Orthodox Book Day in Russia Date in the current year: March 14, 2024

Orthodox Book Day in Russia Orthodox Book Day is an annual holiday celebrated by the Russian Orthodox Church on March 14. It was officially established by Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’, in 2009.

The idea to dedicate a special holiday to Orthodox books was first voice by the Belgorod diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was suggested that the holiday be celebrated on April 23 to coincide with the already existing World Book and Copyright Day.

However, this idea didn’t find immediate support. It wasn’t until November 2009 that Patriarch Kirill proposed the creation of Orthodox Book Day during a meeting of the Publishing Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to the Patriarch, the holiday was designed to celebrate the important contribution of publishing and publishers to the spiritual development of Orthodox Christians.

Orthodox Book Day was formally established a month later during a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. The date of Orthodox Book Day, March 14, was chosen to commemorate the publishing of Acts and Epistles of the Apostles that was completed in March 1564.

Acts and Epistles of the Apostles, commonly known as simply the Apostle, Apostolos or Apostol, is the first Russian printed publication with a known date. It was printed by Ivan Fyodorov and Pyotr Mstislavets in Moscow. There were about 1,000 copies printed, and at least 47 of them have survived to this day.

Ivan Fyodorov is widely regarded as one of the founders of Eastern Slavonic printing. Born in Moscow circa 1520, he was active both in the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He established the Moscow Print Yard and published a number of books there before moving to the city of Lviv, now Ukraine, and working as a printer at the Saint Onuphrius Monastery.

The Moscow edition of Apostolos was the first book published by Fyodorov. His other notable publications include Book of Hours (Moscow, 1565), Didactic Gospel (Zabłudów, 1568–1569), Psalms with Book of Hours (Zabłudów, 1570), the Lviv edition of Apostolos (1573–1574), Primer (Lviv, 1574), Greek-Russian Church-Slavonic Reader (Ostrog, 1578), New Testament with Psalms (Ostrog, 1578), Bible (Ostrog, 1581), and other books.

The first official celebration of Orthodox Book Day took place on March 14, 2010 in all dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was coordinated by the Publishing Council. The goal of Orthodox Book Day is not only to commemorate the publishing of the first Russian printed book that has an exact date, but also to highlight the importance of Orthodox books for the intellectual, moral, and spiritual development of Russian people, especially youth.

Orthodox Book Day is marked by a variety of events and activities, including book exhibitions and fairs, public readings of spiritual literature, open lectures, conferences and seminars, sacred music concerts, charity events, meetings with Orthodox writers and poets held at libraries and Sunday schools, and more. In Moscow, Patriarch Kirill and the city mayor usually attend a special meeting with schoolchildren and give out free books on spirituality.

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Orthodox Book Day in Russia, Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, religious observances, cultural observances, holidays in Russia