Izyum museum employee saves 300-year-old Gospel from Russian invaders

29 November 2022, 04:24 PM
Employees of the Izyum Museum of Local Lore told how they saved the 300-year-old Gospel (Photo:@Suspilne.media)

Employees of the Izyum Museum of Local Lore told how they saved the 300-year-old Gospel (Photo:@Suspilne.media)

A museum employee in Izyum saved a 300-year-old printing of the Christian Gospels from Russian looters, Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne reported on Nov. 28.

This tome – a printed Gospel in silver and gilding dated 1707, issued by Hetman Ivan Mazepa – was the museum’s most valuable piece, stored at the Izyum Museum of Local Lore.

Museum employee Dina Lystopad, along with her colleagues, hid the tome prior to evacuating to the city of Kropyvnytskyi.

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“The book cover deserves special attention – it is silver with gilding, in the Ukrainian Baroque style,” she said.

“We began to hide the most valuable [items]. First, precious metals, later such items that have a special value, including the Gospel. It was published only twice over the entire history of book printing.”

To save the tome, museum staff swapped it with a similar, less antique version, and placed it on display.

“Many people knew about this book, if this information reached the orcs (sic), they could look for it in the museum,” Lystopad said.

“That’s why we put a similar book in the circular display window. I believe that looters and Russians did not notice the difference, and thus the Gospel was saved.”

Now the tome is in a storage room under military protection.

Izyum was under Russian occupation from April to September and suffered from mass air strikes conducted by the Russian military. Many of the city’s building are damaged, including the local history museum.

Lystopad and her family managed to evacuate from Izyum in March. She’s now employed at the Kropyvnytskyi Museum of Local Lore.

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