Codex Purpureus

~ Il Codex Purpureus Rossanensis ~

Rossano  is a comune in the province of Cosenza, in the region of Calabria, in a area known as the "Sila Greca" . It was known as Roscianum under the Roman Empire and as one of Calabria's impregnable fortress. The Goths of Alaric I and, in the following century, Totila, were unable to take it. The Saracens also failed to conquer Rossano, while in 982 Otto II captured it temporarily from the Byzantines.
Its Greek character was preserved long after its conquest by the Normans, as noted by its long retention of the Greek Rite over the Latin Rite. The city in fact maintained notable privileges under the subsequent Hohenstaufen and Angevine dominations, but subsequently decayed after the feudalization in 1417.

The Rossanesi showed great attachment to the Byzantine Empire, whose local strategos had his seat here. The Rossano Gospels, a 6th Century illuminated manuscript of great historical and artistic value, is a tangible relic of that period.

The Cathedral dedicated to the Madonna Santissima Acheropita

The Codex Rossano Gospels is a 6 th century manuscript written following the reconquest of the Italian peninsula by the Byzantine Empire.
Also known as Codex purpureus Rossanensis due to the reddish (purpureus in Latin) appearance of its pages, the codex is one of the oldest surviving illuminated manuscripts of the New Testament.



The manuscript is famous for its prefatory cycle of miniatures of subjects from the Life of Christ, arranged in two tiers on the page, sometimes with small evangelist portraits below, pointing up to events they describe in their gospels.
Most of the experts, basing themselves on the style of the manuscript, for the dating, agree  on a period between the IV and the VI-VII. century. The most substantiated  century is the VI.  
From the comparison with other two artifacts of the same period, of uncertain location, we can deduce that probably the Codex was made in Syria, maybe in Antioch. 

It is assumed that the migratory wave of the Eastern Greek monks of the VII c. , because of the first  iconoclasm, led to Rossano a group of monks who kept the Holy Text. But also a noble aristocrat might have brought it to Rossano from the court of Byzantium.

The text was mentioned for the first time in 1846 by journalist Cesare Malpica and was scientifically studied in 1879 by the German Oscar von Gebhardt and Adolf Harnack, who submitted it to the attention of the international culture. The Codex Purpureus Rossanensis has been recognized by Unesco among the excellent property of the world artistic heritage.

The 'Codex' consist of 188 purple parchment sheets with parts of the Gospel according to St. Mark and the whole of St. Matthew in Greek letters, with twelve miniatures of the life of Jesus. 
The handwriting in which it is written is the capital Biblical or Greek uncial , with words in scriptio continua
(with no separation of the letters ), without accents, breathings, punctuation marks, except for the full stop-punctum, which marks the passing from a period to the other.
A document that has become the symbol of Calabria, a region which was not limited to be only a transit country or a bridge between the two souls of the Mediterranean, but was also instrumental in meditating and translating in summary the eastern/Greek and west/Latin civilizations. 
The "Codex Purpureus" is a document unequaled in its extraordinary spiritual content.

~ Jesus' entry into Jerusalem​ ~
Benedetto colui che viene nel nome del Signore! Benedetto il regno che viene, del nostro padre Davide!
Osanna nel più alto dei cieli! (Marco - XI, 7-10).  

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! 
Hosanna in the highest! (Mark - XI, 7-10).

~Jesus in Gethsemane~
The scene of "Jesus in Gethsemane" represents two different times: Christ in prayer and Christ who watches the three Apostles. And 'to note the landscape: rocks, above the darkness and as high as the sky. Should note that the restored code presents unclear figures of the three apostles.  "The time has come in which the Son of Man will be handed over to sinners. Arise "(Matthew - XVVI, 36-46). - Ecco è giunta l'ora nella quale il figlio dell'uomo sarà consegnato in mano ai peccatori. Alzatevi" (Matteo, XVVI, 36-46).

