BREST, 6 September (BelTA) – During festivities held on 6 September to celebrate Brest's 1,000th anniversary Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko presented a unique copy of the Brest Bible (aka Radziwill's Bible) to residents of the city, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “In the Year of Native Land this ever living book is going home. Our ancestors believed that a city that publishes the Bible is protected by heavens. That neither people nor time will ever be able to crush it. As I present this gift to you, I remember that it has become possible thanks to your entrepreneurs, who have spent their own money to acquire and bring back to the home country this magnificent gift.”
Director of the Brest History Museum Svetlana Tomchuk and the city's honorary citizen Nikolai Kuzmich accepted the gift on behalf of all the Brest residents.
The Bible is the most precious book published in Brest in 1563 in the first printing house in the territory of present-day Belarus upon the initiative and at the expense of Nikolai Radziwill the Black, Brest's elder. It is believed to be the largest printed edition of the 17-18th centuries of the Great Duchy of Lithuania, a masterpiece of printing art of the Renaissance period.
Specialists believe that no more than 500 copies of the book were published. After Nikolai Radziwill the Black died, his son, who was a fervent Catholic, ordered the Protestant books published by his father burnt. Most of the copies of the Brest Bible perished in flame. Since the value of the book was tremendous, owners of some copies did not dare burn it. Instead they tore out the pages, which allowed defining the book and determining the date of its publication.
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