OCTOECHOS tones 1–4

Moscow, Pe atnyj dvor, 1618


Folio, 476 ff. 23 ll./p., 10 ll. Old Cyrillic type in black, with red for titles, initials, running titles, rubrics and marginalia. 14 headpieces from 7 blocks; decorative initial on f.474. Zernova gives the foliation as 1–227, 224, 230–443, 445–477, [478]. In this copy the foliation on the five leaves following f.227 has been corrected by hand, the printed sequence beginning again on f.234 (which is actually the 233rd leaf). In addition, the number of f.73 has been corrected by hand (from 75), and there are further corrections on ff.245–250 (it is no longer possible to see what was originally printed). First leaf mounted, some marginal repairs, not affecting the text. Wax-spotting throughout, dust and finger soiling, generally good. In contemporary calf, sewn on four cords, over wooden boards, blind tooled on the upper cover with large central medallion between four cornerpieces, all within a border of fillets and a small repeating motif, and on the lower cover with nine vertical rows of the same small motif between bands at the top and bottom of lozenges with a different small motif, one clasp renewed to match, rebacked, spine remounted, edges blue.

Inscription on f.2: , “This book belongs to the Danilov Monastery”. Inscription on ff.3–19: , “On 15th August 7127 [1619] Konstjantin son of Ivan Licha ev gave these books, the Octoechos, in the eight tones, Moscow printing, to the Danilov Monastery of the Holy Trinity, to the church, in Pereslavl’ Zalesskij.”

The Octoechos in Church Slavonic contains the variable portions of the services for each day of the week, according to the eight tones ( ): the services for the week beginning on the Sunday after Easter are conducted in the First Tone, the next week in the Second, and so on, and the cycle is repeated for the rest of the year. Since this eight-weekly cycle is combined with the yearly cycles of fixed and movable feasts, the material from the Octoechos may be replaced in part or even completely when a festival or other commemoration falls upon a particular day.

Like other aspects of Russian life, printing was seriously disrupted during the Time of Troubles, and for over four years no books were printed at all. After peace was restored, the first Romanov tsar, Michail Fedorovi , established the Moscow Printing House (Pe atnyj dvor), which was to have a virtual monopoly of printing in Russia until the eighteenth century. This is the fourth book to be printed there, “by Master Ianikita son of Fedor Fofanov, of Pskov”. The Octoechos was issued in two volumes, of which this is the first. The inscription indicates that both volumes were presented to the monastery.

The celebrated Danilov Monastery at Pereslavl’ Zalesskij was founded in the 13th century by the son of Alexander Nevsky and has often played a central role in Russian history. It is the resting place of many celebrated intellectuals including Gogol and Rubinstein. It is now a spiritual and administrative centre of the Russian church. The numerous Licha ev family of minor gentry were prominent in state service in the seventeenth century. Among their descendants was the famous collector and scholar Nikolaj Petrovi Licha ev (1862–1936).

Zernova 33. Karataev 244.
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