Contents: Introduction * Contents of Lectionaries * Lectionaries Cited in Critical Editions * Lectionary Incipits * The Synaxarion * The Menologion * History of the Lectionary * The Lectionary Text *


The lectionary evidence is like the weather: Everybody complains about it, but nobody does anything about it.

Of all the branches of the New Testament evidence (papyri, uncials, minuscules, lectionaries; versions; Fathers), the lectionaries are the least studied, least known, least used. Until the twenty-seventh edition, the Nestle text did not cite a single lectionary consistently. (NA27 does, it is true, cite four lectionaries as constant witnesses -- but does not offer any information about their text, nor contain a list of the lections included). Tischendorf cited lectionaries only exceptionally, and Von Soden did not cite them at all. The United Bible Societies editions include lectionary evidence -- but without an assessment of the text-types of these lectionaries, as well as data about their contents, this is of minimal use.

The lectionaries are, of course, the service books of the church, containing the appointed readings ("lections") for each day of the church year. As such, they were extremely important to individual churches (a church would want but could live without a continuous-text manuscript for study purposes, but it simply had to have a lectionary for reading during services). The number of lectionaries now known is somewhat less than the number of continuous-text manuscripts (about 2300 lectionaries, as compared to some 3200 continuous-text manuscripts of all types), but this may be due simply to the fact that they were well-used but no longer prized once printed editions became available.

Contents of Lectionaries

Unlike continuous-text manuscripts, lectionaries are not divided according to their writing style. Both uncials and minuscules are known. Uncial script continued to be used for lectionaries after it had become extinct for continuous-text manuscripts; we have uncial lectionaries of the twelfth century. (Compare this to the Jewish practice of synagogue scrolls without vowel points. While the practices are obviously unrelated, they may show the same sort of traditionalist feelings.)

The descriptions of lectionaries are rather more complex than for continuous-text manuscripts. This is due to the more involved set of information contained. An ordinary lectionary would contain two parts: A Synaxarion (containing the day-by-day readings for the liturgical year, beginning with Easter; this resembles the form of most modern lectionaries) and a Menologion (containing the readings for particular dates and events, and based on the fixed calendar). The lections in the synaxarion were relatively fixed; those in the menologion could vary significantly based on local customs and saints (since many of the lections were for particular saints' days). In addition, a lectionary could contain readings from the (Old Testament) prophets, or the Gospels, or the Apostle (Acts, Paul, Catholic Epistles), or various combinations of the same. (The Apocalypse was not read in the churches.) Finally, it could include the lessons for every day of the year, or only those for Saturday or Sunday.

At least, the above is the way the common textual criticism manuals describe the matter (see, e.g., Aland and Aland, p. 166 in the second English edition, or, less specifically, Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, p. 44. Scrivener, pp. 75-77, uses the terms to refer not to the readings themselves but to the tables of readings in the manuscripts). Steve Puluka, however, informs me that this is not the proper terminology of the Byzantine church: "The Menologion is a service book containing the hymns for the saints, the Tropar and Kondak, for each day in the fixed cycle. Menaion is the texts for vespers and matins for each day of the year. These are books of hymn texts, not scripture. But most of these hymns contain many illusions to scripture. And will contain Psalm verses for use as Prokiemenon (introductions to readings), Alleluia verses (introduction to Gospels) and communion hymns. The Triodion is the corresponding book for the Great Fast that moves in dates from year to year. The Pentacostarion then covers the period from Pascha to Pentacost." Thus care must be taken, in reading a particular work, to know exactly how it is using the terms. The section below was based on the Aland definitions; I hope it doesn't affect things too badly.

Prior to Gregory's rearrangement of the manuscripts, it was customary to divide lectionaries into "Evangelistaries," or lectionaries of the gospels, and "Apostolos," with the Acts and Epistles. The former of these were denoted with a superscript evl, the latter with a superscript of apl. The problem with this is that the same lectionary could have two different symbols -- so, for example, 6evl referred to the same manuscript as 1apl.

Gregory's solution to this was to combine the two lectionary lists into one, with each lectionary denoted by a script letter L (l) and a superscript number. As with the minuscules, Gregory preserved the numbers of the evangelistaries as best he could, so 1evl became l1, while 6evl=1apl became l6.

This obviously means that a rather complex nomenclature had to be devised to explain the contents of a lectionary. The (rather illogical) symbols used by Aland in the Kurzgefasste Liste include the following:

The complexity of the above is such that this page adopts a simplified system for denoting lectionary contents. We will use e to designate a gospel lectionary, with s indicating one containing Saturday and Sunday lections and w indicating weekday lections. If the w is followed by an asterisk (*), it means the weekday lections are included only during Eastertide. (Hey, this may seem just as complicated as the other way, but it saves a lot of HTML code.) Lectionaries of the Praxapostolos are denoted a. "sel" indicates selected lections. Minuscule lectionaries are listed in lower case; uncials in UPPER CASE.

The following table shows the equivalences between the Aland system and that adopted here.
Nestle SymbolSymbol used here  Nestle SymbolSymbol used here
l e(sw)U-l E(SW)
la aU-la A
l+a e(sw)aU-l+a E(SW)A
le e(w) U-leE(W)
lsk e(s)U-lsk E(S)
lesk e(sw*)U-lsk E(SW*)
lsel selU-lsel SEL
lae e(w)aU-laa E(W)A
lasel a*U-laselA*

Symbols used in Nestle and here

LitLit dagger dagger

Lectionaries Cited in Critical Editions

The following table includes the first few lectionaries from the Kurzgefasste Liste, plus the lectionaries cited in the Nestle and UBS editions. Note that little information has been published about even these relatively-well-known lectionaries. Many lectionaries have neumes; this is noted as far as known.

