Manusript Codices

The Athonite Monasteries had scriptoria (calligraphy workshops) in almost all periods from the time of Athanasios the Athonite, whose constitution (the "Typicon") makes provision for the post of calligrapher at the Monastery of Lavra. However, most collections of codices have suffered damages due to various reasons.

The first reason were the fires which have struck all the monasteries in Mt. Athos at one time or another. The second one were the raiders. The Turks frequently destroyed documents in order to profit from the gold or silver covers of the bindings. It is calculated that, in 1822, Turkish soldiers destroyed some 1000 parchment manuscripts to make cartridges.

The third reason was plundering by European collectors. There is no large library in Europe which does not contain Athonite manuscripts. According to a rough estimation there are 15,250 Greek manuscripts in Mt. Athos 800 of which are illustrated. Illustrated manuscripts date from the 10th century.

Many libraries in Mt. Athos contain imperial chrysobulls (imperial decrees with golden seals).

See also a selection of Mt. Athos manuscripts.

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