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Bible of Ostrog.

Bible, Slavonic. Biblia sirech knigi Vetkhago i Novago Zaveta. Ostrog, Duke K.K. Ostrozhskii’s printing-house, printer Ivan Fedorov, on August, 12th 1581. The title page, the engraved Arms of Prince K.K. Ostrozhskii on title verso, verses and preface by Gerasim Smotritskii in Greek and Church Slavonic, [8] , 276, 180, 30, 56, 78 = 628 leaves. 50 lines to the page, in two columns. Title, part headings and tables printed in red and black. Engraved initials , tail-pieces and endings. Fedorov’s engraved device in colophon. Format: 33x20 cm. A few leaves repaired, spotting and damp-stain. Contemporary calf binding, front cover paneled in blind with church arabesque centred. The first complete edition of the Bible in Slavonic. This landmark of Russian printing was prepared under the auspices of Konstantin, Prince of Ostrog, who obtained from Moscow a copy of the manuscript Bible of Archbishop Gennadius. He also collected a large number of Greek and Slavonic manuscripts and editions, and with the help of assistants he tested the Slavonic text by the Greek and sometimes by the Latin, and substituted modern expressions for those which were obsolete or unintelligible and corrected errors. Actually, it’s the second variant–B — of the first edition of the Bible. The first-A — on July, 12th, 1580. Variants A&B of the edition a little than differ from each other. The Bible of Ostrog printed by Ivan Fedorov took an outstanding part in establishment of Church Slavonic language as the main language of written book culture of east Slavs before XVIII century. It was re-issued in Moscow in 1663 and respected by the following issues of the Holy Bible in Church Slavonic language in Russia. The Bible of Ostrog served the source of linguistic examples and references in the code of Church Slavonic language, which is represented in famous Grammar by Smotritskiy. In Moscow Russia of XVII and early XVIII centuries, Grammar by Smotritskiy was the main regulatory manual of Church Slavonic language. It approved and propagandised Church Slavonic language, which was its tuning fork and source: language of the Bible of Ostrog printed by Ivan Fedorov. The Bible of Ostrog is known with two dates of issue: July 12, 1580 and August 12, 1581. Numerous versions, corrected misprints, differences in setting and ornaments. The Bible was printed with delays, it was necessary to correct defects, to give correct textological solution of problems, to take care of translation. Editing the Bible suspended its printing. In order to fill in delays, they started to print other biblical books, which did not need any corrections. These were, first of all, the Psalter and New Testament. The Bible of Ostrog is a monumental issue of 628 pages with rich decorations of specially designed illuminations and initials. With respect to printing, the Bible of Ostrog was perfect. This is the first Bible printed in Cyrillic font. It served the original and example for further Russian issues of the Bible. The circulation of the Bible was great for that time. When it was printed, the Prince of Ostrog sent it to Ivan the Terrible, certainly, in more than one copy. Ivan the Terrible could present a copy to an Englishman, who visited Moscow at that time. Leaving Ostrog, Ivan Fedorov took 400 copies of the Holy Bible with him. This was a great property. The Bible of Ostrog was widely known in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus as well as abroad. It is registered in the Oxford library, its copies were held by Swedish King Gustav II, Cardinal Barberini, most scientists and public figures of that time. The importance of the Bible of Ostrog was great for the Orthodox education. This education was inseparable from the Russian national self-consciousness, which resisted against the Catholic attacks in Southern and Western Russia. The demand for the Bible of Ostrog was exclusively high and each of its copies was of the greatest value though the circulation was unprecedentedly large. Some three hundred copies survived by our days. According to the heraldic references, Ivan Fedorov (or Fedorovich) originated from Belarussian gentry family of Rogozov. He studied at the Krakow University and graduated as a bachelor of free sciences; living in Moscow he was a deacon of Saint Nicholas Gastun Church in the Kremlin. His first books were published in Moscow (Apostle of 1564 and Sentinel of 1565). Due to persecution and, most probably, due to accusation of printers in heresy as if they make corrections to the text of the Holy Books, he had to move to Lithuanian Russia. There in Zabludovo (now a town in Eastern Poland) in from 1564 to 1570, at the printing house of Grand Lithuanian Hetman Grigoriy Khodkevich, Ivan Fedorov printed the Teaching Gospel and Psalter. Later, at his own printing house in Lvov, he issued the Apostle and first printed eastern Slavonic ABC book (1574), which caused the determining influence to all the following ABC books published in Russia before Peter I. Since late 1570, Ivan Fedorov lived in Ostrog. Here, at the printing house of Orthodox magnate Prince Konstantin of Ostrog, he issued the New Testament with the Psalter and the famous Bible of Ostrog (1581). It is based on the full collection of biblical books, which was prepared in 1499 at the book yard of Archbishop Gennadiy in Novgorod (so-called Bible of Gennadiy) and in several decades was given with the authority of Ivan IV to Ivan Fedorov for a printed issue. Ivan Fedorov died in two years after issue of the Bible of Ostrog, in 1583. He was buried at the Onufrius Monastery in Lvov.

Reference literature:

1. Guseva A.A., №83.

2. Karataev I. «Description of Slavic and Russian books» v. 1. St. Petersburg, 1883, №102.

3. Stroev P. «Description of old printed Slavic and Russian books being in the library of the count F.A.Tolstow» Moscow, 1829, №22.

4. Stroev P. «Description of old printed Slavic and Russian books being in the library of the Tsarkiy» Moscow, 1836, №24.

5. Sakharov «Review», №67.

6. Undol’skii «Essay», №88.

7. Rodosskii, №20.

8. Ostroglazov, №18.

9. Sopikov, №109.

10. N.B., №46.

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