The Gennadius Library “Akolouthies” Digitization Project

Οι έντυπες Ακολουθίες Αγίων


Οι Ακολουθίες είναι μια μοναδική πηγή πληροφοριών για τη λαϊκή Ορθόδοξη λατρεία στην εποχή της Τουρκοκρατίας και μαζί με τα Ορθόδοξα θρησκευτικά χαρακτικά του 17ου -19ου αιώνα που μελέτησε η Ντόρη Παπαστράτου αποτελούν ένα υλικό που μας μεταφέρει την καθημερινή πρακτική της λατρείας και ένα μνημείο της δημώδους γλώσσας.


Daphne and Marina Heliades have donated to the Gennadius Library the corpus of printed “Akolouthies” collected by their mother, Dory Papastratou. The collection has been catalogued by Demosthenes Stratigopoulos and published as Ἔντυπες Ἀκολουθίες Ἁγίων, Συλλογὴ Ντόρης Παπαστράτου (Αθήνα 2007) under the scholarly supervision of Kriton Chryssochoidis (Research Director at the Institute for Byzantine Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation). This edition supplements that of Louis Petit, Bibliographie des acolouthies grecques [Subsidia Hagiographica 16] (Bruxelles 1926).

Dory Papastratou (1923 - 1987) acquired the main body of her collection in June 1980 from the collector A. A. Chatzidemos. As liturgical books, the “Akolouthies” fitted well with her interest in the practice Greek Orthodox worship and supplemented her important collection of Orthodox paper icons.
The “Akolouthia” records the religious worship that takes place in church and aims to praise the saint on the day that his memory is being celebrated. The printed “Akolouthies” usually have the form of a simple pamphlet or humble booklet (hence they are usually referred in Greek as “φυλλάδες”) and contain hymns that are sung on the feast day of a saint or of a miraculous event of the Church. Sometimes the “Akolouthies” also contain longer or shorter hagiological texts (a Synaxarion or Vita or the narration of a miraculous event).

The Dory Papastratou collection consists of 665 “Akolouthies” pamphlets and several books, which contain smaller or larger compilations of “Akolouthies” dedicated to one or different saints and to feast days with common characteristics. Chronologically the collection spans the period from the seventeenth century to 1981. It contains two “Akolouthies” published in the seventeenth century, 37 “Akolouthies” of the eighteenth century, while the rest were published in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Of high importance are the 237 “Akolouthies” (about 1/3 of the collection) dated after the publication of the Louis Petit’s bibliography (1926) since they cover an important gap in the bibliography of the “Akolouthies” production in the twentieth century. The 665 pamphlets and miscellaneous books record the poetic texts (mainly the canons) of the “Akolouthies” for 394 holy persons or events: 348 saints, 7 feasts of Christ’s Festal Cycle and 39 feasts for the Theotokos, of which 5 concern feasts of the Virgin Festal Cycle and 34 feasts in memory of miracles that icons of the Virgin have performed. The collection preserves the names of 186 hymnographers, including numerous previously unknown post-Byzantine and modern poets. The significant production of contemporary hymnographers revives the glorious tradition of Byzantine poetry.

The “Akolouthies” are a unique source of information about folk Orthodox worship during the Ottoman period and along with the Orthodox religious engravings of the 17th – 19th centuries that Dory Papastratou also collected and studied, they constitute a unique testimony for the practice of daily church service in the vernacular language.

The donor, Daphne Heliades, wishes that the “Akolouthies” become immediately accessible to the academic and wider community. Under the expert guidance of Byzantinist Kriton Chryssochoidis and the technical advice and programming of the IT Manager of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Tarek Elemam, the “Akolouthies” are now available to the wider community on the internet.

The “Akolouthies” have been digitized and the material of the 2007 catalogue was used to create the database according to the following categories:
• saint or feast day,
• title,
• physical description,
• the Akolouthia’s writer or poet,
• year and place of publication,
• publishing or printing house,
• editor or copyeditor,
• sponsor of the publication,
• listing of Synaxarion texts
• bibliography

Several of the “Akolouthies” were not digitized (either because they are under copyright or because they are reprints of older editions that have already been digitized); they were nevertheless entered in the database with hyperlinks to already published “Akolouthies” with information on additional metadata, wherever they exist (for example, different sponsor, different publishing/printing house, place etc). Special gratitude is due to Emmanuel Georgoudakis and Nikolaos Livanos for their expert help with the digitization and the creation of the database. Gennadius Senior Librarian, Irini Solomonidi, Cataloguer Giannis Valourdos, and Dimitris Velentzas have been invaluable in the accession of the “Akolouthies” in the Library.


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