~ The cleansing of the Temple ~
Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were buying and selling; He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and said to them:
(The Scripture says) My house shall be called a house of prayer but you are making it a den of thieves. Blind and lame people came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. 
"He left them and went out of the city to Bethany and spent the night there". (Matthew XXI, 12-16).  
E, lasciateli, uscì fuori dalla città, verso Betania e là trascorse la notte - (Matteo - XXI, 12-16).
 ~The wise and foolish virgins ~​
The Parable is one of the well known parables of Jesus. The five virgins who are prepared for the bridegroom's arrival are rewarded, while the five who are not prepared are disowned. The parable has a clear eschatological theme: be prepared for the Day of Judgment.​
Lord, lord! Let us in!’  But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I do not know you!’  Therefore stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:1-13). 
Signore aprici! Ma egli rispose: in verità vi dico: non vi conosco. Vegliate dunque, perché non sapete nè il giorno nè l'ora. (Matteo XXV, 1-13).

~ The raising of Lazarus ~
But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.
“Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?”
Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”
(John 11:1-44).

E detto questo, gridó a gran voce: Lazzaro viene fuori! Il morto uscí, con i piedi e le mani avvolti in bende e il volto coperto da un sudario. Gesú disse loro: "Scioglietelo e lasciatelo andare" (Giovanni 11:1-44).

~ The last supper ~
When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me." The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “You have said so. (Mark XIV, 12-20).

" Allora cominciarono a rattristarsi e a dirgli uno dopo l'altro: "Sono forse io?". Ed egli disse loro: "Uno dei dodici, colui che intinge con me nel piatto". "  (Marco XIV, 12-20).

~ The distribution of bread ~
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. “But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” 
(Luke XXII, 19-21).
"Ma ecco, la mano di chi mi tradisce è con me, sulla tavola. Il Figlio dell'uomo se ne va, secondo quanto è stabilito; ma guai a quell'uomo dal quale è tradito!"(Luca XXII, 19-21).

~ The distribution of the wine~
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. "But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table (Luke XXII, 19-21)

Allo stesso modo dopo aver cenato, prese il calice dicendo:"Questo è il calice della nuova alleanza nel mio sangue, che viene versato per voi"
"Ma ecco, la mano di chi mi tradisce è con me, sulla tavola. Il Figlio dell'uomo se ne va, secondo quanto è stabilito; ma guai a quell'uomo dal quale è tradito!" (Luca XXII, 19-21)


~The healing of the blind ~
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
And in saying so, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” . So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. 
“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
Some Pharisees who heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” And Jesus replied : “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

~ The good Samaritan ~
According to the Gospel of Luke a traveler (who may or may not have been a Jew) is stripped of clothing, beaten, and left half dead along the road. First a priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a Samaritan comes by. Samaritans and Jews generally despised each other, but the Samaritan helps the injured man. Jesus is described as telling the parable in response to a question regarding the identity of the "neighbour", whom 
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
“The one who had mercy on him” and Jesus told him 
“Go and do likewise” ( Luke, 30-35).
Chi di questi tre ti sembra sia stato il prossimo di colui che è incappato nei briganti?". 
"Chi ha avuto compassione di lui", e Gesù gli disse "Va'e fai altrettanto" (Luca, 30-35).


~ Judas hangs himself ~ 
Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself
(Matthew XXVII, 2-5)
 " Ho peccato, perché ho tradito sangue innocente". Ma quelli dissero: "Che ci riguarda? Veditela tu!". Ed egli, gettate le monete d'argento nel tempio, si allontanò e andò ad impiccarsi. (Matteo XXVII, 2-5)

~ Jesus and Barabbas ~ 
The custom of releasing prisoners in Jerusalem at Passover, required Pilate, the roman governor of Judea, to commute one prisoner's death sentence by letting the crowd decide whether to have either Barabbas or Jesus released. The crowd chose Barabbas to be released and Jesus of Nazareth to be crucified. Pilate washed his hands and in front of the crowd stated,  "I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves." And all the people said, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" (Luke XXIII, 13-25 ).
«Io sono innocente del sangue di questo giusto; pensateci voi». E tutto il popolo rispose: «Il suo sangue ricada su di noi e sui nostri figli». (Luca XXIII, 13-25 ).


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