Francysk Skaryna is the Belarusian and East-Slavonic publishing pioneer. He was born in Polotsk approximately in 1490.
He graduated from the University of Krakow where he got his bachelor’s degree in philosophy. At the University of Padua, he was granted a Doctorate of Medicine degree.
During his period of work in Prague he published 23 illustrated books of the Bible in the Old Belarusian language.
In the early 1520s Francysk Skaryna moved to Wilno where he founded a printing house. The Small Travel Guide and The Apostle were printed there.
Francysk Skaryna’s works are marked by very high print quality, beautiful engravings, distinctive fonts and striking illustrations. The language of the books was simple enough for ordinary people of Rzeczpospolita to be able to read them. The forewords written by Skaryna contained rudimentary elements of the various literary genres which were later developed in Belarusian literature.
Francysk Skaryna’s creative work greatly influenced the culture of both Belarus and Ukraine and promoted the development of book-printing in the Moscow State. Skaryna’s books were largely distributed.
Francysk Skaryna died in circa 1551. The exact date of his death and his burial place are unknown.