University of Chicago Library, Goodspeed Manuscript Collection Ms. 1040, New Testament. Gospels (Mik‛ayēl Gospels). Aleppo, Syria (Berea)? 15th century.


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. 52.

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

  1. fols. 2v-3r Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. 260-ca. 340), letter to Carpianus, on the gospel canons.
    Note: Blank (fols. 3v-4r).
  2. fols. 4v-9r Canon tables I-X.
    Note: Blank (fols. 5v-6r, 7v-8r, 9v-10r).
  3. fols. 10v-13r Preface, index, and concordance of Matthew.
    Note: Blank (fols. 13v-14r).
  4. fols. 15r-93r Matthew (ends at 15:35).
  5. fols. 93r-95r Preface and index of Mark.
  6. fols. 96r-145v Mark.
  7. fols. 146r-148v Preface and index of Luke.
  8. fols. 149r-225r Luke (begins at 1:9).
  9. fols. 225r-226v Preface and index of John.
  10. fols. 228r-288v John. Pericope: The Woman taken in Adultery (lacking).


3 full-page portraits of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and John (Luke lost). Marginal vignettes of birds and arabesques.


  1. fol. 14vEvangelist, Matthew: Portrait. Matthew writing, seated in high-backed chair; building in background.
    Note: Inscriptions (lower and left margins, the latter partially erased.).
  2. fol. 95vEvangelist, Mark: Portrait. Mark writing, seated in high-backed chair; building in background.
    Note: Prayer (lower margin).
  3. fol. 227vEvangelist, John: Portrait. John, reading, seated in high-backed chair; buildings in background.
    Note: Inscription (lower margin).

Canon Tables

Citations of concordant gospel sections are framed by architectural columns. These support headpieces of floral, geometric, and foliate designs on which animals (peacocks, lions, apes) stand. The copy of Eusebius's letter to Carpianus is similarly displayed (fols. 2v-3r).


Headpieces of multi-colored floral, geometric, and foliate design at the openings of three gospels (fols. 15r, 96r, 228r).


The major initial of each gospel's opening line is formed by an Evangelist symbol: Matthew (angel, 45 mm), Mark (lion, 40 mm), and John (eagle, 88 mm). Minor initials formed by figures of birds or flowers.

Physical Description


Parchment. 160 x 115 mm.

Number of Leaves

289 leaves, of which 2 are flyleaves.


1 (foliated parchment flyleaf) + 287 + 1 (foliated parchment flyleaf). Modern foliation in Arabic numerals in pencil 1-289 (lower margin). A second set of numbering (upper right margin) does not count the flyleaves.


34 numbered quires.


Written space 100 x 70 mm (fol. 25r). Each column is 100 x 30 mm with a space of 10 mm between.


2 columns, 22 lines. Ruling with hard point.


Written chiefly in bolorgir script in black ink. Matthew and John's first lines are inscribed in capitals embellished with beads and leaves. Mark's first line is of bird letters. The second line of Matthew and Mark, and second and third of John, are rendered in erkat’agir script.

Text Divisions

Titles in red and gold.


Upper margins trimmed. Several leaves loose. Faces repainted on portraits of Evangelists. Dirt and grease stains.

Binding Description

Bound in red-dyed leather over boards. Doublures of pink silk (back remaining).

Front cover: A cross mounted on a stepped platform, both filled with squares of strapwork. Floral tooled design surrounds the cross. Border of repeating strapwork squares. Back cover: Diagonal rows of stamped flowers within floral border. Spine covered with floral motifs.



Judged to have been written and illuminated before 1488 (Armenian Era 937), possibly in Berea, the present-day Aleppo, Syria. The manuscript was purchased in that city by the son of the Archpriest Mik‛ayēl (inscription, fol. 2r).


Late medieval to 20th century provenance unknown.

An undated inscription (fol. 2r) states that the manuscript was received by Grik‛or. Note attached to the remaining doublure.


Acquired by the University of Chicago from Haroutiun Hovaguimian of Zahlah, Lebanon, December 1950.


  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), p. 135 (1042).
  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. 68.
  4. Avedis K. Sanjian, A catalogue of medieval Armenian manuscripts in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pp. 247-250.
  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), p. 166 (cat. 27).