Mstislavets, Petr

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mstislavets, Petr Timofeevich


(also Petr Timofeev Mstislavets). Dates of birth and death unknown. Russian printer, associated with the first Russian book printer, Ivan Fedorov.

Mstislavets evidently was born in the Byelorussian city of Mstislavl’. In 1564 he and Ivan Fedorov printed the first Russian book to be precisely dated—an edition of the Acts of the Apostles. In 1565 they issued two editions of the Prayer Book. Shortly afterward, Fedorov and Mstislavets were forced to leave Moscow. A new printing shop was established in Zabłudów (Lithuania) on the estate of the hetman H. A. Chodkiewicz. It was here that Fedorov and Mstislavets printed The Instructive Gospels in 1568 and 1569.

In the summer of 1569, Mstislavets went to Vilnius, where he soon established a printing shop, with equipment supplied by the merchants Mamonich. In 1574 and 1575 he printed the Four Gospels, which contained four ornamentally framed full-page engravings depicting the Evangelists. In January 1576, he issued the Psalter, with a wood-engraved frontispiece depicting King David and with numerous headpieces and ornamental initials. In his Vilnius shop, he also printed an undated Prayer Book.

In 1576, relations between Mstislavets and the Mamoniches were severed. By a court order, the books printed by Mstislavets were awarded to the Mamoniches, and the equipment was given to the printer. It is conjectured that Mstislavets worked in Ostrog (Volyn’), since his work has been encountered in Ostrog publications of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.


Zernova, A. S. “Pervopechatnik Petr Timofeev Mstislavets.” In the collection Kniga: Issledovaniia i materialy, collection 9. Moscow, 1964.
Anushkin, A. Na zare knigopechataniia v Litve. Vilnius, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.