Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pontifical, St Gregory the Great, Walters Manuscript W.536, fol. 72v

This manuscript contains liturgical prayers for the use of a bishop. It is among the first known works of one of the most prominent Greek scribes of the Ottoman period, Metropolitan Matthew of Myra (fl. 1596-1624). (If the manuscript ever contained a note with his name, this is now lost, but the peculiar handwriting is clearly attributable to his hand.)

Saint Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome (590-604), is traditionally considered the author of the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, the text of which follows upon this miniature. He is portrayed here in episcopal vestments, holding a Gospel book in one hand and blessing the faithful with the other.

The scribe Matthew of Myra is known to have been in Moscow at the time when this manuscript was copied. Judging from its style, the miniature must be the work of a Russian icon painter.