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Abbot of the Bachkovo Monastery with a valuable donation to the Archives in Vidin

06.11.2018

Sonya Machorska

   Archimandrite Samuel - Abbot of the Bachkovo Monastery "Assumption" donated the first full phototype edition of the Bulgarian Fourth Gospel to Tsar Ivan Alexander from 1356, stored in the British Library, London, to the Archives in Vidin, head Svetlana Krasteva, the chef of the institution . Extremely valuable donation for the library of the State Archive - Vidin! From today, every visitor in the archive can enjoy the publication is part of the series MILLIONS OF THE BULGARIAN CHRISTIAN ART of publishing house METODEI BOOKS, with publishers Rumyana Stoyanova, Dilyana Ruseva and Metodiy Petrikov. Each copy of the medieval Bulgarian manuscript is phototypically printed with a special gold reproduction technology in 1,000 authentic copies. The copy, kindly provided by His High Priest Archimandrite Samuil in the gift of the Vidin archive, is with №610. It is known that on 3 November 2017, the Four Gospels were included in the UNESCO International Monument of the World.

   The Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander, Tetraevangelia of Ivan Alexander, or Four Gospels of Ivan Alexander (Bulgarian: Четвероевангелие на (цар) Иван Александър, transliterated as Chetveroevangelie na (tsar) Ivan Aleksandar) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel Book, written and illustrated in 1355–1356 for Tsar Ivan Alexander of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The manuscript is regarded as one of the most important manuscripts of medieval Bulgarian culture, and has been described as "the most celebrated work of art produced in Bulgaria before it fell to the Turks in 1393".

   The manuscript, now in the British Library (Add. MS 39627), contains the text of the Four Gospels illustrated with 366 miniatures and consists of 286 parchment folios, 33 by 24.3 cm in size, later paginated with pencil. The language of the text is variously described as Bulgarian, Middle Bulgarian, Slavonic, and Church Slavonic.

   The book contains the four Gospels and some other texts, so is a true gospel book rather than an evangeliary, but there are markings showing which passages were to be read in the liturgy, as well as a list at the end of the book. The bookbinding of red leather over wooden boards is original, but the elements of a metalwork treasure binding probably decorated with gold, gems and pearls on top of this have disappeared. The nail holes where these were fixed on are evident, but it would not have covered all the binding, even on the front, as the leather is stamped with patterns and a griffin.

   The last gathering, with ff. 276-284, is a later insertion with a smaller page size, containing a menology or liturgical calendar of feast days and the appropriate gospel readings for them, and a synaxaria or calendar listing saint's feast days. There is also a short guide on studying the scriptures.[Before this, at the end of the original book on f. 273v, is a magic square of a grid with 625 squares containing letters, in which the name of the book, as "Io Alexander Tsarya Tetravaggel" is spelled out several times, a unique feature in such a manuscript. The centre square contains the "Iῶ" from which all readings begin.Folio 74, which probably contained a miniature illustrating the Last Judgment, has been cut and stolen in modern times.

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018
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