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.