About the manuscript

In 2019, my husband Joff and I met with my mentor, professor Dr. Adam Maldis, and the same day, in the Red Church in Minsk, we met priest-canon Vladyslav Zavalniuk who gave us a manuscript and asked us to translate it into English.

This Belarusian manuscript is about Francysk Skaryna—enlightener, translator, and first printer of the Bible in the Belarussian Language. Skaryna, as a person, was a deeply believing Christian, and a person who throughout his life aspired to enlightenment and supported the development of awareness of the people based on unity with God.

Dr. Adam Maldis devoted years to the study of Skaryna’s work, and he, like Skaryna, was ablaze with his deep scientific and public activities, throughout his life. In this manuscript, Dr. Adam Maldis, as scientist consultant, together with author-compiler priest-canon, Ph.D. Candidate of Historical Sciences Research, Master of Theology Vladyslav Zavalniuk, with the support and participation of people with the highest wisdom and responsibility for fulfilling God’s commandments in our lives, was able to unite the creativity of the souls of people who are aware of the value of Skaryna’s heritage.

The Bible is the Great Book of Wisdom and has been carrying this wisdom to us for centuries. Skaryna managed, for his whole life, to support the understanding of The Book for common people by translation and descriptions, in their native language.
There are people in the history of every nation who support humanity to see their golden seeds of culture-based human values. This manuscript shows Skaryna’s self-sacrificing work in support of harmonious society development and a relationship in unity with God.

We will be happy if the English translation of this book helps these golden seeds of God’s Wisdom shine brighter in hearts supporting peace in our world.
Glory to Jesus Christ!

Olga Darya Verasen


Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Matthew, 5:16)

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
(2 Timothy, 3:16-17)

Honor and glory to God in the Trinity, to the praise of His Mother the Most Holy Mary.
All the heavenly powers and his saints to joy, common people to good teaching.”
Francysk Skaryna

About Francysk Skaryna

“Francysk Skaryna 1470–1551/29 January 1552 was a Belarusian humanist, physician, printer, and translator. He is best known as a printer of one of the first books in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and in all of Eastern Europe, laying the groundwork for the development of the Belarusian Church Slavonic language.
In 1517, Skaryna started his publishing career in Prague. He printed his Psalter, and then twenty-two books of the Old Testament under the shared name Biblia Ruska.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francysk_Skaryna#Books


The manuscript
by Vladyslav Zavalniuk
doctor of philological sciences, professor Adam Maldis

The book “Francysk Skaryna—a spiritual saint of Belarus” is devoted to the life and activities of the first Belarusian and Eastern Slavic printer, humanist, educator, scientist, writer, and translator Francysk Skaryna, who in the 16th century gave Belarus a Bible in a language close to the old Belarusian language.
In this book, the reader will find materials, and articles by priests, scientists, and common people who care about Belarus, its history, and its honor, Francysk Skaryna.

The depth and wisdom of the manuscript’s quotes say more:

“Looking at the great wealth and diversity of the historical, cultural, and spiritual heritage of the Belarusian people, and at the dynamics of the reality of our times, it seems to me that the figure of Skaryna, a true Christian, a person of strong faith, unbreakable hope and selfless love, today is ONE, above all, the Belarusian people in him of rich diversity, UNITES Belarusians with other peoples, UNITES Christians of all denominations and invites all people of goodwill to MEET with God.

I hope that the book you are holding in your hands will be an opportunity to better hear and understand the message of Francysk Skaryna, who truly loved his people, and longed for their happiness.
May God’s Blessing shine upon all who read these pages.”

+ Gabor Pinter, Archbishop
Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic of Belarus

“The book (Bible) is a mirror of human life and soul medicine, a consolation to the lonely, disheartened, a helper, and especially to those who are weak and need to move forward.
The Bible is the beginning and the end of all existing wisdom! Only through it, you can understand God—the Lord!  This book has all the laws and rights that people enjoy in earthly life! In this book, you will find all the soul and physical medicines together!”

