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6 Sep 2018

National Library of Belarus awarded National Commission for UNESCO diploma

MINSK, 6 September (BelTA) – The National Library of Belarus has been awarded the diploma of Belarus’ National Commission for UNESCO. The diploma was presented by Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the Belarusian National Commission for UNESCO Vladimir Makei at an official event to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first Slavic Language Primer on 6 September, BelTA has learned.

“Over the past decades, the library has carried out a number of major projects to preserve, multiply and popularize the book heritage of Belarus. I have the honor, on behalf of the National Commission for UNESCO, to award the library with a diploma for the significant contribution to the preservation of the Belarusian cultural heritage and effective activities in the field of international and humanitarian cooperation,” the minister said.

Director of the National Library of Belarus Roman Motulsky thanked the ministry, the National Commission for UNESCO for assistance in the publication of the Primer. According to him, copies of the facsimile edition will have been delivered to foreign diplomatic representations in Belarus by the end of this week.

The Primer facsimile edition was presented a week earlier at the National Library which implemented this project with the support of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Culture and Education, the Belarusian Embassies in the UK and Latvia, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Belinvestbank. The International Association of Belarusian Language and Culture Specialists, London Middle Temple Library, Belarusian State University also took part in the project.

The world's first Primer turned 400 on 24 July. On this very day the Slavic Language Primer saw the light in 1618. It is important that our ancestors helped the book to come out.

The book was published in 1618 in the Church Slavonic language in the Vilno Orthodox Holy Spirit Monastery. The primer is a pocket-sized book 52 pages long. It contains Slavonic alphabet, examples of syllables in two or three letters, simple words in Church Slavonic language, a list of punctuation signs, numerals (in Cyrillic tradition) as well as basic grammar and texts for reading, including religious hymns, prayers, commandments, and sermons.

Events to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Primer have been running since the beginning of the year. The National Library of Belarus has arranged exhibitions to showcase the 400-year history of the primers and to tell about ABC books from around the world.

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