Ancient prayer scrolls and illuminated leaves from eastern Mediterranean that painstakingly illustrates the Christian Gospel are now on display for the first time in an exhibit in Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong.
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The exhibit titled "Illustrious Illuminations II: Armenian and Georgian Manuscripts from the Eleventh to the Eighteenth Century" is on display at the University of Hong Kong's University Museum and Art Gallery until June 11. The items featured include illustrated Armenian manuscripts and illuminated Georgian Gospel leaves that detail the Christian Gospel, the South China Morning Post reports.
"Armenian illustrated manuscripts are some of the most lavishly decorated codices of the Christian churches from the Middle East," said gallery director Dr. Florian Knothe. "The Gospels are paramount among these, primarily because of the Armenian community's respect for the sacred texts, revering them in the same way that Greek and Russian Christians regard holy icons."
Armenian rulers reportedly carried the prayer scrolls with them during war and designated sacred names to copies of the Christian Gospels. There were some who believed that the manuscripts had miraculous powers.
Last month, ABC ran a report on a Minnesota-based Benedictine monk who wants to preserve Islamic manuscripts. Although it sounds like a contradiction to his religious calling, Father Columba Stewart and his team are taking photos of the manuscripts to help preserve their integrity amid the rise of the Islamic State, which had destroyed many of the ancient manuscripts in the Middle East.
Father Stewart's unlikely work started when he and his team were in the Old City of Jerusalem and realized that Muslims have lived in the same place with Christians for a long time, so they should also try to preserve Islamic heritage. He explained that the manuscripts record the religious convictions, history, and interactions of the religious communities.
The Benedictine monk's team has photographed illuminated Christian books and golden Korans. However, Father Stewart said some of the most precious ancient manuscripts they have encountered are not as beautiful.