240mm x 333mm

It is an excerpt from the Gospel of St. John. It begins with verse 23 of chapter 17 and ends, on the reverse, with verse 8 of chapter 18.

Written in erkatagir in two columns of 19 lines each, the area of the inscription is 245mm x 155mm.

Note that at 17mm from the left edge of the page we can notice 19 vertical punctures (more prominent towards the top), designed to mark up the 19 lines. The middle of the page is marked by a dot on the border.

At the end of some lines, one or two spaced letters indicate the justification of the columns. The rounded script of erkatagir dates back to the second half of the 11th century. The letters are 5-6mm, the initial capital letters of the verses are 15 mm. The text includes punctuation and intonation marks. The dark brown ink is lighter in some places. The title “Y[isu]S” [Jesus] is in abbreviated form and highlighted with an abbreviation mark. The nomina sacra as well as the first line of chapter 18 on the obverse are all written in gold ink. Section marks in written numbers are seen in the outer and inner margins and in between columns. The section headings of the canons are in the lower margins.

According to the ancient rubric of Armenian manuscripts, chapter 18 (facing) begins with the verse, “Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place.” (now John 18:2). (now Jn 18:2), marked with the ornate initial “G” [the third letter of Armenian alphabet] and the use of gold ink for the first line. After the changing of rubric in the thirteenth century, this verse became the second of chapter 18.

The ornamented initial “G” (height 77mm) is formed by a narrow stem that widens into triangles at the ends. Blue, red and darkened green crucibles, complemented by gold, are intertwined with each other. In contrast, on the outer margin, a gold cross composed of alternating rhombuses and spheres rests on a base composed of two elements, rounded and triangular at the base. Both are decorated with motifs dominated by bright blues and reds accentuated by gold.

Edda Vardanyan