Unknown Nikolai Gogol's signature discovered in the Main Archive Department of Moscow

October 16, 2019
Social sector

Unknown Nikolai Gogol's autograph was discovered in the Main Archive Department of Moscow, as reported by Head of the Main Archive Department of Moscow Yaroslav Onopenko. 

'It turned out that the classic of Russian literature had left his signature in his godson's church book,' said Yaroslav Onopenko.

Nikolai Gogol, the godfather

Nikolai Gogol and the poet, Slavophile and philosopher Alexei Khomyakov and his wife Yekaterina, sister of the poet Nikolai Yazykov, were close friends. So the writer became the godfather of their son Nikolai Khomyakov.

Baptising took place on 31 January 1850 at the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker on Peski. The Church book's column 'Title, name, patronymic and surname of godparents' really features 8th grade official Nikolai Gogol. In the column 'Signatures of witnesses', the writer personally wrote: 'The record is valid: 8th grade official Nikolai Gogol, godfather of the newborn.' The authenticity of the signature is evidenced by the style of letters and a typical stroke at the end of the surname, matching known writer’s autographs.

The fact that Nikolai Gogol was present at the baptising of Khomyakov's son was previously known to specialists, as it is mentioned in some historical and literary works. It was impossible to certify it until now due to confusion with the documents.

Memory vs. files

Church books were duplicated until 1917. One book was filled during the year directly at the Church (parish's copy). That was the original source. At the end of the year, the church book was completely rewritten, with the second copy transferred to the Moscow Ecclesiastical Consistory (Consistory's copy).

Remarkably, the parish copy of the church book of 1850 has neither Gogol's signature, nor even the date of Nikolai Khomyakov's baptising. Numerous blotches and strikeouts speak for the fact that it was a draft copy. Perhaps the writer put his signature in the rewritten book, which was transferred to the repository of the Moscow Ecclesiastical Consistory.

However, this copy has been taken out of storage only a few times after it was written. Most likely, the information that Nikolai Gogol was Nikolai Khomyakov’s godfather was discovered by scientists in the memoirs of the writer's contemporaries, not in archival sources.

So the document discovered is the first evidence of the fact known to science: Nikolai Gogol was the godfather of Nikolai Khomyakov. And it is certified by the writer's signature.

Source: mos.ru

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