Medieval Slavic Manuscripts and Culture

Category: History of HRL/RCMSS (page 2 of 2)

Happy Birthday, Predrag!


Photograph of Dr. Matejic, a priest seated at table with his back to the camera; a young Predrag Matejic is standing opposite his father and preparing to turn the page of a manuscript that is position on a table with a camera overhead (being photographed).

Photographing manuscripts at Hilandar Monastery

Today is the 60th birthday of Predrag Matejic, Curator of the Hilandar Research Library and the Director of the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies at The Ohio State University.

It was on this date in 1971, to the best of his recollection, that Predrag and his father, the Very Rev. Dr. Mateja Matejic, left Greece with over 3,400 rolls of film used to photograph and microfilm the manuscripts of Hilandar Monastery. They flew together to Germany; Father Matejic continued on to Columbus, Ohio, with the films, while Predrag flew on alone to Yugoslavia, thus spending his 19th birthday in three different countries. He had birthday cake in both Munich and Beograd.

photograph and Predrag Matejic and Father Matejic standing and talking to each other in front of a building of the monastery Djudjevic Stupovi in Serbia, 2002. The grass is green, Father is wearing his black priest's shirt and coat; Predrag is in dark slacks, a gray jacket and white shirt.

Excursion to Đurđevi stupovi during the 5th International Hilandar Conference, Raška, Serbia


Happy Birthday, Predrag!


Image Source: The photo above was taken by a monk of Hilandar, 1971; the photo at right was taken by Pasha in 2002.


The First (and Only) Annual Hilandar Research Project Conference, 1984


The First – and what turned out to be the only – Annual Hilandar Research Project Conference was held May 3-4, 1984. The major goals of the conference were to provide an update of the Hilandar Research Project’s activities and financial status, and to offer concrete proposals for the expansion and development of the  Hilandar Research Project. Among the future goals enumerated by the Very Rev. Dr. Mateja Matejic were: “(1) the continuing acquisition and development of the collection of microform and reference materials; (2) the publication of a Supplemental and Cumulative Checklist of the holdings of the Hilandar Room (now over 2,000 items); (3) the publication of a detailed description of the Slavic codices of the Great Lavra Monastery on Mount Athos…” (Polata knigopisnaia 13: 71).

Photograph of the cover of the catalog of manuscripts in the Great Lavra monastery on Mount Athos. A yellow cover with an ornamental frame in red, and in the frame in black letters is the title and also the names of the authors. Under the authors' names in a circle are the words "Balcanica II Inventaires et catalogues"

Sofia: CIBAL, 1989

Among the ten presentations given, Robert Mathiesen (Brown University) reported on “The Present Status of Medieval Slavic Studies in the USA and Canada,” and concluded, among other things, that “North American scholars should concentrate on the treatment of problems less actively treated elsewhere in the world, such as Biblical textology” (Polata knigopisnaia 13: 27).

The report on the conference ends with the announcement that “On 5 May 1984, following the conclusion of the Conference, a new and completely furnished and reequipped Hilandar Room was dedicated by Robert Rade Stone, President of the Serb National Federation, and presented with the first original manuscript, a late XVIIIth century copy of Paisij Hilandarskij’s Istoria slavjanobǎlgarskaja by Mrs Esther N. Clarke(Polata knigopisnaia 13: 74).

Source: Matejic, Predrag. “Chronicle: 3-4 May 1984: Columbus. The First Annual Hilandar Research Project Conference.” Polata knigopisnaia 13 (December 1985): 71-74.

Image source: Cover of the book, M. Matejic and D. Bogdanovic, Slavic Codices of the Great Lavra Monastery: A Description (Sofia: CIBAL, 1989).


Conference: Hilandar Monastery and Other Repositories, 1981


A working conference devoted to “Hilandar Monastery and Other Repositories of Medieval Slavic Manuscripts: Research Needs and Opportunities” was held April 11-13, 1981 at Ohio State University [sic], Columbus, Ohio. Image of the cover of the booklet containing the reports of the Working Conference on the Hilandar Research Project, April 1981The Very Rev. Dr. Mateja Matejic presented an update on the Hilandar Research Project, representatives from various countries reported on the status of Slavic and medieval studies, and recommendations regarding the future work and development of the Hilandar Research Project were made by working groups composed from 45 scholars of 31 institutions of higher education in North America and Europe.

Reports were presented on collections in Belgium (Francis Thomson), Bulgaria (Petŭr Dinekov), Canada (Richard Pope), repositories holding Croatian Glagolitic manuscripts (Anica Nazor), Italy (Mario Capaldo), Macedonia (Lidija Slaveva), the Netherlands (Anton Van den Baar), Serbia (Dimitrije Bogdanović), and the United States (Riccardo Picchio).

