The Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania hosted a celebration of the 400-year anniversary of Grammar of the Slavic Language (Букварь языка славенска). According to the organiser of the event, the Belarusian embassy in Lithuania, 2018 marked an important event in the history of the work – the completion of its publication in facsimile as part of an international research and publication project.
Guests were welcomed by the special envoy of the Republic of Belarus, Aleksandr Korol. The diplomat explained that this first textbook on the Slavic language was printed by the Orthodox Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit of Vilnius in Vievis, Lithuania. Even though not a single print survived in its country of origin, 400 years later, as a result of an ambitious international research and publication project Belarus implemented with partners in the UK, specialists studied the Grammar of the Slavic Language and published it for the first time in facsimile. The ambassador also announced that the facsimile version of the publication was ceremoniously blessed at the Orthodox Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary that same day.
Professor Renaldas Gudauskas, Director General of the National Library, spoke of the fact that our countries were more than just close in geographic terms – they shared a common history as part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a shared culture, heritage, historical figures and traditions. “Today the multinational and multicultured spirit of the GDL and the strong cultural potential of our creators approaches closer to maturity, bringing a unique contribution to both European and global culture. I am certain that the cooperation between our national libraries will continue successfully in the future and that we will find more than one occasion to gather and celebrate each other’s achievements,” said Professor Gudauskas.
The deputy director of the National Library of Belarus, Aleksandr Susha, introduced guests to the facsimile publication of the Grammar of the Slavic Language itself. He emphasised that it was especially important to the project team that the Grammar was officially presented in Lithuania, where it was first printed 400 years ago. “We launch this publication on its trip around the wide world and thus give due respect to our cultural heritage, furthering the best traditions of the GDL,” explained Susha.
During the event at the National Library, a copy of the facsimile publication was presented to the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, the Vilnius University Library, the Trakai Museum and the Francisk Skorina School in Vilnius.