Ukraine: 14th-century illuminated Rus’ manuscripts published online

Unique manuscripts of the 14th century, including the Kiev Psalter and the Lavrishev Gospel from Volhynia can now be viewed online. The illuminated manuscripts with miniature illustrations were published by the Zelo Center for Research of Ancient Russian Culture, using the archives of national libraries, reports Foma in Ukraine. The Kiev Psalter was created in Kiev in 1397, with 303 miniatures on 230 pages, as well as headpieces ornamented in a neo-Byzantine style. Many of the miniatures interpret the Psalms in the spirit of the prophetic interpretations of New Testament events. The manuscript was the first Psalter in Rus’ made with monastic-style illuminations. The manuscript is considered an outstanding monument of calligraphy and painting. The scribe and illustrator was a Protodeacon Spyridon who was fulfilling the blessing of a “Vladyka Michael,” as noted at the end of the publication.

The Lavrishev Gospel was made in Volhynia in the early-14th century for the Lavrishev Monastery, now on the territory of Belarus. It contains 18 rich miniatures on subjects that are not typical for Gospel scenes: a parable of a unicorn, an image of the Archangel Michael, and illustrations for the described Biblical events, reports The book is preserved in the Library of the Czartoryski Princes in Kraków.

Also now available is the Sylvester Collection manuscript, from the second half of the 14th century, that contains a series of miniatures about the holy Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb, as well as the apocryphal Revelation of Abraham. The Zelo center has also published the Chronicle of Hamartolos, from the first half of the 14th century. The chronicle is a 9th-century Byzantine work that tells of historical events since the creation of the world that was translated into old Russian already in the 11th century, with an illuminated manuscript being made in Tver in the 14th century. (Quelle:, 27. Januar 2020)