The largest ancient manuscript book in Armenian
The largest ancient manuscript book – “The Homiliary of Mush” (“Մշո ճառընտիր”) in Armenian, is housed at Matenadaran (repository of manuscripts, and a research institute in Yerevan, Armenia). The manuscript, weighing more than 30 kg without binding, was written and illustrated in the years 1200-1202 in the monastery of St. Karapet (Mush) by Vardan Karnetsi.
The parchment required the skins of about 600 calves to make its 607 massive pages.
During the First World War and the years of the Armenian Genocide, it was rescued by two Armenian refugees from Mush. First, they were carrying this relic on their backs, and then, exhausted, had to divide the manuscript into two parts; one half was wrapped in rags, buried in the courtyard of the Armenian church in Erzurum/Karin, and the other- through numerous hardship, famine and tortures, was brought to Echmiadzin (the first cathedral built in ancient Armenia, considered one of the oldest cathedrals in the world).
The missing part of the manuscript was eventually found by chance by a Polish officer and soon made its way to Matenadaran.