LITURGY, Slavonic. Kanonnik [Book of Canons]. Russia: circa 1866.
222 x 170 mm. ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER. 4 leaves of index and 4 blanks, 344 leaves, 17 lines per page, alphabetic signatures and pagination of Cyrillic alphabetic numerals, 35 full-page illuminations in watercolour, 36 headpieces in black and gold with first lines in gilt. Contemporary gilt-stamped red morocco, calf spine (rubbed), edges gauffered and gilt. Provenance: 'This holy and spiritual Book called Kannonik belongs to the Kolomensk merchant Evdokiia Ivanovna Babaeva, 1866, September 13' (inscription on penultimate endpaper)
A fine example of an Old Believer liturgical book with typical illustrations the prayers in the eight tones to the feasts. The illuminations represent the Chanter Roman, the Birth of the Mother of God, the Finding of the True Cross, the Presentation of the Mother of God into the Temple, the Nativity, the Circumcision, the Baptism of Christ, the Presentation of Christ into the Temple, the Annunciation, the Entry into Jerusalem, the Resurrection, Christ teaching in the Temple, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Finding of the Holy Garments, Christ the Saviour, the Transfiguration, the Dormition of the Mother of God, the Mandylion, the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God (Pokrov), the Mother of God of the Sign, the Mother of God Enthroned, the Mother of God of Vladimir, of Tikhvin, of Kazan, of Smolensk, 'Lighten my sorrows', 'Those who grieve', the Council of the Archangel Michael, the Birth of St. John the Baptist, the Decollation of St. John the Baptist, Sts. Peter and Paul, St. John the Evangelist, the Twelve Apostles, and the Prophet Elijah.
The Old Believers followed the former traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church, which had been corrected by the Patriarch Nikon during the reign of Peter the Great, for which they were persecuted. They withdrew into the remoter regions and developed their own society. Printing was regarded as an invention of the Devil, so all their service books were hand-written. By the middle of the 19th Century many had become successful merchants and moved back into Russian society, but retained their traditions.