Heorhiy Narbut Prize

Worthy Winner of the Narbut Prize for 2000 Narbut Prize

For the third year in a row, a historical souvenir sheet topped the rest of the field in the balloting to take top honors. The Narbut Prize for 2000 was won by Oleksiy Shtanko for his masterful creation honoring Yaroslav the Wise (1078-1054), ruler of Kyivan Rus (medieval predecessor state of Ukraine).

S346Hues of red and gold predominate on the souvenir sheet, which depicts Yaroslav on the left supporting a sword. On the right is the ecclesiastic Ilarion (birth unknown, died prior to 1054), the first native-born (non-Greek) metropolitan of Kyiv, who leans on a staff. Since both men valued education and the written word, it is not surprising that they are both depicted holding books. Yaroslav displays a bound volume of the Ruska Pravda, the most important collection of old Ukrainian-Rus laws that was first compiled during his reign. Ilarion, holding an open book, codified the laws governing church life and defended the independence of the Rus church from the heirarchy of Byzantium. The inscription between the two men reads: "Kyiv in the 10th-11th centuries, City of Yaroslav" and depicted in the background is a view of medieval Kyiv.


The text that appears around the central scene, and that forms a type of verbal frame, is taken from the Povist Vremenikh Lit, the surviving chronicle of the time. The text states: "Yaroslav built the great citadel of Kyiv, near which stands the Golden Gate. He also founded the Metropolitan Church of St. Sophia, the Church of the Annunciation over the Golden Gateā€¦he assembled many scribes who translated [books] from Greek into Slavic."

S363Apparently the public really appreciated Mr. Shtanko's work as it garnered 16% of the hundreds of votes submitted this year. Tied for second place were three (!) stamp issues, each of which received just over 8% of the ballots. One recalled Ukraine's patron St. Andrew, The First-Called Apostle. The stamp shows the baroque and much-loved St. Andrew's Cathedral in Kyiv enfolded in the arms of an angel. The attached label presents the saint holding a cross and in the act of blessing the future site of Kyiv which, according to legend, he visited in the first century A.D.


S359Very interesting and surprising was another release that the voters really appreciated: the Christmas stamp showing a group of carolers drawn in a humorous (cartoon-like) "folk style". One of the designers of this issue was Oleksander Zharivsky, a member of the Ukrainian Philatelic and Numismatic Society from Lviv. This unusual holiday depiction easily surpassed the votes received by the other (more traditional) Christmas stamp depicting a Nativity icon.


S351The final runner up issue, which honored the 1100th anniversary of Poltava, displayed the colorful coat of arms of the city on an ancient scroll. The much-touted Scythian Gold issue received less than 5% of the vote.