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Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Greek Catena on the Psalms

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript contains a <i>Greek Catena on the Psalms</i>, a compilation of extracts of commentary on the text, covering Psalms 74-150. It was copied in Alexandria in 1604, as indicated by a colophon on <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(920);return false;'>f. 452v</a>.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>A note on <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(11);return false;'>f. 1r</a> records that the manuscript was at one time the property of Metrophanes Kritopoulos (1589-1639), a monk of Mount Athos, who in about 1621 travelled to study at Oxford, presumably bringing this manuscript with him. He went at the instigation of the Patriarch of Constantinople Cyril Loukaris (1572-1638), who had been Patriarch of Alexandria until 1620. In the early 17th century Loukaris established a close relationship with the Anglican Church, as a result of his attraction to Calvinist theology and the wish for cooperation against Catholic encroachment. He was particularly concerned to bolster the intellectual means available to counter the arguments of Catholic missionaries, owing to the limited character of the education the Orthodox Church could now provide. Loukaris made arrangements with the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbot (1562-1633), to send Greek clerics to study at Oxford.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The first of these was Kritopoulos, who studied for a time at Balliol College, but fell out with Abbot and left England in 1623, having seemingly given away or sold this manuscript in the meantime. He would pursue his studies and contacts with Protestant churches in other parts of Europe for several years before returning home around 1630, soon being elevated to the post of Bishop of Memphis and later Patriarch of Alexandria.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript was afterwards found in the hands of the royal librarian Patrick Young (1584-1652), who may well have acquired it directly from Kritopoulos, along with another catena on the Psalms previously owned by Kritopoulos, now Cambridge, Trinity College MS O.3.15. He added and annotated on blank folios at the end of the manuscript (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(921);return false;'>ff. 453r-454r</a>) two brief introductory hypotheses to the Psalms by Eusebios of Caesarea.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>

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