Gospel of John


Alexandria, Patriarchal Library, Cod. 56 (olim 81; 949; 74)

Athina Almpani, MIET 2018 , A & B

General Information

Title: St. John's Gospel in majuscule

Former Shelfmarks: Cod. 56 (olim 81; 949; 74)

Material: Parchment

Date of Origin: 9th century (probably at the end of the 9th century)

Script, Hands:

The text is written in a majuscule script.

General Remarks:

  • Probably the folios were part of an Evangelistarion (Evangelistary or Lectionary).
  • Notes in minuscule in the same handwriting.

Original Condition

Number of Lines: 17 – 18

Number of Columns: 2

Numbering (pages, folios, etc.):

Folios: A & B

More about the Condition:

The parchment flyleaves provide the text of St. John's Gospel which is laid out in two columns of 17-18 lines (A: 18/17/18/18 B: 17/18/18/18).

Book Decoration


Decorated initials


  • Content Item
    • Persons: John the Apostle, Saint
    • Text Language: Ancient Greek
    • Title: St. John's Gospel
    • Content Description:

      The two parchment flyleaves are between two paper ones (before and after). The paper flyleaves are blank, without text or notes.

      The parchment folios contain parts of the Gospel of John:

      f. Ar: Gospel of John 6:42-44, 48-51

      f. Av: John 6:51-54, at the end of the second column: John: 15:17

      f. Br: John 15:17-22

      f. Bv: John 15:22-16:1

      • We suppose that the fragmentary folios are originally belonged to a Gospel Lectionary (Evangelistarion).
      • The marginal notes between the pericopes of the Gospel and the existence of neumes indicate that the MS was in use, among the Scripture readings, following the cycle of the ecclesiastical year.
      • The Evangelion is divided into four cycles of readings. The Gospel of St. John is read from Pascha until Pentecost Sunday.  
    • PLA_56_f_Ar
    • Musical Notation: Neumes
    • Remarks:
      1. Some standard abbreviations and phonetic symbols are legible throughout the text.
      2. The host volume is also a liturgical book (Evangelistarion or Evangelistary) which provides Gospels readings for the same ecclesiastical period. So, we suppose that the binder added these parchment flyleaves at the beginning of the Codex because these folios are in relation to the content of the main MS.
      3. In addition, we encounter three paper strips [f. Ar, f. Bv, verso of the 2nd (front) blank paper leaf]. The paper strips are attached (potentially glued) to the hinge (joint), probably to reinforce it. These strips derive from one or more MSS, at a later date, containing mainly numerical symbols and are positioned upside down to the fragment.
  • Content Item
    • Text Language: Greek
    • Title: A financial record from 1804
    • Content Description:
      • After the numbered f. 147/148, there is a leaf in situ (back) pastedown which is positioned horizontally.
      • It provides a record of financial interest. The date (5 May 1804) and the origin (Egypt) of the record is written by the scribe.
    • PLA_56_f_149r_paper_in_situ_pastedown

Host Volume

Title: Evangelistarion (Evangelistary) Type: Sat+Sun+Easter-Pent Weekdays

Date of Origin/Publication: 12th century

Shelfmark: Cod. 56 (olim 81; 949; 74)


  1. Cod. 56 consists of : B + 146/147/148 folios (various foliations).
  2. The main MS looks like it ends at the recto side of the folio 146/147 (two legible numberings). At the verso side of the same folio, there is a pericope of Luke᾽s Gospel (Just a theological text fragment at the end of a MS). The text is written by a later hand, who probably added the relative -with the content of the main MS- text on the (previous) blank verso side of the folio. 
  3. Then, we encounter a blank paper flyleaf (numbering f. 147/148) and a paper strip attached to the hinge (joint), probably to reinforce it.
  4. After the numbered f. 147/148, there is a leaf, providing a record of financial interest, in situ pastedown horizontally (second fragment item above).