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BX350-C45-O77-1700z-spread BX350-C45-O77-1700z-113spread

“Wisdom! Let us attend!”

Orthodox Eastern Church
Kiev: v Kievopecherskoi lavre, 170?
BX350 C45 O77 1700z

The Monastery of the Caves was founded in 1015 just outside of Kiev. In 1615, as part of a prestige-building effort, the Abbot raised money to buy a printing press. The oldest known work from the press is dated 1616. Along with mostly liturgical works, the monastic press supplied books for local schools. The monastery built a paper mill and other facilities to produce printed materials.

The editions out of Kiev were models of scholarship and attractive appearance. Orthodox Kiev considered itself the center for Slavic peoples that shared the faith. The press expressed this belief in an introduction in one of its books, saying that the book was intended not only for all of Little and Great Russia, but also for the southern Slavs – Serbs, Bulgarians, the Adriatic Slavs, Moldavia, Wallachia and Semigradia.

While the liturgical works from the Kiev press were reproduced according to Greek printed editions, variations began to develop. Added to the books were new dimensions that reflected the local population. These variants to the traditional Orthodox liturgical output gave the Kiev editions a character all their own.

In Moscow, the Kievan editions came to be regarded with suspicion. Even so, Moscow printers chose Kievans as correctors and advisors for their publications. Kievans knew the Greek language much better than Muscovites. In the end, most Moscow editions were simply transcriptions of the Kievan translations.

This book is a liturgical work in Church Slavic, the language of the Orthodox Church in Russia and the literary language in various parts of the East and West Slavic speaking areas. Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius created the Glagolitic Cyrillic alphabet in the mid-ninth century. Soon after, in the mid-9th century, they began translating the Gospels, probably from a Greek lectionary, into Old Bulgarian, now commonly called Old Church Slavonic.

This copy was printed in red and black and bound in wood and leather – an excellent, albeit worn, example of bookbinding in eighteenth-century Russia. Gift from Deseret Industries.