The Jagiellonian University Institute of the Middle and Far East has received a copy of Hetman Ivan Mazepa Gospels, published in 1708 in Aleppo. The publication od this work strengthened the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s relations with the Orthodox Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch, strongly confirming its membership in the world Christian community.
The copy of the so-called ‘Mazepa Bible’ was presented to the JU authorities at a meeting that took place on 25 January in Collegium Novum, hosted by the JU Vice-Rector for International Relations Prof. Dorota Malec and attended by the Consul General of Ukraine to Kraków Viacheslav Voinarovskyi as well as Metropolitan Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky and Vyshneve, who initiated the donation of the Gospels to the JU Institute of the Middle and Far East.
The Mazepa Bible was published in Aleppo in January 1708 for use during Orthodox Syrian Services. The preface to this edition was written by the then Patriarch of Antioch Athanasius III Dabbas. In the foreword, the patriarch praised the Ukrainian Hetman Ivan Mazepa, who funded the publication of the Gospel, for his generosity and wisdom, wished him long life and ordered Orthodox priests and believers on Arab lands to pray for the benefactor. The Hetman’s noble gesture was one of the numerous tokens of his dedication to strengthening the relations between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Orthodox Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch and thus confirm the Church’s membership in the world Christian community.
The original of the Hetman Ivan Mazepa Gospels was accidentally discovered in the collection of old books of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest. As stressed by Romanian historians of literature, the tome reached Bucharest because it had been published using the printing press sent to Aleppo by the Prince of Wallachia Constantin Brancoveanu, to satisfy the spiritual needs of Arab Orthodox Christians in the Middle East under the Turkish rule. Many Romanian Scholars point out that from 1694 there were printing houses in Jassy, Bucharest and Snagov which published books in Greek, Old Ukrainian, Romanian, and Arabic.
The copy of Hetman Ivan Mazepa Gospels donated to the Jagiellonian University was created in 2020 based on the early 18th century original by the Blessed Metopolytan Vladimir Foudation, led by the Metropolitan of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky and Vyshneve Alexander Drabynko.