Deacon Coresi

Coresi (also known as deacon Coresi) (d. 1583, Braşov) was a Romanian deacon, translator and master printer of the 16th century, born in Târgovişte. He was the editor of the first printed books in the Romanian language. He published a total of about 35 titles, printed in hundreds of copies and spread in all Romanian territories, facilitating linguistic unity of the Romanian people and the emergence of literary language.

Coresi started his printing work in Târgovişte. In 1559 or 1560 he moved to Braşov, where he was offered the possibility to print not only in Slavonic, but also in Romanian, which was impossible at the time in Wallachia, because of opposition of the Wallachian Metropolitan. His prints, occurring mostly in Braşov between 1556 and 1583 under the influence of the Calvinist and Lutheran religious reform which spread in Transylvania at the time, are true monuments of old Romanian language, important also by the predosloviile he written, which ask for first time, with determination and clarity, the use of the Romanian language in the religious worship. Coresi's prints used the language from Wallachia and South-East of Transylvania and had a great importance for the development and unification of the Romanian language. They formed the basis of the modern Romanian literary language.

Coresi learned the technique of printing from Dimitrij Ljubav, who was himself working for the Metropolitanate of Wallachia. The first book printed in Romanian was Tetraevanghelul (1561 - a translation of the four Gospels from the New Testament), Întrebare creştinească (Christian Questions, work known as Catechism, published in 1560 - oldest studies dates it 1559), Liturghierul (1570), Psaltirea (1570). The books were used in both church and school. Coresi was followed by his son Şerban, it was in his printing shop where in 1588 the last book printed in Transylvania with Cyrillic script in the XVIth century was issued.

The printing work required special efforts and consisted in lithography. Each page had to be carved in wood. Coresi used 10-20 apprentices, who were reminded in the preface to books edited by him. The printing press of Coresi is exposed today at the Museum "The first Romanian school" located in the historic district of Şchei, now part of the city of Braşov.

Only 39 books were made by this press, which is hardly surprising given the labour required, however the work it did produce included plenty more firsts. The first Romanian letter in Latin was produced by the press, the first Romanian schoolbook and the first Bible, which was printed on goatskin and had a cover weighing a hefty seven kilograms. The building comprises "The Coresi room" where are held printings telling the story of the beginning of the typography in Brasov and " The Anton Pann classroom". The museum hosts a compelling legacy: more than four thousands of rare books (many of them printed or copied by handwriting right here), 100 thousands rare documents, the oldest bible, the oldest letter written in Romanian language using the Latin alphabet (previously, Romanian was written with Cyrillic letters) and much more.