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Nomina Sacra in the Kacmarcik Codex (Plus, The Digital Walters)

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  • Vox Verax
    The Kacmarcik Codex (named after Frank Kacmarcik, who owned it) is online at http://www.wdl.org/en/item/9916/ . A free downloadable PDF of the MS is available
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 7, 2012
      The Kacmarcik Codex (named after Frank Kacmarcik, who owned it) is online at
      http://www.wdl.org/en/item/9916/ . A free downloadable PDF of the MS is available there.

      It is a Euchologion, or Missal, made in 1344 at the desert monastery of St. Anthony in the Arabah; its exemplar was written in 1283 or 1284. Putting together the brief MS-profile at http://amirlatif92.blogspot.com/2012/06/kacmarcik-codex_26.html and some other online descriptions, it appears that this MS contains the Coptic liturgy for the eucharist, and a variety of formal prayers and rites, as represented by Greek texts of the liturgies of St. Basil, St. Gregory and St. Cyril. An Arabic translation accompanies the liturgies of St. Basil and St. Gregory but some texts of St. Gregory liturgy are not translated. The final benediction of St. Basil is also not translated. Occasionally the copyist wrote the liturgical responses of the Diakwn and the Congregation. This MS is important because it is the first manuscript to present the text of the prayers before the anaphora. It is also the first book that gives the Greek text of St. Cyril's liturgy.

      It's been studied at least a little bit. William F. Macomber published an article called "The Greek Text of the Mass and of the Coptic Anaphoras of Basil and Gregory in the Kacmarcik Codex" (or something like that) in the journal "Orientalia Christiana Periodica" in 1977, Vol. 43, Dec. 2, pages 308-334.

      At http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/cce/id/126/rec/5 there's a nice little introduction to the Anaphora of St. Cyril that is represented in the Kacmarcik Codex: it is, apparently, a somewhat refined form of the Anaphora of St. Mark. An English translation of something a lot like the Anaphora of St. Cyril that is in the Kacmarcik Codex can be found on pages 144-188 of Brightman's 1898 book "Liturgies Eastern and Western," titled, "The Liturgy of the Coptic Jacobites Including the Anaphora of St. Mark or St. Cyril."

      One mildly interesting feature of the Kacmarcik Codex is that on pages 226-229 there is an explanation-key for nomina sacra (including some which are not normally listed).

      (If you have time, I recommend exploring the World Digital Library site a bit. The Kiev Missal is there; the Drogo Sacramentary is there -- downloadable! -- the Heliand is there (again, downloadable!)and there's a link to the Freising Gospel Book (not the fragments, but a very nice Vulgate Gospels-codex, supplemented by bickles and trickles in the margins that are often accompanied by Greek readings; all very tantalizing! Anyone who has looked into Vaticanus' distigma should take a look at the very similar marks in the Freising Vulgate-Codex). And, most miraculous of all, the site features complete pages of text from an Armenian Gospels-MS, instead of just the Eusebian Canons, illustrations, and letters shaped like ducks!

      The Freising Gospels-Codex is at

      And now that I have mentioned that link, as well as one Armenian codex online (specifically, the Verin Noravank Gospels), I should probably mention that I found another one at The Digital Walters (i.e., a website under the auspices of the Walters Art Museum of Baltimore) -- and this one is relatively old, as Armenian Gospels-codices go: it can be found with a little digging at


      W. 522 = a minuscule Greek copy of the Gospels that has seen better days.
      W. 523 = a rather late-looking Greek copy of the Gospels.
      W. 524 = a minuscule Greek copy of the Gospels, very simply written; the titles are in hollow uncials. I haven't had a chance to look this over in detail but I suspect, just from the simplicity of it, that this MS has an above-average text.
      W. 527 = an Armenian copy of the Gospels produced in 966, which is relatively early for an Armenian Gospels-MS. After Mt., Mk., and Lk. (Jn. Is incomplete), there's a picture of two men, plus pheasants.
      W. 528 = a Greek Gospels MS.
      W. 530 = a Greek Gospels MS.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
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