500 years of Belarusian book printing

2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the appearance of the first Belarusian printed book. It was produced in Prague by Francis Skaryna from the ancient Belarusian city of Polack. The upcoming anniversary is already being celebrated in Belarus with exhibitions, conferences and special publications. Now London is joining in!

Francis Skaryna

The Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library has much pleasure in inviting all those interested in the history of the printed book and in the cultural heritage of the Belarusian people to a meeting with Dr Aliaksandar Suša, Deputy Director of the National Library in Minsk. The event will take place on Saturday 17 October at 2pm in the hall of the Belarusian Catholic Mission (Marian House, Holden Avenue, London N12 8HY – on the corner of Holden Road. Nearest tube station: Woodside Park on the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line).

During the event Dr Suša will present a gift from the National Library of Belarus to the Skaryna Library in London – a set of the volumes so far published of the facsimile edition of all the books printed by Skaryna in his lifetime. He will talk about how the anniversary will be marked in both Belarus and abroad. Members of the Board of Trustees of the Skaryna Library will offer a glimpse of this unique institution’s future by discussing current and prospective plans and projects.

There will be an exhibition – the first ever – of books and manuscripts from the holdings of the Skaryna Library that Belarusians hold in especially high esteem.

The event will be followed by refreshments. Admission free.

Dr Alexandr Suša is Deputy Director of the National Library of Belarus with special responsibility for research and publications. He is also Chairman of the International Association of Belarusianists. One of his notable achievements has been to attract funding support from large Belarusian companies and banks for the facsimile publication of works that form an integral part of the heritage of the Belarusian nation; these include the manuscript Gospels from Polack and Turaŭ, Vaclaŭ Lastoŭski’s History of the Belarusian (Kryvian) Book and the volumes printed by Francis Skaryna.

The Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum in London was established in 1971. Since then it has existed almost exclusively on charitable donations. Over time it became the foremost centre in Western Europe for Belarus-related research. It continues to fulfil its role as a research institution and educational resource, as well as a facility for the preservation of archives of the Belarusian diaspora.