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Zapisnaia kniga (Donation Records) of Volokolamsk Monastery, for 1550-1607

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image of Russian History

Early modern Russian monasteries kept detailed records of donations by laity and by the monks themselves from before and after their tonsure. Gifts large enough to endow annual celebrations were generally recorded in the vkladnaia kniga (endowment donation book) and the kormovaia kniga (book of feasts), while smaller donations were recorded in the Zapisnaia kniga (note book). The Zapisnaia kniga translated here includes donations made over more than half a century to the Iosifo-Volokolamsk monastery, one of the largest in Russia in the sixteenth century. The donors form a broad cross-section of Russian society -- peasants and princes, men and women, parish priests and archbishops. The records provide detailed evidence of the material culture of their time, since donations were mostly in-kind. And the information they provide calls into question preconceived notions about how closely social class and wealth were tied together in Russia in this period.


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