About Codex Suprasliensis

The Memory of the World programme is aimed to preserve valuable documents and archives kept in library collections across the world. The UNESCO International Register was established in 1997 and features 158 documents. In 2007 the Codex Suprasliensis was inscribed on the Memory of the World Register as a collective documentary heritage submitted by Poland, Russia and Slovenia – the countries in which parts of the manuscript are kept today.

What is the Codex Suprasliensis?

The Codex Suprasliensis (called also the Retkov Sbornik) – Supr. – is the largest Old Bulgarian manuscript. As it survives today, the codex comprises 37 quires, 285 folia, 1о. The manuscript is written in straight uncial located above the line – a model of early Cyrillic handwriting. Obviously the work of a meticulous copyist, the codex was written on parchment in Cyrillic in Bulgaria (probably Preslav) at the end of the 10th century. The animal skin is well-processed and in places so thin that the letters on the opposite side of the parchment show through. The size of the sheets is 31 X 23 cm, and the text box 23 X 15 cm (one column). The costly, well-processed parchment indicates that the manuscript was written in times of plenty, with the generous support of church and state authorities.

Decoration of the codex

The individual texts (chapters) in the manuscript are designated with headpieces, text-dividers in smaller letters and large initials spanning several rows. The headpieces and the initials are executed in geometric-knotwork style with floral motifs (Джурова 1981). Juxtaposing the Codex Suprasliensis with a Greek manuscript from Ohrid (Inv. 44), A. Džurova finds both similarities and differences. For instance, the headpieces in the Codex Suprasliensis are executed in a different way, they have a more independent place and clearer function in the manuscript, and there are more floral motifs. Even the simplest ones end with palmettes or trefoils, just as in the products of the 10th-century Constantinopolitan workshops (Джурова 2008).

The initials form two groups, each one having two subgroups. The first subgroup of initials resembles the style that can be found in some early Glagolitic manuscripts. Their stems have simple lines and broader, asymmetrical lower sharp ends. The initials of the second subgroup have stems with an additional simple medial line and with a surrounding ring (sometimes of an angular form) in the middle. The stems have rounded ornaments at the lower end, and s-shaped volutes and palmettes. The second main group of initials is characterized by richer ornamentation and by stems filled up with strands of rectangular forms. Its first subgroup comprises letters with bows formed of semi-palmettes, and some other initials ornamented with vegetal motifs. The fourth subgroup includes initials with curved (mainly S-shaped) outlines. The variety of groups of initials reflect different stages in the development of manuscript decoration and show that the protographs of the Codex Suprasliensis were of various dates (Иванова-Мавродинова, Мавродинова 1983). The style of execution of the Codex Suprasliensis bears a resemblance to some 10th-century Preslav epigraphic works, such as the Inscription of Mostič the Ichirgu-Boil and the inscribed ceramic plates found in Preslav (Иванова 1955). The Codex’s decoration proves that Retko was both a skilled calligrapher and a gifted producer of books with a rich imagination, who managed to create numerous variants out of a basic design.

Copyists and orthography

From the very beginning of studies of the manuscript, scholars united around the notion that the texts initially compiling the miscellany were written in Glagolitic. In respect to orthography, Supr. is related to the manuscripts written in round Glagolitic (the Codex Zographenis and Glagolita Glocianus). Both these Glagolitic manuscripts and Supr. originate from a Northeast Bulgarian literary centre (probably Preslav). The entire voluminous codex was probably the work of only one main scribe. The appearance of a second and a third hand is limited only to several lines on f. 66r:30, f. 67r: 9–30, f. 109v:8–16. On these folia S. Sever’janov discovered a different orthography (Северьянов 1904), while A. Marguliés saw a third hand on f. 109v (Marguliés 1927). J. Zaimov and M. Capaldo confirmed the intervention of a second and third hand, just as this had been established by Marguliés – 2nd hand on f. 66r:30 and 67r: 9–20 and 3rd hand – f. 109v:8–16 (Заимов, Капалдо 1982). The main scribe Retko corrected the second and particularly the third hand. The manuscript features three letters for nasals – ѫ, ѧ and ꙙ and two for jers – ъ and ь. A specific characteristic of the codes is the use of a special additional letter for little jus ꙙ, which the main scribe uses after a consonant. The lines written by scribes ІІ and ІІІ have different orthographic peculiarities – only ь is used; unlike the rest of the manuscript, a little jus is used after a consonant; l-epentheticum is used inconsistently. Supr. features two Cyrillic orthographic norms – one is that of Retko and the other of the partly participating other scribes (Велчева 1980).

Contents of Codex Supraslienis

The codex contains hagiographic and martyrological works for the March section of the fixed feasts in the liturgical year. In Supr. 28 texts cover the days from March 3 to 31. The rest of the codex includes homilies intended for the moveable feast in the liturgical year relative to Easter. Twenty homilies in Supr. mark the feasts from Lazarus Saturday to the Sunday after Easter.

Missing folia

The beginning and the end of the codex are missing. A total of 48 texts are featured on 37 quires. The first folio of No.1, Vita of Paul and Juliana (4th March), have not been preserved. According to Sever’janov, one sheet of the text is missing (Северьянов 1904). Most probably the manuscript began with homilies for the days from March 1 to 3. Item No. 3, the Vita of Konon of Isauria, lacks two folia after f. 18. Folia are also missing after f. 78, which featured the end of No. 11, Vita of Sabinos, and the beginning of No. 12, Vita of Alexander, presbyter of Side. In this case the opinions about the missing sheets differ – Sever’janov thinks that one folio is missing (Северьянов 1904), while Marguliés thinks they are more (Marguliés 1927). Folia are missing between f. 84 and f. 85, which featured the end of No. 12, Vita of Alexander, presbyter of Side, and the beginning of No. 13, Story about the taxiotes; sheets between f. 86 and f. 87 are missing from No. 14, Vita of Paul the Simple; sheets are missing between f. 118 of Ljubljana’s part and f. 1 of Petersburg’s part, which featured the end of No. 19, Vita of Artemios, and the beginning of No. 20, Homily for Annunciation. A folio is missing between f. 150 and f. 151 in No. 48, Vita of St. Aninas the Wonderworker. The end of the manuscript has not been preserved either. The lack of readings for March 8, 27 and 28 (it is not due to missing folia from the manuscript) is explained with the Greek original from which translations were made (Капалдо 1980). Some of the lacking text (No. 14, No. 20, No. 48) can be reconstructed after a 16th century copy of Supr., Kiev. 117 (Aitzetmüller 1967, 1969, 1970, 1974).

Where was Codex Suprasliensis written?

One of the main issues discussed by scholars from the very beginning of research on Supr. was where the manuscript was written. In harmony with the Pannonian hypothesis he himself developed, Franc Miklošič (1851) thought that Supr. was written in Pannonia. According to Vatroslav Oblak, Supr. is a distinctive illustration of the new version of the translations from the age of Simeon, which was translated in Bulgaria, while the copy which survives to this day, in his opinion, was made north of the Danube, in Eastern Slovakia (Oblak 1893). According to the older hypothesis of V. Vondrák (Vondrák 1890, 1891 and Jagić 1914), later also upheld by Ilie Barbulescu (1937), Supr. was written north of the Danube, in Dacia, where Bulgarian, Slovak and Ukrainian specific linguistic features met. The circle of philologists from St. Petersubg, which the discoveries of Bobrowski initially reached, initially associated the manuscript with Western Slavs. The publication of Sever’janov (1904) and the comprehensive study of Marguliés (1927) refuted this thesis. A. Marguliés went even further in his attempt to localize the manuscript. According to him, Supr. was written somewhere in the region of Panagyurishte, around the year 1010. Recently, scholars have increasingly arrived at the conclusion that the miscellany was created in an East Bulgarian literary centre (probably Preslav) in the second half of the 10th century, during the reign of Tsar Peter (927–969) or not long after that.

