From the traditional standpoint, a book is a source of information and is meant to be read. However, the meaning of a book has never been limited to reading only and can instead be seen as much more extensive and diverse. Many of the meanings have changed and been forgotten and left behind with the passage of time.
This was the thought process behind the theme of the Forgotten Meaning of Books exhibition. The exhibition includes rare, old service books written in Church Slavic from the Hamina Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul. The books were discovered in the parish storage. They represent the work of printing houses from around Russia, and the exhibited works have been printed in Kiev, Moscow and St. Petersburg, among other places.
The noble solemnity and value of the books is manifested through the brown leather-bound wood covers, marbled end-papers, gilded edges and spines decorated with ornaments. The beautiful binding and calligraphy and the magnificent engraved illustrations arouse admiration. The star of the exhibition is a Gospel Book from the 18th century, handbound with silver by a goldsmith. This large, beautiful book was gifted to the church by the emperor.
The oldest book from 1696 was most likely acquired as the Hamina Church was founded in 1742. The most recent books in the exhibition came to the church during the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition also includes books from the collections of the Mother of God Church of the Kotka military hospital. Although the church was abolished in the 19th century, its books were transferred to Hamina.
In addition to books, the exhibition includes icons borrowed from private Finnish collections. The icons exhibit Holy People with their books.