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


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.

Even the name used for them is a little uncertain -- it was common to call a gospel book a τετραευαγγελιον, tetraevangelion, four-gospels, while a lectionary was ευαγγελιον, evangelion, gospels, but it will be evident that these terms could be confused!

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 in the catalogs. 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. Also, the terms may be used for tables of readings in a continuous-text manuscript rather than for a portion of a lectionary). 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 allusions 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. (OK, 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
e(sw)U-ℓ E(SW)
a aU-ℓa A
+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
ae e(w)aU-ℓaa E(W)A
asel a*U-ℓaselA*

Symbols used in Nestle and here


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*)† 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)a† 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)† XII Dated to the twelfth century by Gregory and Aland, eleventh by Scrivener. Damaged at beginning and end.
ℓ69 e(w)† XIIDated XI by Scrivener. Considered by the IGNTP to have the standard lectionary text.
ℓ70 e(w)† 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*)† 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)a† 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)a† XIVDated XII/XIII by Scrivener (for whom it is 65apl; Gregory's 68apl). Defective for lections κε-λ 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)† 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. However, I have checked the description in M. R. James, A Descriptive Catalog of the Western Manuscripts in the Library of Christ's College [N. B. by "Western" James refers to their origin, not their text-type]. He gives the catalog number as F.1.8. I would regard this as definitive; F.1.8 is the only lectionary in James's catalog -- and the description he gives (vellum, 11-3/4"x8-1/2", double columnes) matches that in the Liste.
Interestingly, the Liste says it has 218 pages, but James, who examined it minutely, lists 219 pages. He describes it as "Cent. xi [agreeing with the Liste], fairly well written: the writing sometimes hangs from the ruled lines but very frequently stands between them. Ornaments in blue and red and green and red, rather coarse." There are between 26 and 32 lines per column. Two quires are missing: after quire 2 and after quire 14. James says that Scrivener collated it in 1854 (its readings are found in his book on Codex Augiensis under the siglum Z). Westcott & Hort gave it the number 59.
A colophon says that the manuscript was sold in the year 1261 C.E., and Scrivener affirms that this is not contemporary with the manuscript. There was an older inscription which James could read only in part.
Columns 1-81 give lessons from John, 81-206 have lessons from Matthew, 206-303 come from Matthew and Mark, 303-440 are from Luke, 440-663 come from all the Gospels. Beginning in column 663, a new hand takes over, giving four lessons from the Prophets and four from the Epistles. (These, according to Scrivener, were Old Gregory 53apl, although the Liste lists 53apl as unassigned.)
Lessons in calendar order, commencing in September, begin in column 714. The book ends with column 871.
Of 222evl, Scrivener says it is ornamented, and "is much fuller than most Lectionaries, and contains many minute variations [citing as an example its omission of υιου β&alphaραχιου in Matt. 23:35, agreeing with the first hand of Sinaiticus] and interesting readings."
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)† 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)† XIIIThis is the lectionary which was written over Ξ/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, "Σαββατοκυριακαι from the eleventh Sunday in St. Luke (14:20) to the Sunday of the Publican (xviii.14)."
ℓ313 e(w)† XIV
ℓ333 e(w)† 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*)† XII"[Mutilated] at beginning and end." Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
ℓ547 e(sw*)† 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)a† XIScrivener's 270apl, which he dates XIV and lists as "[mutilated] at beginning and end." Gregory's 94apl
ℓ591 e(w)a† XIScrivener's 272apl, which he dates XIV-XV and lists as "[mutilated] at beginning and end." Gregory's 95apl
ℓ592 e(w)a† 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*)a† 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)† 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 SEL† IXUncial lectionary, selected readings (Jerusalem form).
ℓ846 EA SELVIII/IXUncial lectionary, selected readings (Jerusalem form)
ℓ847 E(SW*)967Uncial lectionary.
ℓ858 e(sw*)† XII
ℓ859 e(sw*)† 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)† 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*)† XII
ℓ1074 e(sw*)† 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 a† XII
ℓ1156 a† XIV
ℓ1159 e(w)a1331
ℓ1178 e(w)aXI
ℓ1223 e(w)† XIII
ℓ1231 e(sw*)XConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
ℓ1298 e(sw*)aXI
ℓ1356 AXUncial lectionary
ℓ1364 a† XII
ℓ1365 aXII
ℓ1439 a† 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)† 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*)† IXUncial lectionary. Considered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
ℓ1602 E(SW*)† 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*)† XIConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
ℓ1634 e(sw*)XIIConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
ℓ1635 e(sw*)XIIINot cited in any major edition, but interesting as a cruciform lectionary, and with many illustrations. New York, Pierpont Morgan Library MS. 692. It is the subject of a richly illustrated book, Jeffrey C. Anderson, The New York Cruciform Lectionary, Penn State Press, 1992. This does not say much about the text (which is probably typical of the lectionaries in general), but it includes the lectionary calendar in this manuscript, some discussion of lectionary history, and dozens of plates showing (supposedly) every illumination in ℓ1635 plus some illustrations of other lectionaries. Two artists are believed to have been involved in creating the illustrations. The scribe writes in a competent and attractive hand, and the manuscript is equipped with neumes, but Anderson reports that a sixth of the lections are mis-attributedand there are many errors in number and sequence; for such an attractive manuscript, it seems to have been singularly badly executed. Whatever that tells us.
ℓ1642 e(w)† XIIIConsidered by the IGNTP to have a diverging text.
ℓ1663 e(sw*)† 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 αδελφοι, while we find τεκνον Τιμοθεε and τεκνον Τιτε in the relevant epistles.

