On the 2nd of August a Roman Catholic priest from France, clerk of Pontoise-city eparchy, teacher of the Russian Orthodox seminary in France, father Grigoriy Prikhodko, placed a new edition of the Reims Gospel in custody with the Rare Manuscripts and Books Department of Kazan University.
The book consists of two parts written with different scripts: the first one – with a Cyrillic, the other one – with Glagolitic script.
“The second part of the manuscript was made in one of the monasteries of Moravia in 1395 under the emperor Charles the Fifth,” father Grigoriy Prikhodko said. “Then the manuscript was sent to one of the monasteries, where a Latin liturgy was offered in the Slavonic language. It was brought to Reims by the cardinal Charles of Lorraine, who became the archbishop of Reims at the time of Henry the Third”.
In the times of the French Revolution all articles connected with the royal power were destroyed. In Reims, in particular, the prefect organised a public destruction accompanied by inventory making. For a long time all Slavonic scholars of Europe had been mourning over the loss of the Reims Gospel and found it by chance in one of the library bookcases; then the first facsimile edition was made (in 1843), later the second one appeared (in 1901). Kazan University was one of the subscribers.
Katherine the Second was interested in this ancient manuscript. In accordance with her desire a note of the Reims Gospel was delivered from France. It was made on the basis of written testimonies found in accounts of the Reims cathedral sacristy. Since that time the interest in this relic has started growing in Russia. Emperor Nikolay the First solicited French authorities for permission to make a special copy for Russia. A French scholar and palaeographer, Jean-Baltasar Silvester, made such a copy in 1843.
The year of 2010 was a year of Russia in France. At the end of that year an exhibition “Holy Russia” was held in Louvre. Icons, richly decorated setting of the Trinity icon, as well as important documents, including the Reims Gospel edition, were displayed at the aforesaid exhibition. A Rector of the Russian Orthodox seminary in France then offered an idea of a new facsimile edition of this manuscript, which was planned to be made within the next few months.
A copy presented by the father Grigoriy is a prototype of the next critical facsimile edition of the manuscript and is timed to the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov. A large circulation comprising introductory articles telling about the origin and thrilling history of the manuscript in the French and Russian languages will have been published by the end of the year.