Other participants from Europe included: Matej Cazacu and Paul-Hubert Poirier (France); Aksiniia Džhurova, Ivan Dujčev, Stefan Kožuharov, Kujo Kuev, Krumka Sharova, and Borjana Velcheva (Bulgaria); David Huntley (Canada); Vera Mutafčieva (Austria); Aleksander Naumow and Jerzy Rusek (Poland); Andrei Robinson (USSR); Antoine-Emile Tachiaos (Greece); and William Veder (the Netherlands).

Attendees from the US were: Julia Allisandratos (MIT); John Fine,  Ladislav Matejka, and Benjamin Stolz (University of Michigan); Priest-monk Ioannikios (Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY); Edward Kasinec (University of California, Berkeley); Maxine Lebo (Reston, Virginia); Horace Lunt and Hugh Olmsted (Harvard University);  Robert Mathiesen (Brown University); Gordon McDaniel (Seattle, WA); Olivera Nedić (Chicago); Philip Shashko (University of Wisconsin); Daniel Waugh (University of Washington); and Dean Worth (UCLA).

Participants from OSU were: Bert Beynen, Sharon Fullerton, Charles Gribble, Predrag Matejic, David Robinson, and Leon Twarog.


Medieval Slavic Summer Institute 2013


The Hilandar Research Library (HRL), the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies (RCMSS), and the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures (DSEELC) at The Ohio State University will host a four-week intensive Summer Institute for qualified graduate students in Columbus, Ohio, June 24 July 19, 2013. The Medieval Slavic Summer Institute (MSSI) will offer: Practical Slavic Palaeography (Slavic 814) and Readings in Church Slavonic (Slavic 812). All lectures will be in English.

Photo of MSSI 2011 class with manuscripts and gloves

MSSI 2011

Manuscript material on microform from the HRL’s extensive holdings forms a large part of the lectures and exercises. There is also a program of lectures on related topics, and other activities. Time permitting, participants may have the opportunity to work with original manuscripts and to conduct their own individualized research on manuscript collections/materials found in the HRL.

The Sixth Annual Hilandar Conference will be held in Columbus, Ohio, immediately following the end of the MSSI 2013.

Photo of 4 MSSI participants working at a table in the Special Collections Reading Room

MSSI 2011

Applicants must be graduate students with a BA degree and with a reading knowledge of Cyrillic and of at least one Slavic language. Preference will be given to applicants with reading knowledge of Old Church Slavonic or some other pre-modern Slavic language.

Photo of a student at the MSSI 2011 looking at a manuscript

MSSI 2011

The HRL, the largest repository of medieval Slavic Cyrillic texts on microform in the world, includes the holdings from over 100 monastic, private, museum, and library collections of twenty-three countries. There are over 5,000 Cyrillic manuscripts on microform in the HRL, as well as over 700 Cyrillic early pre-1800 printed books on microform. The holdings range from the eleventh to twentieth centuries, with a particularly strong collection of manuscripts from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries. About half of the manuscripts are East Slavic, with much of the remainder South Slavic in provenience.

For further information about the HRL and RCMSS, see their websites and See issues of Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage, for accounts of MSSI 1999 (CMH 6), MSSI 2001 (CMH 10), MSSI 2003 (CMH 14), MSSI 2006 (CMH 20), MSSI 2008 (CMH 24), and MSSI 2011 (CMH 30). The DSEELC website address is

For further information on eligibility, credit, housing, financial aid, and to obtain an application to the MSSI, please contact the HRL and RCMSS either by email or by regular post: The Hilandar Research Library and the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies, The Ohio State University, 119 Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Avenue Mall, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1286.

Image source: Photos by Daria Safronova, CMH 30 (2011): 10.


A History of “Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage”


Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage (CMH), the biannual newsletter of the Hilandar Research Library (HRL) and the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies (RCMSS), is entering its 16th year of publication under the editorship of Helene Senecal, RCMSS Coordinator. Volume 31 has just been issued.

Image of the front page of newsletter Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage volume 1 (April 1997)

CMH vol. 1 (April 1997)

The inaugural volume of CMH, which outlined the history and structure of HRL/RCMSS, was published in April 1997 with the assistance of Lorraine Abraham (media editor), Dongsoo Jeon and M.A. Johnson (contributing editors), and R.J. Stansbury (technical consultant).

Image of the page 8 of newsletter Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage volume 3 (June 1998)

CMH vol. 3 (June 1998): 8

A “Selected Bibliography” of “theses, dissertations, books and articles made possible and/or enhanced by the primary and secondary source materials, especially manuscripts on microform, of the HRL or through the support of the RCMSS” debuted in volume 3. See also volumes 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 20, and 21.