LectionaryDescribed asDATEMeaning and Description
l1 SELX Uncial lectionary, selected readings, tenth century
l2 E(SW)X Uncial Gospel lectionary (all lessons). Tenth century. Neumed.
l3 E(SW*)XI Uncial gospel lectionary, complete lessons for Eastertide, Saturday and Sunday lections for the rest of the year. Illuminated and neumed.
l4 e(sw*)XI Gospel lectionary, complete lessons for Eastertide, Saturday and Sunday lections for the rest of the year. Neumed.
l5 E(SW*)dagger X Fragmentary uncial gospel lectionary, complete lessons for Eastertide, Saturday and Sunday lections for the rest of the year. Neumed.
l10 selXIII Lections from Matthew and Luke only (and not all of those). Thirteenth century (Scrivener says eleventh). Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l12 e(sw)XIII Mulilated. Neumed. Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l32 e(sw*)XI "Carelessly written, but with important readings" (Scrivener). Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l44 e(s)adagger XIITwelfth century (Scrivener says fifteenth). Mutilated, with later supplements.
l59 aXII Tischendorf/Scrivener 13apl. Scrivener reports that it is "important; once belonged to the Iveron monastery; renovated by Joakim, a monk, A.D. 1525."
l60 e(sw*)a1021 "[It] contains many valuable readings (akin to those of Codd. ADE), but numerous errors. Written by Helias, a priest and monk, 'in castro de Colonia,' for use of the French monastery of St. Denys" (Scrivener).
l68 e(w)dagger XII Dated to the twelfth century by Gregory and Aland, eleventh by Scrivener. Damaged at beginning and end.
l69 e(w)dagger XIIDated XI by Scrivener. Considered by the IGNTP to have the standard lectionary text.
l70 e(w)dagger XIIDated XI by Scrivener, who reports that it was "brought from the East in 1669." Certain of the initial and terminal leaves are paper, implying that they are a supplement. Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l76 e(w)XIIMutilated. Neumed. Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l80 e(w)XIIConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l127 E(SW*)dagger IXUncial lectionary, damaged at beginning and end. Red ink. Neumed. Contains a fourteenth century supplement, and has been worked on by two later correctors.
l147 AXIIUncial lectionary, dated to the eleventh century by Scrivener. Formerly 25apl. Scrivener reports that it is "ill written, with a Latin version over some portions of the text."
l150 E(W)995Uncial lectionary, dated May 27, 995. Red ink, neumes, and ornaments, written by a priest named Constantine. "It is a most splendid specimen on the uncial class of Evangelistaria, and its text presents many instructive variations. At the end are several lessons for special occasions, which are not often met with" (Scrivener). Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
Sample plate in Edward Maunde Thompson, An Introduction to Greek and Latin Paleography (plate 51).
l156 e(w)aXDated XIII by Scrivener. Formerly 33apl. (Note that the Liste describes it as containing Gospel lections, but neither Scrivener not UBS4 concur). Neumed, with red ink.
l165 e(w)adagger XIDated XIII by Scrivener, and listed as 57apl (Gregory's 60apl); apparently the Gospel lections were not known at that time. Scriverner says it is "neatly written, with many letters gilded, mut. at beginning and end" [the initial defect now having been supplemented by 129 leaves].
l170 e(w)adagger XIVDated XII/XIII by Scrivener (for whom it is 65apl; Gregory's 68apl). Defective for lections ke-l of Paul. Formerly B.C. III.24
l184 e(w)1319Scrivener's 259evl or yscr is "remarkable for its wide departures from the received text, and for that reason often cited by Tischendorf and Alford...." Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l185 e(w)dagger XINote that this manuscript has been listed by various catalog numbers -- in Liste1 and NA26 it is Cambridge, Christ's College DD.I.6, but in NA27 it is GG.1.6. Scrivener lists this as equivalent to his 222evl = zscr -- though the latter manuscript is cataloged as F.I.8, and there are other discrepancies. Of 222evl, Scrivener says it is ornamented, and "is much fuller than most Lectionaries, and contains many minute variations.... There are also four lessons from the Prophets, and four from St. Paul (Apost 53)" (i.e. 53apl, reported to be Gregory 186apl, but the Liste equates 186apl with l340!).
l211 e(w)XII Scrivener's 218evl, and dated XI by that scholar. Palimpsest, with upper writing dated XIV by Scrivener. Ornamented, but Scrivener reports that it is "ill written. The first leaf contains the history of St. Varus and six martyrs." Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l249 EA (SEL) IXDescribed in the Liste as defective, but NA27 describes it as containing selected lessons following the Jerusalem order (i.e. it does not follow the standard order listed under the Synaxarion). Scrivener (for whom it is 191evl, 178apl) describes it as follows: "ill written, but with a remarkable text; the date being tolerable fixed by Arabic material decidedly more modern, written 401 and 425 of the Hegira (i.e. about A.D. 1011 and 1035) respecting the birth and baptism of the two Holy infants. There are but ten lessons from St. Matthew, and nineteen from other parts of the New Testament, enumerated by Tischendorf in 'Notitia. Cod. Sinaitici,' p. 54."
l253 e(s)1020The data at left is from the Liste; Scrivener reads the colophon as 1022 (and dated from Salernum), and lists the manuscript as "mut. throughout." Tischendorf's 6pe. Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l292 E(W)dagger IXUncial palimpsest, with upper writing from the Psalms. Dated by Scrivener to VIII or IX, with neumes and red ink. Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l299 e(w)dagger XIIIThis is the lectionary which was written over Xi/040. Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l303 e(w)XIISample plate in Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible
