[ Moscow: 1912 [. Facsimile reproduction of the Archangel Gospels. 600 copies were planned for publication by the Rumiantsev Museum (now the Lenin Public Library) in Moscow for the commemoration of their 50th anniversary in 1912. It is reported that only 200 were actually produced at the high price of 100 rubles. Printed in three colors on paper imitating the original vellum. A fine copy. Bound in thick wooden boards, inner boards overlaid with paper that reproduces the appearance of the original medieval binding, uncovered spine with vellum straps and sewing cords exposed. All of the original manuscripts flaws are reproduced here (wormholes, stains, etc.). A few leaves with very minor chips to edges. Eight-page pamphlet in Russian by Grigorii Petrovich Georgievsky (1866-1948), Curator of the Rumiantsev Museum, that describes the book and the facsimile production, laid in. Small quarto. 178 ff. Item #16388
The Archangel Gospels is a lectionary written in Old Church Slavonic. It is the fourth oldest Russian manuscript and the second oldest Russian Slavonic Gospel (the first being the Ostromir Gospels). It is dated 1092 at the end of the manuscript and signed by the two scribes, named Michka and Peter. The text consists of an “Aprakos,” a lectionary for Sundays and holidays. Prior to 1876, it provenance, history, and many of the details of its creation are unknown. The manuscript was brought from the Archangel region by a farmer who discovered it and was named after the location from whence it came. The Archangel Gospels was then acquired by a merchant and trustee of the Rumiantsev Museum, S.T. Bolshakov, who offered it to the museum for 400 rubles. The manuscript was written on parchment made from low-quality calf skins; as a result, approximately fifty pages have various defects. Over time, the manuscript lost six of the eight folio quires and five separate leaves, thus, it is lacking fifty-three of its leaves. Primarily the work of the two named scribes, the first scribe copied the text, which goes back to the Cyril and Methodius translations of the Gospels, and the second scribe copied the text of the full Gospel lectionary. The order of the Archangel Gospels differs from that of the Ostromir Gospels (for example, there is an addition of weekday lessons that range from Easter to the Pentecost) and the script deviates from the classical style in which other manuscripts of that period were written. It is believed that two additional scribes (Jakim or Akim and the fourth’s name being unknown) made some minor contributions to the manuscript, possibly at a later date. Jakim/Akim is credited with writing ff. 175-177; the unnamed fourth scribe is credited with writing only f. 178. The handwriting of the later two scribes has been dated palaeographically to the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries.
The original Archangel Gospel is currently in the holdings of the Russian State Library in Moscow. It was studied by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 1997. Per UNESCO’s website: “This manuscript has a great significance in the…written history of universal philosophy and culture. [It gives] a salient idea of the…development of ancient Russian literature, of its book-writing schools and workshops and of the dissemination of the church Slavonic language” (http://www.unesco.org/new/en/member-states/single-view/news/archangel_gospel_of_1092/).