eISSN 2217-5563 ISSN (Print) 2217-5555

Ћирилица Latinica English

Svetlana Tomin
Univerzitet u Novom Sadu
Filozofski fakultet, Odsek za srpsku književnost, Novi Sad

doi: 10.19090/cit.2024.44.2-15
No. 44 (May 2024), p. 2-10

Octoechos of the First Tone – 530 Years from its Publishing


The first Cyrillic printing house was founded in Cetinje and during a short period of its work published five incunabula: Octoechos of the First Tone (Oktoih prvoglasnik), Octoechos of the Fifth Tone (Oktoih petoglasnik), Psalter with Additions (Psaltir s posledovanjem), Breviary (Trebnik) and The Gospel (Četvorojevandjelje). The most deserving person for the existence of the Cetinje printing house was the ruler of Zeta, Đurađ Crnojević, while the technical editor of the books was Hieromonk Makarije.
The Cetinje printing house was the first one among South Slavs, and printing in Cyrillic letters – the second of the kind in Europe. Contacts with the Serenissima were decisive since the printing press and typographic equipment were bought in Venice.
Octoechos of the First Tone was published on January 4th 1494, as stated in its colophon. This book is of high quality, thus being the most important issue of Old Church Slavonic printing.
Both the preface and epilogue underline the motives of Đurđe Crnojević for publishing liturgical books - preserving the faith and resistance against spiritual colonialisation.
The Cetinje incunabula’s main characteristics are their reliance both on Slavic manuscript tradition and Renaissance innovations (particularly in ornamentation), as well as high technical quality. Ornaments show an interweaving of Eastern and Western tendencies: the heritage of Serbian-Slavonic manuscripts on the one side and Gothic- Renaissance and pure Renaissance traditions on the other.
The language is consistently Serbian-Slavonic, in the Ekavian dialect. These features of the contemporary Serbian church and literary language were maintained till the end of its use, sometime around the middle of the 18th century.


Cetinje, printing house, “1494”, Octoechos of the First Tone, Đurađ Crnojević, Hieromonk Makarije, incunabula

Submitted: 15th March 2024
Correction to the manuscript: 1st April 2024
Accepted for publication: 47th April 2024

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Octoechos of the First Tone – 530 Years from its Publishing by Svetlana Tomin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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