NSK receives valuable facsimile editions of works by Francysk Skaryna, “the Martin Luther of Belarus”, as part of the marking of 500 years of Belarusian and East Slavic book printing
On 28 November 2017, as part of a special programme of the National Library of Belarus marking the 500th anniversary of Belarusian and East Slavic book printing, the representatives of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Croatia presented as a gift to the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) the reprints of works by Francysk Skaryna, the first printer among East Slavs and quite probably the most notable writer, translator, philosopher, theologian and innovator in the entire Belarusian history.
NSK Director General Tatijana Petrić and NSK International Cooperation Advisor Jasenka Zajec received this valuable gift on behalf of the Library.
The delegation was headed by Minister Counsellor Andrei Yaroshkin from the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Croatia in Vienna, Honorary Consul from the Consulate of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Croatia in Rijeka Vidoje Vujić, and Counsellors Juri Korotki and Milorad Šmitran. Also present were Head of the Bilateral and Multilateral Cultural Cooperation Office at the Croatian Ministry of Culture Doris Kurtov and a representative of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Domagoj Petrušić.
The work of Francysk Skaryna, whose ground-breaking achievements date back to the time of the Renaissance, making him the often so unjustly overlooked “Martin Luther of Belarus”, marks the beginning of the printing of books in the Belarusian language, as well as in East Slavic languages in general. Its immense significance was acknowledged by UNESCO by the inclusion of this anniversary in UNESCO’s official 2017 anniversaries list.
The anniversary programme of the National Library of Belarus has included the publication of the facsimile editions of Skaryna’s works, among which his translation (and transcription) of the Bible into the Church Slavonic language, with the linguistic elements of Belarusian, particularly stands out. So far, 21 reprints have been published, with translations and commentaries in Belarusian, Russian and English.
This gift constitutes an important encouragement for the development of cooperation between the National Library of Belarus and National and University Library in Zagreb, as well as between the two countries.
(Source of the featured photograph, a segment of the 1517 engraving showing Francysk Skaryna published as part of his translation of the Old Testament Books of Samuel and Kings. Bivliia ruska: Knigi tsarstv (Prague, 1518): Official Website of the Republic of Belarus)