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The Psalter — a book of psalms (chants) addressed to God by the Biblical King David — was widespread in Russia. Meanwhile, since ancient times in the Orthodox Church there has been a tradition of reading Psalms for the deceased.  

A magnificent illuminated Psalter was a donation by Dmitry Ivanovich Godunov to the Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma. The manuscript written in Moscow in 1591 by scribe Sophrony is adorned with 576 miniatures of a high artistic level. The Book of Psalms is prefaced by a profound foreword naming the owner of the manuscript as "boyar Dmitry Ivanovich Godunov of His Royal Majesty, sinful to God and rude to men" who "ordered this holy book… to be written, entitled and decorated with gold and silver", and specifying the place of donation as the Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma.

Dmitry Ivanovich had a special entrustment from his family for keeping the family cloister—the Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma, the burial vault of the Godunovs, where funeral services were held and the Psalter was read around the clock. Many donations made on behalf of Dmitry Ivanovich Godunov are connected to commemoration. Among his contributions were manuscripts that were valued on a par with icons, jewellery, and gold embroidery.

Dmitry Ivanovich Godunov also donated luxurious hand-written Books of Psalms to other ancient and venerable temples and monasteries of Russia. For example, no less than eleven Psalters were made by his order in 1594. They were afterward donated to the Assumption and Archangel Cathedrals of the Moscow Kremlin, in the Chudov and Trinity-Sergius monasteries, and other cloisters. One of the Psalters became a contribution to the Novodevichy Monastery in Moscow, probably shortly after Tsarina Irina Godunova took the veil there.

 
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