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 Ivan Fyodorov


Born:   about 1510
Deceased:   5 (15) December 1583

Foremost initiator of book printing in Muscovy and Ukraine

      

Ivan Fyodorov (aka Ivan Fyodorovich Moskvitin) (about 1510 — 5 (15) December 1583, Lvov) is the foremost initiator of book printing in Muscovy and Ukraine.

The publisher of the first printed Church Slavonic Bible, the first Russian (or other East Slavic) textbook (Bukvar, 1574) and many other important books, he contributed much to unity of Eastern Orthodox Church and promotion of literacy in Russia and Ukraine.

Ivan Fyodorov was born sometime around 1510. There is no exact data of his date and place of birth and family. The genealogical interpretation of his typographic mark identical with the coat of arms of the Byelorussian kin of Ragoza can be evidence of his relation to this clan; several dozens of Byelorussian, Ukrainian and Polish families belonged to this coat of arms. According to one of the versions he came from the Petckoviches family living somewhere at the border of the modern Minsk and Brest regions.

 

Ivan Fyodorov studied in Krakow University in 1529—1532: its promotion diary bears a note that in 1532 one ‘Johannes Theodori Moscus’ was given the bachelor’s degree. From the 1530s Ivan Fyodorov evidently belonged to the surrounding of Macarius the Metropolitan of Moscow. Together with Macarius he came to Moscow and was ordained to the office of a deacon in the Nicholas Gostunsky church of Moscow Kremlin.

In 1553 Tzar Ivan IV the Terrible ordered to build a special house for printing establishment, which published several “anonymous” (i.e. without any output data) editions in the 1550s. Ivan Fyodorov supposedly also worked in this printing house and adopted there certain printing methods that were not used anywhere else then.

The first printed book bearing the name of Ivan Fyodorov and his assistant Pyotr Mstislavets was Apostle, the first exactly dated Russian book. As its afterword says, they were working on it from 19 April 1563 to 1 March 1564. This edition considerably surpassed the earlier, anonymous, publications, both in the sense of text and printing quality; in both points it was the merit of Ivan Fyodorov, historians believe.

The success of the innovative technology brought about competition and scribes started to suppress and persecute printers, causing Fyodorov and Mstislavets flee from Moscow to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. They were heartily received by Hetman Khodkevich who sponsored founding a printing establishment in his estate of Zabłudów (Zabludiv) (northern Podlachia, on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border). The first book published by Ivan Fyodorov and Pyotr Mstistlavets in Zabludiv printing house was Evangelie uchitelnoe (1569, Didactic Gospel)– collected speeches and teachings interpreting gospel texts. In 1570 Ivan Fyodorov published Psaltyr s Chasoslovtsem (Psalter with Horologion) that was also widely used to teach reading and writing.

 

To continue his printing activity Ivan then moved to Lvov and founded there his own printing shop, where he assisted by his son produced the second edition of Apostle (1574) with an autobiographical epilogue, and Bukvar (1574), the first Russian (or other East Slavic) textbook.

In a few years he was invited by Prince Konstantin Ostrozhsky to the town of Ostrog and by the latter’s order printed the famous Ostroh Bible, the first complete printed Slavonic Bible, which also became very widely spread.

After a quarrel with Prince Konstantin Ostrozhsky the printer returned to Lvov hoping to reopen his printing shop, but was not a success.

On 5 (15) December 1583 Ivan Fyodorov died in a suburb of Lvov and was buried at the Saint Onuphrius Monastery, Lvov.

In 1977 Ivan Fyodorov Museum was open there. In 1990 the museum was moved from this building because of its passing to the Basilians Order; after that all the exhibits were kept in basements of the Lvov Picture Gallery. In 1997 the museum was reopen in the new building and renamed into Museum of Old Ukrainian Book Art.


Tags: Russian history Russian people Ivan Fyodorov   




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