National Museum of Serbia + Miroslav’s Gospel

Pantheon of Pedigree | Lollardy

Serbian National Costume © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Flying into Belgrade on Serbian Airlines in the dead of night, the city appears in monochrome, a patchwork of bright quilted snow and dark velvety buildings and forestry. A special opening of the National Museum awaits. Founded in 1844, the museum started out as a preservation and research institution, helping define national identity. An emphasis on collecting would follow. The National Museum grew into a defining symbol of Serbian culture and society.

One of its greatest treasures is Miroslav’s Gospel. This is the oldest and rarest surviving illuminated parchment manuscript in Serbian Cyrillic. The Gospel was commissioned in the 1280s by Miroslav of Hum, a nobleman and brother of Stefan Nemanja, Grand Prince of Rascia. It is a compilation of handwritten texts for church readings throughout the year. The manuscript has 362 pages and contains 296 coloured ink illustrations. It was presented to King Alexander I of Serbia when he visited Hilandar Monastery in 1896. During the World Wars, Miroslav’s Gospel was hidden in bank vaults before being granted a forever home in the National Museum of Serbia.

The National Museum of Serbia © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley