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Francysk Skaryna, 1517 Titlepage of Skaryna's Bible Francysk (Georgy) Skaryna (pronounced [franˈtsɨsk skaˈrɨna]; or Skoryna; Belarusian: Францыск (Францішак[1]) Скарына) was a Belarusian famous as one of the first publishers in Eastern Europe, laying groundwork for the development of the Belarusian language. He was born in the historical Belarusian city of Polotsk into the family of a wealthy merchant. The exact dates of birth and death are unknown; the two most probable estimates are 1485–1540 and 1490–1551. Skaryna graduated from the arts faculty at the University of Kraków in 1504 with a Bachelor of Arts. In 1512 he received doctorate in medicine at the University of Padua in Italy. In 1517 he established a printing press in Prague, where he published his first book entitled The Psalter, in the Old Belarusian language on 6 August 1517. The culmination of his life's work was printing a translation of the Bible in 22 books during 1517 to 1519. Around 1522 he moved to Vilnius and established the first printing house in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The first book published there was The Little Travel Guide. However, soon the printing house closed down and Skaryna spent his last years working as a doctor for Ferdinand I of Germany. Contents 1 Legacy 2 See also 3 References 4 External links // Legacy Skaryna was one of the first to publish in the Cyrillic alphabet, but not the first, as the Oktoikh was published by Schweipolt Fiol in 1491.[2] While it was an Eastern Slavic language, it is difficult to determine precisely what language he used as there was no conventional Belarusian language as we know it today. Some researchers maintain that Skaryna's books were in Church Slavonic heavily saturated with Belarusian. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Skaryna laid the foundations of the Belarusian literary language. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Minsk the capital of Belarus, had Skaryna Avenue (praspiekt Franciška Skaryny). However, in 2005, under the rule of Alexander Lukashenko, it was renamed into Independence Avenue (praspekt Nezalezhnastsi). Old Barysau Path (Starabarysauski trakt) was renamed into Skaryna Street (vulica Skaryny). Two awards presented by Belarus were named in honor of Skaryna: the Medal of Francysk Skaryna and Order of Francysk Skaryna. Several cultural organizations are named after Skaryna, particularly the Frantsishak Skaryna Belarusian Language Society and the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum, London. See also Johann Gutenberg Ivan Fedorov Spread of the printing press References ^ Чалавек і грамадства: Энцыклапедычны даведнік. Мн: Беларуская Энцыклапедыя, 1998. ISBN 985-11-0108-7 ^ Treasures of the National Library - Moscow, retrieved on November 3, 2007. External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Francysk Skaryna Skaryna, Francysk