Author Topic: Book stealing monks??  (Read 2374 times)

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Offline suzannes

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Book stealing monks??
« on: January 27, 2006, 09:41:08 PM »
This is kind of a shot in the dark, but... I was reading an article in The New Yorker at the gym (it was a couple of months old), about rare books thefts.  I used to work in a rare books library that *had* been hit by a map thief, so I was pretty interested.  In the article, it mentioned that in the 1970's, "byzantine monks" had gone to the Yale library, and stole books hiding them under their cassocks (!) When the monastery library was searched, it was apparently full of stolen books.  Has anyone ever heard of this?  I have no idea whether the author meant Orthodox monks, Byzantine Catholic monks, whatever.  I couldn't find anything online though, so I thought I'd try here. Very strange, to say the least.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2006, 11:01:35 PM »
I'd venture a guess and say it was probably Byz. Catholic monks, only because we didn't have a lot of monasteries at the time in the country, and I'm not sure if there was one near Yale at the time.  I am sure that the only Greek-founded monastery was HTM, and it's a long trip from Boston to Yale to steal books, and a longer trip to investigate back to Boston.
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Offline StBrigid

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2006, 01:12:42 AM »
I recall something similar, but about maps.  From the book Island of the Lost Maps - I got it out of the library so I don't have it to check.  (Since I didn't steal it... ;) )

Offline suzannes

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2006, 10:33:20 PM »
Thanks, I'm going to try to find The Island of Lost Maps.  The New Yorker article was primarily about map thefts.  I guess the monks had taken both books and maps.  As for HTM, I think if they had stolen books, that would have found it's way online by now!  (Theres an entire "horrors at HTM" site out there.)

Offline StBrigid

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2006, 04:09:02 PM »
Thanks, I'm going to try to find The Island of Lost Maps.ÂÂ  The New Yorker article was primarily about map thefts.ÂÂ  I guess the monks had taken both books and maps.
I do recall this now.ÂÂ  I was an Orthodox inquirer when I was reading that book, and remember thinking "don't ya know!!"ÂÂ  Then again, reporters get confused about jurisdictions and the whole clergy thing.ÂÂ  My boyfriend's business has been reported about in the media, and they keep saying it's owned by Orthodox monks, meanwhile they're really not.ÂÂ  :)ÂÂ  Though his partner is a priest in the Church of the East.ÂÂ  So of course, you can't believe everything you read.

The thieves could also have been posing as monks.ÂÂ  Who would suspect them, and wouldn't the robes make for a great hiding place?!

Island is a good book, anyway... a real nerd's detective story.ÂÂ  You can read up on other rare book and map thefts at library websites such as this one:
http://www.rbms.nd.edu/committees/security/theft_reports/theft_reports_2001.shtml
« Last Edit: January 30, 2006, 04:10:36 PM by StBrigid »

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2006, 04:19:10 PM »
Nothing new here, unfortunately. The Russian bishop Porphyry Uspensky (SP) went on a pilgrimage to Athos in the 18th century and stole tons of manuscripts.
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Offline ania

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2006, 11:42:26 AM »
I'd venture a guess and say it was probably Byz. Catholic monks, only because we didn't have a lot of monasteries at the time in the country, and I'm not sure if there was one near Yale at the time.  I am sure that the only Greek-founded monastery was HTM, and it's a long trip from Boston to Yale to steal books, and a longer trip to investigate back to Boston.

Sorry to break it to ya, but I can make it from New Haven (where Yale is, I believe) to Boston in about 1 hour 45 minutes with no traffic, 2 hours & 30 minutes going the speed limit or less.  In the world of book theives who search for manuscripts the world over, 137 miles ain't too far to go. 
Who knows who stole the books, however, these kinds of thefts have gone on even before Christinaity.  People have been stealing relics, scrolls, books, etc since the dawn of time. 
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Offline Meekle

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2006, 11:16:55 PM »
Perhaps the purple demons stole the books  ;D ;)

Offline suzannes

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2006, 11:55:21 PM »
Well...actually the monastery was in Queens!  I just checked a couple days ago.  The monastery library had books from Harvard, Dartmouth, Nortre Dame, and U of Chicago.  I guess an Orthodox monk *might* go into Notre Dame to do research, but it seems kind of unlikely.  Of course, I have no idea what kind of collection Notre Dame has.

Offline StBrigid

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2006, 03:51:34 PM »
So, you mean the monks were stealing books from all those libraries??

Offline serb1389

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2006, 06:59:45 AM »
Just as an FYI, every single one of those schools have an AMAZING collection of theological texts, especially in the "rare" catagory.  So if things were stolen, it wouldn't surprise me.  Especially Notre Dame, and U of Chicago.  *i've visited both schools
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Offline erracht

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Re: Book stealing monks??
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2006, 10:45:10 AM »
Sure, why not do research at Notre Dame? At the University of Toronto, St. Michael's College, an RC formerly separate University that is now part of the U of T, has a section of Orthodox books in its library. And if you were to go about a 10 minute walk away to the U of T's central library, Robarts, and go to the stacks (you'd need a card to go in), you would be LOST in the section on Orthodox books.
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