From CMH 4, the names of donors who have contributed to the Hilandar Endowment and other named funds have been listed in the newsletter. The names of donors of “gifts in kind” have appeared in CMH since volume 6.

Image of page 6 of volume 5 (May 1999) of newsletter Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage

CMH vol. 5 (May 1999): 6

The recurring features, “Director’s Desk” by Predrag Matejic and “HRL Journal” – where CMH “asks researchers who have used the HRL in the past year, either in person or by mail, to describe their experiences and work,” first appeared as regular columns in volume 5. The design editor for this volume was John R. Wilson.

Image of the front page of newsletter Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage volume 6 (December 1999)

CMH vol. 6 (December 1999)

A series of interviews introducing readers to the members of the RCMSS Advisory Councils was initiated in CMH 6 with profiles of Daniel E. Collins and Edward Kasinec, and continued in volumes 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15-17. Volume 6 also reported on the first Medieval Slavic Summer Institute (MSSI) and set a precedent for a two-page photo spread of the MSSI activities and reactions from the participants.

Image of the front page of newsletter Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage volume 15 (May 2004)

CMH vol. 15 (May 2004)

“News Notes” appeared as a regular feature title in volume 15; earlier issues included the headlines “RCMSS/HRL in the News” (CMH 6), “In the News” (CMH 7, 13), and “RCMSS News Briefs” (CMH 10).

Volume 23 was the first to be published in color. Volumes 1-22 are archived online with color photos inserted in place of the black and white images that were printed.

Image of the page 8 of newsletter Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage volume 23 (June 2008)

CMH 23 (June 2008): 8

Back issues of Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage are available on the OSU Knowledge Bank and the RCMSS website.





History of the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies


Image of folio 10 recto from the Hilandar Monastery Slavic Manuscript number 110, Gospel according to St. Matthew, dated to 1615

Gospel of St. Matthew, 1615

The Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies (RCMSS) is an independent center of The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences and has been known under this name since 1984. RCMSS is affiliated with the College’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) and maintains particularly close ties as well as sharing space with the Hilandar Research Library (HRL).

RCMSS, together with HRL, developed as an outgrowth of the original Hilandar Research Project (1969-1984). RCMSS is a center dedicated to the promotion of medieval Slavic studies. It is the only such non-national based or oriented center in the United States, although it does tend to promote Cyrillic-based research. RCMSS strives to accomplish its goals through support of the preservation and access activities of the HRL, through the promotion of research, through the provision of stipends, of occasional research travel monies, funds for occasional acquisition and preservation, through publication support, and the sponsorship of lectures, workshops and entire conferences.

RCMSS has a modest endowment, the income from which is primarily used in providing small stipends to foster research in the HRL. RCMSS has helped many scholars come to OSU to utilize the resources found at HRL. RCMSS has fostered better international understanding by serving to bring together scholars to a neutral environment where their views can be shared in a non-confrontational manner.


Source: Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage 1 (April 1997): 1-2.

Image Source: Hilandar Monastery Slavic Manuscript 110, f. 10r. Photograph by Mateja and Predrag Matejic, 1971


History of the Hilandar Research Library


The Hilandar Research Library (HRL), a Special Collection of the Ohio State University Libraries, together with the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies, a center of the OSU College of Arts and Sciences, is one of two administrative units that grew out of the Hilandar Research Project, 1969-1984, which had as its goal the microfilming of the Slavic Manuscript Collection of Hilandar Monastery on Mt. Athos, Greece, and other Hilandar Monastery collections of manuscripts and manuscript-related material. These goals were reached by 1975. Subsequently, it was decided to expand the goals to include other Cyrillic manuscript material on Mt. Athos and throughout the world. It is estimated that the HRL houses on microfilm 80% of the extant Slavic manuscript material found in the monasteries of Mt. Athos.

Color photograph of Mount Athos, the Holy Mount, on the Chalchidic peninsula in northeastern Greece

Mount Athos

Until this material was microfilmed, it was virtually inaccessible to male scholars, and, by tradition, still remains inaccessible to female scholars: since the 10th century, by law, women have been denied access to Mt. Athos. The goals of the HRL include commitments to gather, in various formats (microform, print – facsimile representations, digital) from all regions, as many Slavic manuscripts and related material as is possible and to make these materials accessible to all scholars, while also ensuring access to the intellectual content of the material. It does this for the purposes of preservation, access, teaching and research. The presence of a large quantity of manuscripts in one location from so many original collections has often served to facilitate scholars’ research, or even the nature of this research (for example, encouraging comparative and interdisciplinary approaches).


Source: Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage 1 (April 1997): 1-2.

Image Source: Photo by Walt Craig, 1970.

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