MIROSLAV`S GOSPEL
HISTORY

 

St. Sava and St. Simeon; The signatures of great parish Stefan Nemanja and duke Miroslav on peace agreement negotiated with Dubrovnik, on September 27, 1186; Duke Miroslavís impress in cyrillic script.

The Chilandari Monastery, the photography dating from 1893; King Aleksandar Obrenovic planting cypris (scouring rush) in the memory of his visit to Chilandari; On the way back to Serbia the King visited Athens and participated in the opening of the first reinstated Olympic games in 1896; The library of Chilandari monastery; The map of Mt. Athos.

The coronation of the king Petar Karadjordjevic the First; During the World War One, Miroslav's Gospel followed, together with the treasury of the state, the retreat of the Serbian army through the impassable Albanian mountains to St. Giovani di Medua, and then across the Brindizi to Corfu, only to return to Serbia together with Serbian and ally troops.

The Corfu's harbor; Serbian troops in retreat; Ljubomir Stojanovic and Avram Levic; the regent Aleksandar Karadjordjevic with the duke of Abruce in Brindizi.

Fortunately, The Gospel was not kept in the building of National Library in Belgrade, which German planes methodically bombed to the ground on April 6 1941; After the World War Two, Miroslavís Gospel was placed in the building of the national museum, former museum of Duke Pavle.

 

 

THE COAT OF ARMS AND GENEALOGICAL TREE OF NEMANJIC FAMILY
THE COAT OF ARMS AND GENEALOGICAL TREE OF OBRENOVIC FAMILY
THE COAT OF ARMS AND GENEALOGICAL TREE OF KARADJORDJEVIC FAMILY

 

Coat of Arms and Genealogical trees published with permissions of authors:


Dusan Spasic, Aleksandar Palavestra, Dusan Mrdjenovic:
Genealogical plates and Coat of Arms of Serbian dynasties and manor

Dusan Mrdjenovic:
Constitutions and governments of the Serbian Kingdom, Serbian Princedom, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia


 

The two books, produced together with the reprint as supplementary material, discuss the manuscript itself, its importance and history.

 

 

The additional book, entitled Miroslavljevo jevandjelje - Istorijat (Miroslav`s Gospel - History), deals with the turbulent eight century story of this manuscript. Always venerated as a special relic, it has experienced the drama of the nation in all the moments of glory and defeat that history has brought. After a coup d' etat in May of 1903 when the Obrenovic dynasty was replaced by Karadjordjevic kings on the throne of Serbia, the Gospel disappeared under as yet obscure circumstances, reappearing only in 1915. During the First World War it accompanied the king and the army on their historic retreat through the wastelands of Albania. During the Second World War, the manuscript was hidden first in Uzice, then at Raca monastery on the Drina River and finally in the National Bank vault in Belgrade, and was thus spared the fate of many burned or stolen books.

 

Format
11X8.5 inch
Pages
150 (10 color pages)
Binding
Hard cover, leader binding, with emboss


CONTENT:

Foreword
(Dusan Mrdjenovic, Veljko Topalovic)

Miroslavljevo jevandjelje - Istorijat
(Veljko Topalovic, Dusan Mrdjenovic)


APPENDIX I

Grbovi i rodoslovne tablice
(Dusan Spasic, Aleksandar Palavestra, Dusan Mrdjenovic)

APPENDIX II

Sastavi vlada
(Dusan Mrdjenovic)

APPENDIX III

Ilustracije
(Veselin Milunovic)

Bibliografija
Registar

Cover design:
Aleksandar Palavestra

(With the exception of the Foreword, the text is in Serbian language, Cyrillic.)


