11 October 2021

One more item kept at the National Library has been inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World National Register

In a solemn meeting of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO held on Friday, 8 October, at the Small Hall of Vilnius University, the Martynas Mažvydas National Library was awarded a certificate confirming that the book of songs by Kristijonas Endrikis Mertikaitis titled Wiſſokies Naujes Gieſmes arba Ewangelißki Pſalmai (1817) kept at the National Library was recognised as an item of documentary heritage of regional significance.

It is the first surviving Lithuanian printed work intended for Lithuanian protestants in Prussia that was prepared by the participants of the fast-growing assembly movement who came from the lowest social stratum and not by the members of the academic or clerical elite, which was a common practice in the 16th–18th centuries. The second edition of the book of songs of 1817 published for the members of the assembly movement is regarded as a bibliographic rarity and it is the only known copy of this kind in Lithuania and in the world. This publication marked the start of a new chapter in the development of protestant literature.

Kristijonas Endrikis Mertikaitis’s book of songs is the ninth item of documentary heritage kept at the National Library to be inscribed in the National Register. Other recognised items of documentary heritage include:

  • Collection of documents of the late 14th century – first half of the 20th century in Church Slavonic (regional certificate, 2006).
  • Collection of the early 20th-century Lithuanian shellac records (national certificate, 2007).
  • Jurgis Ambraziejus Pabrėža’s manuscript Tayslos augiyynis koremy taalpynas augimys ..., 1835–1843 (national certificate, 2008).
  • Lithuanian DP (displaced persons) press collection of 1945–1952 (national certificate, 2011).
  • Collection of books in Hebrew published in Lithuania (1759–1900) (regional certificate, 2013).
  • Charter issued by the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund II to make the rights of Catholic and Orthodox noblemen equal in public service and land tenure in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (national certificate, 2015).
  • Matas Strašunas’s personal collection of Jewish books (regional certificate, 2017).
  • Published works by Elijahu Ben Salomon Zalmanas (Vilna Gaon) (national certificate, 2019).

This year which marks the 30th anniversary of Lithuania’s membership in UNESCO, nine new items of documentary heritage kept at different country’s memory institutions have been inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World National Register. Five of the afore-mentioned items have been declared objects of regional significance, and four of them have been recognised as having national significance.