108 In this letter there is the one visit in 1852. In a subsequent letter there is another visit, in 1844. In yet another letter there is a third visit of unspecified date. This is all pure invention, but is poking fun at Tischendorf, who made three visits to St Catherine's. Simonides times his (imaginary') 1844 visit just days before Tischendorf's 1844 visit to sharpen the coincidence. Simonides is also parodying Tischendorf's idea that the Codex would make a wonderful present to the Tsar by weaving into his tale that it was his (imaginary') uncle Benedict's idea to make it a gift for the Tsar twenty' years previously. - p. 49
105 Later Tregelles would write to The Guardian newspaper against those who gave credence to Simonides that 'Whoever pretends that Cod. Sinaiticus can be modern, virtually asserts that it was intended to deceive'. ... p. 48
109 The Codex was not in the library open to visitors and scholars, and it would not have been shown to a traveller such as Simonides, since the sacristan, Vitaly, was under strict advice from Uspensky not to do so. By this date Uspensky had studied the Codex in great detail, both in 1845 and 1850, and certainly would have been able to tell whether it had been written as recently as 1840! - p. 49
110 In a separate letter Simonides states that when he saw it in 1844 and 1852 it contained the whole Pentateuch entire. - p. 49
111 There are grounds to doubt that it was as far back as 1860 since as late as December 13,1861 Simonides wrote the The Athenaeum (see issue December 21,1861, p.849), 'It is to be regretted that you see no cause for thankfulness to God in the discovery of the earliest MSS. of the New Testament extant; and I fear Mr. Tischendorf came in for a share of your animadversions for the praise which he offered to God for his discovery of the 'Codex Sinaiticus.' - p.49-50
However, Simonides' mastery of written Greek came much later than would appear to be indicated by his newspaper smear campaign articles, for he was still incapable of writing these articles in the 1840s entirely from his own resources. Tracing this back, we find that the monks at the Panteleimon monastery judged that when he arrived there in November 1839,
He was a poor boy, who could, of course, write Greek, but not much more.124 p. 53-54
he quite keenly felt his weakness in style, because many mistakes and solecisms escaped his pen.
About the end of the year 1839, the venerable Benedict, my uncle, spiritual head of the monastery of the holy martyr Panteleemon in Mount Athos, wished to present to the Emperor Nicholas I., of Russia, some gift from the sacred mountain, in grateful acknowledgment of the presents which had from time to time been offered to the monastery of the martyr. - p 57
Dr Cooper protests that there is solid evidence that Simonides and Benedict really were at the Panteleimon monastery at Mount Athos in 1839, which fact he presents as indicative of the truthfulness of the whole of Simonides' claimed account of production of the Codex; but that is as fallacious as claiming that because jonas King really did hold Protestant services at his house in Athens in 1847, then this is indicative of the truthfulness of Simonides' claimed eyewitness accounts of orgies thereat.
No one doubts that in late 1839 Simonides was at the Panteleimon monastery, as was Benedict, a hierodeacon and a teacher,
but Benedict was never at any time the spiritual head of that monastery; neither was he Simonides' uncle. Yet Simonides
His early name was Basileion, then Bessarion (Vissarion), then Benedict as a monk on Athos. Benedict composed a famous hymn to the virgin that is still sung today. ... his teaching activities, the group behind the schools, the city, the rebellion, the overrunning by Turkish forces, the war, the reason for creating the Sinaiticus....
'... Parfeny also describes in detail Abbot Gerasim and Deacon Venediktos [=Benedict] of St Panteleimon, Father-Confessor Ieronim, Prior Akaky of the Prophet Elijah Skete and a number of Russian ascetics on Athos, all of whom he knew personally.' ... Ageev describes the day that the Russian monks were admitted (November 21,1839) and the roles of hierodeacon Benedict and the hegumen Gerasim. ... The abbot of the same, elder Gerasim, and the pious elderly teacher [= Benedict?] ... 1860); St Panteleimon Monastery: PyccKiu AeoncKiu omevHuia>XlX-XX etbKOffb Vol.l, (2012); Alexey Afanasievich Dmitrievsky ... (Kiev, 1906). See Chapter 4 especially for details of hegumen Gerasim and hierodeacon Benedict ... Uspensky also mentions the late hierodeacon Benedict. p. 60
Then there is the account of monk Parfeny Ageev, who was at the Panteleimon monastery at exactly the same time as Simonides (1839-41), and wrote copious details (published in 1855) about hegumen Gerasim and hierodeacon Benedict. Parfeny twice records that Benedict was 106 years on his last appearance before his death,139 and thus Benedict was about 90 years the senior of Simonides.
Simonides' tale that Benedict was his mother's brother was thus patent nonsense p. 61 ... The impossibility that Benedict was his mother's brother is of course evident from their ages: when Benedict was a centenarian Simonides was a teenager. p. 63
Stewart, p. 3 Biographical Memoir:
Having pursued his studies for some time in the latter city, and not having received any intelligence of his family, owing to the unsettled condition of the country and other causes, he visited the island of Calauria, expecting to find there his relative Benedict, the uncle of his mother.
But Benedict, as well as the principals of the monastery, wishing to recognize with gratitude the munificence of the Emperor Nicholas...decided that a transcript of the Sacred Scriptures should be made in the ancient style, and presented as a gift for the Emperor Nicholas, and he found that all the heads of the monastery perfectly agreed with him. Accordingly, having again revised the books ready for publication, and first Genesis, he gave it to me to transcribe.
'a gift to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia in appreciation for his many kindnesses toward the Mount Athos monastery' (p.29),
Some Russians were admitted during the 1830s, but due to difficulties were asked to leave again, and not re-admitted until November 1839, the same month that Simonides arrived. The monastery itself did not agree to accept alms from Russia until 1841,142 and sent out hieromonk Arseny in 1842 to gather support, by which time Simonides was gone. - p. 62
The 'Russico' Panteleimon monastery especially was under Ottoman suspicion of having secret relations with Russia, and it was far too dangerous to accept funds from the Russian nobility while under the jurisdiction of the Ottomans, at least until the 1840s. p. 62
147 Simonides in his letter to The Guardian claimed to have used as his text the Moscow edition of the Bible (which for the New Testament was Textus Receptus) that Benedict had collated 'with the ancient ones and cleared it of many errors'. Subsequently, Simonides specified these as three ancient copies, plus Codex Alexandrinus, and a Syriac version. He still could not have produced the text of Codex Sinaiticus from these, but what tricks was was 'learned Benedict' up to tinkering with the Scriptures on behalf of the monastery? And more pointedly, in the article to which the Panteleimon monastery were responding, the argument by Tischendorf against Simonides' claimed provenance had been set out, which indicated the gross indecency of sending such a codex as a present to the Tsar as the defender of Orthodoxy, since due to the thousands of changes from the Textus Receptus, the resulting text of Codex Sinaiticus would appear to the Tsar as promoting 'gross heresies', which could not but reflect very badly on the monastery. - p. 64