However, at about the same time (early 20th century) C. R. Gregory showed an impressive and suggestive knowledge of the lectionaries, as well as a positive evaluation of them. Although he did not proceed to publish a New Testament edition, he expressed his favourable attitude toward the use of lectionaries both in the preface he wrote on Tischendorf’s 8th edition of Critica Major (1894) and in the three-volume work Textκritik des Νeuen Testaments (1900 – 1909) where he counts and describes 1,599 lectionaries. Hence, the scholarly community for the first time acquired positive, responsible information about the Byzantine lectionaries. Nevertheless, during the same time E. Nestle, who since 1898 had initiated the well-known critical editions Novum Testamentum Graece did not take the contribution of the lectionaries into consideration during the preparation of the text (today the continuation of his work circulates as the 27th edition, well known as Nestle-Aland, while the 28th edition is also now being prepared, even in an electronic format).
This was the climate in which the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s New Testament edition emerged, based entirely on Byzantine lectionaries. One can look up the history of this edition in one of the New Testament’s Greek Introductions. With great brevity we would like to note the following.
The need for this edition—the primary and for the time being the only one— stemmed from the lack of liturgical uniformity in the text of the Greek New Testament existing in the Orthodox Church during the years of the Turkish occupationin Greece. This was due to the fact that some churches used handwritten Gospels and Apostlic texts (Apostoloi), while others used some of the printed editions from Venice which contained the pericopae that were to be read in the liturgical services. However, neither did the manuscripts always agree among themselves, nor did the printed editions always agree up to that time (1904).