When was Codex Suprasliensis written?

Initially, Michał Bobrowski thought the manuscript dated from the 13th century. A. Marguliés (1927) established that the translations of the individual readings originated in the first half of the 10th century, were made by Bulgarians and the texts were initially written in Glagolitic.

According to a number of scholars, Supr. was written in the beginning of the 11th century. Individual authors also assume a precise year: 1010 or 1014. Even Marguliés thought that paleographical features date the manuscript in the 10th century and was probably one of the first results of the transliteration of Glagolitic books (прѣложение кънигъ) (Marguliés 1927).

Recently, an increasing number of scholars tend to shift the dating of the manuscript towards the end of the 10th century (История 2009). The latest hypotheses give the year 953 as the probable one in which the manuscript was written (Кръстев, Бояджиев 2012).

The scribe of Codex Suprasliensis

The name of the scribe of Supr. has been preserved in a marginal note on f. 104r (page 207 in the edition of Zaimov and Capaldo), that reads: ретъко г҃и помілоуі ретъка амін (“Lord, have mercy on Retko. Amen!”). The name is of Bulgarian origin. It is a diminutive of Reto, and that respectively comes from Rato with a ra-re mutation/alternation which is encountered frequently in Supr. It is known as the first component of ancient Slavic names – Ратибор, Ративои, Ратимѣръ, Ратислав. It originates from the verb ратити “to fight”. Today the name of the Old Bulgarian writer, compiler and scribe of Supr. has been preserved in the personal name of Rata. It is also known from many geographical designations (Заимов, Капалдо 1982: 5). In spite of the sufficient space in the margin, the note is written vertically, one line featuring from two to three graphic signs/letters. In this way the marginal note marks the following part of the Vita of Isaakios of Dalmatos: памꙙть свꙙтꙑихъ творꙙ. добродръзостенъ. некоторичьнъ. безълобьнъ. безгнѣвьнъ. поучаливъ. въ кростости оучꙙ приходꙙштꙙѧ къ правѣи вѣрѣ. заповѣдаѧ и сьвѣдѣтельствоуѧ о вьсѣхъ. исповѣдати и славити. нераз'дѣлаѥмѫѭ и куп'носѫштѫѭ троицѫ. отьца и сына и свꙙтааго духа. ꙗко тѣмъ доброчьстънꙑимъ исповѣданиимъ. съпасениѥ чловѣчьско... “I honour the memory of the saints, courageous (bold in good), humble, without malice or anger, teaching humility to those who become associated with the right faith, bringing the word and preaching to all to profess and laud the Holy Trinity of one substance and essence, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, because in this true faith lies the salvation of mankind...” It could be assumed that the place of the marginal note was not chosen by chance and that in this way the scribe used the hagiographical text for his own identification (Панайотов 2002). On the basis of the analysis of the marginal note and the text of homily No. 16 it marks, V. Panayotov came to the conclusion that Codex Suprasliensis was edited by the writer Retko or an associate thereof in the spirit of Bogomil dualism. According to the author, frequent erasing and corrections created a text which is closer to the outlook of the Bulgarian heretics (Панайотов 2002). This view is not supported by the existing facts.

When and how did the manuscript reach the monastery in Supraśl?

Supr. left Bulgaria centuries before it became known to science. The fate of the monastery is part of the dramatic fate of Bulgarian manuscripts over the centuries. Most probably, it shared that of hundred of Bulgarian manuscripts which have been preserved on Mt. Tahos, in Russia, Serbia, Wallachia and Moldova. The lack of definitive evidence of the route taken by the manuscript to the monastery in Supraśl opens the door for various speculations. Kuju Kuev offers two hypotheses. The first opportunity is for the manuscript to have been taken north of the Danube, from where it later found its way to the monastery in Supraśl. The second version, which this scholar supports, is that the codex first found its way to Mt. Athos, and was then brought to the monastery in Supraśl by Athonite monks, founders of the monastery. (Куев 1980). A. Rogov thinks the codex arrived in Supraśl thanks to the monastery’s connections with the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and with Kiev in general (Рогов 1978). M. Hajduk assumes three possibilities: a) In 1505 it may have been given to the monastery by the Patriarch of Constantinople Joachim I along with the blessing of the founder of the monastery Alexander Chodkiewicz; b) It may have been given to the monastery by the Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremias II, who visited the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the monastery in Supraśl in 1588–1590; г) It may have been brought by an unknown pilgrim monk from the Balkans (Hajduk 1989). Mironovich assumes the manuscript was given to the monastery by Gabriel, Patriarch of Serbia and Bulgaria, in 1582 (Mironovich 1989). Some of these hypotheses deviate chronologically from the established fact that the book is present in all monastery inventories of the library (Темчин 2006). The opinion that prevails today is that Supr. was at the monastery right from the time of its foundation (Щавинская 1998). Corrections in a Russian hand dating from the 13th century (Kaszlej 1997) show that in the 13th century the manuscript was already in an Eastern Slavonic environment.

Copies of Codex Suprasliensis

Supr. was not only in use in an Eastern Slavonic environment, not only were graphic corrections made in it even in the 13th century – the manuscript obviously served as a protograph and was reproduced several times. At this point, we know of one copy (Mel. 117) and three manuscripts which share common texts with Supr. but bear the features of further development of the content and the text (Мирчева 2011).

  1. 1. Kievan full copy No. 117 (Аа 1287), 16th c., 458 folia (Петров 1891, 213–218), analogous to Supr. in content (Aitzetmüller 1967, 1969, 1970, 1974), but rearranged, at which the Lenten Triodion readings are in the beginning. At the end of the codex there are some additions without a parallel in the Codex Suprasliensis. The Kievan copy features Middle Bulgarian mixing of the nasals and Ukrainian orthography. It contains text fragments lost in the Old Bulgarian manuscript. According to Aitzetmüller, who published the different wording and the missing folia from sermons No. 14, No. 20, No. 48, this copy originated directly from Supr. and contains the same principal omissions (Aitzetmüller 1967, 1969, 1970, 1974).
  2. St. Petersburg full copy, Menologion for March with supplements, dated by A. Turilov in the third quarter of the 15th century (Турилов 1986). Today it is kept at the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Collection of new acquisitions, No. 596. According to Turilov, the copy is West Russian origin and was made in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Темчин 2006).
  3. Vilnius copy, partial, contains 16 homilies of St. John Chrysostom from the first quarter of the 16th century. A collection of homilies for the period from the Third Sunday of Lent to the Sunday after Easter. Today it is kept at the Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, F. 19, No. slav. 257. It was written in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Добрянский 1882, Темчин 2006).
  4. Joseph of Volokolamsk, partial menaion for March of the end of the 15th – the beginning of the 16th century (Йосиф йеромонах 1882: 253–256; Строев 1891: 23–25; Предварительный список 1986: 207, No. 2093). Today kept at the Russian State Library, Fund 113, No. 197 (595). The manuscript includes 224 folia and contains 23 homilies from the menaion section of Supr.

The monastery of Supraśl

The manuscript was discovered for contemporary science by Russian Slavicist Mikhail Bobrowski in the monastery of Supraśl in 1823.

