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Scraps of Thought: Margin Notes in Old Romanian Books

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Mariana Borcoman

Scraps of thought analyses notes in medieval books from the archive of the First Romanian School from Şcheii Brașovului, the Romanian settlement outside Brașov city walls. Merchants, craftsmen and wealthy people financially supported St. Nicholas Church and the school on its premises. Families of scholars, formed in the school of Şcheii, preserved the light of books and Romanian Orthodoxism in the region. The notes in the books reveal an educated society, passing on fragments of their way of thinking. We learn about unusual weather conditions, covenants for preserving the moral norms, information regarding the meeting of the priests in the area and especially the curses that were meant to protect the books. The study shows the medieval book as a written medium which included glimpses of life, fragments of human emotions and events.
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Chapter IV. Şchei, Brașov –At the Crossroads of Romanian aspirations

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Chapter IV. Şchei, Brașov –At the Crossroads of Romanian aspirations

MOTTO “For a peaceful and satisfying (religious) conversion the covertly and yet powerfully throbbing blood and spiritual bonds among the Romanians from Wallachia, Moldova and Transylvania should be first broken. By no means the rulers of the above mentioned countries are to allow that and will definitely intercept any attempts in this respect, if not with arms, then with covert advice.”

(the reply of Constantinople’s patriarch, Kiril Lucaris, to the letter of Prince Bethlen proposing the conversion of the Romanians from Ardeal to Calvinism- September 2, 1629).

The quote above is significant for the close ties of language and nationality of Romanians expressed by the Orthodox religion, which has never been suppressed regardless of the pressures to which its adherents have been subjected. Without the ongoing support of the rulers and high ranking priests from Wallachia and Moldova, this faith could not have survived.

Șchei, the Romanian neighborhood of Brașov is a relevant example of this. It is the place where spiritual activities emerge as a result of the relationships established between Brașov and other Romanian territories. Officially, these relationships are grounded in the political and commercial interests of the Saxons from Brașov.

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