The Čajniče gospel was written on the parchment with uncial type of Cyrillic at the end of the XIV or the beginning of the XV century. The damaged manuscript has 167 sheets. The beginning of Matthew's gospel to chapter VII, 2 is missing. Missing are also part from chapter XXIII, 18 to chapter XXIV, 14, and the end of Luke's gospel from chapter XXII, 62 to the end, including the whole of the gospel of John.
The Gospel was written by five main and several minor scribes. The text is divided into Amonijuse’s and extended chapters, whose list is preserved before Mark's and Luke's gospel. The work was largely divided on liturgical beginnings according to the patterns of the Eastern Church. The preserved records mention "knyaz Paul", probably Pavle Radenović and his grandson “knyaz Ivin (Ivoš)”, who held the territory between Sarajevo and the Drina. On sheets 89v-90, by chance, empty pages remained where part from the Gospel of John (XV, 17-20), which is read at the liturgy of Djurdjevdan (St. George day) and Mitrovdan (St. Demetrius day), which were written in the Glagolitic script with a few Cyrillic letters. The Glagolitic script is written in Rascian grammar that is felt throughout the text. Ikavisms are a rarity, primarily in words that are not typical of Ikavian pronauncination. The influence of Rascia's school is visible throughout the text, because, obviously, part of this manuscript was transcribed in an unknown Orthodox monastery.
The first part of the gospel, until sheet 48, was written by an unknown Christian, but due to slowness or some other reason, the purchaser of the gospel, in all likelihood, entrusted the further work to monks of the Dobrun monastery, who worked on the subject at an accelerated pace, changing often after a single line or half a page. The gospel is dedicated, as can be seen from the record on the sheet 115v: "To my honorable and very wise friend, cherished and very dear, good and noble seigneur knyaz, that is widely respected and worthy of all honors, knyaz Pavle, so you know how it is written and may God keep you in honor.”
That writers of this gospel were not members of the same church can be seen by remains of liturgical division. The first part of the manuscript to sheet 48, written by the first scribe, was almost without liturgical division, while the remaining part of the manuscript is almost in its entirety divided into a liturgical beginnings according to formats of the Eastern Church.
One of the minor scribes of the Čajniče gospel considered important to note on sheet83 that this is "the book of Jesus Christ, the Son of God of the Great God", on sheet 89v, "is the book of Jesus Christ the living god", and on the sheet 145, presumably confronting the Franciscans in Bosnia which accused them of refusing the Christian saints and the Divine nature of the Son of God. An unknown artist on one of the empty pages drew the figure of Marko Kraljević.
Source: Dragoljub Dragojlović, The History of Serbian Literature in the Medieval Bosnian State, Novi Sad, 1997.
Prepared by: Boris Radaković