The Monastery of the Annunciation in Supraśl (Polish: Monaster Zwiatowania Najświetszej Marii Panny w Supraślu) is an Eastern Orthodox monastery in Supraśl, near Bialystok, Eastern Poland. Today it belongs to the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church and is one of the six Eastern Orthodox monasteries for males in Poland.

The Supraśl Orthodox Monastery was founded in 1498 century by the Marshall of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Voivode of Nowogródek Aleksander Chodkiewicz in Grodek. Monks from the Kievan monasteries settled in the new cloister. According to Bobrowski’s nephew, the monastery was initially established to house monks from Mt. Athos (Бобровски 1887). This thesis is shared by scholars like K. Kujev (Куев 1980). In 1500 the brotherhood moved to the bank of the river Supraśl. In the 16th century the monastery had a large library, which numbered over 200 volumes in 1557, a number which was to increase to 587 in 1645. Supr., as well as some chronicle works, are of particular importance in the collection. It was in this collection that M. Bobrowski discovered yet another extremely important historical work – the Supraśl Chronicle (Темчин 2006). The monastery was the scene of active literary work. It was here that in 1593 Ivan Proskura wrote a Vita of St. Sergius of Radonezh. Two copies of Supr. were also made here. In 1631 the monastery accepted the Union of Brest-Litovsk and in 1772 became the seat of the Basilian Order. One rapid succession, it was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Kingdom of Poland, Prussia and the Russian Empire. It turned back to Eastern Orthodoxy in 1824. In 1835 an Orthodox seminary was opened there. Then, in 1919, it again became part of Poland. The monastery was closed and handed over to the Catholics. In 1939 it fell within the boundaries of the Soviet Union (USSR). The monastery had an extremely tangible impact on the life of Orthodox, Union and Orthodox Old-Rite population of the population in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland. In the 19th century it declined gradually and in 1877 the manuscript collection was taken to the Public Library in Vilnius. Today it is kept as Fund 19 of the Manuscript Department of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. It has been described in detail by F. Dobriansky (1882).

Michał Bobrowski, the man who discovered the Codex Suprasliensis

Michał Bobrowski was born on November 8, 1784, in Wolka, Grodno country, in the southeastern part of the Podlaskie Voivodeship. A Russian Slavicist and expert in Oriental studies, he studied theology, philology and civil and criminal law at the University of Vilnius. Professor at the University of Vilnius. Since 1815 a canon, protoiereus of the Zhirovits Uniat chair. In 1817 the University of Vilnius sent him to travel for five years to Vienna, Prague, Saxony, Bavaria, Moravia, Dalmatia and Italy. In the course of his travels he made stable scientific connections with the best Slavicists in Europe – in Vienna with Jernej Kopitar, in Prague with Jan Dąbrowski, J. Jungmann and Václav Hanka. In 1820 he compiled a catalogue of Slavonic manuscripts at the Vatican library which was later used by Cardinal Angelo Mai. Studied Arab in Paris. After he returned to Vilnius in 1822 he read lectures in biblical archaeology and hermeneutics, Arab and Slavonic studies. Member of the Moscow Society of History and Russian Antiquities, the Roman Academy of Antiquities, the History and Antiquities Society in Paris and London. He maintained a close scientific correspondence with Alexander Vostokov and P. Keppen. In 1823 he discovered Supr. At the library of the monastery. That same year he came upon an invaluable historical work, the Lithuanian Chronicles. His materials were burnt in a fire in 1848 and he died of cholera the same year. He studied Old Bulgarian, Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Arab. He was proficient in Russian, Polish, German, French, Italian and English and was familiar with nearly all Slavic languages.

First information of Bobrowski about Codex Suprasliensis

Bobrowski’s first letter related to Supr. to the publisher P. Keppen in St. Petersburg dates from 1825. The experience gained from work with dozens of manuscripts made him write that he had not seen so old a manuscript except in the Barberini Library in Rome. He sent Keppen photos and copied several folia of the codex. Through Bobrowski’s correspondence with Keppen and Count Rumyantsev, information about Supr. reached the St. Petersburg circle of lovers of Old Slavonic letters. To them this was a totally new language in terms of its peculiarities, the outline of the letters was also ancient and did not resemble anything they had seen before. Bobrowski’s first report of the discovery was published at the same time as the first scientific description of Supr. made by A. Vostokov (Востоков 1925). For many years, Vostokov’s description remained the only academic study of the Old Bulgarian manuscript.

Partitioning of the manuscript

Today Supr. is divided in three parts and is kept at three different places. The history of its dispersion is not only the result of the considerable scientific interest in the manuscript or of historical tribulations, but also of the passion for collection and personal ambition.

  1. Ljubljana (Kopitar) part – 118 folia (f. 1–236 according to the publication of Severjanov 1904 and Zaimov-Капалдо 1982, 1983). The noted Slovene scholar Jernej Kopitar was working in Vienna and was about to publish the Glagolita Clozianus when he learnt about Bobrowski’s discovery. After much persuasion, he managed to make Bobrowski agree to send him part of the manuscript. This was the end of the menaion part and the triodion part where Kopitar’s research interest was concentrated as he was looking for material to compare with the Glagolita Closianus. The scholar made a copy of the part he received and when the original eventually returned to to Bobrowski in Vilnius, Kopitar received the beginning of the manuscript. In spite of his promise, this was never returned to Vilnius. In 1844, after Kopitar’s death, his library remained in Vienna, after which it went to Ljubljana – first to the library of the Ljubljana Lyceum and later to that of the University of Ljubljana, where it is kept under signature Cod. Kop. 2.
  2. Warsaw part част 151 folia (f. 269–570 according to the publication of Severjanov 1904 and Zaimov-Капалдо 1982, 1983). M. Bobrowski sold his library, which included the second part of Supr., to Vladislav Trembicki, who in turn sold it to Count Zamoyski. Before it reached Zamoyski, however, this part of the codex was further divided into two. One of these found its way to Bichkov in St. Petersburg (see the St. Petersburg part of Supr.), and another part is considered lost at this point. In 1872 it became known that 151 folia of the manuscript were kept at the Zamoyski library. There they remained until World War II. In November 1939 they disappeared from the Warsaw Library. This part of the codex was taken to Germany and was considered to have disappeared since 1944. In 1968 it emerged in the United States and was bought back by the Polish government. Today it is kept at the National Library in Warsaw, Special Collections Department, under No. 21 of the Zamoyski collection.
  3. St. Petersburg part 16 folia (f. 237–268 according to the publication of Severjanov 1904 and Zaimov-Капалдо 1982, 1983). In 1856 a landowner named Strelbitsky came to A. Bychkov, who at that time headed the manuscript department of the Public Library in St. Petersburg, bringing two quires of Supr. – ХVІІ and ХVІІІ – the beginning of the second, Warsaw part. Today these folios are kept the the Public Library in St. Petersburg under signature F.п. І. 72.

Publication of Codex Suprasliensis

Supr. has been published several times, the earliest being made by Franc Miklosich. He did not use the original manuscript but the copy made by B. Kopitar. The first to come into scientific circulation was one of the texts shared between Codex Suprasliensis and Glagolita Clozianus, the homily of St. John Chrysostom dedicated to Palm Sunday, No. 28 of Supr. (Miklosich 1845). In this way scholars already had access to two, at that proven as ancient, Old Bulgarian versions of the popular Byzantine text. Two years later, Miklosich made another publication of separate parts of the codex (Miklosich 1847). In 1851 the scholar published the entire Kopitar part of the Old Bulgarian manuscript (Miklosich 1851).

In 1868 I. Sreznevsky published the text of four chapters of the manuscript – No. 7, No. 22, No. 23, No. 39 (Срезневский 1868).