l309 (Luke)XDescribed by Scrivener as an uncial but by the Liste as a minuscule; presumably it is in a semi-uncial hand. Ornaments, neumes, red ink. Scrivener says of its contents, "Sabbatokuriakai from the eleventh Sunday in St. Luke (14:20) to the Sunday of the Publican (xviii.14)."
l313 e(w)dagger XIV
l333 e(w)dagger XIIINeumed, with red ink. Scrivener reports, "bought of a dealer at Constantinople, cruelly mutilated (eighty-four leaves being missing), but once very fine. Collated by Rev. W. F. Rose, who found it much to resemble Evst. 259 (yscr)" [=l184]. Considered by the IGNTP to have the standard lectionary text.
l374 e(sw)1070Scrivener dates the script XIII/XIV (!).
l381 e(w)XIDated X by Scrivener, XII by Gregory; the Liste splits the difference. With pictures; Scrivener calls it a "magnificent specimen."
l384 e(w)XIINeumed.
l387 e(w)XIDated XIV by Scrivener. Neumed.
l422 e(w)aXIVScrivener reports,"[mutilated] at beg. and end, and in other places. Michael of Damascus was the diorthote, or possessor."
l490 e(sw) LitIXDated IX or X by Scrivener, who describes it as "Euchology. Contains only a few Lections."
l514 E(W)IXUncial lectionary, red ink, neumed. Reported by Scrivener to be mutilated.
l524 e(sw*)dagger XII"[Mutilated] at beginning and end." Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l547 e(sw*)dagger XIIIThis is the (relatively) famous Ferrar Lectionary, which follows the Byzantine order but has a text derived from the Ferrar Group (f13). Considered by the IGNTP (for obvious reasons) to have a diverging text.
l563 E(SW*)VIIIUncial lectionary, originally from Constantinople
l590 e(w)adagger XIScrivener's 270apl, which he dates XIV and lists as "[mutilated] at beginning and end." Gregory's 94apl
l591 e(w)adagger XIScrivener's 272apl, which he dates XIV-XV and lists as "[mutilated] at beginning and end." Gregory's 95apl
l592 e(w)adagger 1576Scrivener's 209apl, which he lists as "[mutilated] at beginning." Gregory's 96apl
l593 e(w)aXVDated XVII (!) by Scrivener, for whom it is 271apl; Gregory's 98apl
l596 a*1146Gregory's 101apl; Scrivener's 216apl
l597 e(sw*)aXScrivener's 83apl, which he lists as mutilated; Gregory 103apl.
l598 e(w)aXIScrivener's 84apl (Gregory 104apl), which he lists as having red ink and neumes, and as being "a most beautiful codex."
l599 e(sw*)adagger XIScrivener's 85apl; Gregory 105apl.
l603 e(w)aXINeumed, with red ink. Gregory's 109apl; Scrivener's 89apl
l617 e(w)aXIDated XI or XII bt Scrivener, for whom it is 98apl (Gregory's 124apl). Neumed, with red ink.
l672 E(SW*)IXUncial lectionary.
l673 e(w)dagger XII
l680 eaXIIIGregory's 229apl
l751 e(w)a?XIGregory's 239apl
l770 e(sw)X
l773 e(sw)XI
l809 e(w)aXIISample plate in Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible
l813 e(w)X
l844 SELdagger IXUncial lectionary, selected readings (Jerusalem form).
l846 EA SELVIII/IXUncial lectionary, selected readings (Jerusalem form)
l847 E(SW*)967Uncial lectionary.
l858 e(sw*)dagger XII
l859 e(sw*)dagger XIConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l866 e(sw*)1174
l883 aXIGregory/Scrivener 154apl
l884 aXIIIGregory/Scrivener 155apl
l890 e(s)1420Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l895 aXIIIGregory/Scrivener 156apl
l921 e(w)aXIIGregory/Scrivener 157apl
l923 (frag)?This single surviving page was bound with the eleventh century minuscule 42, which has been lost for years. The lectionary leaf contained Matt. 17:16-23, 1 Cor. 9:2-12.
l950 e(sw)1289/90Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l961 E(SW)dagger XIIUncial lectionary, Greek-Coptic diglot. Contains portions of Mark 9, Luke 7, 8, 15, 19, 22, 24, John 4. Merk cites this fragment as including the shorter ending of Mark; it appears, however, that he wshould have been citing l1602 (also Greco-Coptic, and it includes the passage, which l961 does not).
l963 (e)XIFormerly 0100. Single leaf in a Coptic codex.
l965 (e)IXGreek/Coptic diglot, formerly 0114. Single leaf containing portions of John.
l1016 e(sw*)XII94 leaves in Jerusalem, 8 in St. Petersburg. Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1021 e(sw*)dagger XII
l1074 e(sw*)dagger 1290Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1127 e(w)XIIConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1153(a) e(w)aXIVFollowing this codex is a single leaf of an uncial lectionary of the tenth century. This was formerly designated as l1153b, resulting in the primary codex being designated for a time as l1153a
l1154 adagger XII
l1156 adagger XIV
l1159 e(w)a1331
l1178 e(w)aXI
l1223 e(w)dagger XIII
l1231 e(sw*)XConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1298 e(sw*)aXI
l1356 AXUncial lectionary
l1364 adagger XII
l1365 aXII
l1439 adagger XII
l1441 aXIII
l1443 a1053
l1552 e(w)985
l1566 see l1602
l1575 AIXUncial lectionary, partial (readings from Acts and 1 Peter). Greek-Coptic diglot. Includes the former 0129 and 0203. The Alands describe the text as being "of remarkably good quality" -- in context meaning probably that the text is Alexandrian.
l1579 e(w)dagger XIVConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1590 aXIII
l1596 This lectionary is cited by Merk, and dated V -- but the number has been de-assigned in the Kurzgefasste Liste!
l1599 E(SW*)dagger IXUncial lectionary. Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1602 E(SW*)dagger VIIIUncial lectionary, Greek-Sahidic diglot. Includes the former l1566. Described by Hedley as Alexandrian in Matthew and Mark, although the text-type changes in Luke and John.
l1610 (e)XVSaturday and Sunday lections from Luke.
l1627 e(sw*)dagger XIConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1634 e(sw*)XIIConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1642 e(w)dagger XIIIConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1663 e(sw*)dagger XIVConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1761 e(sw)XVConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
l1780 e(w)XII
l1977 e(sw*)aXIIPossibly two combined manuscripts, perhaps from different hands; the first 151 folios contain the Gospel readings, the remaining 159 have the Apostle. Sunday lessons only.
l2211 E(SW)995/6Uncial lectionary, Greek Arabic diglot. Selected lessons following the Jerusalem order.

