STRASBOURG – KYIV: With the blessing of His Beatitude Volodymyr, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine on November 7, under the chairmanship of Ukraine in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the Peresopnytsia Gospels was presented, and the photo exhibition devoted to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra opened.
In this regard, the official delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church stays in Strasbourg led by the chairman of the Missionary Department of the UOC and the Department of Religious Education and Catechization Archbishop Philipp of Poltava and Myrhorod. The delegation also included: Chairman of the Synodal Department of the UOC “Church and Culture” hegumeness Seraphima (Shevchyk), Deputy Head of the Department “Church and Culture” A.V. Shcherbakov, secretary of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC Archpriest Nicholai Danylevych.
The Opening ceremony was headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers K. Gryshchenko. The presentation was also attended by Secretary General of the Council of Europe T. Jagland, Minister of Culture of Ukraine MA Kulyniak, representative of the Moscow Patriarchate in Strasbourg, hegumen Philip (Ryabykh), director general of the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve E. M. Gromov. The opening ceremony was also attended by Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe M.S. Tochytskyy, Resident Representative of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe A. Alyekseyev, ambassadors from various European countries and other distinguished guests.
Introductory word to the audience was said by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine K.I. Gryshchenko. The Minister stressed the historic significance of the Peresopnytsia Gospels, its “spiritual and cultural value” for Ukraine, and also presented to those attending the ehxibitin with unique photos of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
In his speech Minister of Culture of Ukraine M.A. Kulyniak said about the unique identity Peresopnytsia Gospel. He noted that decorating ornament of the book is valuable, for it was created in the national Ukrainian style. The Peresopnytsia Gospel also contains unique material for studying the history of the Ukrainian language”, said the minister. Presenting the exhibition, the Culture Minister reminded about the importance of conservation of such heritage as Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra “to save spirituality for future generations”.
Archbishop Philipp of Poltava and Myrhorod, speaking on behalf of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, conveyed to those present greetings and blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine. Highlighting the significance of the exhibition and presentation of the holy book of Christians to the Council of Europe, Archbishop Philip said that the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is “not only a gem of Kyiv, but is the heart of the Slavic world.” He also noted that the Peresopnytsia Gospels manuscript is a monument of the XVI century and one of the first attempts to adapt the canonical text of the four Gospels in the living Ukrainian language of the time. According to the hierarch, today the Peresopnytsia facsimile copy of the Gospel is presented in many institutions around the world. Peresopnytsia Gospels – is not only a symbol of Orthodoxy and spirituality, but also a national symbol of Ukraine, on which since 1991 the presidents of Ukraine take their oath”, said Archbishop Philip.
After the opening ceremony, the delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was invited to the solemn dinner at the residence of the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe.
The exhibition, which opened at the Council of Europe, represented unique photos taken in the churches and caves of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. They represent the architectural ensemble of the monastery, ancient paintings of the Dormition Cathedral, Trinity Gate Church and Refectory Chamber. Of great interest are the photos depicting labyrinths of the Near and Far Caves – underground monuments of history and architecture of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
In addition to photographs in the exhibition presents a unique label that convey three-dimensional views of the monastery church and rare items.
Submitted to the Council of Europe, the Peresopnytsia copy of the Gospel is a facsimile copy of the manuscript memorials of old language and art of the XVI century. The Peresopnytsia Gospels represents the general high level of Ukrainian culture, which manifested intself in the book production. In 2008 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church together with the publishing house “ADEF-Ukraine” produced a facsimile edition of the Peresopnytsia Gospel of 1000 copies. Since 1991, the Presidents of Ukraine take oath of allegiance to the people on the Peresopnytsia Gospels, the Constitution of Ukraine and the Act of Independence of Ukraine.