On 15th June 2017, in Prague, in the historical building of the National Library of the Czech Republic Klementinum: The International Symposium and Exhibition “Francysk Skaryna and Prague (dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the publication of Skaryna’s Prague Bible)”. The organizers of the Symposium: the National Library of the Czech Republic (Národní knihovna České republiky), the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, the National Library of Belarus, the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Czech Republic. In this international scientific project also took part the Faculty of Arts (Philosophical Faculty) of Charles University, Czech Republic; Central Jakub Kolas Library of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus; National Museum Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania; Vilnius University Library.
The forum featured presentations by leading Slavists and specialists in Skaryna Studies from the Czech Republic, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia. Special greetings were addressed to famous scholars whose works became the classics of the Skaryna Studies – E. Nemirousky and G. Galenčenka. Despite the fact that they could not attend the Symposium, one could feel their presence due to all those who consider themselves as their students and followers.
International atmosphere of the Symposium was felt not only due to the composition of the panelists, but also because of the international character of the legacy of Francysk Skaryna, common to Czech, Lithuanian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian book cultures – and each of these historiographies has the right to their “proper” Skaryna. As the Czech participants emphasized, it is in Bohemia where Skaryna spent the longest period of his life (20-28 years), and here, in the Czech environment, Skaryna worked as doctor, translator, writer, publisher, botanist and royal gardener. Thus, the initiative of the National Library of Belarus to choose Prague as a principal host for the Symposium was completely natural, and the Slavic Library of the National Library of the Czech Republic (Slovanská knihovna Národní knihovna ČR), and particularly, its director Lukáš Babka, took over the concept and organization of the Symposium.
During the Symposium, the new projects and books dedicated to Francysk Skaryna and issued this jubilee year in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Russia, were presented.
Raman Matulsky, Director of the National Library of Belarus, presented a multivolume facsimile edition of Skaryna books World heritage of Francysk Skaryna (21 v. Minsk: Belarusian Encyclopedia, 2013-2017), gifted now to major collections of the world’s largest libraries.
Sigitas Narbutas, Director of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences spoke about the joint edition of «Pranciškaus Skorinos Rusėniškajai Biblijai 500 / Frantsysk Skaryna’s Ruthenian Bible turns 500» (Rima Cicėnienė, Sigitas Narbutas, Daiva Narbutienė, Sergey Temchin, Aleksandr Grusha, Ilya Lemeshkin, Petr Voyt. Vilnius : Lietuvos mokslų akademijos Vrublevskių biblioteka, 2017), with participation of Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, the Philosophical Faculty (Faculty of Arts) of Charles University, Central Jakub Kolas Library of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and National Museum Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
Director of the Central Jakub Kolas Library of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Alexander Gruša, in his turn, presented a collection of scholarly articles published by the Library “Francysk Skaryna: Asoba, Dzainas, Spadchyna” [Francysk Skaryna : Personality, Oeuvre, Legacy] (A.Gruša, Minsk: Belaruskaya Navuka, 2017). The collective of authors considers a various aspects of the Skaryna Studies from new perspectives: beginning from the background of Skaryna’s activities and the location of his printing house in Prague to the origin of information about his (eventually possible) voyage to Moscow and to the deciphering the mysterious signs (“triangle”) on his portrait.
Jamilia Ramazanova, head of the Scientific and Research Department of Rare Books (Book Museum) of the Russian State Library, presented the exhibition and its catalog “Renaissance Man. To the 500th anniversary of the publication of the Francysk Skaryna Bible. Catalog of the exhibition, 18/04 – 20/05/2017” (Moscow: Russian State Library, 2017).
The Symposium revealed the important research positions: the need to consider the activities of Francysk Skaryna, as well as the entire written legacy of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as an European phenomenon (Tomáš Hoskovec); the erroneousness of one-dimensional “national” interpretation of Skaryna phenomenon (Petr Voit); problems popularization of the book heritage of Francysk Skaryna (Alexander Suša); singularities of Skaryna identification as publisher and author of the prefaces with comparative analysis of later Cyrillic manuscripts (Alexander Gruša); Skaryna’s reception among the Slavic bibliophiles of the second half of the XVI century (Jamilia Ramazanova) and his followers (Tatyana Kornelova).
In the second part of the Symposium, Ilja Lemeškin traced the textual relationship between the colophon of the Prague Bible of 1488 and the paratext of Бивлия Руска of Francysk Skaryna, emphasizing not only their semantic affinity, but also the same place of publication – in the same printing house of the merchant Severin. At the same time, Rolandas Kregždys, basing on his analysis of phonetic and semantic lexemes of Semitic origints in the Ruthenian Bible, concluded that Francysk Skaryna in his translation was principally oriented towards the Czech text and the Vulgate rather than to the Semitic languages.
Siarhej Knyrevič in his presentation “Following the traces of Simeon Rus from Polotsk” presented the new documents on the members of Skaryna family founded in the State Archive of Jindřichův Hradec. Siarhej Šupa, known for his studies of Hebraisms in Skaryna’s editions, introduced the audience with the prospect of a new academic translation of the Bible into the Belarusian. Lyudmila Gorbacheva and Ekaterina Lapotko highlited various projects, events and publishing activities dedicated to the 500th anniversary of Belarusian book printing.
In general, the work of the Symposium was marked by the intense discussions and creative exchanges, attracted attention of a wide range of Slavists and specialists in Skaryna Studies, and let to see the further perspectives in joint research in Skaryna Studies.
From 15/06 to 20/07/2017, here, in Klementinum, the exhibition «Pranciškaus Skorinos Rusėniškajai Biblijai – 500 / The Ruthenian Bible of Francysk Skaryna turns 500» was held based on the materials of the collective monograph with same name (authors Rima Cicėnienė, Aleksandr Grusha, Ilya Lemeshkin, Sigitas Narbutas, Daiva Narbutienė, Sergey Temchin, Petr Voyt. Vilnius : Lietuvos mokslų akademijos Vrublevskių biblioteka, 2017). It was prepared due to a common efforts of specialists from Lithuania, Belarus and the Czech Republic. The Czech version of the exhibition was presented by researchers from Charles University, Ilja Lemeškin (Ph.D, ÚSVS FF UK) and Petr Voit (Ph.D, ÚISK FF UK)