Lemberg Gospels

Rps 8101 III - Biblioteka Narodowa (Warsaw, Poland)

Alternate Titles:

Lemberger Evangeliar, Das Lemberger Evangeliar, Skevra Evangeliar, Das Skevra Evangeliar

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Alternate Titles

Lemberger Evangeliar
Das Lemberger Evangeliar
Skevra Evangeliar
Das Skevra Evangeliar

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The Lemberg Gospels, also known as the Skevra Evangeliary, was produced in 1198/99 by the monk Grigor Skevratsi in Skevra Monastery at the behest of a priest named Stephanos. This is an incredible monument to early illumination in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia in modern south-east Turkey. It is believed to have spent most of its life in the Armenian Cathedral of Lemberg in modern Lviv Ukraine. After first remerging ca. 1910, it once again went missing after World War II before surfacing in the archives of Gnesen Cathedral in Poland. The codex was seized by Soviet forces in 1945/46 before being brought to Gnesen, Poland in 1985. The manuscript underwent restoration in Mainz’s Gutenberg Museum in 1993 after being properly identified by Günther Prinzing (b. 1943), Professor of Byzantine Studies at the Universität Mainz and was subsequently brought to Warsaw in 1997. The work is distinguished by both the quality and quantity of the illumination adorning the Armenian text. The four Gospels are prefaced by the letter of Eusebius (ca. 260 – ca. 340) in which the canon tables he designed are described. The canon tables are adorned with intricate and highly refined architectures, birds, plants, and more. The Gospels are preceded by a full-page miniature of each Evangelist and an incipit page with highly-stylized letters and figures in the margins, sometimes in the form of medallion miniatures. The main body of the Gospel texts are similarly adorned with rich marginalia and the entire manuscript was created using parchment from Cyprus – a fascinating tour of Eastern Christianity in the Middle Ages.

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