University of Chicago Library, Goodspeed Manuscript Collection Ms. 996, New Testament. Gospels (Hayrapet Gospels). Armenia? 17th century.


Four gospels in Armenian. Section numbers in the margins against the text. Concordance numbers in lower margins. Pentecostal section numbers. Formerly Goodspeed Ms. Arm. 53.

  1. fols. 19v-20r Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. 260-ca. 340), letter to Carpianus, on the gospel canons.
    Note: Blank (fols. 2r-2v, 3r, 4v-5r, 6v-7r, 8v-9r, 10v-11r, 12v-13r, 14v-15r, 16v-17r, 18v-19r).
  2. fols. 21v-28r Canon tables I-X.
    Note: Blank (fols. 20v-21r, 22v-23r, 24v-25r, 26v-27r, 28v).
  3. fols. 29r-32r Index, concordance, and preface of Matthew.
  4. fols. 33r-111r Matthew.
  5. fols. 111v-113r Index and preface of Mark.
  6. fols. 114r-161v Mark.
  7. fols. 162r-164r Index and preface of Luke.
  8. fols. 165r-242r Luke.
  9. fols. 242v-244r Index and preface of John.
  10. fols. 245r-303r John.
  11. fols. 306v-307r
    Colophon: Hayrapet (undated).
    Note: Blank (fols. 306r).


20 full-page miniatures containing portraits of the Evangelists, and depictions of events drawn primarily from the cycles of Christ's infancy, miracles, and Passion.

Marginal miniatures: Matthew (32); Mark (18); Luke (21); John (12). Examples include: Adoration of the Magi (fol. 35r); Miracle of stilling the storm (fol. 124r); and Annunciation to the shepherds (fol. 170v). Marginal vignettes of arabesques, birds, floral designs, and medallions.


  1. fol. 3vVirgin Mary: Annunciation. Virgin Mary stands at right, hand raised; angel, at left, holds lily; buildings, in background.
  2. fol. 4rMagi: Adoration. Virgin Mary, seated at left, holds Christ Child; three magi kneel at right, hold gifts; Joseph stands behind Mary; buildings, in background.
  3. fol. 5vChrist: Presentation. Simeon, at right, holds Christ Child over altar; Virgin Mary at left with Joseph with two doves as an offering.
  4. fol. 6rChrist: Baptism. John the Baptist on riverbank at left, baptizes Christ, standing in river; dove of Holy Spirit descends from above; three angels on bank, at right.
  5. fol. 7vChrist: Transfiguration. Christ, at center on mountain, within star-filled mandorla; Elijah at left, Moses to the right; disciples Peter, James, and John in foreground below.
  6. fol. 8rChrist: Miracle of raising Lazarus. Christ stands at left, disciples behind him; Lazarus exits tomb at right wrapped in a shroud; sisters Mary and Martha kneel at Christ's feet, center foreground; witnesses, in background.
  7. fol. 9vChrist: Entry into Jerusalem. Christ, at center, seated on donkey; disciples stand behind him, at left; robes laid out on road before him; boy holds palm branch, at right; people watch entry from Jerusalem's walls, background right.
  8. fol. 10rChrist: Last Supper. Christ, at center, seated at table, a sleeping disciple to his left, other disciples on either side; table set with wine jars, drinking vessels, footed compote, and loaves of bread; buildings, in background.
  9. fol. 11vChrist: Washing of feet. Peter, at center, seated on bench, points to head; Christ kneels at left, places Peter's feet in basin; other disciples wait at right; water jug, in foreground.
  10. fol. 12rChrist: Betrayal. Flanked by soldiers, Judas faces Christ, at center, places hand on his shoulder; Peter cuts off ear of high priest's servant, foreground right.
  11. fol. 13vChrist: Arrest. Christ, at center, hands tied, and led by solider; escort of soldiers armed with spears, at left.
  12. fol. 14rChrist: Crucifixion. Christ crucified on cross, at center; Virgin Mary (left) and apostle John (right) at foot of cross; skull on mound below cross; sun and moon above cross-arms.
  13. fol. 15vChrist: Resurrection. Christ emerges from tomb, upper center, encircled by cloud, holds banner emblazoned with red cross; three sleeping soldiers armed with spears, lower left and foreground.
  14. fol. 16rChrist: Ascension. Christ seated within mandorla, ascends to heaven flanked by angels; Virgin Mary and witnesses stand below scene, gaze skyward.
  15. fol. 17vPentecost. Dove of Holy Spirit descends on 13 apostles (includes Paul); Kosmos appears below as a crowned elder in liturgical dress. He represents all people to whom the apostles will preach.
  16. fol. 18rChrist: Second Coming. Christ, upper center, within mandorla, the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist on either side; apostles seated on either side. Christ: Last Judgment. Empty throne, at mid-center, flanked by saints; Archangel Michael, below throne, carries a spear in right hand with which he captures a damned soul, holds balance in left hand; Peter oversees gates of heaven, lower left, allows Elect to enter; mouth of Hell swallows Damned, lower right.
  17. fols. 19v-20rEusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, Palestine: Portrait. Facing images of Eusebius, each holding the end of an open scroll.
  18. fol. 32vEvangelist, Matthew: Portrait. Matthew reading, seated in low-backed chair; buildings, in background.
  19. fol. 113vEvangelist, Mark: Portrait. Mark reading, seated in low-backed chair; buildings, in background.
  20. fol. 164vEvangelist, Luke: Portrait. Luke reading, seated in low-backed chair; buildings, in background.
  21. fol. 244vEvangelist, John: Portrait. John reading, seated on bench in cave.

Canon Tables

Citations of concordant gospel sections are framed by architectural columns. These support headpieces of multi-colored floral, foliate, and geometric designs upon which a variety of birds, apes, and lions stand.


Headpieces of multi-colored floral and foliate motifs at each gospel's opening (fols. 33r, 114r, 165r, 245r).


The major initial of each gospel's opening is formed by an Evangelist symbol: Matthew (angel, 30 mm), Mark (lion, 27 mm), Luke (ox, 51 mm), and John (eagle, 85 mm). Minor initials are formed by figures of birds or flowers.

Physical Description


Parchment. 159 x 115 mm.

Number of Leaves

307 leaves, of which 3 are flyleaves.


2 (foliated parchment flyleaves) + 304 + 1 (foliated parchment flyleaf). Modern foliation in Arabic numerals in pencil 1-307.


23 numbered quires.


Written space 105 x 70 mm (fol. 65r). Each column is 105 x 30 mm with a space of 10 mm between.


2 columns, 21 to 22 lines. Ruling with hard point.


Written chiefly in small bolorgir script in black ink. The first line of John's gospel is inscribed in ornate capitals, those of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are written in bird letters.

Text Divisions

Titles in red.


Grease and dirt stains. Damage to binding consists of a lost spine, worn and peeling leather (front and back), and a broken board (front cover, bottom).

Binding Description

Bound in dark brown leather over boards. Nail holes and two metal pins present. Leather strap closures lost. Fore-edge flap. Doublures of blue linen.

Repeat blind tooled pattern of diamonds, each with narrow rectilinear frames and rosettes at main points. Central cross with floriated arms. Marginal border of rosettes. Back cover and fore-edge flap tooled in similar diamond and rosette pattern.



The manuscript is judged to have been written and illuminated in the 17th century, possibly in Armenia. Commissioned by the mahdasi Hayrapet, son of Shōřōt‛c‛i Xōjēnc‛ Mak(r)tich‛ and Margarit (his colophon, fols. 306v-307r.


Hayrapet presented the manuscript at an unknown date to the Church of St. John the Baptist (Surb Karapet) at Ernjak, the present-day village of Alinja in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

In the early 19th century, belonged to Ōvanēs, son of Ghazar, who offered the manuscript to the Monastery of St. John the Baptist (his inscription, dated January 1806, fol. 305v). Undated inscription (fol. 303v). Verses of Matthew 21:1-13 and 21:13-28 (front and back flyleaves).


Acquired by the University of Chicago from H. P. Kraus (New York), November 1945.


  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. 134 (1040).
  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. 67.
  4. Avedis K. Sanjian, A catalogue of medieval Armenian manuscripts in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pp. 239-243.
  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. 164-165 (cat. 25).