FOREWORD

Dusan Mrdjenovic, Veljko Topalovic


The Miroslav's Gospel, the earliest and most beautiful manuscript written in Serbian in the Cyrillic script, date from the last quarter of the 12th century. Confirmation of this dating is also found in words written by one of the scribes on the last page of the manuscript:
"I, sinful disciple Gligorije... have inscribed in gold these Gospel for the celebrated prince Miroslav, son of Zavida..." Prince Miroslav, brother of Grand Zhupan Stefan Nemanja, was the ruler of Hum, an area that largely coincides with the territory of present-day Herzegovina. He may have commissioned this manuscript at the time of his endowment of St. Peterí s church on the Lim River, but no information or even legend exists about how or when the Gospel was taken from Hum to Chilandari monastery on Mt. Athos. One possibility is that Nemanja brought it with him when he founded Chilandari.
Serbian scholars did not learn about the Miroslavís Gospel until fairly late, the second half of the 19th century. It is thanks to Russian archimandrite, later bishop of Kiev, Porphyry Uspenski, who was unable to resist temptation, that this manuscript, after seven centuries of repose, attracted the attention of historians of his time. In the winter of 1845/46, fascinated by the beauty of the book and alone in the library at Chilandari monastery Uspenski surreptitiously tore out a page (folio 166; present pages 330-331) and took it to Russia where it is today preserved in the Saltikov-Schedrin Public Library in St. Petersburg (F. p. I 83).
It was 28 years before the "St. Petersburg page" was finally seen by the public at an archaeological exhibition. During that period several studies had been written about the ďpage from the 12th-century Serbian Gospel", praising the beauty of its illuminations. At the Kiev exhibition in 1874 this page was photographed by Stojan Novakovic, then director of the National Library in Belgrade, who named the whole manuscript the Miroslaví s Gospel (although it was actually an evangelistria, that is, a selection of passages from the Gospels).
Through the efforts of Serbian ecclesiastical and scholarly circles, the young king Aleksandar I Obrenovic visited Chilandari monastery on Easter 1896. On this occasion he generously endowed the monastery, which was in grave financial difficulties at the time, and in return the monks of Chilandari gave him their most valuable possessions: the Miroslavís Gospel and the monasteryís founding charter granted by Simeon Nemanja, which has since been lost.
An unusual set of circumstances led to the reprinting of the Miroslavís Gospel exactly one hundred years after the photolithographic edition produced in Vienna by Ljubomir Stojanovic at considerable personal sacrifice and at the expense of King Aleksandar I Obrenovic. The 1897 edition was the finest example of printing of the period, given the technical facilities and financing available to Stojanovic. Printed were 300 copies, 40 pages in colour, its size identical to the original, and another 320 copies in two colours (black and red), half size, two pages per sheet.
The publication of a phototype edition of the Miroslavís Gospel remained the unfulfilled dream of editors and publishers over the past decades. For various reasons it was necessary to wait a whole century for a complete reprint, and only at the close of this millennium will the manuscript be reproduced faithfully for the first time with all its pages in colour, gilt initials and a reconstruction of the present binding.
Two books produced together with the reprint as supplementary material discuss the manuscript itself, its importance and history. The first, entitled History, deals with the turbulent eight-century story of this manuscript. Always venerated as a special relic by the Serbs, it has experienced the drama of a nation in all the moments of glory and defeat that history has brought. After a coup dí etat in May 1903 when the Obrenovic dynasty was replaced by Karadjordjevic kings on the throne of Serbia, the Gospel disappeared under as yet obscure circumstances, reappearing only in 1915. During the First World War it accompanied the king and the army on their historic retreat through the wastelands of Albania. During the Second World War, hidden first in Uzice, then at Raca monastery on the Drina River and finally in the National Bank vault in Belgrade, it was spared the fate of many burnt or stolen books.
Today the manuscript is in the National Museum in Belgrade, still awaiting restoration and proper conservation.
The second book, entitled Comments , collects the most essential facts and texts connected with the manuscript itself: a catalogue of the initials, the order of reading, how paints and the parchment of medieval books were made, and also a few words about the damage, binding and present state of the manuscript.
For more specialized reading, especially the orthography of the Miroslavís Gospel and its place in the history of Serbian literacy, we suggest an outstanding critical edition of the Miroslavís Gospel by Nikola Rodic and Gordana Jovanovic (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Art, Belgrade 1986) and about the symbolism of the miniatures and origin of the manuscript a book by Lazar Mirkovic (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade 1950).
Preparations for this edition began in 1993, as information was gathered and archive material researched about little known details in the history of the Miroslav Gospel, and, of course, the actual printing of the manuscript was organized. In preparing the material we have tried to preserve every stain, every tear or damage existing in the original and thus record the present state of the Gospel.
Judging by the few traces of candle wax the Gospel was not often used for liturgical purposes. Centuries of care by the Chilandari monks, and the special treatment later accorded it, account for the manuscriptzs fairly good state of preservation. Therefore, any differences between the reprint showing the state of the Gospel a hundred years ago and the present one can be used in determining the damage incurred in the intervening period, as well as the conditions under which the manuscript has been kept.
Concerning the leather binding of medieval Serbian books little has been written in this country, so that besides a careful analysis of the manuscript itself, photographs and available literature, we must also refer to the images of books depicted on icons and frescoes. Judging by traces on the back cover, it can be assumed that the Gospel had fastenings on all three free sides of the book, two on the side, and one on the upper and lower ends. The shape of the fastenings has been reconstructed on the basis of typical bindings of the 12th to the 14th centuries, for according to some historians the present binding is of later date than the manuscript. The imprints on the front and back covers are faithful reproductions of "blind imprints" (figures impressed on leather) on the original, which also applies to the metal nails and ornaments.
The publication of this edition, to which we have dedicated ourselves, fully aware of the responsibilities before us, has been met with understanding by most of the people we have applied to, for which we express our gratitude on this occasion.