University of Chicago Library, Goodspeed Manuscript Collection Ms. 1017, New Testament. Gospels (Aleppo Gospels). Aleppo, Syria (Berea), 1624.


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. 54.

The foliation cited in this description is in the lower margin.

  1. fols. 1v-2r Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. 260-ca. 340), letter to Carpianus, on the gospel canons.
    Note: Blank (fols. 1r, 2v).
  2. fols. 3v-10r Canon tables I-X.
    Note: Blank (fols. 4v-5r, 6v-7r, 8v-9r).
  3. fols. 10v-12r Index of Matthew.
  4. fols. 13r-102v Matthew.
  5. fols. 103r-104r Index of Mark.
  6. fols. 105r-158v Mark.
  7. fols. 159r-160v Index of Luke.
    Note: Blank (fol. 161r).
  8. fols. 162r-255v Luke.
  9. fols. 256r-257r Index of John.
  10. fols. 258r-326r John. Pericope: The Woman taken in Adultery.


4 full-page miniatures of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and portrait busts of Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea. Marginal vignettes of arabesques, flowers, birds, and temples.


  1. fols. 1v-2rEusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, Palestine: Portrait. Facing images of Eusebius; at the left, he holds an open scroll, and at the right, a stylus.
  2. fol. 12vEvangelist, Matthew: Portrait. Matthew reading, seated in high-backed chair; buildings in background.
  3. fol. 104vEvangelist, Mark: Portrait. Mark holding a book, seated in high-backed chair; dove of the Holy Spirit next to his ear; two apostles stand behind him, pointing to dove; building in background.
  4. fol. 161vEvangelist, Luke: Portrait. Luke, seated high-backed chair, hands tablet to Theophilus, at right, the dedicatee of his gospel. Apostles wait behind Luke; buildings in background.
  5. fol. 257vEvangelist, John: Portrait. John stands at right, dove of Holy Spirit near his ear. He dictates to deacon Prochorus, seated at left writing on tablet with stylus; cave in background.

Canon Tables

Citations of concordant gospel sections framed with architectural columns of foliate and geometric motifs. The columns are topped with capitals in the form of masks, animal heads, birds, and busts of the apostles, and support headpieces of multi-colored floral and geometric design. The copy of Eusebius's letter to Carpianus is similarly displayed (fols. 1v-2r).


Headpieces of multi-colored floral, geometric, and foliate design at gospel openings (fols. 13r, 105r, 162r, 258r). The headpiece of Luke's gospel contains 3 portrait busts in circular frames.


The major initial of each gospel's opening line is formed by an Evangelist symbol: Matthew (angel, 75 mm), Mark (winged lion, 62 mm), Luke (ox, 85 mm), and John (eagle, 109 mm). Minor initials formed by figures of birds, and flowers, beads and leaves.

Physical Description


Parchment. 225 x 158 mm.

Number of Leaves

334 leaves, of which 4 are flyleaves. A folded parchment leaf of a 10th century manuscript functions as 2 of the back flyleaves. Written in erkat’agir script, it contains the text of Luke 19:5-17.


1 (unfoliated paper flyleaf) + 148 + 1 (148[b]) + 141 + 1 (290[b]) + 39 + 2 (unfoliated parchment flyleaves) + 1 (detached unfoliated paper flyleaf). Modern foliation in Arabic numerals in pencil 1-329. Leaves overlooked during foliation numbered 148[b] and 290[b].


27 numbered quires.


Written space 150 x 100 mm (fol. 44r). Each column is 150 x 45 mm with a space of 10 mm between.


2 columns, 21 lines. Frame ruling in ink.


Written chiefly in bolorgir script in black ink. The first through third lines of each gospel's opening are inscribed in capitals embellished with beads and leaves, bird letters, or erkat’agir script.

Text Divisions

Titles in gold.


Random grease and dirt stains.

Binding Description

Bound in brown leather over boards. Fore-edge flap. Nail holes front and back. Doublures of rose silk.

Front cover: Blind-tooled flower of four petals within a circle; outer border filled with stamped florets. Back cover: Tooled six-pointed star within same border; outline of a cross once attached.



The manuscript was written in 1624 (Armenian Era 1073) by the scribe Step‛anos, at the Church of the Holy Theotokos (Surb Astuacacin) and the Church of the Holy Forty Martyrs (Surb K‛ařasunk‛) in Berea, the present-day Aleppo, Syria.

Archbishop Nahapet administered the sale of the manuscript in Edessa, the present-day Şanlıurfa, Turkey. It was purchased by the mahtesi Grigor, son of Poghos and T‛urvantay, who offered it as his memorial to the Church of the Holy Theotokos (Surb Astuacacin) and to the Church of St. John the Baptist (Surb Karapet) at Karmunch, a village near Edessa. The colophon was written at Karmunch, Friday, August 27, 1624.


Late 17th to mid-20th century provenance unknown. Partially illegible inscription (fol. 3r). University of Chicago Libraries bookplate (front flyleaf).


Acquired by the University of Chicago in 1947 from the estate of H. M. Tashjian of Chicago.


  1. Merrill Mead Parvis, The Story of the Goodspeed Collection ([Chicago:] s.n., 1952), p. 27.
  2. Erroll F. Rhodes, An Annotated List of Armenian New Testament Manuscripts, Annual Report of Theology 1 (1959), pp. 134-135 (1041).
  3. 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. 50.
  4. Avedis K. Sanjian, A catalogue of medieval Armenian manuscripts in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pp. 243-247.
  5. 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. 165-166 (cat. 26).