Tsami Karatasou 5
Athina 117 42
On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, we will host two back-to-back lectures by Emmanuel Georgoudakis (Curator at the Philatelic and Postal Museum in Athens) and Dr. Nikos Kouremenos (Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fondazione per la Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII, Bologna). The talks will start at 18:00 h on the premises of the Norwegian Institute at Athens, Tsami Karatsou 5, 5th floor, Koukaki.
“A Copto-Arabic Codex at Iviron Monastery: A Trivial Text out of Context”
In the Copto-Arabic Codex of Iviron, a bilingual liturgical book containing the Psalmody of the month Kiakh (the period before the feast of Christmas), the variations of the Arabic text from the standard printed edition of Labib Bey (Cairo, 1908) seem to be more in the direction of the syntactic formulation of the sentences than the use of really different words. This means that a great part of variations comes out of the preference to construct a nominal sentence instead of a sentence with the verb or vice versa, but using the same verb root in both variations. There are of course phrases which vary more but they are not so often. Dialectal peculiarities have not been observed other than the usual, they are in a rather small number and rather phonological ones. Moreover, there are parts written only in the Coptic language without Arabic translation.
The Arabic text of the Ms does not give any real new information if not collated with other Ms, but the manuscript itself makes a difficult puzzle, because it belongs to the Library of a Greek Orthodox Monastery and not to a Middle Eastern one. So, the question comes up how and when did the manuscript land there. The preliminary hypothesis is that it belonged to some Greek Church Prelate or Higher Dignitary who had an interest for the Coptic Church, for reasons still unknown to us. Apart from the Coptic Manuscript, there is a copy of Athanasius Kircher Prodromus coptus sive aegyptiacus (1636), so this is a terminus post quem for the acquisition of the manuscript. If these two works came with the private library of some Greek Dignitary connected with Alexandria and the Monastery of Iviron, then Metrophanes Kritopoulos would be a very suitable candidate, since he has been Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and he was involved in the printing activity of the Greek Orthodox Church in Moldavia.
“Coptic Liturgical books in Bohairic dialect”
According to a standard and defuse definition, the term “Bohairic” designates the Coptic dialect formerly spoken in the northwestern Nile delta region including Alexandria and surviving up to date in liturgical use in the Coptic Church. The liturgical tradition of the Egyptian Church, although born in the Greek language, adopted already during the early period also the Coptic and later on the Arabic ones and was named after the metropolitan city of Alexandria as Alexandrian rite. The Christological controversies of the 5th century resulted in the formation of a local ecclesiastical community, separate from the Byzantine one. This community preferred during the 6th and 7th the Coptic as its liturgical language. Two main social groups which carried different liturgical tradition should be distinguished, namely the monks and the nuns with the monastic liturgical traditions and the secular Christians in the urban centers with the so-called cathedral liturgical tradition. The formation of the Coptic Liturgy with all its peculiarities and the various offices and books is influenced by the interaction between the monastic and the cathedral liturgical traditions. A brief description of the offices, the books, the manuscript traditions and the first attempts for printed versions with a particular focus on the Psalmody of the month Koiakh would be helpful to outline the rich liturgical heritage of the Coptic Church.