The oldest preserved Serbian illustrated Cyrillic manuscript, Miroslav’s Gospel will be exhibited at the National Museum every Saturday in December.
Miroslav’s Gospel (in Serbian, Miroslavljevo Evandjelje) is a 362-page illuminated manuscript Gospel Book on parchment with very rich decorations. It is one of the oldest surviving documents written in the Serbian recension of Church Slavonic. The gospel is considered a masterpiece of illustration and calligraphy.
Miroslav’s Gospel was commissioned in the 12th century (in the year 1186) by Miroslav, the ruler (knez) of Hum and the brother of Stefan Nemanja, the Grand Prince of Rascia. The first to discover and study the manuscript were three Russian scholars: Vladimir Stasov, Fyodor Buslayev, and Nikodim Kondakov in 1874. The book was originally transcribed in Kotor in modern-day Montenegro between 1186 and 1190 from an earlier text.
The book contains 296 miniatures illustrated with a quill pen, then painted with brushes and decorated with gold. The leather covers of the Gospel is not original as it probably dates from the 14th century, and it is assumed that it was taken from another manuscript.
In 1979, the Gospel was declared a cultural asset of great importance, and in June 2005, the Miroslav’s Gospel was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World list. The National Library of Serbia, which is in charge of protecting and preserving old and rare books, says that Miroslav’s Gospel can be exhibited only ten days in a year.
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