Greek Manuscript Collection of Lambeth Palace Library Cataloguing Project
Lambeth Palace Library (LPL) is the historic library of the archbishops of Canterbury and the principal library and record office for the history of the Church of England. Founded as a public library by Archbishop Bancroft in 1610, its collection have been freely available for research ever since. Officially designated by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council as outstanding in national and international importance, the LPL Collection, which includes Western medieval and Byzantine manuscripts, focuses on ecclesiastical history.The Library forms part of the National Church Institutions and, as such, receives no public funding.
As part of an on-going collaborative programme which dates from 2003, University of London students attending Greek Palaeography courses and research students in Classical and Byzantine Studies have been visiting LPL at the invitation of the Librarians and Archivists Dr Richard Palmer and Giles Mandelbrote and the Archivist Mrs Clare Brown, to examine and study original Greek manuscripts as part of their training in Greek Palaeography and Codicology.
The Greek Manuscript Collection consists of fifty-five Greek codices acquired by LPL since its founding in 1610, including those received in 2006 from Sion College, an institution for clergy founded in the City of London in the late 1620s. Dated between the tenth and nineteenth centuries, these manuscripts include Gospel and Acts and Epistles Books and Lectionaries, an Octateuch with catena, patristic and other theological texts including works of John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nazianzus and John of Damascus, liturgical and hymnographic texts, classical texts by Aeschylus, Dionysios Periegetes, Pseudo-Aristotle, Plutarch, Lycophron and Demosthenes, chronographic and legal texts, post-Byzantine texts including an anonymous Chronicle in vernacular Greek and Damaskenos Stoudites, On Animals, and descriptions and collations of LPL manuscripts. Among the most important manuscripts is MS 461, containing a theological treatise on the procession of the Holy Spirit by George Scholarios (later Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Gennadios II), with his autograph signature, notes and corrections.
An exhibition of the Greek Manuscript Collection was organised jointly by LPL and the Hellenic Institute on the occasion of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies in London between 23-24 August 2006. The exhibition comprised the following sections: Doctrine; Liturgy and Spirituality; Byzantium, its Provinces and Neighbours; Before and after Byzantium; From Manuscript to Print. The last section, on Anglicanism and Orthodoxy, included printed books, documents and photographs illustrating the dialogue, past and present, between the two Churches. The exhibition catalogue included the first complete invenory of the LPL Greek Manuscript Collection.
Thanks to a generous grant (£121,000 over two years) awarded by The A. G. Leventis Foundation and with the support of LPL and Royal Holloway, University of London, a full descriptive catalogue of this important collection has now been compiled by Dr Christopher Wright and Ms Maria Argyrou under the supervision of Dr Dendrinos and the guidance and support of eminent scholars and technical advisors, member of the Project Board:
- Mrs Clare Brown, LPL Archivist - Internal LPL Advisor
- Dr Annaclara Cataldi Palau, Visiting Professor in Greek Palaeography, RHUL Hellenic Institute, History Department - Internal RHUL Advisor
- Dr Rachel Cosgrove, LPL Senior Archivist - Internal LPL Advisor
- Dr Charalambos Dendrinos, Senior Lecturer in Byzantine Literature and Greek Palaeography, Director, RHUL Hellenic Institute, History Department - Project Director
- Dr Pat Easterling, Emeritus Regius Professor of Greek, Cambridge University - External Advisor
- Giles Mandelbrote, LPL Librarian and Archivist - Chairman of the Project Board
- Revd Dr Joseph A. Munitiz, S.J., former Master of Campion Hall, Oxford University - External Advisor
- Professor Nicholas Pickwoad, Director of the Ligatus Research Centre, University of the Arts London - Internal LPL Advisor
- Philip Taylor, Honorary Research Associate, Hellenic Institute, History Department, former RHUL webmaster - Internal RHUL IT Advisor
A Descriptive Catalogue of the Greek Manuscript Collection of Lambeth Palace LIbrary was published online in Adobe PDF format on the websites of both LPL and the Hellenic Institute on 25 February 2016, thus further enhancing the accessibility of, and interest in, this collection among scholars and the public worldwide. The catalogue is accessible from the following URL :
linked from :
The Editorial Board would be very pleased to receive any comments, corrections, criticisms, and/or suggestions for possible improvements. These should be sent by e-mail to :
and will be acknowledged on receipt by a member of the Board.
It is hoped that the online publication of this catalogue will shed light on textual, palaeographical and codicological aspects of these important manuscripts which so far remain largely unexplored and will advance our knowledge on the relations between the Anglican Church and the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchates between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, a period of major political and ecclesiastical changes in Europe and the Middle East.
The Hellenic Institute would like to express its deepest thanks to the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and to his predecessor the Most Reverend Dr Rowan Williams, now Baron Williams of Oystermouth, for allowing us to pursue our research in the Greek collections of their Library; the LPL Librarian and Archivist Giles Mandelbrote and LPL Archivist Mrs Clare Brown and their staff for their support and co-operation; the Members of the Project Board for their advice and guidance; scholars who contributed with their expertise in specialised topics; and the A.G. Leventis Foundation for its generous grant and continued support towards the Institute's research activities for the promotion of Hellenic Studies in general and Anglo-Hellenic Relations in particular.
For further information on the LPL Greek Manuscript Collection and its Cataloguing Project please contact Dr Charalambos Dendrinos or Dr Christopher Wright.