For the Apostoliki Diakonia edition (lAD), see the section on the Lectionary Text.

Lectionary Incipits

By their nature, lectionaries take readings out of context. Without some sort of introduction to a passage, a congregation would not easily understand what the lection referred to. Thus arose the practice of including "incipits" (from Latin incipere, to begin) -- brief phrases to introduce a passage. It was probably not long before these incipits began to be included in the lectionary itself.

It is commonly stated that there are six lectionary incipits. This is somewhat oversimplified. The correct statement is that the large majority of lections in the gospels use one of the following six incipits:

However, other incipits will occur. The purpose of the numbered incipits is not to note all possible introductions to a passage but to simplify collation. When collating a lectionary, instead of citing the incipits in full, one needs simply to note the incipit number (e.g. Inc I, Inc II).

It will be evident that these incipits are not appropriate for the epistles. The usual incipit in these books is adelfoi, while we find teknon Timoqee and teknon Tite in the relevant epistles.

The Synaxarion

The Synaxarion is the movable calendar of the church. The year begins with Easter, and its length varies (up to a maximum of 57 weeks). Since the calendar is variable, it includes primarily the festivals which occur in the seasonal (quasi-lunar) calendar -- e.g. Easter and Pentecost. Festivals which occurred on fixed dates, such as most Saints' Days, were included in the Menologion.

Menologia varied significantly, depending on the particular saints and festival commemorated in a diocese. The Synaxarion of the Byzantine church, however, was almost completely fixed, and is found in the large majority of lectionaries with only minor variants.

The following tables, listing the readings for the various parts of the year, are adapted from Scrivener & Miller, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, pp. 81-85. Where Scrivener shows variants, these are separated by slashes /. It should be noted that this is not a comprehensive or critical edition of the Synaxarion; eleven manuscripts were consulted (the correctors of Dea, and the lectionaries l150, l170, l181, l183, l184, l185, l186, l228, l304, l315), but they were casually selected and often defective (e.g. only one contains the complete weekday lessons for the Apostolos, and that one -- l170 -- is damaged.)

The first part of the lectionary begins at Easter and extends through the season of Pentecost. The lessons for this season are shown below. It should be recalled that the first day of the Byzantine week was Saturday, so that in the latter part of the year the Saturday lections for a week were read before the Sunday lections.

