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Sidney Sussex College : Canons of Church Councils and synods

Sidney Sussex College

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript, probably produced in western Europe in the 16th century, is largely composed of the <i>Canons of Church Councils and synods</i>. It includes the so-called Apostolic Canons, the decrees of the seven Ecumenical Councils, and those of a number of other early synods, mostly held in the 4th century and belonging to a standard set of provincial synods. These are prefaced by an excerpt from the popular canon law compilation of the 14th-century monk and theologian Matthaios Blastares. That collection was largely organised by topics in alphabetical order, but the portion included here is drawn from an introductory section summarising the history of ecclesiastical canons and synods.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript was elegantly copied by a single hand, in a western style imitating the letter-forms of early Greek printing. This is especially evident in the majuscule script used for most of the headings. The work of Blastares appears in the first quire of the manuscript, which is omitted from the sequence of leaf signatures used to order the remaining quires. This suggests that it was not part of the original plan of the manuscript, but was added not long after its completion, as it has been executed by the same scribe and decorated in the same style. It was presumably added to supply some historical context for the main content of the manuscript.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript has been bound together with a printed book, the Ecclesiastical History of the 5th-century theologian Theodoret of Cyrrhus, in which the early Councils of the Church also feature prominently.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>

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