“The Bible for children and common people is a book for learning, for teachers and wise people—for inspiration.
The Bible is a wonderful river! It is shallow, and even a sheep can cross it! But at the same time, it is deep, when an elephant is forced to swim across it!”

“In this book are the beginning and the end of all existing wisdom, because only through it, you can understand God—the Lord! In this book are all the laws and rights that people enjoy in earthly life!
In this book, you will find all the mental and physical medicines together!
Here the teaching of philosophy is decent: how to love God for oneself and for one’s neighbor!
Here is the business of every gathering of the people and the city, which through faith, grace, and agreement multiply the common good.”
Dr. Francysk Skaryna

“A lot has been said in our country, and in the world, about the life, scientific growth, and publishing activity of Francysk Skaryna in print, paintings, and various literature. But that is on the outside.
None of these scientific historians have touched on his spiritual world—faith.
To what church did he belong? What was his faith, and what was his life according to faith?
This is the purpose of this work.
Of course, in Soviet atheistic times, it was forbidden not only to write about faith but even to remember it.
In the works offered to you, dear gentlemen, by priest-canon Vladislav and in the following works, we want to reveal the greatness of faith and the self-sacrificing spirit of Francysk Skaryna, who dedicated all his intellectual and spiritual abilities to God, the Bible, the Motherland, and to common people.
Skaryna belongs to us all.”
Reviewer, scientific consultant, Doctor of philological sciences, Professor Adam Maldis (1932–2022)

Adam Maldis meeting with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican, 1990. Photo: social networks

“Francysk Skaryna gave the Belarusian people a book in their language, an opportunity to turn to God in their native language, to understand the Holy Scriptures, and through these to discover a great world for themselves. As a thinker and artist of the word, he went from domestic, and national to pan-European. These different beginnings combine organically in his legacy, forming a dialectical whole. . . .

Delicately and persistently, as if a teacher to students, Skaryna teaches her common people the science of Christ, and talks about the divine beginning in man. Man is the eternal eve of himself, he is fulfilled in Christ, and we are all called to this world to fulfill and achieve what has already been given to us as a gift and opportunity.
Civilizations that forget about the divine beginning in man are doomed to lose.”
Priest-canon, Ph.D. Candidate of Historical Sciences, Master of Theology Vladyslav Zavalniuk

Handover of the manuscript 2019 from priest-canon Vladyslav Zavalniuk, Church of Saints Simon and Helena

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“We do not need authorities—there are many of them, but we need landmarks: their presence does not allow people to get lost in the current, and the people—in history. Francysk Skaryna is a reliable reference point: he is already in the sequence that we are reaching.”
Alexsander Rozanov

“Skaryna’s humanism and democracy, for which researchers praise him, were based on deep Christian convictions. Basic knowledge in theology, bibliography, philosophy, the seven liberal sciences (grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music), accounting, medicine, printing, botany, horticulture, expertise in creative professions (translation, journalism, poetry, graphics) brought Skaryna closer to the fulfillment of his greatest spiritual mission—the union of faith and knowledge.
It is no accident that Skaryna considered the Bible to be the beginning and end of every science.
In the beginning, the Bible gives the keys to a person’s knowledge of the world and himself.
In the end, the Bible testifies: only God has the real truth.”
Petro Vasyuchenko

The messages of Francysk Skaryna, calling for peace and unity among all Christians are so important, even 506 years after they were printed.
When I see all that is happening in our world now, I always have one question: “Who raised those who create, and who raised those who destroy?” This is not a rhetorical question. My husband and I are US citizens, but our family roots, like most people, are connected with many countries. Ours: the USA, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Poland, England, and Germany. In our family, there are also Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish religions.
This gives an understanding of the cultural value of each country—that in fact, we have one home, our Earth, given to us by God for a happy life. It is our responsibility to preserve, and harmoniously develop what we have been given-creating our Happy Home based on human values in unity with nature. We are all People and come to our Earth to be a People.
This manuscript supports Faith, Love, and Peace on our Earth.
With love,
Olga Darya and Joff

“So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”
(Luke, 17:10)