A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

MS. Holkham Gr. 52

Summary Catalogue no.: Not in SC (late accession)

Diktyon no.: 48120

John Climacus and other patristic texts


Language(s): Greek

1. (fols 1r-145r)
John Climacus, Scala paradisi

With related texts: i) fols 1r-3r: Iohannis ab. Rhaiteni et Ioannis Climaci epistulae mutuae, CPG 7850, BHG 883d-883db, PG 88, 624–628; fol. 3v: sketch with the divine ladder containing thirty steps with names and numbers and a book epigram written on the left side, tit. Ἀναβαίνετε πατέρες ἀναβαίνετε. inc. Τὴν Ἰακὼβ κλιμακα καινίζεις π(άτ)ερ … des. ἐφ´οἷς ἄνω φθάνουσιν οἱ καλ(ῶς) ἐκβιοῦντες; ii) fols 4r: Prologus, CPG 7851, PG 88, 628–629; fol. 4v: Table of Contents of the entire volume, including addition of the last folia in hands of J. Morezenos; fols 5r-25v, 26v, 26r-135r: iii) Scala paradisi, CPG 7852, PG 88, 632–1162, but fol. 134v gives an additional small text on love –cf. the ending of PG 88, 1160D: μείζων δὲ πἀντων ἡ ἀγάπη– inc. νυνὶ δὲ μένει τὰ τρία ταῦτα, πίστη ἐλπὶς ἀγάπη. Μεῖζον δὲ πἀντων ἠ ἀγάπη· ἀνιστὰ μἐν … des. μετὰ ἀρχόντων ἀγγέλων λαοῦ κ(υρίο)υ; and titles of the 30 chapters of the Divine Ladder, in reverse order, and everything written on fol. 134v is in red ink; fol. 135r: PG 88, 1160D-1161A but with differences, and additions at the end after καὶ ἔσται εἰς ἀορίστους αἰῶνας.: des. φῶς ἀνέσπερον καὶ ἄδυτον· ἐν ῶ οἱ τοῦ θ(εο)ῦ φίλοι ἀεὶ φωτίζοντ(αι); iv) fols 135r-145r: Liber ad pastorem, CPG 7853, PG 88, 1165–1209.

2. (fols 146r-156v)
John of Damascus, In Transfigurationem Domini

CPG 8057, BHG 1979, ed. P.B. Kotter, Die Schriften des Johannes von Damaskos, vol. 5, Patristische Texte und Studien 29, Berlin - New York, 1988, pp. 436–459.

3. (fols 156v-158v)
Philagathos (Theophanes MS) Kerameus, Homilia 59, in salutarem Transfigurationem Domini nostri Jesu Christi,

des. mut. τάχα δὲ καὶ ἐπειδὴ οὗτοι συμπαρῆναι [τούτῳ … See A. Ehrhard, Überlieferung und Bestand der Hagiographischen und homiletischen Literatur der Griechischen Kirche, I-III. Leipzig-Berlin 1937–1952, vol. 3, pp. 633. Number of Homily and title are given as in PG. Ed. G. Rossi Taibbi, Filagato da Cerami. Omelie per i Vangeli domenicali e le feste di tutto l’anno, Palermo, 1969, I, pp. 206–211.16; ed. Archim. Gr. Palamas, Tοῦ σοφωτάτου καὶ ῥητορικωτάτου Θεοφάνους τοῦ ἐπίκλην Κεραμέως, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ταυρομενίου τῆς Σικελίας, Ὁμιλίαι εἰς Εὐαγγέλια Κυριακὰ καὶ ἑορτὰς τοῦ ὅλου ἐνιαυτοῦ, Jerusalem, 1860, pp. 251–254.9, PG 132, 1020–1028C, BHG 1995.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: (i)Parchment, end of 13th c.; fols 1; 4; 9–25; 30–33; 49–56; 71–74; 76–145); ii) paper (16th c.; fols 2–3; 5–8; 26–29; 34–48; 57–70; 75; 146–150) iii) paper (mid 15th c.; fols. 151–158).
Extent: ii + 158 + ii numbered as fols 159–160. Fols 26r-26v have been bound upside down; their order should be reversed; fols 26v-26r. Watermark (fols 151–158) similar to Harlfinger and Harlfinger: Lettre 14, d. 1429 and Lettre 12, d. 1461.
Dimensions (leaf): 256 × 180 mm.
Fols. 2, 3, 57–70.
Dimensions (leaf): 245 × 170 mm.
Fols. i-ii, 159–160.


Quire markings: fols 16v= γ´; 49r= ι´; 83v= ιδ´; 130v= κ´; 137v= κα´.


(i) written in 1 column, 26–32 lines per page.Ruling pattern: Lake I. 2b.

(ii) 26–30 lines per page and in 2 columns.

(iii) 27–30 lines per page, 1 column


Three scribes as indicated above in the three items of material.


Ornamented headpieces before the beginnings of certain parts (fols 1r, 135r), initials in red ink; drawing of the Divine Ladder (fol. 3v) For further information see Hutter III, 1, 170.

Additions: : copiously annotated by J. Morezenos. Pen trial and arithmetic calculations (upside down) on fol. 145v.


Typical Holkham binding of brown tooled leather, with Coke family ostrich crest in gilt in the centre of the upper cover; Date: early nineteenth century. Rebound by John Jones of Liverpool (worked for Holkham 1816–1823). The spine lettered in gilt: JOANNIS/SINAITÆ/ SERMONES/ GR./ MS./ SÆC. XIII./ .; in pasted black leather: MS. /HOLKHAM/ Gr. 52.


Origin: end of 13th c. ; 14th c. (additions 15th c.)

Provenance and Acquisition

Ownership Notes: fol. 5r (at the top): ἐκ τῶν μάρκ(ου) μορ(ε)ζήνου καὶ θύτου; handwritten note in black ink by B. de Montfaucon: 1698· Codex num. 13. Ioannis/ Sinaïta Ascetici Sermones/ in Membrana descripti, adiectis/ hine inde Sup-/plementis Bom-/bycinis· quae/ in membrana/ 500. Circiter/ Annorum./ quae in Bo[m-]/bycina plus 200.

Old Catalogue Nrs: 1st pasted down in its verso: 663c. (on the left side, in pencil); fol. ir: (in pencil); Holk Cat. No. 121 79 113 C2B4. fol. 1r (at the bottom), in brown ink): Ξον =Morezenos 60, Giustiniani 13; Olim Holkham Hall, Libr. of the Earl of Leicester, 79.

Record Sources

Description by Dimitrios Skrekas (September 2018), with the support of the Leventis Foundation, the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, the Yerolemou Trust and the Michael Marks Charitable Trust.


Last Substantive Revision

2018-09-10: Record fully revised: new description by Dimitris Skrekas.