Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Heirmologion and other musical texts

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript contains a <i>Heirmologion and other musical texts</i> and was probably copied around 1400. The Heirmologion is a liturgical book containing hymns for the morning service (Orthros or Matins), organised into series known as canons, each made up of a sequence of inidividual odes. It is followed here by a Papadike, a manual of musical instruction, and then by a selection of other hymns and Psalms. Among these are a few prose texts, primarily a narrative of the transfer of the body of John Chrysostom from its initial place of burial in Comana to Constantinople.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>As indicated by a note on <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(11);return false;'>f. ii recto</a>, the manuscript was brought to England by Nathanael Konopios (1610-c. 1652), who had served as protosynkellos (chaplain) to the Patriarch of Constantinople Cyril Loukaris (1572-1638), an office whose holder was a senior advisor to the Patriarch and often became his successor. Loukaris had sought to build alliances with Protestant churches, being attracted by Calvinist theology and perturbed by Catholic efforts to convert the Orthodox, encouraging him to seek a united front with the Protestants. These initiatives included seeking theological instruction for Greek clerics at Oxford with the help of the see of Canterbury. His controversial and turbulent patriarchate ended with his execution in 1638 on the orders of the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV (1612-1640), for allegedly inciting Cossack raids against Ottoman territory.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>As a result of this, Konopios sought refuge in England, and was admitted to Balliol College, Oxford in 1639, with the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud (1573-1645). Konopios remained in Oxford through most of the English Civil War, during which it served as the Royalist headquarters, but left for Leyden in 1645 as the Royalist position crumbled. He later returned to Oxford as chaplain at Christ Church, but in 1648 he was expelled from his position by parliamentary commissioners, owing to his Royalist connections. He then took up office as Metropolitan of Smyrna. (William B. Patterson, <i>James VI and I and the Reunion of Christendom</i> (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 206-209)</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The note records the manuscript's donation by Konopios as a gift to the pioneering physician William Harvey (1578-1657). Harvey served as personal physician to King Charles I (1600-1649) and consequently spent the Civil War in Oxford, where he was also appointed to a university post. After the war, Harvey returned to London, so it was presumably at some time in 1642-1645, when the two men were both living in Oxford, that Konopios gave him the manuscript. Konopios describes Harvey as "τῷ ἐμῷ προθυμοτάτῳ εὐεργέτῃ", "my most devoted benefactor", so the gift may well have been given as recompense for favours Harvey had done for him, perhaps using his influence as a person close to the king.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>


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