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Walters Ms. W.844, Two Ethiopian Prayer Books copied together

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Two Ethiopian Prayer Books copied together

Text title
Two Prayer Books


This small, undecorated manuscript was written in Gǝ‛ǝz, the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and was copied for Gäbrä Giyorgis. Although it has long been considered to be a work of the sixteenth century, the scribe's hand suggests a later date, perhaps in the eighteenth century. The date 1308AH/1890-91CE, given on the verso of the second flyleaf could be for the Arabic notes of the two leaves. Evidence of its long life and variety of users comes in the form of notes scribbled on the flyleaves, with Arabic in two hands covering the front two flyleaves and notes in French and English on the back flyleaf.


18th century CE








The primary language in this manuscript is Geez. The secondary language of this manuscript is Arabic.

Support material


Thick, often coarse parchment, with hair still visible on many folios


Foliation: ii+62

Modern pencil foliation, upper right corners (from fols. 1-61); last leaf is blank and unfoliated, but integral to the structure of the text


Formula: ii, 1-6(8), 7(10,-4,8), 8(4), 9(2)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None

Comments: Quires begin on fols. 1(1), 9(2), 17(3), 25(4), 33(5), 41(6), 49(7), 57(8), and 61(9)


7.7 cm wide by 11.5 cm high

Written surface

6.0 cm wide by 8.5 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 12
  3. Some hard point ruling visible; prickings in margins

fols. 1r - 61r:
  1. Title: Two Prayer Books
  2. Text note: Contains two Prayer Books copied into one manuscript
  3. Decoration note: No illumination; first two lines, select words, and some punctuation in red; text in black ink
fols. 1r - 29v:
  1. Title: Säne Golgota
  2. Incipit: በስመ፡ አብ፡ . . . ዛቲ፡ ጸሎት፡ ዘእግዝእትነ፡ ቅድስት፡ ድንግል፡ በ፪ማርያም[፡] ወላዲተ፡ አምላክ፨ ጸሎታ፡ . . . አሜን፨ ጸሎት፡ ዘጸለየት፡ ባቲ፡ አመ፡ ፳ወ፩፡ ለወርኃ፡ ሰኔ፡ በደብረ፡ ጎልጎታ፨ ዝውእቱ፡ መቃብረ፡ እግዚእ(1v)ነ፡ ኢየሱስ፡ ክርስቶስ፨ እንዘ፡ ትብል፡ እግዚእየ፡ ወአምላኪየ፡ ወልድየ፡ ወንጉሥየ፡ ኢየሱስ፡ ክርስቶስ፨ . . .
  3. Text note: Prayer of Mary which she prayed at Mount Golgotha on the 21st of the month of Säne (Mary's prayer to her Son being that he forgive the sins of all who celebrate her monthly holy day)
fols. 29v - 61r:
  1. Title: Lǝfafä Ṣǝdq and Mängädä Sämay
  2. Incipit: በስመ፡ አብ፡ . . . ጸሎተ፡ ድኅነተ፡ ነፍስ፡ መጽሐፈ፡ ሕይወት፡ ልፋፈ፡ ጽድቅ፨ ዘጸሐፋ፡ አብ፡ በዕዴሁ፡ ወወሀባ፡ ለእግዝእትነ፡ ማርያም፡ እምቅድመ፡ ይትወለድ፡ ክርስቶስ፡ ዘታድኅን፡ እም፡ ጸባብ፡ አንቀጽ፡ . . .
  3. Contents: This section contains a two-part Prayer of the Salvation of the Soul; fols 29v-35r: Bandlet of Righteousness (Lǝfafä Ṣǝdq), the text of which was composed by the Father's own hand and given to Mary before Christ was born. It is prayed to be saved from the narrow gate (Mt 7:14). Fols. 36r-61r: Prayer for Journey to Heaven (Mängädä Sämay), the prayer to ask God to send the Angels of Light to ward off the Angels of Darkness who stumble the soul and bring it to the narrow gate (Mt 7:14) as it journeys to heaven; the latter part of the prayer has several breaks within it, so incipits to those parts are as follows: fol. 35r: በስመ፡ አብ፡ . . . ጸሎተ፡ መንገደ፡ ሰማይ፡ ዕቀበኒ፡ ክርስቶስ፡ ከመ፡ ኢያ[ዕ]ቅፍዋ፡ ለነፍስየ፡ ለዓለመ፡ ዓለም፨ ወከመሁ፡ ያቅምዋ፡ ምስለ፡ ጻድቃን፡ . . .; fol. 36r: በስመ፡ አብ፡ . . በብርሃነ፡ ስሙ፡ ለእግዚአብሔር፡ ይትፈጠር፡ ሰማያት፡ . . .; fol. 39r: እነግረክሙ፡ ዘንተ፡ ቃለ፡ ለእለ፡ የአምኑ፡ ልፋፈ፡ ጽድቅ፡ ዘወሀባ፡ እግዚአብሔር፡ በአማን፡ ለእግዝእትነ፡ ማርያም፡ በቀዳሚ፡ ዘመን፡ . . .; fol. 40v: በእንተ፡ ፃዕረ፡ ሞት፡ ዲንቃስ፡ በትሮስ፡ ጐጐጋብ፡ . . .; fol. 50v: ጸሎት፡ ዘመንገደ፡ ሰማይ፡ በዛቲ፡ ምድር፡ ዕቀበኒ፡ ክርስቶስ፡ አምላኪየ፡ ከመ፡ ኢያዕቅፍዋ፡ ለነፍስየ፤ መላእክተ፡ ጽልመት፡ ውስተ፡ ጸባብ፡ አንቀጽ፡ . . .; fol. 57v: ጸሎት፡ ዘመንገደ፡ ሰማይ፡ በዛቲ፡ ምድር፡ ዕቀበኒ፡ ኦክርስቶስ፡ አምላኪየ፡ ከመ፡ ኢያ[ዕ]ቅፍዋ፡ ለነፍስየ፤ መላእክተ፡ ጽልመት፨ ወፈኑ፡ ሊተ፡ መላእክተ፡ ብርሃን፡ . . .


The binding is not original.

Dark goatskin over heavy pasteboard(?)


Made in north central Ethiopia, eighteenth century, for Gäbrä Giyorgis (fols. 14v, 20v, 24r, and passim)

Joseph Dietrich (Alexandria, VA)

Mr. Gene Guerny (obtained from Joseph Dietrich)


Gift of Gene Guerny, 1997


Budge, E. A. Wallis. The Bandlet of Righteousness. London, 1922. See this for Lǝfafä Ṣǝdq (Bandlet of Righteousness).

Euringer, Sebastian. "Die Binde der Rechtfertigung," Orientalia, NS vol. IX (1940), pp. 76-99, and 244-259. See this for Lǝfafä Ṣǝdq (Bandlet of Righteousness).

Fusella, L. "Mangada Samay," in Proceedings of the Third International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa, vol. II (1968-70), pp. 254-258. See this for Mängädä Sämay (Prayer for Journey to Heaven).


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.