Throughout the year, the National Library of Belarus has held events dedicated to the 400th anniversary of this unique ancient Belarusian book.
This time, the Republic of Latvia hosted the solemn events on the occasion of the publication of the facsimile of the Primer, the book that marked the beginning of the centuries-old tradition of primary education in Eastern Europe.
On December 20, the director of the National Library of Belarus, Roman Motulsky, visited “The Castle of Light” – the new building of the National Library of Latvia, where he presented a facsimile of the first Belarusian Primer and told the audience about the history of its creation.
“In 1618, in the printing house of the Vilna Holy Spirit Orthodox fraternity in the town of Evie (now the city of Vievis), near Vilnius, the Primer was published. It was one of the oldest Belarusian publishing houses, which released books in the Church Slavonic, Old Belarusian and Polish languages. Before that, other educational publications existed, but this was exactly the first Primer. This publication had had a significant impact on the development of the book tradition in the field of education not only in the Belarusian lands, but also in many countries of Europe and Asia,” Roman Motulsky said.
In turn, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Latvia, Vasily Markovich, and the director of the National Library of Latvia, Andris Vilks, thanked the Belarusian side for such a valuable gift and presented them a digital copy of the Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1588).
A unique copy of the 1588 Statute from Latvia was previously shown at the international exhibition "Francysk Skaryna and His Epoch", which opened in the National Library of Belarus on September 14, 2017. The heads of the National Library of Latvia and the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia to the Republic of Belarus provided great assistance in organizing the exhibition.
The facsimile reproduction of the world’s first Primer was made in cooperation with the Library of the Honorable Society Middle Temple in London, the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus, the International Association of Belarusian Scholars, Belarusian State University, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as the Belarusian Bank for Development and Reconstruction "Belinvestbank".
All materials are provided by the Public Relations Department.