For this reason, the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the late 19th century (more specifically, in 1899) assigned a three-member committee consisting of two Metropolitans (Michael Kleovoulos of Sardis and Apostolos Christodoulou of Stavroupoli) as well as of Vasileios Antoniades, professor at the Theological School of Chalki, with the task of collecting and studying the manuscripts of Constantinople and Mount Athos,and with the preparation of a Greek edition of the New Testament that would provide “the best reconstruction of the most ancient text of ecclesiastical tradition and, more specifically, of the Church of Constantinople”.
The numerous manuscripts and, in particular, their large number of their variants led the committee to be limited to only 116 manuscripts of Gospels and of Apostolic readings, out of which 45 were studied personally by B. Antoniades in both Constantinople and Mount Athos, while the rest he took into consideration by means of a collation that his co-workers had carried out in both Athens and Jerusalem. The chronological breadth of the manuscripts is wide since represented among them are texts read in the churches from the 9th to the 16th centuries, that is, for about eight centuries. However, most of the manuscripts that were used date from 10th to 14th centuries. The text of the New Testament that was prepared subsequent to the study and collation of the above manuscripts was published in 1904 and reprinted in 1912 with some corrections. This edition was printed at the Patriarchal printing facilities by using the appropriate printing and other machinery, as well as using typographical plates that were purchased from England, while the expenditure of printing under the Patriarchal care and pretention was undertaken by philhellenes and Hellenes manifesting their pious feelings to the Mother Church in this way”. Gennadius, the Metropolitan of Heliopolis, noted in 1938 that, “It was an attempt made almost exclusively by the wise Professor Antoniades, although he did not have enough time available due to the numerous tasks stemming from his capacity as a professor, for a project demanding the contribution of numerous collaborators, a considerable length of time, and ample resources”).