Exact copy of original

Facsimile edition of Turov Gospel on show at National Library of Belarus in advance of Day of Belarusian Written Language

By Mikhail Svetlov

Facsimile edition of Turov Gospel on show at National Library of Belarus in advance of Day of Belarusian Written Language

Xerox have organised the reprinting for the National Library of Belarus, with support from the board of guardians of the library. In all, 500 copies have been bound, each keeping the features of the original and accompanied by historical and bibliographical commentary.

Copies of the unique Slavic work have been published using the latest technologies, for distribution to Belarusian and foreign establishments of science, culture and education. Some partial copies will also be given to local schools.

The Director of the National Library of Belarus, Roman Motulsky, notes that literary heritage is receiving great attention at present. He explains, “It’s very difficult to return originals, almost impossible. However, we can recreate editions and are working to do so.” He notes that spiritual works have been to the fore so far, with a facsimile edition of the Slutsk Gospel being the first major attempt: it received the award ‘For Spiritual Revival’. The Polotsk Gospel was also recently published.

The Turov Gospel is the most ancient Belarusian edition, and one of the most ancient in Eastern Europe, having been first released in the 11th century. Ten pages were found in 1865 in Turov, in a coal box, and are now kept at the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences’ library, in Vilnius. The Turov Gospel is considered of equal importance alongside the Slutsk Gospel and the Cross of Saint Yevfrosiniya Polotskaya.

The copy uses chestnut ink to create large block lettering, which is easily legible. This geometrically verified handwriting was widely-distributed in the early Slavic Middle Ages, on sheets of thick parchment (small quarter size). In the remaining fragment, there are eleven decorated capital letters, painted in dark blue, green and red.
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