Checkerboard Menologies: Reassessing the Banica Gospel Calendar of Saints

Cynthia Vakareliyska, University of Oregon

The calendar of saints, or menology, to the Banica Gospel (W. Bulgaria, dated variously to the XIIIth and XIVth cen.) has been examined in several comparative studies of Bulgarian menologies (Hannick 1992, Koceva and Atanasov 1991, 1993; Koceva 1985), and is generally considered to be representative of the earliest Bulgarian menology tradition, which is based on the tenth-century menology to the Constantinople Typikon. The paper reexamines the composition and textual tradition of the Banica menology in light of new evidence from a sister manuscript which reveals that it is not as straightforward a document as previously assumed. Comparison of the Banica menology with the menology to the closely-related Curzon Gospel (W. Bulgaria, c. 1354) shows that the former is actually a checkerboard, in the sense that it was composed by interweaving listings from two different menologies representing distinctly different traditions: a short menology from the Constantinople tradition, which covers the more major feast days; and a full menology from a non-Constantinople tradition, which has been used as a supplement in order to cover the remaining calendar dates. The Constantinople listings are of particular interest because many of them are archaic and rare in Slavic menologies; the listings from the full menology are equally significant because they contain a number of entries from the Roman Catholic martyrology.

The Banica's Constantinople calendar entries for the more major days are shared by the Curzon menology, but the Curzon's listings for the other days of the year have been taken not from the Banica's supplemental antegraph, but from yet a third antegraph, which is not shared by any other manuscripts in a corpus of approximately 600 medieval Slavic and Greek calendars. The Banica's full menology antegraph, however, is shared by one other manuscript in the corpus, the full menology to a XIVth-century Bulgarian trephologion.

The paper will also discuss the ramifications of the Curzon/Banica comparison for our knowledge of the well-known XIVth-century Western Bulgarian menology to Apostol No. 882 (Cyril and Methodius National Library, Sofia). Until now it has been observed with regard to No. 882's menology only that it, like the the Banica's, is based on an early Constantinople tradition (Koceva and Atanasov 1991, 1993). The paper will show that in fact, No. 822's menology is based on an earlier, fuller antegraph of the entire Banica menology, which included some archaic Constantinople entries which are omitted in the Banica but preserved in the Curzon. The paper will also show that the antegraph for the Curzon/Banica (short menology) entries is shared by an eleventh-century Greek menology in the corpus. Finally, the paper will examine the light which the checkerboard nature of the Banica and Curzon menologies (and of No. 882) casts on our understanding of the process of textual transmission in medieval Bulgarian menologies, including the "skipping of species" (as in the Banica/882 case) in the use of menologies from manuscripts of one liturgical genre as antegraphs for menologies in manuscripts of another genre.


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Koceva, E. (1985), "Cerkovnye ustavy i izuchenie slavjanskix rukopisej X-XIV vv.: Predvaritel'nye zamechanija", Polata k"nigopis'naja 13: 44-49.

Koceva, E. and Atanasov, A. (1991), "Osobenosti v sudurzhanieto na Apostol No. 882 ot Narodnata Biblioteka "Sv.Sv. Kiril i Metodij" v Sofia", Kirilo-metodievski studii 8: 292-319.

_____, (1993), "Carigradskijat mesecoslov ot X vek i kalendari v bulgarski pismeni pametnici", in Buchvarov, M., Dogramadzhieva, E., and Nikolova, S., Xiljada i osemdeset godini ot smurtta na sv. Naum Oxridski, 214-241.