysanthus, whose inscription notes that he took it from a Turkish-controlled area of Iberia, the present-day nation of Georgia (his inscription, fol. 2v). Both Chrysanthus's inscription and a second unsigned writing dated 11 February 1700 (fol. 123v) include the name Τζηλτηρε, a geographic area as yet unidentified.

The monk Kosma's signature with two gospel citations (fol. 10r); inscription of Gerasim (fol. 400v, undated); prayer of Singchoreseos (front pastedown, recto, undated); unsigned and undated inscriptions and prayers (fols. 4r, 6r, 122r, 147r, 400v). Drawings of birds (front pastedown, verso).


Acquired by the University of Chicago in 1929 from Rudolf M. Riefstahl (New York), with funds provided by Frederic C. Woodward, university vice-president, Shailer Matthews, dean of the Divinity School, calligrapher and illuminator Coella Lindsay Ricketts, and real estate developer Arthur T. Galt.


  1. Samuel A. Cartledge, "A group of Gospels manuscripts" (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1930).
  2. 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. 569.
  3. Kenneth W. Clark, A Descriptive Catalogue of Greek New Testament Manuscripts in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937), pp. 235-238.
  4. Harold Rideout Willoughby, "Greek Rebinding Colophons in Chicago Manuscripts," Annales de l'institut Kondakov 11 (1940), pp. 24-27, 29.
  5. Merrill Mead Parvis, The Story of the Goodspeed Collection ([Chicago]: s.n., 1952), p. 8.
  6. Djurdje Bošković, "O nekim našim graditeljima i slikarima iz prvih decenija XIV veka," Starinar 9/10 (1958-1959), pp. 125-131.
  7. Gordana Babić, "Srpski zapisi u grčkom četvorojevandjelju br. 131 iz Čikaga (SAD) = Les inscriptions serbs du tétraévangile grec No 131, conservé à Chicago," in Zbornik za likovnu umetnost (Novi Sad (Serbia): Matica srpska, 1972), 8, pp. 361-371.
  8. 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. 52.