“They made me a monk and called me Ignatios…”

This week I’ve started work on the microfilms from the Istanbul Patriarchate Library which were made during the Dumbarton Oaks-Andry expedition in the early 1960’s. The Patriarchate Library seems to have a prodigious collection of manuscripts containing works of John Chrysostom. It was at the beginning of one of these (Istanbul, Patriarchate Library, Panagia Kamariotissa, ms. 5, a tenth-century copy of some of Chrysostom’s exegetical texts on the New Testament) that I found a delightful illustrated note left by a monk called Ignatios from the early 17th century.



I am transcribing Ignatios’ note as diplomatically as I can because his Greek is very charming:

ἐν μηνή μαρτηω ἐν έτη ͵ζρκ

ἐγυρτα ὴς τω μοναστηρη

εγό ω γιοανάκης

κ(αὶ) με ἐκαμα καλώγερο

καὶ ωνομάσαση με

+ ιγνατήον μοναχόν+


In the month of March, in the year 1619,

I stood at the monastery

I, Ioannakis

and they made me a kalogeros

and called me Ignatios the monk.

The best thing about Ignatios’ note is probably the accompanying portrait in which a bearded man (a monk, likely) stretches out his left hand at the text. As Sarah pointed out, the hand also serves as a manicule. Ignatios (or perhaps someone else) did two little test drawings of a face and a hand. I think it’s not unfair to say that the faces turned out a little better than the hands. 🙂

See also Kouroupou and Géhin’s catalogue, vol. 1, pp. 73-4, for their very thorough entry on this ms.

My thanks to Elena, Deb and Sarah for their help.

8 Responses to ““They made me a monk and called me Ignatios…””

  1. Amazing and very interesting.

  2. ignatios, the finger puppet! And, further finger sketches down below.

  3. I am the Walrus: «ὁ Γιαννάκης εἶμαι, ὁ θαλάσσιος ἵππος!» Love it!

    In the second line, after the gamma, I think I see a little η on its side, and that he’s saying «ἦρθα εἰς τὸ μοναστήρι» but pronounces ἦθρα as ἦρτα (something not unprecedented) and also somehow feels that higher language requires an augment, so that ἦρτα becomes ἐγῆρτα. (The awkwardness or unsureness may even be what makes him pause there with that space.)

  4. On the left, we have – I think – :

    . εν μηνη μαρ
    . τηω

    but on the right :

    . ἐν μηνὴ μαρτίω

    And what about these two years, « ͵ζρκ » (right) and « ͵ζρκζ » (left) ?

    • I take it that he’s writing on about the seventh anniversary of his tonsure. “I matriculated in March of 7120 and thought I’d be done with art school in four years, but here it is 7127 and I’m still just a sophomore. …But, look how much progress I’ve made!”

  5. I like the suggestion of ῆρτα offered by Tzetzes. Can we even go a little farther? What do we do with the preceding ἐγ ?
    Did he want to say something like Ἐγὼ ἤρθα, but felt that something strange needed to be done with the omega-eta sequence and thus came up with a “hyper-corrected” ἐγ ῆρτα (the eta in this may be a upsilon—same sound, after all).

    Fingers are really difficult to draw.


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