Ostromir Gospel

Teaching Gospel of Constantine Bulgarian

Teaching Gospel of Constantine Bulgarian.
1286, with 15th-century additions (fols. 164, 165). Serbian version. Scribe: Dragoman

F (235/252 168/175). II + 179 leaves.
Parchment (fols. 1-163, 166-179) and paper (fols. 164, 165). Ink, cinnabar, colours.

It is written in two columns (fols. 1-162) in a uncial script by two hands.

The manuscript contains a head-piece on folio 1r and initials in the Balkan style, worked in cinnabar, and yellow and blue paints. Headings, drawn with use of ligatures, are decorated in different ways: letters are written in cinnabar or dark blue paint, sometimes, on a yellow background. There are several pen-and-ink ornamental drawings.

Folio fols. 161vb-162, bearing a note by the scribe Dragoman, states that the manuscript was created in 1286, during the reign of Serbian King Stefan Uroš II, by order Archbishop Jacob established in the same year. At the end of the prayer on folio 162r are a note which possibly states the name of the second scribe: "I, Vuk', wrote it in the month of May 4 (further, it is smeared)".

Alexander Hilferding discovered the codex in 1857 in the Dečani Monastery, while serving as consul of Russia in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This great monastery was built at Decani in 1327-1335 by Serbian King Stefan Dečanski (1321-1331) and his son, the first Serbian Emperor Stefan Dušan (1331-1355). In the Middle Ages many invaluable works of art and architecture: churches, frescos, icons, manuscripts were created at Dečani. At the beginning of the 15th century the Father Superior of the monastery was Gregory Tsamblak, who wrote The Life of Saint Stefan Dečanski during his stay at Dečani. In 2004, UNESCO listed the monastery on the World Heritage List.

In 1868 the manuscript came into the Imperial Public Library along with the Alexander Hilferding's collection.

Shelfmark: . . 32.

© The National Library of Russia, 2007