Rafael Markosyan, a Paris resident, was a renowned donor of Matenadaran. Before he died in 1922, he bequeathed a collection of 36 ancient scripts to Armenia. Markosyan’s collection is a testament to the rich culture of the Armenian people. It includes various items like the Gospel, Mashtots, the Calendar and Details, books of Ananaia Shirakatsi’s autobiography and numerology problems, poems of Grigor Narekatsi, Nerses Shnorhali, numerological problems of Mkhitar Yerznakatsi, excerpts from the works of Mkhitar Heratsi, etc.

The manuscripts were copied in various centres of Armenian culture such as Yerznka, Kharberd, Zeytun, Evdokia, Shorot, and Kafa. The oldest manuscript in the collection dates back to 1160; the newest one is from 1822. Fourteen of the 36 manuscripts are on parchment, eleven are on silver, and have valuable miniatures. Markosyan’s will would have been forgotten if not for its significance. While researching the largest Armenian manuscript, Msho Charentir, Artashes Matevosyan, a researcher at Matenadaran, came across a manuscript copied by Stepanos scribe in the year 1201 at the Avag Monastery of Daranaghi province, which was kept at the Nuparian Matenadaran in Paris. To determine the relationship between this manuscript and Msho Charentir, Matevosyan needed photos of several pages of that manuscript from 1201.

The Directorate of Mashtots Matenadaran immediately appealed to the director of the Nuparian Matenadaran, Armenak Salmaslyan, who informed that they would transfer not only the photos of the requested manuscript but also all the 36 manuscripts that Rafael Markosyan bequeathed to Armenia.

The manuscripts from the collection arrived in Yerevan in 1968 and were carefully arranged on a special shelf of Matenadaran under the inscription “Collection of Raphael Markosyan.” Some manuscripts are now presented in the exhibition “Cherished Names. Homecoming of Manuscripts”.