Alphabetical Collection

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The Alphabetical Collection (Syntagma kata stoicheion) is an encyclopedia of canon law authored by noted Byzantine canonist Hieromonk Matthew (Blastares) of Thessalonica. It was first published ca. 1335 and remains a standard canonical reference for the Orthodox Church to this day.

The full title of this nomocanon is An alphabetical collection of all subjects that are contained in the sacred and divine canons, prepared and at the same time organized by Matthew the least amongst hieromonks.

The popularity of the Alphabetical Collection is attested by the numerous manuscripts in which it survives. It is organized alphabetically and structured topically, with significant cross-referencing. Entries are drawn both from ecclesiastical legislation and civil laws that impacted the Church and had the force of canon law. Primary sources are attributed in the case of ecclesiastical legislation. Civil legislation is segregated under separate headings, but in most cases specific sources are not noted.

This text is a work of synthesis, summarizing what was thought to be essential for a thorough knowledge of the canonical and civil legislation spanning the life of the Byzantine Empire through the 14th century.


  • Rev. Dr. Patrick Viscuso, "A Late Byzantine Theology of Canon Law," The Greek Orthodox Theological Review 34 (1989): 203-219.