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Walters Ms. W.829, Anaphora of Mary (Mass book)

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Anaphora of Mary (Mass book)

Text title
An Eucharistic Thanksgiving, dedicated to Our Lady Holy Virgin in two ways Mary Bearer of God, that Abba Cyriacus, Bishop of the city of Bahnasa, composed

Vernacular: አኰቴተ፡ ቁርባን፡ ዘእግዝእትነ፡ ቅድስት፡ ድንግል፡ በ፪ኤ፡ ማርያም፡ ወላዲተ፡ አምላክ፡ ዘደረሰ፡ አባ፡ ሕርያቆስ፡ ኤጲስ፡ ቆጶስ፡ ዘሀገረ፡ ብህንሳ።


This mass book, containing one of about twenty anaphoras of the Church, was made for Wäldä Mädḫǝn between 1929 and 1942 (that is, when Yoḥannǝs or John was Patriarch of Alexandris, 1928-1942, and Qerǝlos or Cyril was the metropolitan of Ethiopia, 1929-1950). It was written by the scribe Wändǝmmu Gashaw (whose baptismal name was Gäbra Maryam) of Däbrä Libanos monastery, just north of Addis Ababba, Ethiopia. Written in Gǝ‛ǝz, the traditional liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the manuscript contains the Anaphora of Mary ascribed to Cyriacus, bishop of the city of Bahnasa, in Upper Egypt. There is a richly colored image of the Virgin and Child on the blank folio before the text, and the manuscript ends with a depiction of St. Michael conquering the Devil. Both illuminations were painted on reused text pages, which were added much later to give value to the manuscript. The late date of this work is a testimony to the remarkable continuation of the medieval manuscript tradition into the modern era in Ethiopia.


Second quarter of the 20th century


North of Addis Ababba, Ethiopia


As-written name: Wändǝmmu Gashaw (baptismal name Gäbrä Maryam)






The primary language in this manuscript is Geez.

fols. 35r to 35v:
  1. In vernacular: ኦእግዝእትየ፡ ማርያም፡ ዕቀብኒ፡ እመከራ፡ ሥጋ፡ ወነፍስ፡ ለገብርኪ፡ ወልደ፡ መድኅን፡ ወምስለ፡ ጸሐፊሃ፡ ወንድሙ፡ ጋሻው፡ ወስመ፡ ጥምቀቱ፡ ገብረ፡ ማርያም፡ ዘደብረ፡ ሊባኖስ፡ እንተ፡ ይእቲ፡ መካነ፡ አጽሙ፡ ለተክለ፡ ሃይ[ማኖ](fol. 35v)ት፡ ብርሃነ፡ ዓለም፨ ፨
  2. Translation: O My Lady Mary, keep me, your servant Wäldä Mädḫǝn from the temptation of the body and soul, with its [i.e. the manuscript's] copyist Wändǝmmu Gashaw, whose baptismal name is Gäbrä Maryam, of Däbrä Libanos, which is the place of the relics of Täklä Haymanot, the light of the world.
  3. Comment: Täklä Haymanot is the greatest saint and apostle of Ethiopia and founder of the monastery of Däbrä Libanos, north of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Support material


Medium-weight, yellow parchment of uneven finish; folios with images thicker and darker


Foliation: 40

Modern pencil foliation upper right corners, rectos, from 1-36, beginning on folio 4, and ending on the penultimate folio; first three folios and the last folio are blank, but structurally integral to the textblock


Formula: 1(4), 2-4 (10), 5(6)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None

Comments: Quires begin on fols. i(1), 2(2), 12(3), 22(4), and 32(5)


8.5 cm wide by 12.8 cm high

Written surface

5.8 cm wide by 8.5 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 15
  3. Hard-point ruled

fols. 1v - 36r:
  1. Title: An Eucharistic Thanksgiving, dedicated to Our Lady Holy Virgin in two ways Mary Bearer of God, that Abba Cyriacus, Bishop of the city of Bahnasa, composed
  2. Incipit: ጐሥዓ፡ ልብየ፡ ቃለ፡ ሠናየ፡...
  3. Text note: The main text is the Anaphora of Mary (ቅዳሴ፡ ማርያም።, or Qǝddase Maryam); the writing on the flyleaves is the standard beginning of an Amharic application letter, repeatedly copied in different lengths
  4. Decoration note: Two full-page miniatures; Virgin and Child begins text (fol. 1v) and St. Michael standing on the Devil ends text (fol. 36r); images appear to be painted over text pages; green, red, yellow, and blue paint used in solid planes of color with details picked out in black and white paint; rubrics in red; text in black ink


fol. 1v:

  1. W.829, fol. 1v
  2. Title: Virgin and Her Beloved Child flanked by the Archangels Michael and Gabriel
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Comment:

    The inscription on the image reads "ምስለ፡ ፍቁር፡ ወልዳ፡," or "[Madonna] with Her Beloved Child."

fol. 36r:

  1. W.829, fol. 36r
  2. Title: St. Michael standing on the Devil
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Comment:

    The inscription on the image reads "ቅዱስ፡ ሚካኤል፡," or "Saint Michael."


The binding is original.

Blind-tooled red goatskin


Copied by Wändǝmmu Gashaw (baptismal name Gäbrä Maryam) of Däbrä Libanos monastery, north of Addis Ababba, Ethiopia, 1929-1950 (prayer for Metropolitan Qerǝlos, fols. 4r and 5v); owned by Wäldä Mädḫǝn (?): see colophon, fol. 35v

Daniel M. Friedenberg, New York, purchased in Addis Ababba, Ethiopia, in 1952; ex libris on flyleaf i, v


Gift of Mr. Daniel M. Friedenberg, New York


መጽሐፈ፡ ቅዳሴ። በግዕዝና፡ በአማርኛ። አዲስ፡ አበባ፡ ፲፱፻፶፩፡ ዓመተ፡ ምሕረት። (Mäṣḥafä Qǝddase. bä-Gǝ‘ǝz-ǝnna bä-Amarǝñña. Addis Ababa, 1951 EC. = 1958/9 AD.), pp.107-126. See this for Anaphora of Mary.

Daoud, Marcos, and Marsie Hazen. The Liturgy of the Ethiopian Church. Cairo: The Egyptian Book Press, 1959, pp. 130-152. See this for Anaphora of Mary.

Haile, Getatchew. "On the Identity of Silondis and the Composition of the Anaphora of Mary ascribed to Hǝrǝyaqos of Bǝhǝnsa," Orientalia Christiana Periodica, vol. 49 (1983), pp. 366-389. See this for Anaphora of Mary.

Böll, Verena. 'Unsere Herrin Maria.' Die traditionelle äthiopische Exegese der Marienanaphora des Cyriacus von Behnesa. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1998. See this for Anaphora of Mary.


Principal cataloger: Getatchew Haile, .

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Emery, Doug; Isaac, Ephraim; Noel, William; Pizzinato, Riccardo; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.