The first comprehensive publication of all preserved parts of the manuscript was made by S. Sever’janov (Северьянов 1904). Sever’janov’s publication conveys with considerable precision the peculiarities of the manuscript, the marginal notes and the later revisions. The critical apparatus features comparisons with the Greek originals of the homilies and examples from other Old Bulgarian manuscripts are given in comparison. The mistakes in the Miklosich edition are also given.

In 1956 Sever’janov’s version was reproduced as a phototype volume by A. Aitzetmüller.

The last publication of the text of the codex dates from the 1980s (Заимов, Капалдо 1982, 1983). This was also the first Bulgarian publication of Supr. The exemplary text of Sever’janov was used for the Old Bulgarian text. Every leaf of the manuscript is accompanied by a parallel text in Greek and a facsimile photo. A large portion of the Byzantine homilies correspondent to Supr. was tracked down by M. Capaldo especially for this edition of the Codex. The comments on the Greek text refer to material additionally taken from Greek manuscripts. The commentary of Sever’janov has been reproduced, with the addition of numerous notes and comparisons with other copies made by J. Zaimov. Detailed content differences from manuscripts which contain copies, translations or text versions of the chapters in Supr. accompany homilies No. 5, No. 20, No. 21, No. 28, No. 31, No. 33, No. 34, No. 35, No. 36, No. 38, No. 39, No. 40. The edition of J. Zaimov and M. Capaldo contains a bibliography which follows the history of research on Supr. until the beginning of the 1980s.

The place of Codex Suprasliensis among the other Old Bulgarian manuscripts, connection with other known miscellanies

Among the 26 Old Bulgarian written monuments dating from the 9th-11th century (История 2009) there are only two miscellanies – the Glagolita Clozianus, today preserved in a fragment of 14 folia from what was once an enormous Glagolotic manuscript, and Supr. At that, the two codices feature different stages of the translation, the text version, the graphic, phonetic, morphological, syntactic and lexical changes in Old Bulgarian literature in the course of several decades, created by several generations of translators and scribes. Supr. unites in itself texts which were translated at different times. This most ancient codex, however, does not give an idea about the oldest translations or text redactions. It is well known that Supr. is the only larger text dating from the 10th century which contains clear features of the Preslav redaction of the liturgical books. From the very beginning of research it became clear that the contents and linguistic peculiarities of Supr. should not be considered in isolation but in relation to the overall literary life in the Bulgarian state. The comparison with other, later, Middle Bulgarian miscellanies, as well as with some literary monuments copied from Old Bulgarian originals in a foreign linguistic environment, proved particularly fruitful.

Comparison with identical homilies in the Glagolita Clozianus showed that Supr. reveals a serious intervention in the initial translation. Two homilies are identical with those in the Glagolita Clozianus. In the Glagolitic manuscript, the Homily for Holy Saturday on Christ’s funeral by Epiphanios of Cyprus is featured in archaic translation while in Supr. (No. 40) the text has been Hellenised. The other homily shared by the two codices, the Homily for Holy Thursday on Judas’ betrayal of Christ of John Crysostom, reveals a considerable, indepth redaction of the text in the Codex Suprasliensis (No. 36).

Supr. shares the largest number of texts with the Uspensky Codex, a 12th century Russian manuscript in which five of the homilies are like those in Supr. – No. 28, No. 33, No. 34, No. 35, No. 39. In all cases these are copies of one and the same translation.

Codex Suprasliensis shares three chapters with the well-known old version panegyric of 1358/1359, the German’s Codex: No. 5 (the translation preserved in the German’s Codex is older) (Соболевски 1903, Ivšič 1925, Иванова-Мирчева 1969, Keipert 1980, Мирчева 1992, Мирчева 2006), No. 21 (another, older redaction in the German’s Codex) (Иванова-Мирчева 1979, Мирчева 1997, Мирчева 2006), No. 40 (in Supr. Sthe text is in archaic Cyrillo-Methodian translation, while in German’s Codex an Old Bulgarian Preslav translation has been repeated) (Bláhová 1963, Иванова-Мирчева 1975, Мирчева 2006).

Another remarkable 14th century miscellany connected with Codex Suprasliensis is the Mihanovic homiliar. It is most probably a copy of a Preslav version of the two-volume panegyric. Supr. has four texts in common with this manuscript: No. 6 (identical translation with the Mihanovic homiliar); No. 40 (identical translation with the Mihanovic homiliar, the text is archaic and of the type of that in the Glagolita Clozianus, but redacted in Supr. according to the rules of the Preslav Literary School); No. 43 (identical translation with the Mihanovic homiliar).

Finding new manuscript miscellanies of various textual and linguistic versions and their comparison with both the most ancient samples and the newly derived tradition of the 14th century is a promising task, while the results dislodge the established notions of old and new in medieval literature. The oldest Cyrillic manuscript preserved in time, the 10th century Codex Suprasliensis, does not reveal the most archaic contents of the macro-genre of Old Bulgarian miscellanies either in terms of selection of texts or in terms of translation, or in terms of linguistic peculiarities. Frequently, the most ancient condition can be reconstructed with the help of much later manuscripts.

Codex Suprasliensis and literary tradition

In the nearly two centuries of research on Supr. scholars have shared the opinion that the homiletic part of the manuscript is the more archaic one. This is also the better studied part of Supr., which has provided abundant material about the existence of twin Old Bulgarian translations of one and the same Greek text, as well as material for redaction changes to which Cyrillo-Methodian translations were subjected in order to be included in Supr. It is on the basis of precisely these homilies from Supr. that valuable observations have been made concerning the morphological, syntactic and lexical characteristics of the Preslav School of Letters. Before the publishing of the summary work of Klimentina Ivanova (Иванова 2008) it was not clear where the menaion part of Supr. was part of the South Slavonic manuscript tradition (Мирчева 2011). Comparisons led to the unexpected result that all homilies in this part of the miscellany remain aside from the subsequent literary tradition and any continuity in the distribution of the hagiographic part of Supr. is lacking. It is only in a copy of Supr. that No.No. 1–4, No.No. 6–19, No.No. 22–25 have been preserved, while the versions of No. 5, No. 20 and No. 21 have been preserved only in Supr. These facts open space for a hypothesis about filling in the gap of menaion-type of miscellanies in Preslav. On the basis of texts and hagiographic and panegyric character already translated at an earlier stage, such as the Vita of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste (No. 5) and of the two pseudo-Chrysostom homilies on the Feast of Annunciation (No. 20 and No. 21), a process began in Preslav to fill in the miscellanies of fixed content for March with homilies for every day of the month. Along with the newly translated chapters, the old Cyrillo-Methodian texts for March 9 and 25 were translated again (No. 5 and No. 20) or appeared in a new Preslav redaction (No. 21). It can be assumed that Supr. was a model manuscript intended for further reproduction. The fact that the existence of these texts did not continue in South Slavonic literary tradition but, like the rest of the original and translated work of the Preslav literary school, as well as Supr. itself, were preserved in Eastern Slavonic copies, indicates that it left Bulgaria by the same route as the manuscripts which were taken as a military trophy to the Kievan Rus’ of Grand Duke Sviatoslav. Their existence in Russian literature is confirmed without exclusion since their inclusion in the Festal Menaion of Makarios.

Manuscript composition and contents

The composition of the manuscript, the combination of texts related to the fixed feast church calendar and included by tradition in menaion-type miscellanies, with texts subordinate to the moveable feasts in the church calendar which belong to another type of miscellany, the so-called festal collections, is not typical of Byzantine tradition. It is assumed that Supr. does not emulate precisely a certain type of Byzantine model, but was compiled on Old Bulgarian soil. The homilies were not translated at one and the same place, or at the same time. Every one of the texts or group of texts had its own history before being included in Supr.

Supr. is not homogenous by origin. From the very beginning of research, science has been of the opinion that archaic translations stemming from the Cyrillo-Methodian tradition prevail in the homiletic part, while Preslav translations abound in the martyrological part of the vitas (Marguliés 1927, Добрев 1981). The texts underwent redaction at the copying of the homiletic parts of Supr or in a median manuscript which has not survived today.

In terms of structure, the matter of the contents of Supr. stands as a question about the sources with which it is related. The manuscript should be considered not in itself, but within the context of Old Bulgarian literature. It is also part of the more complex history of the Byzantine-Slavonic church, of the liturgical calendar, as well as the collections of the hagiographic and homiletic miscellanies that church used.

The two main types of texts – vitas and homilies – came from various calendar-based and non-calendar based miscellanies. The Byzantine originals of some of the chapters in Supr. were once considered works of the 10th century Byzantine hagiographer Simeon Metaphrastes (No. 1, No. 5, No. 15, No. 46), but even Marguliés 1927, after Abicht 1893 tracked down Greek parallel texts, concluded that Supr. was a pre-Metaphrastes menaion. In the second half of the 10th century the Metaphrastes reform brought in a new type of multi-volume hagiographical collections for the 12 months of the church year (Добрев 1981).

Connection with Byzantine tradition

In the opinion of I. Dobrev, the foundation of Old Bulgarian miscellanies was laid directly after the arrival of the disciples of Cyril and Methodius in Bulgaria. They translated first the short, single-volume panegyric-cum-martyrologium – a negligible part of which has been preserved in Glagolita Clozianus, German’s Codex and mainly in Supr. It was from this translation that No. 5, No. 21, No. 40, No. 41, No. 42, No. 43 originated, while in Supr. these homilies found their way after textual processing which aligned them with the so-called second, Tsar Simeon redaction, of Old Bulgarian liturgical books (Добрев 1981).

Eight of the readings in the codex belong to another type of panegyric-martyrologion. All of them, however, are also found in miscellanies not focused on March: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 7, No. 15, No. 16, No. 18, No. 22. On the other hand, there are seven readings in the codex (No. 8, No. 9, No. 11, No. 15, No. 16, No. 22, No. 23) from the six volume Byzantine menologion (Добрев 1981).

There are two types of menologion in Byzantine tradition – a full, 12 volume one, and a short six-volume one. As a book designed for March, Supr. should be related to Volume 7 of the full 12-volume menaion or to Volume 4 of the six-volume one, but that is not so (Капалдо 1980, Добрев 1981). In spite of the lack of complete coincidence, a number of the readings in the martyrological section originated from these two collections. The lack of homilies for the dates March 8, 27 and 28, which is not due to missing folios from the manuscript, can also be explained with the fact that these dates are omitted in the short, six-volume set. Obviously due to the fact that Supr. not only did not continue to “live” in its native literary tradition, but soon after it was compiled was taken away from the territory of Bulgaria, the preserved South Slavonic manuscripts (11th-17th century) lack the dates March 8, 27 and 28 (Иванова 2008). The menaion part of Supr. No. 1– No. 25 features readings – No. 13, No. 14, No. 19, No. 20, No. 24, No. 25 – whose Greek originals are included in non-menologion miscellanies.

The matter of the selection of the works included in the miscellany is no less important than that of the supposed Byzantine prototype. A large portion of the translated Greek texts lead to early 4th century Byzantine authors: St. John Chrysostom (the actual works of Chrysostom are few, there is a prevalence of pseudo-Chrysostom ones) and St. Basil the Great. The selection definitely was not made by chance, corresponding to the early stage of Christianisation of Bulgarian society and the need of a community of neophytes (newly converted). The only work in Supr. close to the Cyrillo-Methodian age is the homily of the teacher and spiritual mentor of St. Cyril the Philosopher, the Patriarch of Constantinople Photius – No. 29. The high style, intended for an educated and prepared audience, along with a number of linguistic peculiarities, designate it as one of the latest translated texts in the codex (Дунков 1985, 1990).

Greek sources of the homilies in Codex Suprasliensis.

Greek tradition does not feature a similar codex to Supr. and the manuscript is considered to have originated on Bulgarian soil. It does not indicate a precisely determined Greek model but is rather a selection of texts from different Byzantine sources (Капалдо 1980, Пандурски 1980, Добрев 1981). From the very beginning, the entirely translated character of the codex directed research towards finding parallel homilies in Byzantine literature. Finding the maximum close to the supposed prototype from which it was translated is extremely important for the conclusions about the textological and linguistic peculiarities of the Old Bulgarian translation. A number of scholars have a fundamental contribution to finding and publishing Greek parallel texts (Abicht 1894, Abicht, Schmidt 1896, 1899; Abicht, Reichel 1898, Gebhardt 1896, Gheyn 1896, Lüdtke 1914, Trautmann, Klostermann 1934, 1935, 1936, Aitzetmüller 1966). For the last publication of the codex in the 1980s M. Capaldo made a new large-scale research of the Greek sources of Supr. (Капалдо 1980). As a result, the publication of J. Zaimov and M. Capaldo offered new parallel texts compared to what was known until then concerning homilies No. 14, No. 15, No. 16, No. 18, No. 20, No. 22, No. 26, No. 28, No. 29, No. 35, No. 37, No. 45, taken from Greek manuscript miscellanies. Different versions from codices for the data given in the critical apparatus accompanying the Greek text have been given for chapters No. 5, No. 6, No. 14, No. 15, No. 16, No. 18, No. 21, No. 26, No. 27, No. 28, No. 30, No. 31, No. 32, No. 33, No. 38, No. 39, No. 43. The Byzantine parallels of chapters No. 10, No. 12, No. 17, No. 47, No. 48 are still unknown (Капалдо 1980, Заимов, Капалдо 1982, 1983).

Research of the contents of Codex Suprasliensis. Attempts to classify the homilies

Supr. is a complex combination of elements of different origin. According to M. Capaldo, No. 6 and No. 21 were located in other types of miscellanies (Капалдо 1980). Before that, Van Wijk was of the same opinion, writing that No. 6 differs from the from the other texts in its morphological peculiarities and lexis while after noting that No. 21 is different from the other homilies, he assumed that it was translated by Clement of Ochrida (Van Wijk 1928). On the other hand, Dobrev concluded that No. 5 and No. 21 are part of the oldest translation of the short single-volume redaction of the Greek panegyric-cum-martyrologium translated by the disciples of Cyril and Methodius soon after they arrived in Bulgaria (Добрев 1981).

From the very beginning of research on Supr. scholars unanimously shared the opinion that the manuscript is heterogeneous in terms of language.This fact inevitably posed the question of the different time in which the individual texts or groups of texts were translated, as well as that of the literary centres in which they originated. Researchers were helped by the gradually accumulating knowledge about the more archaic Cyrillo-Methodian translations: the work of Kalajdovic, who discovered the name and the literary work of John, Exarch of Bulgaria, and the cultural and literary centre of Preslav for science (Калайдович 1824), the fundamental work of Jagić, Entschehungsgeschichte der kirchenslavischen Sprache (Jagić 1913). All these scientific achievements gave grounds for seeking parallels in other manuscripts, the works of Old Bulgarian writers and provided the opportunity for assumptions about the time and place the individual translations originated.

It is generally accepted that the manuscript was compiled of texts which were translated at different times and places. What the division of the groups of homilies in the manuscript, however, is still a controversial matter. Various authors at different times and using different criteria came to varied and often controversial results. Scholars talked about Preslav translations or a It seems that the broad division of the texts into hagiographic (martyrological), on the one hand, which were later ones, and homiletic, which are more ancient, were most popular in the earlier studies. For the first time, such an opinion was upheld in detail by the author of one of the first comprehensive studies of the manuscript – Alfons Marguliés. Marguliés thought the manuscript was of a compilatory character. Its homiletic part is Cyrillo-Methodian while the martyrological is of Preslav origin. The homiletic part was redacted to become a Preslav one. Homilies No. 32, No. 38, No. 39 in Supr. are close to the language of John the Exarch. As to the vitas, No. 46, No. 47, No. 48 and partly No. 25 and No. 16 bear the same similarity. But, while the hagiographic part is relatively more homogenous in its linguistic and translation features, the author remarked on the lack of homogeneity in the homiletic part and suggested a division that some scholars share to this day. Marguliés divided the homilies in Part А and Part В. А are older, have been copied more and that is why, in his opinion, these homilies feature archaic linguistic features coexisting with new linguistic ones. The translation of the В-homilies is more recent, while the translation of the vitas is the latest, natural and free. According to the scholar, the direct protograph of Supr. was Cyrillic, but some parts were indicative of a Glagolitic original (Marguliés 1927).Preslav part which, of course, is not one and the same.

Genres of the homilies in Codex Suprasliensis

It seems that the broad division of the texts into hagiographic (martyrological), on the one hand, which were later ones, and homiletic, which are more ancient, were most popular in the earlier studies. For the first time, such an opinion was upheld in detail by the author of one of the first comprehensive studies of the manuscript – Alfons Marguliés. Marguliés thought the manuscript was of a compilatory character. Its homiletic part is Cyrillo-Methodian while the martyrological is of Preslav origin. The homiletic part was redacted to become a Preslav one. Homilies No. 32, No. 38, No. 39 in Supr. are close to the language of John the Exarch. As to the vitas, No. 46, No. 47, No. 48 and partly No. 25 and No. 16 bear the same similarity. But, while the hagiographic part is relatively more homogenous in its linguistic and translation features, the author remarked on the lack of homogeneity in the homiletic part and suggested a division that some scholars share to this day. Marguliés divided the homilies in Part А and Part В. А are older, have been copied more and that is why, in his opinion, these homilies feature archaic linguistic features coexisting with new linguistic ones. The translation of the В-homilies is more recent, while the translation of the vitas is the latest, natural and free. According to the scholar, the direct protograph of Supr. was Cyrillic, but some parts were indicative of a Glagolitic original (Marguliés 1927).

Division of the homilies in Codex Suprasliensis according to Ohrid-Preslav synonym pairs

N. Van Wijk divided the homilies according to the use of one of the definitive type of synonym pairs indicative of relatively older and comparatively more recent linguistic developments, the particles ради, which is considered more ancient, and дѣльма, traditionally defined as originating from Preslav: Group І No.1– No.25 (without No. 6 and No. 21) only with ради; Group ІІ No. 26– No. 31, No. 33 – No.36 only дѣльма; Group ІІІ No. 6, No. 21, No. 32, No. 37 – No.48 both ради and дѣльма (Van Wijk 1925, 1926, 1929).

According to D. Dounkov, the contents of Supr. reflect several stages in the development of Slavonic miscellanies close to the panegyric-martyrologion, which covered the time from the Moravian mission of Cyril and Methodius until the apogee of the Golden Age. There is no direct opposition between the martyrological and the homily part of the codex. As the main feature of division the author has chosen the so-called textological doublets, better known as synonymous lexical pairs in Old Bulgarian manuscripts, and has come to the conclusion that there is not a single text not containing typical Preslav features. On the other hand, there is not a single case in which any of the texts carries only Preslav features. Basing himself on a series of textological features of Preslav and non-Preslav origin, the author thinks it could be concluded that the so-called Preslav redaction is present in all parts of the miscellany, but at a different degree in the separate homilies and vitas. Dounkov comes to the conclusion that it is better to divide the homilies in Supr. according to the degree of redaction rather than in parts associated or not with Preslav. The largest number of archaic elements is found in No. 6, No. 11, No. 24, No. 38, No. 40, No. 41, No. 42, No. 44. These, however, also contain elements of the Preslav redaction. All these texts have been edited, and that quite some time before the very compilation of the miscellany, at a point where the Preslav redaction was in a very initial stage of formation. No. 20, No. 30, No. 32, No. 39, No. 43, No. 45 feature a higher degree of Preslav redaction. The more archaic textological doublets are less in this group. Dounkov thinks they were translated even at the time of Cyril and Methodius, but were redacted later than the previous group. The third group includes No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 8, No. 9, No. 10, No. 12, No. 13, No. 14, No. 17, No. 18, No. 19, No. 22, No. 23. Here the number of Preslav features increases sharply and the degree of Preslav redaction intervention is considerable. This group includes only martyrological texts. The latest translation is that of No. 7, No. 15, No. 16, No. 25, No. 26, No. 27, No. 28, No. 29, No. 31, No. 33, No. 34, No. 35, No. 37, No. 46, No. 47, No. 48. In this case the use of archaic textological doublets is very rare, while Preslav features are used most consistently. Supr. reflects several stages in the development and codification of the so-called Preslav (Simeon, second) redaction of the liturgical books, and respectively several stages in the development of the unification processes in Old Bulgarian literary language in the 10th century (Дунков 1985, 1990).

No. 5, No. 6, No. 21, No. 41, No. 42, No. 44 seem to be the oldest, even Moravian ones. The specific subjects of No. 4, No. 16, No. 29 (the Homily of Patriarch Photius for Palm Sunday and Lazarus) give grounds to assume a later Preslav translation dating from the 10th century. No. 29 is among the latest translations in Supr. Here, however, one should recall the opinion of Kulbakin about this text. He thinks it is one of the most ancient in the manuscript (Кульбакин 1940).

Division of the homilies in Codex Suprasliensis according to the ratio between translated and not translated Greek lexis

I. Dobrev chose to classify the contents according to the Greek borrowings in the codex, more specifically whether the Greek borrowings have been translated or not. On these grounds, the author came to the conclusion that the homilies reflect archaic linguistic features while the entire martyrological part was the work of Preslav scribes. The lexical diversity of Supr. provides the opportunity for conclusions about the Greek borrowings in Preslav manuscripts and the composition of the miscellany – the martyrological part (from f. 1 to f. 450, No. 1– No. 39), as well as the last four texts (No. 45 – No. 48) are Preslav translations. The remaining, homiletic part (p. 450–510 in the Zaimov-Capaldo edition) did not originate in Preslav. In the first group, the group of Preslav translations, the Greek borrowings have been replaced by Slavonic equivalents. The same replacement can be found both in the works of Preslav writers and in the second redaction of Old Bulgarian liturgical books, preserved in Middle Bulgarian manuscripts and in Russian redaction. In the second group, the Greek borrowings are not replaced with Slavonic ones. This is the group of non-Preslav translations, including No. 40, No. 41, No. 43, No. 44 (Добрев 1978).

