Greek gospel catenas 4: catenas on John

There are six types of catena on John.  The bulk of all of them comes from the same sources:

  • John Chrysostom’s Sermons on John
  • Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John
  • Ammonius
  • Origen’s Commentary on John; possibly also from the Excerpta in quasdam partes Iohannis which is attributed to him by Jerome (Letter 33, 4).

Type A: This consists of four catenas, starting in the 5-6th century and running down to the 8th century, according to Reuss.

  1. This catena contains extracts by Chrysostom and Hesychius of Jerusalem.
  2. This is an augmented version of #1, which adds extracts from Photius.
  3. This one was compiled by Leo Patricius, and is an abridged version of #1.  It adds a number of extracts without indicating the author, although in fact nearly all of them are by Chrysostom.
  4. The comprehensive version of type A adds extracts by many other fathers, including Ammonius, Apollinaris, and Theodore of Heraclea.

Type B: Two catenas make up this type.

  1. The first catena gives no names of authors for the extracts that it includes.  The compilation is attributed to Peter of Laodicea.
  2. A more complete version of the catena contains more than 800 extracts.  Most of these are by Ammonius, or preceded by the words: ἐκ διαφόρων or ἀνεπίγραφος.

Type C: This catena is mainly from John Chrysostom, and dates from the early 10th century.  The attributions are not always reliable.

Type D: This consists mainly of extracts from Ammonius, Cyril of Alexandria, Theodore of Heraclea and Theodore of Mopsuestia.  It is found in Rome, Biblioteca Vallicelliana gr. E. 40.

Type E: This catena also is mainly from John Chrysostom, and was compiled in 1080 by Nicetas of Heraclea.  Macarius Chrysocephalus’ λογός 16 uses material  from this catena.

Type F: This consists mainly of extracts from Ammonius, Cyril of Alexandria, Theodore of Heraclea and Theodore of Mopsuestia.

Others: There are also catenas on John in the following manuscripts:

  • Athos, Lavra B. 113.  Geerard labels this “Type G”.
  • Munich, State Library gr. 208.
  • Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale Suppl. gr. 1225.
  • Vatican gr. 349.
  • Vatican gr. 1229 (11-12th century)
  • Vatican gr. 1618 (16th century)
  • Rome, Biblioteca dei Lincei A. 300.

 The Curzon Coptic Catena published by de Lagarde and its Arabic descendant also contain a catena on John.

Editions: J. Reuss, Johannes-Kommentare aus der griechischen Kirche, Berlin (1966).

Studies: R. Devreese, Dictionnaire de la Bible, Supplement 1 (Paris, 1928), pp. 1194-1205, on the John catenas.  M. Geerard, Clavis Patrum Graecorum 4, pp. 242-248.  Karo and Lietzman, (as in intro), pp. 143-151.

2 Responses to “Greek gospel catenas 4: catenas on John”


  1. Maureen

    It seems to me that there’s a lot of John and Luke, a lot of Chrysostom, and a general lack of “catenas of stuff by obscure guys”. :)

  2. Roger Pearse

    Ah, but that’s the problem. We don’t actually know what is in these catenas, because they haven’t been published and we haven’t got lists of authors quoted. All we have is vague statements like “mainly Chrysostom”, which is probably of limited interest. We need better info, I agree.

    My interest is that I think that a lot of these contain stuff by Eusebius of Caesarea, from the lost work on the Differences in the Gospels and their solutions.



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