Uspensky theft of icons from St. Catherines - Uzi Dahari - Vatopedi thefts

Steven Avery



Library of the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi

In 1837 Robert Curzon visited the Monastery. About her library she writes that although it contains 4,000 printed books, there is not a single ancient copy among them, while their contents are limited to theology. There are also about 1,000 manuscripts, of which 300 to 400 are written on parchment. Among them three copies of works by Ioannou Chrysostomos. Also noteworthy are six scrolls, with liturgical festive texts and wishes for the consecration of new churches.

During the 19th century we also have many code shifts and they mainly concern codes of classical content. In 1802, the English traveler Clarke brought to London the famous codex with the speeches of the ten Attic orators, which seems to have belonged to the donation of Ioannis Kantakouzenos, while in 1841–1843 the Greek Minas Minoidis retrieved several manuscripts or parts on behalf of the French government manuscripts, which are now in the National Library of France. Smaller in scope, but equally important, were the thefts of Constantinos Simonides, who in 1853 cut and sold to the British Museum a sheet of the famous codex with Ptolemy's Geography, and of the Russian Archimandrite Porphyry Ouspensky, who also took sheets of codexes.
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Steven Avery

Athos forumМанастир-Хиландар

The worst "friendly thefts" happened in the 19th century, when Slavologists were very interested. There are not a few single
leaves, fragments and codices found in collections in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Odessa and they come from the visits of
Viktor Grigorovich (1844) and Porfiry Uspensky (1845/1846 and 1858/1859). Chronologically, he was preceded by the linguist
Gerney Kopitar, who in 1826/1827 bought 12 manuscripts from Mount Athos, 8 from Hilandari and 4 from Zografou, for the
Library of the Imperial Court of Vienna. His mission was however interrupted due to a lack of interest from the Imperial Court in
purchasing Slavic treasures.