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tc-list Mt. Athos, Mone Iberwn mss Catalogue publication

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  • Isidoros
    What thesauroi may be found yet in the bibliothekai of Mt. Athos, the Agion Oros of Christian monastic Orthodoxy (as in the other Orthodox - and in the
    Message 1 of 1 , May 18, 1998
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      What thesauroi may be found yet in the bibliothekai of Mt. Athos, the
      "Agion Oros" of Christian monastic Orthodoxy (as in the other Orthodox
      - and in the "unorthodox" - monastic despotates of the ANE) is anybody's
      guess. But the work, which (re)started quietly several years ago, of
      publishing Athos mss' catalogues, with the "Iera Monh Ibhrwn" to go
      "on line" first, is noteworthy, and maybe ought to be made better known
      to the scholarly community, and be academically supported. The Athos
      autographs are known to start from about the 10th century, and their
      impressive collection of copies go down well into the classical period.
      Some we know about them; most are essentially unknown.

      This was intended to be a report to several Lists I subscribe (paying dues)
      on occasion of publication of the first of a planned series of 13 volumes
      for a "Greek Manuscripts Catalogue" of the collection of MONE IBERWN
      (or IVERON, to use different transliteration schemata) a volume that was
      produced two months ago, and of which I have seen not any notice outside
      of Greece. It is a report compiled after reading some newspaper articles
      and after talking with people involved here in this field. Though of
      obvious importance to the biblical scholar, the interest for classicists
      may be as great, as there may be some missing works to be found here
      yet, "patches" and "links" to the largely lost Hellenic cosmos.

      The "intended," above, refers to the fact that hours ago, and after
      procrastinating in gathering info for this notice, I learned that an Internet
      site on "Mone Iveron" publication (being its own publisher...) with much
      info and with ordering instructions for the volume, has been recently
      made available recently through Greece's Nat. Telecom. OTENet server.
      So, after having just read what's on it, I herewith inform the reader as
      well of this URL, adding, that though there is considerable overlapping
      betwwen what follows and what is on that server (with the server
      info coming obviously from the "horse's mouth," as, also, some of the
      elements I below) what may be extra in our "yours truly" effort is to
      put maybe a few things in perspective and, importantly, to point out also
      that, the phone and fax numbers to Monh Ibhrwn I provide (below)
      work (!) in getting through to the "men with the book" (I know.)
      Here is the URL:


      "Cataloguing Athos" has been a dream-plan that has been slowly and over
      many years coming into being, but the particular project of cataloguing
      Monh Ibhrwn may be taking the effort up to another level, one that may
      well open the way to the production of possibly faster and certainly
      authoritative editions. Over several centuries, but especially in the
      last one hundred or so years, rudimentary (for the most part) catalogues
      have been hand-written for about two-thirds of Athos' 16.000 (plus)
      Greek mss. Spyridwn Lamprou, with his students, catalogued over
      6.500 of them at the turn of the century. In addition to the Monh Ibhrwn
      project, similar efforts have been taken up in the last few years at
      the Monai VATOPEDIOU (with over 2.000 mss) and at PHILOTHEOU, while
      consideration to the matter is given by the MONH MEGISTHS LAVRAS,
      which holds over 3.000 manuscripts.

      The 2.100+ Greek mss of Monh Ibhrwn (where there is also a large
      number of "Iberian" (Georgian), Russian and other language texts,
      as, too, a major collection of musical compositions) are being studied by
      a team of Greek papyrological and palaeographical experts, mostly from
      the Universities of Thessalonikh, Athena and Ioannina (names on the URL.)

      With the willing assent and assistance of younger and more progressive
      monastery heads, and with the collaboration of educated young monachs,
      this anyway major project (funded, initially, by the EU, with Greek gov.
      assistance, and with private donations following) is utilizing expert
      scientific knowledge and using state-of-the-art electronic equipment.
      Thus, the manuscripts of Monh Ibhrwn are being codified in accordance
      with the most modern scholarly standards, and in full detail; giving
      page dimensions, number of pages, type of script, probable dates,
      description of material, type of ink, description of decorations, and
      with, in many cases, sample photographs. And, importantly, with
      references to the known critical editions of the work under study,
      if there be any.

      To complete the study for the full series of the Ibhrwn Catalogue will
      likely take another ten years. The first volume (particularly slow in its
      production, for was used as a prototypical model for the volumes to
      follow) included just 100 mss! And not only will it take time, but will
      require, too, considerable monies, not the least of which is the cost
      of expensive paper publications, a cost that could have been largely
      maybe avoided, had the editions been confined to the modern electronic
      media and means - this might be an only criticism, though there are
      may be various valid reasons for the book format.

      Anyway, in trying to realize what the significance might be of what could
      be put out yet (something I have a hard time doing) it is said that, while
      the Greek mss of Mt. Athos constitute about the one fifth of the Greek
      mss in the world (kept in the eleven Monai and the about two dozen
      "sketai," of the Mountain, they may be likely, as a "collection," the
      least studied. The Athos mss have been sitting on shelves essentially
      dormant for eons; and even if "catalogued" for essentially internal
      accounting purposes, or if examined some by visiting Greek theologians
      and philologues (and more rarely by university level academics) the vast
      majority of them are unknown by, and to, critical scholarship. There,
      in addition to the Byzantine period theological texts, the hagiographiai and
      the hymnological poetic works and musical compositions, the collection
      includes patristic period type texts, as also biblical and classical Greek
      mss copies.

      The world biblical and classical scholars may have a "Mountain" of a
      work yet ahead of them - and some happy surprises likely in store.
      Athos monachs, known for the "out of this wordl" hymns they sing,
      in those magically transporting "orthros" monastery services, as, too,
      for the "(w)holistic" meals they provide generously the visitor (and
      for the fine wine!) could probably use some help here. For it is certain
      that the Monai would welcome serious, expert university scholarly
      interest nowadays, as also coming outside of Greece; and not only
      because the experts in Greece are relatively few and with limited time
      and resources, but also because Athos is international in its community
      make up, and as the status and spirit of "Athos"--a self governing
      legally independent (of Greece) entity (in status of similar standing to
      that of the Vatican) is ecumenical.

      ***** Contact and ordering information:

      The Monh Ibhrwn "Catalogos Ellhnikwn Xeirografwn" (Catalogue of Greek
      Manuscripts), (v.1) (not to be found (yet?) anywhere for purchase but
      is available only through the Mone Iveron offices.

      Its price in Greece is 11.000 drachmae, though I understand that the price
      for shipping abroad is considerable higher (see URL, or ask them).

      Here are some useful addresses and telephone numbers:

      IERA MONH IBHRWN Tel: -30 (Gr.) -377 (Mt. Athos) -23645 or -6
      KARYES, AGION OROS Fax: " " " " -23248
      63086 HELLAS

      and, for

      The "Holy Community" of Agion Oros, through which information may be
      sought for the other Monai:

      IERA KOINOTHTA Tel: -30 (Gr.) -377 (Mt. Athos) -23712 or -3
      63086 HELLAS

      I should add that, any order made through the above (URL) site is
      forwarded to the Monh by more conventional means, as they do not
      as yet have Internet access (the problem may be with the old lines
      still used there) so one might, anyway, better fax or write directly.

      Best regards,

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