The National Library of Belarus has become, despite all the skeptics, one of the main tourist attractions of Minsk. The first visit of this new building, comfortable and modern, immediately overcomes prejudices. A windy and rainy autumn day becomes more pleasant when one sees the apostolic words at the entrance «Да совѣршϵнъ бȣдϵть ϥϵловѣк б͠жиѝ», written in many languages including English “that the man of God may be perfectly equipped for every good work”.
However, the essence of this Library is not in its original architecture or metal-glass interior combining gothic and contemporary styles. It is in the people who work here and who create its spirit: the high level specialists, bibliographers, historians and enthusiasts.
Many thanks to the National Library of Belarus, its Vice-Director / Director of Research and Publishing Ales’ Susha, Head of Research Sector Tatyana Sapeha, Head of Scientific Research Department of Bibliology Natalia Garkovich and to all those who helped and kindly advised me in my research on Francysk Skaryna during this “getaway” in Minsk! Thanks to all Belarusian colleagues and friends who found the time and opportunity to meet me and to discuss Francysk Skaryna’s legacy, the state of the Belarusian studies, as well as everyday life and general perspectives for Belarus. Dear colleagues and friends, thank you for this warm atmosphere, conviviality of scientific exchanges and preciouses advices!
I would like also to express my gratitude to the MOST program (Mobility Scheme for Targeted People-to-People-Contacts), without its financial support this project of participation in the VIIth International Congress “The library as a cultural phenomenon”, organized by the National Library of Belarus, would be impossible.
Among the highlights of this visit was the Round Table «Francysk Skaryna’s studies in France», organized by the National Library of Belarus. Here you could find some reflections on the history of ideas approach to the study of intellectual space, in which Francysk Skaryna created his «Bible Rus’». What can witness the names and the subjects mentioned by Francysk Skaryna himself in his Prefaces? Who surrounded Francysk Skaryna while his stay in the Krakow and Padua universities? What was the philosophical context of the intellectual and aesthetic landscape in the Renaissance Italy before 1517? What role did play the discussions of the Neoplatonists and the Aristotelians? How did they affect the text and artistic conception of Francysk Skaryna’s «Bible Rus’», its woodcuts, symbols (e. g. “sun-moon”) and initials?
Round Table “Скарыназнаўства ў Францыi” in Russian and Belarusian: