August 6 is the Birthday of the Belarusian Printed Book
The first Belarusian printer Francysk Skaryna began publishing in 1517 in Prague. The first book with a note about the date of its completion was the “Psalter”. Thanks to this, we know not only the year but also the birthday of the Belarusian printed book. It was on August 6, 1517.
Francysk Skaryna made a risky decision to engage in publishing activities, which were practically unknown in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He was an all-rounded person, ready for changes, open to new ideas, full of creative energy and capable of realization of his plans. In a short period, he carried out a truly titanic work to prepare the books of the Old Testament for printing. Skaryna translated the texts, wrote author's comments, and prepared fonts and prints.
He rented a printing house in Prague, where books were published under the general title "Bivlia Ruska".
Skaryna put prefaces and postscripts in each edition. He noted in the postscript to the first book, "Psalms" (Prague, 1517):
"This Psalter was completed with the God's help under the supervision of Dr. Francysk Skaryna, who has a degree in medical sciences, a son of Polotsk, at the old place of Prague on August 6, fifteen seventeen."
The Book Museum of the National Library of Belarus displays books published by the educator. Facsimile editions of the first printer's books that reliably convey all the features of the originals can be found in the libraries and museums of the country. The facsimile edition "The Book of Legacy of Frantsysk Skaryna" gives everyone the opportunity to look through the books and learn the details of the text and artistic design.
Bibliology Research Department