Ostromir Gospels. Gospel of Matthew.

Ostromir Gospels. Gospel of Matthew.

Detail map of Veliky Novgorod, Novgorodskaya oblast', Russia Overview map of Veliky Novgorod, Novgorodskaya oblast', Russia

A: Veliky Novgorod, Novgorodskaya oblast', Russia

The Ostomir Gospels, the Second Earliest East Slavonic Book

1056 to 1057
<p>Ostromir Gospels. Opening of the Gospel of John. National Library of Russia.</p>

Ostromir Gospels. Opening of the Gospel of John. National Library of Russia.

The second oldest dated East Slavic book, the Ostomir Gospels (Остромирово Евангелие), was created by deacon Gregory for his patron, Posadnik Ostromir of Novgorod in 1056 or 1057, probably as a gift to a monastery. Because Novgorod was not overrun by the Mongols, more early manuscripts have survived from this city than another other city in Russia.

"The book is a illuminated manuscript Gospel Book lectionary containing only feast-day and Sunday readings. It is written in a large uncial hand in two columns on 294 parchment sheets of the size 20 x 24 cm. Each page contains eighteen lines. The book is concluded by the scribe's notice about the circumstances of its creation.

"Three full page evangelist portraits survive, by two different artists, and many pages have decorative elements. The close resemblance between this and the equivalent pages in the Mstislav Lectionary suggests they are both based on a common prototype, now lost. The two artists who produced the evangelist portraits were both heavily influenced by Byzantine models, but the style of the portraits of Saints Mark and Luke seems to derive from Byzantine enamelled plaques rather than manuscripts" (Wikipedia article on Ostomir Gospels, accessed 01-19-2013).

The Ostomir Gospels are preserved in the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg.

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