The Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles

The Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles, also known as the Apostle, is the first dated imprint published on the territory of present-day Ukraine. Written in Church Slavic, the liturgical language of the Orthodox Church in Russia, Ukraine, and other Slavic-speaking countries, it was printed in 1574 at the Saint Onuphrius Monastery in Lviv by Ivan Fyodorov (circa 1510-83). One of the fathers of printing in the East Slavic region, Fyodorov graduated from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, and later worked in Moscow, where he published liturgical works using movable type, the first books printed in Russia. He was driven from Moscow by scribes who feared competition from his innovation and fled to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, where he set up a press in Zabłudów (Zabludovo, in present-day Belarus). In 1572, he moved to Lviv. The Apostle was among the most widely used liturgical books of the Orthodox Church. The 1574 edition contains an autobiographical epilogue by Fyodorov in which he recounts the history of his printing houses in Moscow, Zabłudów, and Lviv. About 120 copies of this edition are known to exist, of which five are in the collections of the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine.

General View of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

This view of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is from Souvenir of Kiev, an early 20th-century album showing the main sites of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine and at that time one of the most important cities of the Russian Empire. Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, also called the Monastery of the Kiev Caves (pechera means cave; lavra indicates a monastery of status), is a large complex founded in 1051 by a monk named Anthony in caves dug out of the hillside. The monastery soon became the center of Christianity in Russia and played an important part in local cultural development, housing the first printing press in Kiev and famous chroniclers, writers, physicians, scientists, and artists. After a fire in 1718, most of the lavra ensemble was rebuilt in the baroque style, including the Assumption Cathedral in the center here, the great bell tower center-left, other churches, and other monastic buildings, which are surrounded by high stone walls. Together with the city’s Saint Sophia Cathedral, the lavra is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The 25 views in Souvenir of Kiev are collotypes, made using a chemically-based printing process widely employed before the invention of offset lithography.