Saint-Johanner Codex

Saint-Johanner Codex ‚Äď Pytheas Books ‚Äď J√°nossomorja (J√°nossomorja, Hungary)

Hungary ‚ÄĒ 1809

From traditional prayers to ancestral recipes: a rare and ornate testimony to the Protestant German minority in 19th century Hungary

  1. This is a remarkable 19th century codex from the Protestant German minority of Hungary

  2. It has prayers and songs, records of important family events, secular tales, and even recipes

  3. It is considered to be the most beautifully decorated and precious example of its kind

Saint-Johanner Codex

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: ‚ā¨‚ā¨
(1,000‚ā¨ - 3,000‚ā¨)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Saint-Johanner Codex

The Saint-Johanner Codex is an important document of Protestant German heritage in J√°nossomorja, Hungary. Even about a hundred years ago, this book was still to be found in almost every Protestant German household, containing the prayers of the family. It can be considered as a 17th/18th century linguistic monument.

Saint-Johanner Codex

The Saint-Johanner Codex of J√°nossomorja, Hungary is a remarkable 19th century codex from the Protestant German minority of Hungary. It could already be a surprise for many people, specifically in the US, that there is a significant number of Protestants living in Hungary, not to mention the fact that many of them belong to German speaking minorities. I‚Äôm sure that people will also be surprised to hear that at the end of the 16th century, 80‚Äď90% of the inhabitants of historic Hungary were Protestant. Hungary was not alone in the region: Poland, now the most Catholic country in the area, was solidly Protestant as well. The written heritage of the German population of J√°nossomorja is part of the cultural heritage of the Moson region. The Saint-Johanner Codex is a very significant handwritten codex that was written for everyday use by families. Fathers would read from the book to the children and to the family on Sundays. It contains prayers and songs, notes referring to important events in the family, secular tales and even recipes. The prayer book that this codex was based on could still have been found in every Protestant German household about a hundred years ago. Its genre is closest to the so-called Biblia pauperum (‚ÄúPaupers‚Äô Bible‚ÄĚ) a tradition of picture Bibles from the later medieval period.

The writer and illustrator

The Saint-Johanner Codex is the work of Johann Anton Lang, it was written and illustrated in 1809, and is considered to be the most beautifully decorated and most precious example of its kind. The illustrations were created with paints mixed with egg white, which enables them to shine with very vivid colors. It was bounded in wood and leather and contains 569 pages decorated with 51 illustrations. The images are not only beautiful but tell a lot about the life of the people, their dress, and their day-to-day activities, raising the importance of the codex as a source of local history.


Alternative Titles
Sankt-Johanner Codex
Mosonszentjanosi Codex
Size / Format
624 pages / 30.0 √ó 23.0 cm
51 illustrations
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Saint-Johanner Codex ‚Äď Pytheas Books ‚Äď J√°nossomorja (J√°nossomorja, Hungary)
Pytheas Books ‚Äď Budapest, 1991
Detail Picture

Saint-Johanner Codex

Madonna and Child

Flanked by angels, framed by multicolored clouds, and having the radiant sun at their back, the common image of Madonna and Child has been adapted to depict them as a queen and prince. Both wear crowns and the Virgin Mary also wears a green and red brocade robe while holding a scepter in her hand. The concept of God as ruler of the world was often expressed by the image of Christ in Majesty, but this image establishes a royal lineage through Mary to King David according to the Gospel of Luke.

Saint-Johanner Codex ‚Äď Pytheas Books ‚Äď J√°nossomorja (J√°nossomorja, Hungary)
Single Page

Saint-Johanner Codex

Noah’s Ark

After forty days and nights of rain, God remembers Noah and all that were with him in the Ark, causing the rains to stop: “And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. (Gen 8:3-4)

Symbols related to the Great Flood are condensed in this image: the dove with an olive branch, the first sign of dry land, along with the rainbow that God sends as a sign of his new covenant with man and all living creatures. The receding waters are depicted draining from the mountain where the ark has come to rest, which is relatively small to make it look far away.

Saint-Johanner Codex ‚Äď Pytheas Books ‚Äď J√°nossomorja (J√°nossomorja, Hungary)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Sankt-Johanner Codex

Pytheas Books ‚Äď Budapest, 1991
Saint-Johanner Codex ‚Äď Pytheas Books ‚Äď J√°nossomorja (J√°nossomorja, Hungary)
Saint-Johanner Codex ‚Äď Pytheas Books ‚Äď J√°nossomorja (J√°nossomorja, Hungary) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Pytheas Books ‚Äď Budapest, 1991
Binding: Leather binding with copper clasp in leather covered box. All of the materials that are used for the binding of the book, including the glue, were already in use in the time of the original codex. The sheets are sewed on the ribs by hemp strings, the leather used is sheep or goat leather, the buckle straps are from the same kind of leather. The buckles are the work of a goldsmith and are made of copper. The book is the same size and has the same binding as the original codex and it is placed in a special box which is covered in leather as well.
Commentary: 1 volume by KaŐĀroly Manherz, Marietta Boross and Johann A. Lang
Languages: German, Hungarian
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.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: ‚ā¨‚ā¨
(1,000‚ā¨ - 3,000‚ā¨)
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