th agia kai megalh kuriakh tou pasca
Jo 1:1-17
Ac 1:1-8
Jo 1:18-28
Ac 1:12-26
Lk 24:12-35
Ac 2:14-21
Jo 1:35-52
Ac 2:38-43
Jo 3:1-15
Ac 3:1-8
Jo 2:12-22
Ac 2:12-26
Jo 3:22-33
Ac 3:11-16
1st Sunday after Easter
Jo 20:19-31
Ac 5:12-20
Jo 2:1-11
Ac 3:19-26
Jo 3:16-21
Ac 4:1-10
Jo 5:17-24
Ac 4:13-22
Jo 5:24-30
Ac 4:23-31
Jo 5:30-6:2
Ac 5:1-11
Jo 6:14-27
Ac 5:21-32
2nd Sunday after Easter
kuriakh g
Mk 15:43-16:8
Ac 6:1-7
Jo 4:46-54
Ac 6:8-7:60
Jo 6:27-33
Ac 8:5-17
Jo 6:48-54/
Ac 8:18-25/
Jo 6:40-44
Ac 8:26-39
Jo 6:35-39/
Ac 8:40-9:19/
Jo 15:17-16:1
Ac 9:19-31
3rd Sunday after Easter
kuriakh d
Jo 5:1-15
Ac 9:32-42
Jo 6:56-69
Ac 10:1-16
Jo 7:1-13
Ac 10:21-33
Jo 7:14-30
Ac 14:6-18
Jo 8:12-20
Ac 10:34-43
Jo 8:21-30
Ac 10:44-11:10
Jo 8:31-42
Ac 12:1-11
4th Sunday after Easter
kuriakh e
Jo 4:5-42
Ac 11:19-30
Jo 8:42-51
Ac 12:12-17
Jo 8:51-59
Ac 12:25-13:12
Jo 6:5-14
Ac 13:13-24
Jo 9:39-10:9
Ac 14:20-27/
Jo 10:17-28
Ac 15:5-12
Jo 10:27-38
Ac 15:35-41
5th Sunday after Easter
kuriakh s
Jo 9:1-38
Ac 16:16-34
Jo 9:47-54
Ac 17:1-9
Jo 12:19-36
Ac 17:19-27
Jo 12:36-47
Ac 18:22-28
Mk 16:9-20,
Lk 24:36-53
Ac 1:1-12
Jo 14:1-10/11/12
Ac 19:1-8
Jo 14:10-21/
Jo 14:10-18, 21
Ac 20:7-12
6th Sunday after Easter
kuriakh z
Jo 17:1-13
Ac 20:16-38
Jo 14:27-15:7
Ac 21:8-14
Jo 16:2-13
Ac 21:26-32
Jo 16:15-23
Ac 23:1-11
Jo 16:23-33
Ac 25:13-19
Jo 17:18-26
Ac 27:1-28:1
Jo 21:14-25
Ac 28:1-31
kuriakh ths pentekosths
Jo 20:19-23, 7:37-52+8:12
Ac 2:1-11
Week after Pentecost
th epaurion ths pentekosths
Mt 18:10-20
Eph 5:8-19
Mt 4:25-5:11 Mt 5:20-30 Mt 5:31-41 Mt 7:9-18 Mt 5:42-48
Rom 1:7-12
2nd week after Pentcost
kuriakh a twn agiwn pantwn
Mt 10:32-33, 37-38
Mt 19:37-40
He 11:33-12:2
Mt 6:31-34
Mt 7:9-14
Ro 2:1-6
Mt 7:15-21
Ro 2:13, 17-27
Mt 7:11-23
Ro 2:28-3:4
Mt 8:23-27
Ro 3:4-9
Mt 9:14-17
Ro 3:9-18
Mt 7:1-8
Ro 3:19-26
3rd week after Pentcost
kuriakh b
Mt 4:18-23
Ro 2:10-16
Mt 9:36-10:8
Ro 4:4-18
Mt 10:9-15
Ro 4:8-12
Mt 10:16-22
Ro 4:13-17
Mt 10:23-31
Ro 4:18-25
Mt 10:32-36, 11:1
Ro 5:12-14
Mt 7:24-8:4
Ro 3:23-4:3
4th week after Pentecost
kuriakh g
Mt 6:22-23
Ro 5:1-10
Mt 11:2-15
Ro 5:15-17
Mt 11:16-20
Ro 5:17-21
Mt 11:20-26
Ro 7:1
Mt 11:27-30 Mt 12:1-8 Mt 8:14-23/
8:14-18, 23
Ro 6:11-17
5th week after Pentecost
kuriakh d
Mt 8:5-13
Ro 6:18-23
Mt 12:9-13
Ro 7:19-8:3
Mt 12:14-16, 22-30
Ro 8:2-9
Mt 12:38-45
Ro 8:8-14
Mt 12:46-13:3
Ro 8:22-27
Mt 13:3-12
Ro 9:6-13
Mt 9:9-13
Ro 8:14-21
6th week after Pentecost
kuriakh e
Mt 8:28-9:1
Ro 10:1-10
Mt 13:10-23
Ro 9:13-19
Mt 13:24-30
Ro 9:17-28
Mt 13:31-36
Ro 9:29-33
Mt 13:36-43
Ro 9:33, 10:12-17
Mt 13:44-54
Ro 10:15-11:2
Mt 9:18-26
Ro 9:1-5
7th week after Pentecost
kuriakh s
Mt 9:1-8
Ro 12:6-14
Mt 13:54-58
Ro 11:2-6
Mt 14:1-13
Ro 11:7-12
Mt 14:35-15:11
Ro 11:13-20
Mt 15:12-21
Ro 11:19-24
Mt 15:29-31
Ro 11:25-28
Mt 10:37-11:1
Ro 12:1-3
8th week after Pentecost
kuriakh z
Mt 9:27-35
Ro 15:1-7
Mt 16:1-6
Ro 11:29-36
Mt 16:6-12
Ro 12:14-21
Mt 16:20-24
Ro 14:10-18
Mt 16:24-28
Ro 15:8-12
Mt 17:10-18
Ro 15:13-16
Mt 12:30-37
Ro 13:1-10
9th week after Pentecost
kuriakh h
Mt 14:14-22
1C 1:10-18
Mt 18:1-11
Ro 15:17-25
Mt 18:18-20(22)
Mt 19:1-2, 13-15
Ro 15:26-29
Mt 20:1-16
Ro 16:17-20
Mt 20:17-28
1C 2:10-15
Mt 21:12-14, 17-20
1C 2:16-3:10
Mt 15:32-39
To 14:6-9
10th week after Pentecost
kuriakh q
Mt 14:22-34
1C 3:9-17
Mt 21:18-22
1C 3:18-23
Mt 21:23-27
1C 4:5-8
Mt 21:28-32
1C 5:9-13
Mt 21:43-46
1C 6:1-6
Mt 22:23-33
1C 6:7-11
Mt 17:24-18:1
Ro 15:30-33
11th week after Pentecost
kuriakh i
Mt 17:14-23
1C 4:9-16
Mt 23:13-22
1C 6:20-7:7
Mt 23:23-28
1C 7:7-15
Mt 23:29-39 Mt 24:12/13/14/15-28 Mt 24:27-35/33, 42-51
1C 7:35?
Mt 19:3-12
1C 9:2-12
12th week after Pentecost
kuriakh ia
Mt 18:23-35
1C 9:2-12
Mk 1:9-15
1C 7:37-8:3
Mk 1:16-22
1C 8:4-7
Mk 1:23-28
1C 9:13-18
Mk 1:29-35
1C 10:2-10
Mk 2:18-22
1C 10:10-15
Mt 20:29-34
1C 1:26-29
13th week after Pentecost
kuriakh ib
Mt 19:16-26
1C 15:1-11
Mk 3:6-12
1C 10:14-23
Mk 3:13-21
1C 10:31-11:3
Mk 3:20-27
1C 11:4-12
Mk 3:28-35
1C 11:13-23
Mk 4:1-9
1C 11:31-12:6
Mt 22:15-22
1C 2:6-9
14th week after Pentecost
kuriakh ig
Mt 21:33-42
1C 16:13-24
Mk 4:10-23
1C 12:12-18
Mk 4:24-34
1C 12:18-26
Mk 4:35-41
1C 13:8-14:1
Mk 5:1-17/20
1C 14:1-12
Mk 5:22-23, 5:35-61
1C 14:12-20
Mt 23:1-12
1C 4:1-5
15th week after Pentecost
kuriakh id
Mt 22:2-14
2C 1:21-2:4
Mk 5:24-34
1C 14:26-33
Mk 6:1-7
1C 14:33-40
Mk 6:7-13
1C 15:12-20
Mk 6:30-45
1C 15:29-34
Mk 6:45-53
1C 15:34-40
Mt 24:1-13/
24:1-9, 13
1C 4:7-5:5
16th week after Pentecost
kuriakh ie
Mt 22:35-40
2C 4:6-11/
Mk 6:54/56-7:8
1C 16:3-13
Mk 7:5-16
2C 1:1-7
Mk 7:14-24
2C 1:12-20
Mk 7:24-30
2C 2:4-15
Mk 8:1-10
2C 2:15-3:3
Mt 24:34-37, 42-44
1C 10:23-28
17th week after Pentecost
kuriakh is
Mt 25:14-30/29
2C 6:1-10
(2C 3:4-12) (2C 4:1-6) (2C 4:11-18) (2C 5:10-15) (2C 5:15-21)
18th week after Pentecost
kuriakh iz
Mt 15:1-13 Mt 25:1-13

After the new year (which may occur as many as eighteen weeks after Pentecost, depending on the date of Easter), the Gospel and Apostle lections take different forms, with the Apostle lections following a regular weekly pattern generally tied to the fixed calendar, while the Gospels (which also tends to offer a fuller set of lections) are variable. We therefore separate the calendars.

