The Kiev Missal


Dating from the second half of the tenth century, the Kiev Missal is generally held to be the oldest Old Church Slavic manuscript with a coherent text. The manuscript is a seven-folio text in Glagolitic script that contains parts of a Roman-rite missal (Sacramentarium), a book of texts used by a priest during mass. Written in three different hands, it includes a reading from the Epistle to the Romans by the Apostle Paul (Chapter XIII, verses 11-14 and Chapter XIV, verses 1-4), a prayer to the Blessed Virgin from the Annunciation service, and various prayers from the mass. The missal is one of the oldest monuments of the ancient Slavic written language, and is of enormous esthetic and linguistic value to world culture. The manuscript was given to the Kyiv School of Theology in 1872 by Archimandrite Antonin Kapustin, the chief of the Russian Orthodox mission agency in Jerusalem and a former student at the school. Kapustin reportedly found the sheets at the Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai. The cover of the manuscript contains the inscription of Father Antonin: “To the library of the Kyiv School of Theology. Jerusalem. 1872.” Most of the text of the missal is written in black, denoting the texts meant to be pronounced. Passages written in red are instructions to priest regarding the conduct of the mass.

Last updated: May 24, 2017