Division of the homilies according to conjunction means used

E. Dogramadjieva chose another criterion as the basis for classification – conjunction and conjunction means. She established a high degree of variation in conjunction means, not only between the homilies, but also within a single text. Stepping on what Marguliés suggested as a division of the homilies in Type А and Type В, Dogramadjieva established that, in respect to conjunctions, the closest proximity exists between the initial vitae and homilies А. These are united by 57 shared conjunctions and adverbs used with the function of conjunctions. Probably the initial vitae are representatives of the tradition also typical of homilies А. There is a similarity between the initial vitas and the last three vitae texts in the codex (No. 46, No. 47, No. 48) – 41 conjunctions. There is also similarity between homilies А and the last three vitas in the codex (No. 46, No. 47, No. 48) – 40 conjunctions. The most distant are No. 40 and No. 20 (just 13 conjunction means), No. 20 and No. 21 (just 14 conjunction means), No. 21 and No. 29 (14 conjunction means). No. 21 and No. 40 are closest to the initial vitas. The initial vitas and homilies А are the central part of Supr., while No. 21 and No. 40 are most distinguishable (Дограмаджиева 1980).

Linguistic division of the homilies in Codex Suprasliensis

The literary, or more precisely the genre division of the Codex Suprasliensis into martyrological and homiliary, was also transferred on its linguistic division. Thus, the subjects are homogenous (more recent, Preslav, Moesian) and heterogeneous (older, West Bulgarian) versions. Kulbakin divided the homilies in Supr. into two main groups. The first were Old Macedonian translations (in addition to No. 21 and No. 40, he quoted No.28, No. 29, No. 31, No. 32, No. 34, No. 37, No. 39, No. 41, No. 42, part of which other scholars consider the most brilliant examples of Preslav texts). The second group consists of No. 26, No. 27, No. 30, No. 33, No. 35, No. 36, in which Kulbakin found Moesian East Bulgarian features (Кульбакин 1940).

One cannot but notice that a large part of the so far made attempts to classify the homilies in Supr. a priori assume that all the homilies in the manuscript were translated at an earlier stage and were subject to revisions when they were included in the manuscript. At that, the redaction was made at different stages of the existence of the Preslav Literary School. The lack of any data whatsoever of continuity between the contents of Supr. and South Slavonic miscellanies of stable content, however, make another hypothesis possible. It could be assumed, for example, that the menaion part of the codex was translated within the framework of a well-designed and planned project for filling in the fixed content miscellanies with homilies for every day (in the case of Supr. for each day of March). Such a task means, rather, that, at least in the case of the part of the codex related to the fixed feasts in the church calendar, the texts were translated en bloc, or rather within a short period of time. Considering the full lack of actual facts of redaction revisions in earlier translated text (the only recorded such intervention is that of No. 21 – the second Homily for Annunciation, with whose archaic variant we are familiar from the German’s miscellany), it may be assumed that the differences between the homilies in Supr. are due to the work of a team of scribes and to the obviously too broad limits of doublet forms in Old Bulgarian literary language standard (Мирчева 2011).

Neither the genre (literary) division of the texts nor the textological doublets or the Greek borrowings and the use of conjunctions and conjunction means are sufficient, in themselves, as convincing conclusions. Using a separate criterion, taken out of the context of the textological peculiarities of each individual homily, as well a out of the overall linguistic characteristics, sometimes leads to extreme and contradictory results in research because the definitive contradiction of old and new, of Cyrillo-Methodian and Preslav linguistic peculiarities, lies at the basis of such an approach as two independent and opposing literary language standards. The development of Old Bulgarian literary language, however, was focused and that focus was not the way of antagonism, but that of enriching linguistic means in the direction of seeking synonyms at morphological, syntactic and lexical level. Thus the different in origin and time of translation texts coexist in Supr. as a whole, also united – last but not least – by the graphic and phonetic features of the manuscript. Future research should step on a complex of chosen criteria and should at all times take into account the peculiarities of the times in which Supr. was created – at the end of the 10th century, in the Preslav Literary School, within a chronologically short period of time of over a century of historical development of literary Old Bulgarian.

Linguistic peculiarities of Codex Suprasliensis

Research of Supr. began with a description of the paleographic and phonetic peculiarities of the manuscript (Востоков 1825, 1826; Срезневский 1868, Бем 1869, Leskien 1875, 1905, Diels 1927). In seeking an answer to the question of the time and place the individual homilies in the codex were translated, scholars looked closely into its linguistic peculiarities. It was precisely the linguistic peculiarities that led them to conclusions of the heterogeneous contents of the manuscript. Supr. is heterogeneous in terms of language. Many of the scholars who have studied it have remarked on the fact that the individual parts have differences in terms of phonetics, morphology, syntax and vocabulary (Leskien 1905, Vondrák 1890, Marguliés 1927, Van Wijk 1929, Кульбакин 1940, Bláhová 1966, Bláhová 1969 and many others).

Phonetics. The phonetic peculiarities of the codex characterize it as an East Bulgarian manuscript dating from the end of the 10th century. The replacement of the jer vowels in Supr., the disappearance of nasality, the reduction of е into и, of о into у is like that in Eastern Bulgarian dialects. The manuscript features a transition of ери into и. The consonants after the yat (ѣ) or iotified yat а (ꙗ) harden. The two super-short Old Bulgarian jer vowels (ъ and ь) developed in the direction of a jer vowel, thereby making Supr. a typical East Bulgarian manuscript. It also features the oldest case in which the big yus – ѫ developed into a jer vowel – мьчими 151.14 (present passive participle of мѫчити). That ѣ was written instead of ꙗ is indicative of Glagolitic origin. The inconsistency in the use of an indicative phonetic peculiarity – l-epenteticum – in the codex is an argument supporting the hypothesis that it was the work of a team of scribes, bearers of different dialect peculiarities of the spoken Bulgarian language in the 10th century and reflecting the different degree of decline of l-epenteticum usage in Old Bulgarian.

Morphology. In terms of morphology, Supr. reveals initial mixture of case endings from the different declensions. Archaic aorist forms, frequently found in Glagolitic Old Bulgarian manuscripts, are not used; the past active participle in 4th conjugation is distributed as follows – of the new type in the martyrological part and of the old type in the homiletic part (Заимов, Капалдо 1982, Стефова 2003).

Syntax. As a whole, the homiletic part bears more ancient forms, but in terms of syntax the language of homilies А was renewed at the copying. There are instances of analytical forms, there are forms of articles with тъ, сь, онъ; (Дограмаджиева 1968). Supr. features a free approach to conjunction means and variation is typical. The main conjunction means are found in all parts. The secondary variants allow scholars to establish the composition elements of Supr. and the relations between them. The distribution of the parts depending on the conjunctions used generally coincides with the distribution made by Marguliés. The initial vitas and the А-homilies are central parts of Supr. and are closest to one another. The most distinctive are the Homily for Holy Saturday on Christ’s Funeral of Epiphanios of Cyprus and the second Homily for Annunciation No. 21 (Дограмаджиева 1984).

Vocabulary. A considerable part of the lexis preserved in the few Old Bulgarian manuscripts is known only from Supr. (Старобългарски речник 1999, 2009). Different approaches have been used in research of the vocabulary of the manuscript – research of text samples, research of individual homilies, detailed research of separate words. Numerous specific studies have shed light on the origin, semantic structure and continuity with later literary tradition, as well as indicating the connection between Supr. and contemporary Bulgarian literary language and its dialects. Research of the Greek term-words led to extremely interesting observations. It showed that the Greek borrowings have not been translated in the parts stemming from more ancient originals – the homilies on Christ’s funeral, for Resurrection, Pascha, Holy Monday, Sunday after Easter. The translations of the vitas of martyrs and the homilies from Lazarus Saturday to Good Friday, as well as the three vitas at the end of Supr. were the work of other (Preslav) translators. There the Greek borrowings have been translated (Добрев 1978, 1981). Observations on the use of more archaic or more recent (Preslav) variants of the known pairs of synonyms provide particularly interesting material. They provide grounds for a different view of what is older and what is more recent in the contents of the manuscript. As a whole, it gives the impression of overall conscious processing (linguistic redaction) of the texts. It can be assumed that was not made at once, but in several stages which reflect the establishment of the standards of the Preslav Literary School (Добрев 1978, 1981; Дунков 1985, 1990).

Karl Meyer’s Index of Codex Suprasliensis

In 1939 Karl Meyer compiled a dictionary and index of Supr. (Meyer 1939). At the time it was compiled it was aligned with the most contemporary achievements of science and the Greek sources that had been discovered until then. This work follows the best traditions of index-making. Along with the detailed grammatical characteristics, it also provides the Greek equivalents of the words. Subsequent studies resulted in new, more precise Greek parallel texts of the homilies in the codex. Numerous studies revealed concrete specifications for many of the lexemes. Thanks to these, today science knows, for example, that the manuscript does not feature the strange and unfamiliar verb мьчати, but one of the earliest replacements of ѫ for ъ and that this is a form of the well-known Old Bulgarian verb мѫчати “torture” (Мирчев 1958), as well as that the adjective лисии “foxy” does not appear unexpectedly and without any relation to the text in the homily about the 40 martyrs, but it turns out that the use of a variant of the personal name Lysimach (Lysia) lies at the basis of this misunderstanding (Keipert 1978). At any future research, the material from Meyer’s exceedingly precisely made index should be aligned with the new Greek parallel texts and the results of concrete studies in the field of the manuscript’s graphic, phonetic, morphological, syntactic and lexical peculiarities.

Codex Suprasliensis and Old Bulgarian translation pairs

Some of the first discoveries of pairs of Old Bulgarian translations were made on material from Supr. Comparison of homilies shared by the contents of the codex and a number of miscellanies (primarily Glagolita Glocianus, but mainly codices from the 14th century) show the existence of subsequent Preslav translations of texts which were part of Old Bulgarian literature even from the time of Cyrill and Methodius. It is not by chance that the texts which scholars define as the earliest translated in Old Bulgarian literature - No. 5, No. 20, No. 21, No. 40 – appear in Supr. with repeated Preslav translations.

No. 5 . Vita of the 40 Martyrs of Sebasteia

The text of No. 5, Vita of the 40 Martyrs of Sebasteia, is one of the earliest established repeated translations in Supr. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, Sobolevsky came upon a text different from the familiar Supr. and assumed that the martyrdom of the 40 martyrs existed in Old Bulgarian literature in more than one translation (Соболевский 1903). Today it is known that the copy discovered by Sobolevsky is a late, specifically Russian redaction of the archaic translation, containing numerous additions. In 1925 S. Ivšić made a comprehensive study of the then known copies of homily No. 5 in Supr. and concluded that the text was translated on two occasions in the Old Bulgarian period (Ivšić 1925). Independently of these two studies, Dora Ivanova-Mircheva also arrived to such a conclusion. She published the text of No. 5 from Supr. in the variant it exists in the Germanos codex of 1358/1359. Along with the essential differences, Ivšić and Ivanova-Mircheva also speak of the sharp decline of differences between the old and the new translation in the second part of the martyrological text. To them, the text in Supr. is uniform, while the texts they research feature a contamination of older and newer translation. In respect to this textualcontamination, H. Keipert is of the opposite opinion. He thinks there is textual contamination, but that is in Supr. (Keipert 1980, 1999). This opinion is supported by M. Capaldo (Capaldo 1978) and G. Ziffer (Ziffer 1998). A number of differences between the archaic and the Preslav translation of the martyrdom of the 40 martyrs, the comparisons with the Greek parallel texts and particularly the analysis of the new Turnovo translation of the homily pose more questions about the Preslav translation, or maybe the Preslav redaction of this text translated in the earliest Old Bulgarian period (Мирчева 1992, Мирчева 2011). In South Slavonic literature the Preslav translation of the Vita of the 40 Martyrs of Sebasteia is found only in Supr. (Иванова 2008). According to H. Lunt, the differences between the texts are not sufficient ground to speak of two independent translations (Lunt 1983).

No. 20. John Chrysostom, Homily for Annunciation

Even in 1929 B. Tsonev described one of the manuscripts at the Austrian National Library in Vienna, the 14th century Mihanović Patericon, Wien 152 (Цонев 1929). Several years later, this manuscript attracted the attention of N. van Wijk. There he discovered and published a hitherto unknown variant of homily No. 20 in Supr., the first of the two pseudo-Chrysostom homilies for Annunciation in the codex (Van Wijk 1937-1938), but he did not undertake to make conclusions whether this is a text redaction or a new translation. The matter of the two, independent of one another, translations, leading to different Greek originals, was discussed in detail only recently (Мирчева 2010). In South Slavonic literature the Preslav translation of the Homily for Annunciation (No. 20) is found only in Supr. (Иванова 2008).

No. 21. John Chrysostom, Homily for Annunciation

In Supr. the feast of the Annunciation is one of the few presented by more than one text. The second pseudo-Chrysostom Homily for Annunciation is included in the codex under No. 21. In the opinion of I. Dobrev, this text, along with the Homily for Holy Saturday on Christ’s Funeral of Epiphanios of Cyprus (No. 40 in Supr.), are the only preserved readings from the oldest translation of the short single-volume redaction of the Greek panegyric-cum-martyrologion translated by the disciples of Cyril and Methodius immediately after they arrived in Bulgaria (Добрев 1981). Van Wijk assumed its ancient origin and raised the question whether its translator was not Clement of Ochrida himself (Van Wejk 1928). This author was ready to assume the existence of an even older language redaction of the text. D. Ivanov-Mircheva discovered this more archaic type of text in Germanos of 1358/1359. The text in Germanos is proof that the initial translation originated in a more archaic type of West Bulgarian Cyrillo-Methodian translation school. A number of changes indicate that the work was subjected to editing, compared with the Greek text and aligned to the rules of the Preslav translation school (Иванова-Мирчева 1979, 1971, 1980; Мирчева 1997; Мирчева 2006). The edited Preslav variant is known only from Supr. and did not continue to spread in South Slavonic literature (Иванова 2008).

No. 40. Epiphanios of Cyprus, Homily for Holy Saturday on Christ’s Funeral.

Item No. 40 in Supr., the Homily for Holy Saturday on Christ’s Funderal by Epiphanios of Cyrpus, is one of the texts which enjoyed enormous interest on the part of scholars. Initially, research concentrated on clarifying the relations between Glagolita Glocianus, Supr., the Mihanovic Homiliary and the Jagic Zlatoust. The archaic text, familiar from the Glagolita Glocianus, bears the features of Greek influence in Supr. (Bláhová 1966) and of redaction in the Mihanovic Homiliary (Иванова-Мирчева 1968). The presence of the work in the Glagolitic Clocianus, as well as some parallels with the Anonymous Homily from the same codex, made some authors assume the participation of Methodius in the translation of the homily (Bláhová 1966). The discovery of Germanos of 1358/1359 for science brought in a new, different Preslav translation of the work (Иванова-Мирчева, Икономова 1975; Мирчева 2006). Future research may focus on the Greek influence on the text in Supr., the partial lexical and grammatical changes in the Mihanovic Homiliary and the entirely new translation of the text in Germanos. According to H. Lunt, the differences between the texts are not sufficient ground to speak of two independent translations (Lunt 1983).