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Codex Suprasliensis

Codex Suprasliensis (Polish: Kodeks supraski) is an 11th-century Cyrillic monument, the largest extant Old Church Slavonic canon manuscript and the oldest Slavic literary work in Poland. As of September 20th, 2007 it is on Unesco's Memory of the World list.

Codex is by its content a lectionary menaeum for the month of March, intersecting with the movable Easter cycle. It contains 24 lives of saints and 23 homilies and one prayer, most of which were written by or are attributed to John Chrysostom. The 284-folio (according to some other sources, 285 folios) codex was discovered in 1823 by Canon Michał Bobrowski in the Uniate Basilian monastery in Supraśl.

Upon discovery, Bobrowski sent the manuscript in two pieces to Slovene Slavist Jernej Kopitar for him to publish it: the first part (118 folios) have not been returned and are deposited in the National and University Library of Slovenia in Ljubljana. The major portion of it was bought for the private library of the Zamoyski family in Warsaw. This part of the codex disappeared during WWII, but later resurfaced in the USA and was returned to Poland in 1968, deposited into the National Library of Poland in Warsaw until the present day. The third part consisting of 16 folios is deposited in the Russian National Library in Saint Petersburg.

The codex has been published by F. Miklošič (Vienna, 1851), S. Severjanov (Suprasalьskaja rukopisь, Saint Petersburg, 1904), and by J. Zaimov and M. Capaldo (Sophia, 1982-1983). Important monography by A. Margulies Der altkirchenslavische Codex Suprasliensis (Heidelberg, 1927) is dedicated to the Codex.

Folio #260 of the manuscript has a note g(ospod)i pomilui retъka amin. Some researchers think that that is the name of a scribe and that the text was copied from several sources. Research indicates that at least one of the sources was Glagolitic, e.g. Epiphanius homily. Vocalizations of yers, rarely-occurring epenthesis, change of ъ to ь behind hardened č, ž, š and some other linguistic traits point to the Bulgarian linguistic provenience.


  • Заимов, Й., М. Капалдо, „Супрасълски или Ретков сборник“, том. 1, София, 1982, том. 2, София, 1983.
  • Damjanović, Stjepan (2004). Slovo iskona. Zagreb: Matica hrvatska. ISBN 953-150-567-5.  
  • Schenker, Alexander (1995). The Dawn of Slavic: An Introduction to Slavic Philology. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-30005-846-2.  

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