Vrbnik and the Glagolitic script

Did you know that in the labyrinth of Vrbnik’s streets you can find a kind of stave for writing Glagolitic letters? IT is made of sea pebbles and located in not one, but two places? Look for it! It looks like a ring divided into 8 parts. The Glagolitic code of Vrbnik's wheel of centuries-old history reveals that Vrbnik is far more than a photogenic place celebrated in the lyrics and droplets of Vrbnik Žlahtina. Connoisseurs of history and Glagolitic heritage call it the Glagolitic and cultural centre, and it is not difficult to see why. Namely, Vrbnik is the world leader in the amount of preserved Glagolitic monuments: handwritten, printed or engraved. There are 469 Glagolitic manuscripts on the island of Krk, and 105 of them originate from Vrbnik or are connected to it in some way. The most famous are: Vrbnik Missals I and II, Vatican Missal, Breviaries I, II, III and IV, Breviary of Priest Mavar, Vatican and Moscow Breviary, and one ripped out page from Vrbnik’s II Missal was found in the United States at Princeton University. We can also add Gršković's apostle, Grebl's Kvarezimal, Dialogue of Pope Gregory... Branko Fučić even found 21 stone Glagolitic inscriptions here, and some of the Glagolitic incunabula are connected to Vrbnik.

The Glagolitic script had been established at the very beginnings of its use in Croatia, and the bearers of the Glagolitic heritage were then Vrbnik’s numerous priests who used the Old Slavic language and Glagolitic script until the 19th century. Vrbnik’s scriptorium is where all the illuminated missals and breviaries adorned with miniatures were made, however, the Glagolitic script and Croatian language were also used to write secular works: legal documents, registries, notarial and fraternity books and corpora. The best known are the Vrbnik Statute, Petrisov zbornik and no less than 37 notary books. The Glagolitist priests have had a very important religious, cultural and social role where they served. They taught the Glagolitic script, wrote an copied books, performed notarial tasks, helped the commoners, and also kept up with the advances of their time. They were also among the first to accept the printing press, an original replica of which can be seen in Vrbnik. One of the first famous Croatian printers in the Glagolitic script was the priest from Vrbnik Blaž Baromić. A statue was erected in this honour in Gospoja Park in Vrbnik in 1994 upon the 500th anniversary of the printing of the Missal in the Glagolitic script and the opening of the printing workshop in Senj.