Kiev: Lavra Typography, 1628. Item #510
9-142, 165-229 leaves. 20x16 cm. Original full leather binding. Good interior condition with the signs of the aged paper, soiling and occasional dirt on the pages. The book is lacking 8 leaves in the beginning and 23 in the middle as well as one at the end of the book. Provenance: originally from Romania, old stamps of the Romanian House church (Casa Biserici) on several pages.
First edition. The first printed edition of anything by Abba in any Slavic language. All in all it’s the third printed book by Abba, rst being ‘Monumenta S. Patrum Orthodoxographa’ (Basileae, 1569) and the second ‘Auctarium Bibliothecae Patrum Ducaenum’ (P., 1624). The latter was used by Kiev scholars when they prepared this edition.
The edition is an interesting example of Kiev book tradition leading the way for Slavic theosophical knowledge. Abba Dorotheus (505-565) had been always considered as one of the most important theologists, along with Ephrem The Syrian he had the reputation of one of the best-read authors in Rus in Middle Ages and New Times. By the time this book came out Moscow printed tradition was still recovering from the turmoil of the Smutnoe Vremia (i.e. Time of Troubles), and most of their printing repertoire contained liturgical books. It was only in 1640s Abba together with Efrem was printed on Moscow Print Yard using this edition prepared in Kiev 15-20 years before.
The edition is also interesting because of this printing history this translation created in Kiev in 1620s became the canonical in Old Believers tradition, alongside with other works by Pavmo Berynda and his companions.
Pavmo Berynda (1560-1632) who was one of the founders of Lavra typography is credited for making this edition. Originally from Galicia he learnt Hebrew, Latin, Old Greek and together with Gedeon Balaban, the important Lviv bishop and typographer, founded the typography in Stryatin (now close to Ivano-Frankovsk). When it was moved to Kiev in 1619 became the typography of Lavra. Filophey Kizarevich, the head of the monastery at the time alongside with archbishop Peter Mohyla (to whom this book is dedicated to), have worked with Pavmo on a new translation using the manuscript slavonic version but also the Greek original. The anonymous preface was added.