The National Library of Belarus and Bank BelVEB presented the first five books published as part of the Francysk Skaryna Heritage project.
The books "Genesis", "Exodus", "Leviticus", "Numbers" and "Deuteronomy" were given to representatives of the diplomatic missions of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy. The books were also given to the libraries of all districts of the capital. 1,000 copies of each book have been published, 100 of which are leather-bound.
"Francysk Skaryna belongs not only to Belarusian culture. His life was connected with various countries. He made a significant contribution to the development of the entire European culture. He gave all people the main asset - printed book,” Culture Minister of Belarus Boris Svetlov said at the ceremony.
Director of the National Library Roman Motulsky said that there is no Skaryna book that has survived in its complete shape. "We are assembling the ideal edition from surviving copies. In addition, for the first time the Skaryna texts have been translated into the modern Belarusian language: prefaces to the whole publication and each book,” he added.
All in all Francysk Skaryna printed 25 books in Prague (1517-1519) and Vilnius (1522-1525). They will be assembled in a 20-edition facsimile set. It will be based on electronic copies of the best surviving works of the Belarusian first printer from the libraries and museums of Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Germany and other countries. All books will come with commentary by scholars and the translations of prefaces and afterwards by Francysk Skaryna into the modern Belarusian, Russian and English languages.
The project has been initiated and implemented by Bank BelVEB and the National Library of Belarus. The project to restore the Francysk Skaryna heritage is implemented as part of the state program Culture of Belarus in 2011-2015. The project is designed to run in 2013-2017 and is dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the national book printing. The Francysk Skaryna book collection will be donated to libraries, museums and archives of Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany and also the United Nations and UNESCO.