This is an illuminated marginal Psalter dating back to the middle of the 9th Century. It is one of the only three psalters to have survived the 9th Century, and the Iconoclasm. The miniatures were probably created in secret, and were meant to criticize the Iconoclasts. It is embellished by 209 illuminations in the wide margins surrounding the text.
Many of them explain the drawings they are next to, and are completed with a pointing arrow for clarification. The text, and the caption, were written in a diminutive uncial script, only to be rewritten in minuscule in the 12th Century.
The manuscript contains the Psalms in the arrangement of the Septuagint, and the responses to be chanted during their recitation. It also includes the Liturgy of Hagia Sophia, the Imperial church in Constantinople.
Nikodim Kondakov thought that the psalter was created in the monastery of St John the Studite in Constantinople.
Others argued that the liturgical responses it contains were used only in Hagia Sophia, and that therefore it was created in Constantinople, soon after the return to power of the Iconophiles, in 843.
It was housed at Mount Athos until 1847, when a Russian scholar brought it to Moscow. The psalter then passed into the hands of Aleksey Khludov, whose name it still bears today.
It was donated as part of the Khludov bequest to the Nikolsky Old Believer Monastery, and then it came to the State Historical Museum.