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27 August 2018, 17:56

Belarus' National Library to present facsimile edition of 1618 Primer on 28 August

Original edition and facsimile Primer. An archive photo
Original edition and facsimile Primer. An archive photo

MINSK, 27 August (BelTA) – Belarus' National Library will present the facsimile edition of the first Primer on 28 August, BelTA has learned.

The large-scale project to recreate the 1618 edition aims to make the first Primer accessible to a wide audience and to demonstrate the high value of the cultural heritage of the Belarusian people, the National Library said.

The book was published in 1618 in the Church Slavonic language in the Vilno Orthodox Holy Spirit Monastery. It was printed in the town of Vievis near Vilno. Only two copies of 1618 have survived till the present day. “One of the books was taken by a British collector to London in the early 17th century. Today this book monument is kept in the library of Middle Temple in the United Kingdom. The second book is in the Royal Library of Denmark. There are no editions left in Belarus. As it often happens with textbooks, they were simply read to tatters,” the library said.

The presentation of the facsimile edition will be held at the National Library of Belarus in the run-up to the Day of Knowledge and the Day of Belarusian Written Language. The path to knowledge begins from the primer. Today the books with the title Primer are used for learning in many countries of the world.

The Primer published in 1618 turned 400 in 2018. This is a pocket book, 52 pages long. The book presents the Slavic alphabet, examples of syllables in two or three letters, simple words in Church Slavonic language, punctuation signs, numerals (in Cyrillic tradition), and also grammar basics and texts for reading, including religious hymns, prayers, commandments, sermons. The National library has been holding the events to celebrate the book since the beginning of the year. Exhibitions have been held to showcase the 400-year history of the Primer books and the ABC books from around the world.

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