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Belarus receives from UK digital copy of First Book of Samuel by Skaryna

Belarus has received from the UK the heritage of its first printer, Francysk Skaryna, though only in a digital version. The virtual copy was handed to Belarus by University of Cambridge. This is the First Book of Samuel, published by the printer in Prague in the early 16th century. Moreover, this is not a complete book, but only a fragment of the publication. But, according to the correspondent of the news program "24 Hours" on the CTV, this does not diminish its importance for Belarusian culture.

It is no coincidence that a 6-meter statue of the first Belarusian printer stands near the "diamond of knowledge" of Belarus - the National Library.

Today, the Belarusian national library has only 10 of the 500 known original publications. And of those 10 are only fragments. This is why every word of the Belarusian enlightener is perceived here as a national shrine. Even though it is a digital copy.

Alexander Susha, deputy director of the National Library of the Republic of Belarus:
This edition is really rare, unique and in some way unknown. As far as I know, none of the living Belarusian researchers have seen it with their own eyes.  

Negotiations with the Trinity College library in Cambridge lasted almost 3 years. Even the Belarusian foreign ministry and the Belarusian embassy in the United Kingdom joined the efforts. Of course, Belarusians living in the UK have also taken part in the project.

There was a round table last October in London that brought together all the parties in London. Ales (Alexander) Susha was among the participants and he even presented a facsimile edition by Skaryna there. The conversation was really constructive.

As a bonus, the National Library received additional material: And because as a bonus to the funds transferred to the National Library also additional material: subsequent book cover, pages with the bookplate of Trinity College, and even records of the other side with possible versions about how the book was created.

Alexander Susha, deputy director of the National Library of the Republic of Belarus:
How do British experts call the book? - "Belarusian Bible." There are suggestions that Skaryna also took part in the crucial events in the Europe of the 16th century. Such as the Congress of Vienna in 1515.

Skaryna published "The first book of Samuel" in Prague in 1518. Incidentally, it is the Prague period of Skaryna's activities that are distinctive thanks to their particular artistry - he offers the reader lots of illustrations, insets and initials made using the woodprint technique.

The electronic copy was handed to Belarus free of charge. Some of Skaryna's other works are still located in libraries across the UK. The Belarusian side is conducting negotiations with all of them.

By the way, the other day, "The first book of Samuel" was published on the website of the Trinity College. In the 'Printed Books' section, there are only 4 items of Newton, Shakespeare, and Skaryna. The latter's file is called "Fragment of the Bible in White Russian".

Alexander Susha, deputy director of the National Library of the Republic of Belarus:
The most ambitious plan of ours is to bring here all the legacy of Skaryna. We would like to collect all the books by Skaryna from all countries where this heritage may be found. I hope that in June-October 2017, we will have such an opportunity.

Belarus receives from UK digital copy of First Book of Samuel by Skaryna