Address: office 1410a, 17 Naberezhnaya Severnoy Dviny, Arkhangelsk, 163002, Russian Federation, Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov

Phone: (818-2) 28-76-18


One Aspect of the History of Book Writing in the Monastery of St. Cyril of Beloozero in the Mid-15th Century. P. 36–42

Версия для печати

Section: History




Mikhail A. Shibaev
Saint Petersburg State University;
ul. Sadovaya 18, St. Petersburg, 191069, Russian Federation; e-mail:


This article describes one of the aspects of the history of book writing in the Monastery of St. Cyril of Beloozero under hegumen Сassian. During that period, the monastery received a lot of attention and gifts from the grand princes of Muscovy; its financial situation and administrative facilities improved. In these circumstances, four volumes of the first edition of the Prolog (Synaxarion) were written; only three of them have survived to the present day. The Prolog was introduced in Russia as a result of the second South Slavic influence. Its copies were rare in the first half of the 15th century. This paper studies the 15th-century codices kept in the Manuscript Department of the National Library of Russia: collection no. 1/1240 from the Monastery of St. Cyril of Beloozero and collections no. 1353 and 1332 from the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Veliky Novgorod. The author argues that the above codices were written in the given order. Further, the article examines the chronology of the script and of the paper used. Codicological observations on the manuscripts made by the author indicate that the copying was initiated by scribe Porphyry, who copied the chronologically first codex in 1452. He also was involved in the work with the other two volumes, either as a scribe or as a compiling editor. In addition to calligraphic polustav (semi-uncial), Porphyry mastered the Greek style of writing with abundant elements graphically resembling skoropis (cursive writing). The article concludes that this decorative Greekish script came into fashion among Russian scribes in the first half of the 15th century as a result of the second South Slavic influence.


codicology, 15th-century manuscripts, Monastery of St. Cyril of Beloozero, first edition of the Prolog, collection from the Cathedral of St. Sophia
Download (pdf, 4MB )


1. Kuchkin V.A. “Kirpishechnaya strel’nitsa” (k istorii krepostnogo stroitel’stva v Moskovskom Kremle XV veka) [“A Brick Battle Tower” (on the History of Fortification Building in the 15th-Century Moscow Kremlin)]. K 500-letiyu Arkhangel’skogo sobora i kolokol’ni Ivana Velikogo Moskovskogo Kremlya [To the 500th Anniversary of the Moscow Kremlin’s Archangel Cathedral and Ivan the Great Bell Tower]. Moscow, 2008. Available at: kuchkin7.htm (accessed 26 February 2015).
2. Shibaev M.A. Rukopisi Kirillo-Belozerskogo monastyrya XV veka. Istoriko-kodikologicheskoe issledovanie [Fifteenth-Century Manuscripts from the Monastery of St. Cyril of Beloozero: A Historical and Codicological Research]. Moscow, 2013. 560 p.
3. Turilov A.A. K istorii Stishnogo prologa na Rusi [On the History of the First Edition of the Prolog in Mediaeval Rus’]. Drevnyaya Rus’. Voprosy medievistiki, 2006, no. 1, pp. 70–75.
4. Gal’chenko M.G. Knizhnaya kul’tura. Knigopisanie. Nadpisi na ikonakh Drevney Rusi. Izbrannye raboty [Book Culture. Book Writing. Inscriptions on Mediaeval Russian Icons. Selected Works]. Moscow, 2001. 496 p.
5. Chistyakova M.V. O rodstve moskovskoy i kirillo-belozerskoy redaktsiy Stishnogo prologa [On the Relationship Between the Kirillo-Belozersky and Moscow Editions of the Versed Synaxarion]. Slavistica Vilnensis, 2012, no. 57, pp. 33–44.
6. Chistyakova M.V. Novye dannye o rodstve moskovskoy i kirillo-belozerskoy redaktsiy Stishnogo prologa (sentyabr’–noyabr’) [New Data on the Affinity Between the Moscow and Kirillo-Belozersky Redactions of the Verse Prologue (September–November)]. Slavistica Vilnensis, 2014, no. 59, pp. 41–54.
7. Novikova O.L. K izucheniyu Stishnogo prologa serediny XV veka iz Kirillo-Belozerskogo monastyrya [Studying the Stishnoy Prologue of St. Cyril-Belozersky Monastery of the 15th Century]. Vestnik “Al’yans-Arkheo”, 2015, no. 12, pp. 3–28.
8. Karbasova T.B., Shevchenko E.E. Kratkoe Zhitie Kirilla Belozerskogo [A Short Life of St. Cyril of Beloozero]. Knizhnye tsentry Drevney Rusi. Knizhniki i rukopisi Kirillo-Belozerskogo monastyrya [Book Writing Centres of Mediaeval Rus’. Scribes and Manuscripts of the Monastery of St. Cyril of Beloozero]. St. Petersburg, 2014, pp. 3–51.