Readings from the Gospel
Week NumberSundayMondayTuesdayWednesday ThursdayFridaySaturday
1st week Lk 3:19-22 Lk 3:23-4:1 Lk 4:1-15 Lk 4:16-22 Lk 4:22-30 Lk 4:31-36
2nd Week / kuriakh a Lk 5:1-11 Lk 4:38-44 Lk 5:12-16 Lk 5:33-39 Lk 6:12-16/19 Lk 6:17-23 Lk 5:17-26
3rd Week / kuriakh b Lk 5:31-36 Lk 5:24-30 Lk 5:37-45 Lk 6:46-7:1 Lk 7:17-30 Lk 7:31-35 Lk 5:27-32
4th Week / kuriakh g Lk 7:11-16 Lk 7:36-50 Lk 8:1-3 Lk 8:22-25 Lk 9:7-11 Lk 9:12-18 Lk 6:1-10
5th Week / kuriakh d Lk 8:5-8, 9-15 Lk 9:18-22 Lk 9:23-27 Lk 9:43-50 Lk 9:49-56 Lk 5:1-15 Lk 7:1-10
6th Week / kuriakh e Lk 16:19-31 Lk 10:22-24 Lk 11:1-10 Lk 11:9-13 Lk 11:14-23 Lk 11:23-26 Lk 8:16-21
7th Week / kuriakh s Lk 8:26/27-35, 38-39 Lk 11:29-33 Lk 11:34-41 Lk 11:42-46 Lk 11:47-12:1 Lk 12:2-12 Lk 9:1-6
8th Week / kuriakh z Lk 8:41-56 Lk 12:13-15, 22-31 Lk 12:42-48 Lk 12:48-59 Lk 13:1-9 Lk 13:31-35 Lk 9:37-43
9th Week / kuriakh h Lk 10:25-37 Lk 14:12-51 Lk 14:25-35 Lk 15:1-10 Lk 16:1-9 Lk 16:15-18, 17:1-4 Lk 9:57-62
10th Week / kuriakh q Lk 12:16-21 Lk 17:20-25 Lk 17:26-37, 18:18 Lk 18:15-17, 26-30 Lk 18:31-34 Lk 19:12-28 Lk 10:19-21
11th Week / kuriakh i Lk 13:10-17 Lk 19:37-44 Lk 19:45-48 Lk 20:1-8 Lk 20:9-18 Lk 20:19-26 Lk 12:32-40
12th Week / kuriakh ia Lk 14:16-24 Lk 20:27-44 Lk 21:12-19 Lk 21:5-8, 10-11, 20-24 Lk 21:28-33 Lk 21:37-22:8 Lk 13:19-29
13th Week / kuriakh ib Lk 17:12-19 Mk 8:11-21 Mk 8:22-26 Mk 8:30-34 Mk 9:10-16 Mk 9:33-41 Lk 14:1-11
14th Week / kuriakh ig Lk 18:18-27 Mk 9:42-10:1 Mk 10:2-11 Mk 10:11-16 Mk 10:17-27 Mk 10:24-32 Lk 16:10-15
15th Week / kuriakh id Lk 17:35-43 Mk 10:46-52 Mk 11:11-23 Mk 11:22-26 Mk 11:27-33 Mk 12:1-12 Lk 17:3-10
16th Week / kuriakh ie Lk 19:1-10 Mk 12:13-17 Mk 12:18-27 Mk 12:28-34 Mk 12:38-44 Mk 13:1-9 Lk 18:1-8
17th Week / kuriakh is Lk 18:9-14
(2Ti 3:10-15)
Mk 13:9-13 Mk 13:14-23 Mk 13:24-31 Mk 13:31-14:2 Mk 14:3-9 Lk 20:46-21:4

Readings from the Apostle
Week NumberSundayMondayTuesdayWednesday ThursdayFridaySaturday
kuriakh is 2C 6:1-10 (2C 3:4-12) (2C 4:1-6) (2C 4:11-18) (2C 5:10-15) (2C 5:15-21)
kuriakh iz 2C 6:16-8:1 (2C 6:11-16) (2C 7:1-11) (2C 7:10-16) (2C 8:7-11) (2C 8:10-21) 1C 14:20-25
kuriakh ih 2C 9:6-11 (2C 8:20-9:1) (2C 9:1-5) (2C 9:12-10:5) (2C 10:4-12) (2C 10:13-18) 1C 15:39-45
kuriakh iq 2C 11:31-12:9 (2C 11:5-9) (2C 11:10-18) (2C 12:10-14) (2C 12:14-19) (2C 12:19-13:1) 1C 15:58-16:3
kuriakh k Ga 1:11-19 (2C 13:2-7) (2C 13:7-11) (Ga 1:18-2:5) (Ga 2:6-16) (Ga 2:20-3:7) 2C 1:8-11
kuriakh ka Ga 2:16-20 (Ga 3:15-22) (Ga 3:28-4:5) (Ga 4:9-14) (Ga 4:13-26) (Ga 4:28-5:5) 2C 3:12-18
kuriakh kb Ga 6:11-18 (Ga 5:4-14) (Ga 5:14-21) (Ga 6:2-10) (Ep 1:9-17) (Ep 1:16-23) 2C 5:1-10/4
kuriakh kg Ep 2:4-10 (Ep 2:18-3:5) (Ep 3:5-12) (Ep 3:13-21) (Ep 4:12-16) (Ep 4:17-25) 2C 8:1-5
kuriakh kd Ep 2:14-22 (Ep 5:18-26) (Ep 5:25-31) (Ep 5:28-6:6) (Ep 6:7-11) (Ep 6:17-21) 2C 11:1-6
kuriakh ke Ep 4:1-7 Ga 1:3-10
kuriakh ks Ep 5:8-19 Ga 3:8-12
kuriakh kz Ep 6:10-17 Ga 5:22-6:2
kuriakh kh 2C 2:14-3:3 Co 1:9-18
kuriakh kq Co 3:4-11 Ep 2:11-13
kuriakh l Co 3:12-16 (1Th 1:6-10) (1Th 1:9-2:4) (1Th 2:4-8) (1Th 2:9-14) (1Th 2:14-20) Ep 5:1-8
kuriakh la 2Ti 1:3-9 (1Th 3:1-8) (1Th 3:6-11) (1Th 3:11-4:6) (1Th 4:7-11) (1Th 4:17-5:5) Co 1:2-6
kuriakh lb 1Ti 6:11-16 (1Th 5:4-11) (1Th 5:11-15) (1Th 5:15-23) (2Th 1:1-5) (2Th 1:11-2:5) Co 2:8-12
kuriakh lg 2Ti 1:3-9 (2Th 2:13-3:5) (2Th 3:3-9) (2Th 3:10-18) (1Ti 1:1-8) (1Ti 1:8-14) 1Ti 2:1-7
kuriakh ld 2Ti 3:10-15 (1Ti 2:5-15) (1Ti 3:1-13) (1Ti 4:4-9) (1Ti 4:14-5:10) (1Ti 5:17-6:2) 1Ti 3:13-4:5
kuriakh le 2Ti 2:1-10 (1Ti 6:2-11) (1Ti 6:17-21) (2Ti 1:8-14) (2Ti 1:14-2:2) (2Ti 2:22-26) 1Ti 4:9-15
kuriakh ls 2Ti 2:11-13

As the Passion period approaches, the calendars again unite.

