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Hellenic Institute receives generous grant to catalogue Greek manuscripts

Posted on 20/03/2012
Saint Luke seated writing his Gospel Lambeth Palace Library

Saint Luke seated writing his Gospel. Lambeth Palace Library, Gospel Book, MS 1176, p. 206. Courtesy of Lambeth Palace Library

A major research grant of £121,000 has been awarded by the A.G. Leventis Foundation to the Hellenic Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London for the cataloguing and study of the Greek Manuscript Collection of Lambeth Palace Library.

The project is part of a close ongoing collaboration between Lambeth Palace Library (LPL) and the Hellenic Institute that dates back to 2003, which has seen MA and research students conducting studies in Greek Palaeography where they examine original Greek manuscripts as part of their training.

The collection consists of 53 Greek codices acquired by LPL since its founding as a public library in 1610, including those donated in 2006 by Sion College, an institution for clergy founded in the City of London in the late 1620s.

Dated between the tenth and seventeenth centuries, the manuscripts contain various texts ranging from Gospel Books, Lectionaries, commentaries on the Bible and theological treatises to historical and literary works, including classical and post-Byzantine authors.

An exhibition of the collection was co-organised by LPL and the Hellenic Institute in August 2006 on the occasion of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies in London. The exhibition was accompanied by the first complete inventory of the collection, compiled by a team of graduate students of the Hellenic Institute under the guidance of the late Julian Chrysostomides and Dr Charalambos Dendrinos with the support of the late Professor John Barron and Mrs Clare Brown.

The current project, a continuation of this collaboration, will produce an analytical catalogue to be published in downloadable PDF format on the websites of LPL and of the Hellenic Institute, which will enhance the accessibility of, and interest in, this important collection worldwide. The research, to be conducted by Dr Christopher Wright and Miss Maria Argyrou under the guidance of Dr Charalambos Dendrinos, all from the Department of History at Royal Holloway, will cast further light on the relations between the Anglican Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchates between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries, a period of major political and ecclesiastical changes in Europe and the Middle East.

Dr Dendrinos said: “This two-year project is part of the strategic plan for the expansion of the Hellenic Institute’s research activities, and we are deeply grateful to the A. G. Leventis Foundation for this generous grant and their continued and generous support in our efforts to promote the study of Anglo-Hellenic Relations in our College and the University of London.”

He added: “We would also like to express our deepest thanks to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams for His kind permission to study the LPL Greek Manuscript Collection, and the LPL Librarian and Archivist Dr Giles Mandelbrote and Mrs Clare Brown, LPL Assistant Archivist for their co-operation and support”.


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