Lemberg Gospels

Lemberg Gospels – Bernardinum Wydawnictwo – Rps 8101 III – Biblioteka Narodowa (Warsaw, Poland)

Monasteries of Mlidsch and Skevra, Lviv (Lemberg) (Ukraine) — 1198–1199

A fascinating example of Eastern Christianity in the Middle Ages: a richly illuminated Armenian manuscript with luminous golden miniatures

  1. This Gospel book was produced in 1198/99 by the monk Grigor Skevratsi in Skevra Monastery

  2. Commissioned by a priest named Stephanos, each Gospel is preceded by an Evangelist portrait and an incipit page

  3. After first remerging ca. 1910, it once again went missing after World War II, finally resurfacing in 1985

Lemberg Gospels

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Lemberg Gospels

This Gospel book is an incredible monument to early illumination in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia in modern southeast Turkey. Many Eastern Christian manuscripts were destroyed as the forces of Islam swept across the Middle East, most of which had been under the control of the Byzantine Empire, which makes this manuscript especially precious. After being lost for centuries, this rare 12th century specimen was first rediscovered in the 20th century and is further distinguished by its rich and varied décor

Lemberg Gospels

The Lemberg Gospels, also known as the Skevra Evangeliary, was produced in 1198/99 by the monk Grigor Skevratsi in Skevra Monastery at the behest of a priest named Stephanos. The work is distinguished by both the quality and quantity of the illumination adorning the Armenian text. The four Gospels are prefaced by the letter of Eusebius (ca. 260 – ca. 340) in which the canon tables he designed are described. The canon tables are adorned with intricate and highly refined architectures, birds, plants, and more. The Gospels are preceded by a full-page miniature of each Evangelist and an incipit page with highly-stylized letters and figures in the margins, sometimes in the form of medallion miniatures. The main body of the Gospel texts are similarly adorned with rich marginalia and the entire manuscript was created using parchment from Cyprus – a fascinating tour of Eastern Christianity in the Middle Ages.

A Turbulent History

It is believed to have spent most of its life in the Armenian Cathedral of Lemberg in modern Lviv Ukraine. After first remerging ca. 1910, it once again went missing after World War II before surfacing in the archives of Gnesen Cathedral in Poland. The codex was seized by Soviet forces in 1945/46 before being brought to Gnesen, Poland in 1985. The manuscript underwent restoration in Mainz’s Gutenberg Museum in 1993 after being properly identified by Günther Prinzing (b. 1943), Professor of Byzantine Studies at the Universität Mainz and was subsequently brought to Warsaw in 1997.


Alternative Titles
Lemberger Evangeliar
Skevra Evangeliar
Lviv Evangelary
Size / Format
426 pages / 28.9 × 21.5 cm
Armenian majuscule
A total of 53 illuminations, including 4 full-page portraits of evangelists and 2 further framed portraits; 7 splendidly illuminated canon tables; 4 incipit pages; 36 marginalia (19 of them figurative); gilt lettering and ornamental initials
A letter of Eusebios to Karpanos; canon tables; gospels; detailed colophons
Priest Stephanos
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Thoros Pernathents

Available facsimile editions:
Lemberg Gospels – Bernardinum Wydawnictwo – Rps 8101 III – Biblioteka Narodowa (Warsaw, Poland)
Bernardinum Wydawnictwo – Pelplin
Limited Edition: 6 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Skevra Evangeliar

Publisher: Bernardinum Wydawnictwo – Pelplin
Limited Edition: 6 copies
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€€ (7,000€ - 10,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!
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