Vizsoly Bible


Surviving copies of the Vizsoly Bible in Slovakia and around the World

There are currently known to be ten surviving original copies of the Vizsoly Bible in Slovakia, although one of these copies is not an entire copy but only certain sections of the work. The copies are owned by six different institutions located in four locations; three copies are owned by the Slovak National Library in Martin and two copies and sections of a third copy are held by the Central Library of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava. The University Library in Bratislava, the Slovak National Archives and the Castle Library in Topoľčianky each have one copy in their collections, while the State Scientific Library in Košice owns two copies of the Bible. Fifty years ago, a further five copies of the Vizsoly Bible could be found in Slovakia, owned by The Order of Premonstratensians in Jasov Abbey, the Congregation of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Rožňava, the library of the manor house in Oponice, Prešov Regional Museum and the Eastern District of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Prešov, but the current administrators of these library holdings and collections now state that these copies are either missing, lost or stolen.

Around the world, copies of the Vizsoly Bible can be found in seven European countries. Given the place of publication and the editor, language, and content of the Vizsoly Bible, it is not surprising that the greatest concentration of the copies is found in three of the countries which were formerly part of the former Kingdom of Hungary. Almost half of all known surviving copies (27) are found in Hungary and more than a quarter (approximately 16) in Romania in the territory of the former Transylvania. The copies found in Slovakia represent about a fifth of all surviving copies. The Czech Republic, Austria, Great Britain, and Denmark each own a single copy of the Bible. The copies are mainly held in the collections of state institutions; for example, the Danish copy can be found in the holdings of the Royal Library in Copenhagen. In Romania, the copies are mainly owned by ecclesiastical institutions, while the Hungarian copies are held by state and ecclesiastical institutions but also by private individuals.

There are only three places in the world where visitors can see original copies of the Vizsoly Bible. The oldest display can be found in the Reformed Church in the village of Vizsoly, where the local Reformed Congregation has been exhibiting the Bible for over three decades. The Károli Gáspár Biblia és Museumkiállítás, a museum with the world’s only collection of all Hungarian editions of the Bible located in the village of Gönc near the border with Slovakia, also displays a copy of the oldest Hungarian Bible, the Vizsoly Bible. Since 2021, the State Scientific Library in Košice has proudly presented a special exhibition dedicated to the Vizsoly Bible, the first and to date the only exhibition of its kind in Slovakia.