Sometimes these lectionary incipits will work their way into the continuous text of a manuscript; this happened in 1799, for instance.

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.

τη αγια και μεγαλη κυριακη του πασχα
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
κυριακη γ
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
κυριακη δ
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
κυριακη ε
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
κυριακη ς
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
κυριακη ζ
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
κυριακη της πεντεκοστης
Jo 20:19-23, 7:37-52+8:12
Ac 2:1-11
Week after Pentecost
τη επαυριον τες πεντεκοστης
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
κυριακη α των αγιων παντων
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
κυριακη β
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
κυριακη γ
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
κυριακη δ
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
κυριακη ε
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
κυριακη ς
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
κυριακη ζ
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
κυριακη η
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
κυριακη θ
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
κυριακη ι
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
κυριακη ια
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
κυριακη ιβ
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
κυριακη ιγ
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
κυριακη ιδ
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
κυριακη ιε
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
κυριακη ις
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
κυριακη ιζ
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 / κυριακη α 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 / κυριακη β 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 / κυριακη γ 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 / κυριακη δ 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 / κυριακη ε 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 / κυριακη ς 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 / κυριακη ζ 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 / κυριακη η 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 / κυριακη θ 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 / κυριακη ι 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 / κυριακη ια 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 / κυριακη ιβ 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 / κυριακη ιγ 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 / κυριακη ιδ 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 / κυριακη ιε 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 / κυριακη ις 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
κυριακη ις 2C 6:1-10 (2C 3:4-12) (2C 4:1-6) (2C 4:11-18) (2C 5:10-15) (2C 5:15-21)
κυριακη ιζ 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
κυριακη ιη 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
κυριακη ιθ 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
κυριακη κ 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
κυριακη κα 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
κυριακη κβ 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
κυριακη κγ 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
κυριακη κδ 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
κυριακη κε Ep 4:1-7 Ga 1:3-10
κυριακη κς Ep 5:8-19 Ga 3:8-12
κυριακη κζ Ep 6:10-17 Ga 5:22-6:2
κυριακη κη 2C 2:14-3:3 Co 1:9-18
κυριακη κθ Co 3:4-11 Ep 2:11-13
κυριακη λ 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
κυριακη λα 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
κυριακη λβ 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
κυριακη λγ 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
κυριακη λδ 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
κυριακη λε 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
κυριακη λς 2Ti 2:11-13

As the Passion period approaches, the calendars again unite.

Of the Canaanitess
κυριακη ιζ
Mt 15:21-28
σαββατω προ της αποκρεω/
of the Prodigal
Lk 15:1-10
κυριακη προ της αποκρεω/
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
κυριακη της αποκρεω/
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"
κυριακη της τυροφαγου Mt 6:14-21, Ro 13:11-14:4
Παννυχις της αγιας νηστειας
(Lenten Vigil)
Mt 7:7-11

Lent/Των νηστειων

σαββατω α Mk 2:23-3:5He 1:1-12
Κυιακη α Jo 1:44-52He 11:24-40
σαββατω β Mk 1:35-44He 3:12-14
Κυιακη β Mk 2:1-12He 1:10-2:3
σαββατω γ Mk 2:14-17He 10:32-37
Κυιακη γ Mk 8:34-9:1He 4:14-5:6
σαββατω δ Mk 7:31-37He 6:9-12
Κυιακη δ Mk 9:17-17-31He 6:13-20
σαββατω ε Mk 8:27-31He 9:24-28
Κυιακη ε Mk 10:32-45He 9:11-14
σαββατω ς (of Lazarus) Jo 11:1-45He 12:28-13:8
Κυιακη ς των Βαιων 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
ευαγγελιον του νιπτηρος Jo 13:3-10
μετα το νιψασθαι Jo 13:12-17, Mt 26:21-39, Lk 22:43-44, Mt 26:40-27:2, 1C 11:23-32

Ευαγγελια των αγιων παθων Ιησου Χριστου/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

Ευαγγελια των ωρων της αγιας παραμονης/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)

τη αγια παρασκευη εις την λειτουργιαν: 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

τω αγιω και μεγαλω σαββατω (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)

Ευαγγελια αναστασιμα εωθινα (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 (αρχη and τελος) 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 by taking selections from a continuous text manuscript; 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.

Sample Lectionaries

Those who wish to see some sample lectionaries may consult the following, mostly from the British Library: