By the decree of Prince of All Russia Ivan Vasilyevich the Terrible in the 50s of the XVI in Moscow on Nikolskaya Street near the Kremlin, the first state printing house was built. On March 11, 1564, thanks to the works of the Russian book printer Ivan Fedorov and his student Pyotr Mstislavets, the first printed dated book was published under the title «Apostle», which included part of the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament «Acts and Epistles of the Holy Apostles.»

This event was of tremendous importance in the history of Russian culture. The book had sections with rich headpieces, colorful vignettes, table of contents, and short content. A special place in it was occupied by the Frontispiece, the first artistic woodcut depicting St. Luke. It consisted of 268 sheets and was issued in an amount of about 2500 thousand copies. The exact place and date of his birth are not known for certain, but historians lean towards 1510. There is reliable information that Fedorov studied at the University of Krakow and was recorded as «John Fedorov Moskvityanin», where upon graduation he received a bachelor’s degree.

John Fedorov

When the printing house was founded in Moscow in 1553, Ivan Fedorov became a student there. Later, a number of books were published there, including The Apostle. Despite the successes achieved by the pioneer printer, he nevertheless said goodbye to Moscow and left for the principality of Lithuania, where he continued to do what he loved.

Ivan Fedorov died on December 15, 1583 in Lviv and was buried at the church of St. Onuphrius. In connection with the decree of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, on December 25, 2009, the Day of the Orthodox Book was established, timed to the date of the release of the first printed book in Russia. In 1909, a monument to I. Fedorov was erected in the center of Moscow on Teatralnaya Square.