Of the Canaanitess
kuriakh iz
Mt 15:21-28
sabbatw pro ths apokrew/
of the Prodigal
Lk 15:1-10
kuriakh pro ths apokrew/
of the Prodigal;
Week of the Carnival
Lk 15:11-32
1Th 5:14-23/
1C 6:12-20
Mk 11:1-11
2Ti 3:1-10
Mk 14:10-42
2Ti 3:14-4:5
Mk 14:43-15:1
1Ti 4:9-18
Mk 15:1-15
Ti 1:5-12
Mk 15:20, 22, 25, 33-41
Ti 1:15-2:10
Lk 21:8-9, 25-27, 33-36
1C 6:12-20/
2Ti 2:11-19
kuriakh ths apokrew/
of the cheese-eater
Mt 25:31-46
1C 8:8-9:2/
1C 6:12-20
Lk 19:29-40, 22:7-8, 39
He 4:1-13
Lk 22:39-23:1
Heb 5:12-6:8
-- Lk 23:1-22, 44-56 -- Mt 6:1-13
Ro 14:19-23, "16:25-27"
kuriakh ths turofagou
Mt 6:14-21, Ro 13:11-14:4
Pannucis ths agias nhsteias
(Lenten Vigil)
Mt 7:7-11

Lent/Twn nhsteiwn
sabbatw a Mk 2:23-3:5He 1:1-12
Kuriakh a Jo 1:44-52He 11:24-40
sabbatw b Mk 1:35-44He 3:12-14
Kuriakh b Mk 2:1-12He 1:10-2:3
sabbatw g Mk 2:14-17He 10:32-37
Kuriakh g Mk 8:34-9:1He 4:14-5:6
sabbatw d Mk 7:31-37He 6:9-12
Kuriakh d Mk 9:17-17-31He 6:13-20
sabbatw e Mk 8:27-31He 9:24-28
Kuriakh e Mk 10:32-45He 9:11-14
sabbatw s (of Lazarus) Jo 11:1-45He 12:28-13:8
Kuriakh s twn Baiwn Mt 21:1-11, 15-17, (Mk 10:46-11:11), Jo 12:1-18, Pp 4:4-9

Holy Week
MondayMt 21:18-43, Mt 24:3-35
TuesdayMt 22:15-24:2, Mt 24:36-26:2
WednesdayJo 11:47-53/56, 12:17/19-47/50
ThursdayLk 22:1-36/39, Mt 26:1-20
euaggelion tou nipthrosJo 13:3-10
meta to niyasqaiJo 13:12-17, Mt 26:21-39, Lk 22:43-44, Mt 26:40-27:2, 1C 11:23-32

euaggelia twn agiwn paqwn Ihsou Cristou/Twelve Gospels of the Passions: Jo 13:31-18:1, Jo 18:1-28, Mt 26:57-75, Jo 18:28-19:16, Mt 27:3-32, Mk 15:16-32, Mt 27:33-54, Lk 23:32-49, Jo 19:25-37, Mk 15:43-47, Jo 19:38-42, Mt 27:62-66

Euaggeleia twn wrwn ths agias paramonhs/Good Friday Vigil: First Hour: Mt 27:1-56; Third Hour: Mk 15:1-41; Sixth Hour: Lk 22:66-23:49; Ninth Hour: Jo 19:16/23-37 (18:28-19:37)

th agia paraskeuh eis thn leitourgian: Mt 27:1-38, Lk 23:39-43, Mt 27:39-54, Jo 19:31-37, Mt 27:55-61, 1C 1:18-2:1

tw agiw kai megalw sabbatw (Easter Even): Mt 27:62-66, 1C 5:6-8 (Ga 3:13, 14); Mt 27:1-20, Ro 6:3-11 (Mt 28:1-20, Ro 6:3-11)

Euaggelia anastasima ewqina (readings for Matins on the eleven Sundays beginning with All Saints Day. Found in some but not all lectionaries): Mt 28:16-20, Mk 16:1-8, Mk 16:9-20, Lk 24:1-12, Lk 24:12-35, Lk 24:36-53, Jo 20:1-11, Jo 20:11-18, Jo 20:19-31, Jo 21:1-14, Jo 21:15-25

The Menologion

The Synaxarion was the basic calendar of the church, as it covered the liturgical year (from Easter to Easter). But not all festivals fit into the quasi-lunar form of the Synaxarion. For holidays with fixed dates, the readings were contained in the Menologion, containing lessons from the fixed calendar.

The Menologion began at the beginning of the Civil Year (September 1), and contained a year's worth of readings for certain fixed holidays (which might occur on any day of the week, as opposed to the festivals in the Synaxarion which always occur on the same day -- e.g. Easter is always Sunday).

The Synaxarion was identical in all parts of the Byzantine church. Not so the Menologion! Certain fixed holidays, including festivals such as Christmas and the holy days of the apostles, were (almost) always present, but every diocese would add its own list of saints days and special celebrations. For this reason it is not practical to include a full catalog of the readings in the Menologion. The most important festivals include:

It is not unusual to find the same passage used in both Synaxarion and Menologion. In this case, we often find a reference in the Menologion directing the reader to the passage in the synaxarion.

History of the Lectionary

If the history of the New Testament text is relatively poorly known, our knowledge of the history of the lectionary text is even less. There are several reasons for this. One is that the Fathers have very little to say about the history of the lectionary. Several, beginning with Chrysostom, refer to the lessons for a particular day. Some scholars have argued on this basis that the lectionary system must be early; Gregory thought that the Saturday and Sunday lections, at least, were fixed in the second century, and Metzger argued for the fourth century. (Gregory's basis is that the lectionary included Saturday lessons from an early date, implying that it comes from a time when Saturday was still the Sabbath. This is very reasonable -- though it should be noted that this is merely an argument for the existence of a lectionary, not for the present lectionary and not for a lectionary text.) We might note, though, that even by Chrysostom's time, we cannot always make the lection and date correspond to that in the late lectionaries. There is thus no certain reason to believe Chrysostom used the late Byzantine lectionary. Indeed, Chrysostom himself is widely celebrated (November 13), as is Athanasius (May 2). This clearly proves that the final form of the lectionary -- or at least the Menologion -- is from after their time.

The other reason for our ignorance is our lack of early evidence. The earliest surviving lectionary (l1604) is from the fourth century, but fragmentary; indeed, prior to the eighth century, only ten lectionaries are known (so Kurt & Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament, p. 81; the list includes l1604 [IV -- Greek/Sahidic fragment], l1043 [V -- fragments of Mark 6, Luke 2], l1276 [VI -- Palimpsest, frags of Matt. 10, John 20], l1347 [VI -- Psalter; has Magnificat and Benedictus], l1354 [VI -- Greek/Hebrew fragment, Mark 3], l355 [VII -- portions of Luke], l1348 [VII -- Psalter; has Magnificat and Benedictus], l1353 [VII -- Greek/Coptic diglot, now re-listed as l143 and l962+0276], and l1637 [VII -- Palimpsest]); by contrast, we have 248 continuous-text manuscripts from this period. In addition, these early lectionaries rarely if ever follow the standard order of the late Byzantine lectionaries (Aland & Aland, p. 167; note that not one of these manuscripts is a true Byzantine lectionary. Vaganay/Amphoux (The Text of the New Testament, p. 24 -- also lists the papyri P3, P4, and P44 as lectionaries, but even if true, they are too fragmentary to tell us much).

It therefore seems likely that the final form of the Byzantine lectionary system (including weekday lections and the Menologion) is relatively late. Junack, e.g., argues for a date no earlier than the seventh century. We have some slight evidence to support this from the continuous-text manuscripts, which do not begin to include lectionary markings (arch and telos) until about the eight century. This does not mean that there were no lectionaries prior to this time -- but it does imply that the official lectionary did not reach its final form until relatively late.

The Lectionary Text

Copying a lectionary from a continuous text is difficult. One is forced to constantly skip around in the document. This does not mean that lectionaries are never copied in this way; the existence of the Ferrar Lectionary (l547), which has a text associated with f13, demonstrates this point. But it is reasonable to assume that the large majority of lectionaries were copied from other lectionaries, and only occasionally compared with continuous-text manuscripts.

This being the case, it would seem likely that there would be a "lectionary text" -- a type which evolved in the lectionaries, in a manner analogous to the evolution of a type in the versions. Like a versional text, the lectionary text would start from some particular text-type (as the Latin versions are regarded as deriving from the "Western" type), then evolve in their own way, relatively separate from the tradition of continuous-text manuscripts.

Given the possibly late date of the lectionary system (see the History of the Lectionary), and the fact that it is the Byzantine system, the most likely text-type is of course the Byzantine. But even if this proves true, there is still the question of which strand of the Byzantine text.

Thus far we are carried by theory. At this point we must turn to the manuscripts themselves and examine the data.

One of the first to undertake such an examination was E. C. Colwell in "Is There a Lectionary Text of the Gospels?" (HTR XXV, 1932; now available in a slightly updated version under the title "Method in the Study of Gospel Lectionaries" as Chapter 6 in Studies in Methodology in Textual Criticism of the New Testament). Colwell studied twenty-six lections, from all four gospels and using both the Synaxarion and Menologion, in as many as 56 manuscripts. Colwell discovered that there were lections in which the majority of lectionaries were extremely close to the Textus Receptus, but also lections where they were clearly distinct. In addition, in all the lections there was a clear Majority Text. Recent studies, such as those by Branton, Redus, and Metzger, have supported this conclusion. The United Bible Societies' edition implicitly recognizes this by citing the symbol Lect for the majority text of the lectionaries.

Colwell's results did not, however, fix the text-type of the Lectionary text (as he was the first to admit). The number of passages similar to the Textus Receptus hint at strong Byzantine influence, but do not make it certain. Subsequent studies indicated that the lectionary text was a mix of Byzantine and "Cæsarean" readings -- but as all of this was based on the inadequate methodology of divergences from the Textus Receptus, it is perfectly possible that the alleged "Cæsarean" readings were in fact Byzantine, and perhaps some of the purported Byzantine readings may have been something else.

In Paul, if the UBS4 apparatus is to be trusted, the Lectionary text is strongly Byzantine. Excluding variants in punctuation and accents, the UBS4 text cites Lect 373 times. In all but five of these instances (2 Cor. 2:17, which does not belong on the list as Byz is incorrectly cited; Phil. 3:12, 13; Col. 2:13, Heb. 13:21c), Lect agrees with either Byz or, in the few instances where the Byzantine text is divided, with Byzpt. In addition, there are eighteen places where Lect is divided; in every case (save one where both Lect and Byz are divided), at least part of the tradition goes with Byz. For comparison, the Byzantine uncial K agrees with Byz in 300 of 324 readings in this set, and the equally Byzantine L agrees with Byz in 339 of 366. Thus Lect is actually a better Byzantine witness than these noteworthy Byzantine uncials. It appears, in fact, that Lect is the earliest purely Byzantine witness known (if it can be considered as a witness).

We should also mention the published lectionary text of the Greek church, the Apostoliki Diakonia edition (cited in UBS4 as lAD). This appears to bear much the same sort of relation to the Majority lectionary text that the Textus Receptus has to the Majority Text: It is clearly a witness to the Majority type, but with many minor deviations which render it an imperfect witness.