Medieval Slavic Manuscripts and Culture

Category: Exhibits (page 1 of 2)

Pimen Sofronov’s Work at St. Anthony’s in Bergenfield, NJ

The Very Rev. John H. Erickson, the Peter N. Gramowich Professor Emeritus of Church History at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, is the author of the children’s book, Orthodox Christians in America (1999), which is part of the Religion in American Life series of Oxford University Press. The book is recommended for grades 7 and up or ages 12 and above.

In Chapter 5 “The Quest for Unity,” Erickson focuses on “The Birth of a Pan-Orthodox Mission Parish,” in Bergen County, New Jersey, i.e., St. Anthony Orthodox Church:

“‘To establish a multiethnic parish in Bergen Country, N.J., and to adopt English for use in the services’ was the goal of seven Arab-American Orthodox families when they asked the late Metropolitan Antony Bashir for his archpastoral blessing in April 1956….

“In 1958 Gabriel Ashie was ordained a priest and assigned to the new parish by Metropolitan Antony. Within a few years a beautiful church was built in Bergenfield, bordering on Englewood and Tenafly. Pimen Sofronov, the most famous iconographer in this hemisphere, painted the icons for the iconostasis. By that point, the congregation was more than 100 families–30 percent Slavs, 30 percent Arabs, 30 percent Greeks, and 10 percent converts. The phenomenon of the pan-ethnic parish in suburban New Jersey was realized!” (Erickson 1999: 106-107; bold is added for this blog post).

St. Anthony’s has some beautiful photos on its website of the icons and stained glass in its church in a Google Photos folder labeled St. Anthony’s At a Glance (accessed August 31, 2018).

Iconostasis at St. Anthony Orthodox Church (Bergenfield, NJ)

Not all of the work depicted in the online photo gallery of St. Anthony’s interior was done by Pimen Sofronov, but the icon of St. Sophia with her daughters Faith, Hope and Charity, is immediately recognizable and familiar from an icon and fresco at the Three Saints Church in Ansonia, Connecticut.

In the Pimen M. Sofronov Collection at the Hilandar Research Library, we have several of Sofronov’s working drawings of St. Sofia with Vera (‘Faith’), Liubov’ (‘Love”), and Nadezhda (‘Hope’).

St. Sophia with her daughters Faith, Hope and Charity at St. Anthony Orthodox Church (Bergenfield NJ)




Pimen M. Sofronov in America

To date, there is no comprehensive and definitive list of the works created by the Russian Old Believer iconographer, Pimen M. Sofronov (1898-1973).  After immigrating to the United States in 1947, he created frescoes and icons for numerous churches and individuals, and taught iconography in various places.

*Note that the names of churches in America below are linked to current websites.

“A Brief Biography” is provided in a program for Sofronov’s “Exhibition of Icons” sponsored by The Russian Orthodox Icon Society at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in San Francisco, California, March 5-21, 1966.

Born 1898.

Began to study iconography 1910.

Taught courses in icon painting:

  • Riga, 1930
  • Paris, 1933 (10 months)
  • Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1934 (3 months)
  • Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1935-38

1939, went to Italy, where, at the request of the Vatican, he painted 56 icons for the projected World Exhibition of Religious Art.

1941, held exhibition of his iconographic work in Rome.

1947, came to America at the invitation of Russian Orthodox Archbp. Vitaly of N. Y. to paint icons in various churches.

1953-55, painted walls of Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Syracuse, N. Y.

1955-57, painted walls and iconostas of St. Vladimir Church, Trenton, N. J.

1958-60, painted walls in Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn, N. Y.

1960, became American citizen.

1961, celebrated 50th anniversary jubilee of icon painting.

1960-62, painted frescoes and icons on iconostas in Three Hierarchs Church in Ansonia, Conn.

1965, came to San Francisco at invitation of Russian Orthodox Icon Society to teach courses in icon painting.

From Pattern to Painting: The Religious Iconography of Pimen Sofronov

The Hilandar Research Library exhibit about the life and work of the Russian Old Believer iconographer Pimen Maksimovich Sofronov (1898-1973) is open to the public in the Thompson Library Exhibit Gallery (1st floor), The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, May 31-September 16, 2018.










