The Mount Athos Greek Manuscripts Catalog:
The Philotheou Monastery Project:
Papers on the History of the Monastery and its Manuscript Library
© Robert W. Allison
Lewiston, Maine, U.S.A.
Go directly to:
| Contents |
This section of the Philotheou Project WWW server contains information of a historical nature about the Monastery of Philotheou itself, and about the history of the manuscript library at Philotheou, that is, the collection and production of books at the Monastery and the Philotheite scribes and their work.
The existence of a monastic library which has been intact since 1141 and has suffered no major depredations or destructions provides scholars with the unusual opportunity to relate the library to the history of the internal life of the monastery --
A library intact is much more than the sum of its parts; it reveals patterns that are lost when the books are scattered. It reveals itself as an integral part of the life and history of the monastery as a whole. These patterns and this history, in turn, provide a context essential to understanding and interpreting any manuscript in that library.
- the history of its spirituality
- the history and social constitution of its brotherhoods and of individual monks who lived the ascetical life there
- its role in civil and ecclesiastical politics
- its role in the history of Orthodox theology
- the ways it has used its wealth
- the impact of impoverishment and conquest.
The Library of Philotheou Monastery is particularly well suited to such a comprehensive study. Its relatively small size makes it possible to obtain an overview and to observe patterns which would be harder to find in some of the largest libraries on Mt. Athos. Its long, uninterrupted history means that it preserves volumes reflecting the different periods in the history of the Monastery itself. Philotheou therefore offers the conditions and materials for a case study in how the evidence preserved in the monastic manuscript library enables us to flesh out the skeletal history provided by archival documents.
The foundation for any study of a monastery's history, of the history of the library, or of the codices in it is chronology. This means determining
The papers here collected all contribute to this historiographical task, and are intended to complement the cataloging project.
- what books were being written in the monastery at any period in its history
- what books were in the library or came into it at different times in its history
- what were the backgrounds and connections and interests of the monks and patrons of the monastery, who at the various periods in its history wrote, illuminated, repaired, rebound, and purchased or otherwise acquired the books now in its library.
The material here presented is being developed for inclusion in the introduction to the Catalog of the Greek Manuscripts of Philotheou Monastery. Readers who follow the development of this site have the privilege of observing a project in process. The original versions of these studies have all been presented, over the duration of this project, at the meetings of the American Byzantine Studies Conference, at the International Byzantine Studies Congresses (Washington, D.C., 1986 and Moscow, 1991) and at various symposia identified in the prefaces of the papers here presented.
Because of the nature of this work -- it is a long-range project based on Summer expeditions which yearly yield new information as new manuscripts are added to the list of those previously cataloged -- the process of working out the history of this library has been a gradual one. Since the original presentation of these papers at the conferences and symposia mentioned above, they have all evolved with the introduction of new information from the cataloging project. Likewise, the picture presented here at any time of the Philotheite library itself and the analysis of the significance of individual books found in it are subject to change.
The World Wide Web is a natural medium for timely publication of research which is, inevitably, in the nature of a work in progress. Persons consulting these pages are advised to notice the date of issue and/or update at the ends of the various documents.
The World Wide Web is also a natural medium for interaction between the director of the project and those interested in it. Readers are encouraged to
- respond directly, using the Response Form accessible from all the documents here posted, or
- raise issues for wider discussion in the internet discussion group, BYZANS-L, which this project has adopted for this purpose.
| Return to Introduction |
The papers here listed are being converted for presentation on the World Wide Web, and will appear here during the course of the Fall of 1995. Copies of papers not yet converted may be obtained by contacting the author at the address at the end of this page.
- The Abbots of Philotheou -- An Annotated List
A presentation of the documentary evidence for the history of the Monastery, with quotation of pertinent sources and commentary related to the history of the Monastery and in particular to the history of its collection and production of books.
- The Fourteenth-Century Scriptorium at Philotheou Monastery. Paper delivered at the Byzantine Studies Conference, The University of Chicago, 1982
- The Fourteenth-Century Integrated Panegyrikon of Philotheou and Albert Ehrhard's Assessment of the Post-Metaphrastic Tradition. Paper delivered at the 17th International Byzantine Congress, Washington, D.C., August, 1986.
- The Sixteenth Century Scriptorium at Philotheou: The Scribes from Gallipoli. Paper delivered at the Byzantine Studies Conference, Duke University, 1983.
- The Sixteenth Century Scriptorium at Philotheou and the Athonite Resistance to Islamization. Paper delivered at the Byzantine Studies Conference, the University of Cincinnati, 1984.
- The Collection and Production of Books at Philotheou Monastery in the Byzantine Period. Paper delivered at the Dumbarton Oaks Symposium, Washington, D.C., 1987.
- The Acquisition of Manuscripts at Philotheou Monastery in the Byzantine Period. Paper delivered at the International Congress of Byzantine Studies, Moscow, August, 1991, updated from summer expeditions to the monastery in 1992 -1994.
- The Libraries of Athos: The Case of Philotheou. Paper delivered at the 28th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies: "Mount Athos and Byzantine Monasticism," The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, March, 1994.
| Return to Contents | Return to Introduction |
- | Philotheou Project Home Pg | Introduction to Historical Papers |
Created and © by Robert W. Allison
Dept. of Philosophy & Religion, Bates College
Lewiston, Maine 04240
Last Updated: April 18, 1996
Responses may be addressed electronically by e-mail to