Photos of Sofronov’s working drawing or “cartoon” of the Old Testament Holy Trinity and Sofronov’s icon of the Holy Trinity from the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Brooklyn, New York, by M.A. Johnson, Curator of Slavic Early Printed Books and Manuscripts, Hilandar Research Library

Concept and execution of the graphic mash-up of Sofronov’s drawing and photo of Sofronov’s icon by Ken Aschliman, University Libraries Exhibitions Coordinator

Layout and design of the promotional flyer by Pam McClung, University Libraries Graphic Designer.

OSU Mt. Athos Photo Exhibit by Aristides (Art) Chakalis

Mt. Athos Greece: Present day monks in ancient monasteries

Photographs by Aristides (Art) Chakalis

November 30 – December 30, 2013

OSU Northwood ARTSpace Room 100


Photo of mount Athos (on the left 2/3s of the photo) set in the Aegean sea (bottom half of image) with small boat and three men on the left middle of the photo. Deep blue sky above with white fluffy clouds near the sea level.

Fishing the Aegean off the coast of Mt. Athos. Photography by Aristides (Art) Chakalis, 2008.


Northwood ARTSpace is located in the Northwood-High Building Room 100, 2231 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio. The gallery is open Monday-Saturday, 8am to 7pm except when meetings are held there – check the gallery’s calendar online at

“Art Chakalis shares a series of photographs he took in 2008 while visiting monasteries of Mt. Athos Greece. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are 11×14 inches and matted to 16×20 inches.

1)  Fishing the Aegean off the coast of Mt. Athos

2)  Gregoriou from the sea

3)  Monks at the Gregoriou Monastery

4)  Cat enjoying a sunny afternoon in Karyes

5)  Walkway to a chapel in Karyes

6) Church along the path between Karyes and Xeropotamou

7)  Cemetery at Xeropotamou

8)  Nurturing God’s Bounty

9)  Flowers on the Mountainside

10)  The Refectory

11)  The Outer Narthex

12)  The Inner Narthex

13)  Inner Narthex Chapel

14)  Peering into the Nave

15)  The Nave

16)  Christ Pantocrator

17)  The Icon Screen

18)  Altar within the Sanctuary

19)  Yesterday’s worship is complete and a new day begins with the setting of the sun

20)  Simons Petras from the sea

21)  Monks preparing to travel the steep path home from the sea

22)  Life between mountain and sea

23)  Solitary cross along the shoreline”


Image source: Art Chakalis

Text source: Catalog list of photographs

Musicological Conference “Beyond the East-West Divide,” Belgrade, September 26-29, 2013


The International Musicological Conference, “Beyond the East-West Divide: Rethinking Balkan Music’s Poles of Attraction,” will be held in Belgrade, Serbia, September 26-29, 2013. The conference is sponsored by the Department of Fine Arts and Music and the Institute of Musicology – both of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, as well as by the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) Study Group for Russian and Eastern European Music (REEM).

The keynote speaker on the first day (Thursday, Sept. 26) is Timothy Rice on “Musical Practice and the Experiential Power of Place.” The Plenary Session, chaired by Katarina Tomašević, includes the following presentations: “Images of the Eastern Other in Serbian Art Music” by Melita Milin, “The Greek Community of Odessa and its Role in the ‘Westernisation’ of Music Education in Athens” by Katy Romanou, and Ivan Moody‘s “Turning the Compass.” The first day ends with a piano recital by Ivana Medić.

Friday’s keynote speaker is Danica Petrović, “South Eastern Europe (the Balkans) Through the Centuries: On the Paths of Liturgical Music.” The Plenary Session on Sept. 27th, chaired by Katy Romanou, includes papers by Warwick Edwards (“Music, Memory and the Rhythms of Words: What Balkan Traditions Have to Tell Us About Medieval Songs of the Mediterranean”), Katarina Tomašević (“Whose are Koštana’s Songs? Contribution to the Research of Oriental Heritage in Serbian Traditional, Art and Popular Music”), and Nevena Daković (“Balkan Film Music Between Mono- and Multi-Culturalism: Musical Scores for the Films Directed by Aleksandar Petrović”).

On Saturday, September 18, in addition to four panels of papers, there will be a lecture and discussion in Roman Hall of the Belgrade City Library by the Islamologist and Linguist, Professor Darko Tanasković on the “Oriental-Islamic Component in the Serbian Culture (Towards a Balanced Approach Methodology).” The evening activities include film screenings at the Ethnographic Museum of “Warble the Bagpipes” (directed by Dimitris Kitsikoudis), “Pročka- Forgiveness Sunday” (directed by Slobodan Simojlović), and “Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul” (directed by Fatih Akin).

After two panels on Sunday, September 29th, the conference will adjourn and participants will be given a tour of the exhibit “Imaginary Balkan: Identities and memory in the Long Nineteenth Century” at the Historical Museum of Serbia, by the curator Katarina Mitrović.

Source of information: Conference program and booklet


6th International Hilandar Conference, July 19-21, 2013


The 6th International Hilandar Conference, “Medieval Slavic Text and Image in the Cultures of Orthodoxy,” begins Friday, July 19th, with an opening reception and keynote lecture at the Blackwell Inn on the campus of The Ohio State University at 6pm. Beginning at 6:15pm, welcoming remarks will be made by David C. Manderscheid, Executive Dean and Vice-Provost of the College of Arts and Sciences, Lisa R. Carter, Associate Director for Special Collections and Area Studies of the OSU Libraries, and Predrag Matejic, Curator of the Hilandar Research Library (HRL) and Director of the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies (RCMSS).

Image of Andrei, Fool for Christ, from an original manuscript in the collection of the Hilandar Research Library

Andrei, Fool-for-Christ SPEC.OSU.HRL.SMS.2

Mirjana Živojinović, the President of the Hilandar Committee and a distinguished member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, will present the keynote address, “My Hilandar,” about her life’s work on the history and documents of the Serbian Orthodox Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos.

20 papers will be presented at the 6th International Hilandar Conference in six panels on Saturday, July 20th (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) and July 21 (9:00 am to 12:00 pm) in Thompson Library, Room 165. The panel topics include “Hilandar Monastery,” “Image – Visual Theology,” “Focal Points of Culture,” “Medieval Textual Tradition,” “Liturgical Tradition,” and “Reinterpreting the Textual Tradition.” The presentations will be 20 minutes in length with time for questions at the end of each session.

View the preliminary program.

In conjunction with this summer’s major events sponsored by the RCMSS and the HRL, i.e., the Medieval Slavic Summer Institute and the 6th International Hilandar Conference, the exhibit in the Thompson Library Gallery is “Travelers to and from Mount Athos: The Translation of Culture, Knowledge, and Spirituality.” Summer hours of the Gallery in Thompson Library, 1st floor, are Mondays-Fridays, 10am to 4pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4pm.


7th Biennial Medieval Slavic Summer Institute (MSSI)


Photo of MSSI participants and HRL/RCMSS staff in the Special Collections Reading Room

MSSI 2013 Orientation

The Seventh Biennial Medieval Slavic Summer Institute (MSSI) opened on Monday, June 24, 2013, with 11 of the 12 participants in attendance. The orientation was held in the Conference Room (105C) of the Jack and Jan Creighton Special Collections Reading Room of the Thompson  Library.

Predrag Matejic, Director of the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies (RCMSS), welcomed the participants and led the introductions; Rebecca Jewett, Assistant Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts and the Reading Room Manager, reviewed the procedures for conducting research, paging books, etc. Helene Senecal, RCMSS Coordinator, addressed the logistics of the housing and university benefits for the non-OSU students; Lyubomira Parpulova Gribble, HRL Assistant Curator, shared her research interests with the group; RCMSS GA Lauren Ressue introduced the participants to the OSU learning management system “Carmen”; and Daniel E. Collins of the OSU Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures said a few words about the “Readings in Church Slavonic” course that he teaches during the MSSI.

Photo of the MSSI participants and HRL/RCMSS staff at a table in the faculty club

MSSI 2013 Luncheon at the OSU Faculty Club

The participants viewed the online video, Preserving and Accessing the Past: The History of the Hilandar Research Library and the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies, and then toured Thompson Library, where they wound up at a gallery talk about the current exhibit, Travelers to and from Mount Athos: The Translation of Culture, Knowledge, and Spirituality.

Luncheon was held at the OSU Faculty Club, followed by the first session of the MSSI from 2pm to 4pm, where Daniel Collins led the class through a reading of a prayer of St. John Chrysostom in manuscript BAN.13.7.5.


Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage 33 (June 2013) Available


The latest issue of Cyrillic Manuscript Heritage, vol. 33 (June 2013), is now available, and readers in the US have reported receipt of the RCMSS/HRL newsletter in the mail. The lead article describes the current exhibit in the Thompson Library Gallery, May 15-September 8, 2013: “Travelers to and from Mount Athos: The Translation of Culture, Knowledge, and Spirituality,” an exhibit of the Hilandar Research Library.


Photo of the front cover of the RCMSS/HRL newsletter volume 33 , June 2013

CMH 33 (June 2013)

Additional highlights of this issue include:

  • a two-page article by Peter DeSimone (MSSI 2008, RCMSS graduate associate, and OSU History PhD 2012), “Old Rite in Late Tsarist Russia: Documents of the Moscow Old Ritualists in the Pimen Sofronov Collection”;
  • the preliminary program of the forthcoming 6th International Hilandar Conference, July 19-21, 2013;
  • RCMSS & HRL News Notes;
  • Director’s Desk;
  • an article outlining the various ways to support the Hilandar Research Library and the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies, along with a list of recent contributions to the Hilandar Endowment Fund, Hilandar’s Friends of the Library Fund, and Gifts in Kind.



More on the Romanov Coronation Albums Exhibit at Hillwood Museum, Washington, D.C.


The local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate in Washington, D.C., WETA, produced a brief promotional video on the Romanov Coronation Albums Exhibit at the Hillwood Museum in Washington. ScriptoriaSlavica posted on this exhibit on April 1st: “Romanov Coronation Albums on Exhibit at the Hillwood Museum, Washington, D.C.”

Promotional digital image for the Hillwood exhibit "Pageant of the Tsars"

See the WETA video on youtube:


Image and link source:
Kristen Regina, Curator of Pageant of the Tsars Exhibit
Head of Research Collections & Archivist
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
Washington, D.C.


Early Modern Printed Book Open House

Photograph of patrons examining printed books that are displayed on long tables

Early Modern Printed Books Open House, April 3, 2013, Thompson Library

The OSU Libraries held its final open house of the school year, the Early Modern Printed Book Open House, on Wednesday, April 3rd. Organized by Amanda Gluibizzi, Fine Arts Librarian, Eric J. Johnson, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts, and Melanie McGurr, Instruction and Access Librarian for Special Collections, the Open House “primarily featured books, pamphlets, art and architectural treatises, and travel itineraries in English, Latin, German, French, Italian, and Spanish.

“Items with substantial visual material that date from the 1400s to the 19th century from OSUL’s collections university-wide were available for viewing. Among the artists and authors included were Albrecht Durër, Giorgio Vasari, Leon-Battista Alberti, Andrea Palladio, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Sebastiano Serlio, Baldassare Castiglione, Peter Paul Rubens, William Blake, and many more. Subjects included History, English, Architecture, Entomology, Herbology, Astrology, and more.

“Dr. Johnson was on hand to explain the making and materials of these objects, as well as to help with on-the-spot Latin translations.

photo of title page of Greek early printed book

Greek Triodion, published in Venice by Nicolas Glykys, 1744

“Patrons with freshly clean hands were able to handle the items gently. No backpacks or portfolios, food, drink, or wet media were brought into the room with the materials. Pencils and paper were recommended for note-taking and sketching, and photography was permitted.” Several professors brought their classes to view the materials.

Photo of old printed books lined up on a table

Printed books from the collection of the Hilandar Research Library: Slavic, Greek, and Romanian

The organizers graciously invited the Hilandar Research Library to participate in their Open House this semester. Hilandar displayed five of its Russian Early Printed Books, which were donated by Olga Karpov, Edward Kasinec, Alex Rabinovich et al., as well as its one Greek volume. A Romanian printed book donated by Dehlia and John Negulesco and the rare 18th-century Briusovskaia kalendar’ (Книга именуемая брюсовск̆ои календарь), which was a gift of Alex Rabinovich, were also made available at the Open House.

Lauren Ressue, OSU Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures graduate student and Graduate Associate for the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies, was on hand at the Open House to assist visitors in deciphering the languages and genres of the HRL early modern printed books.

Source: OSU Libraries’ announcement advertising the Early Modern Printed Book Open House

View more photos from the event on the Facebook page of the OSU Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

   Rare Books and Manuscripts on Facebook


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