April 26, 2017

April 26 is Old Permic Alphabet Day. The Permic Alphabet, also called Abur or Anbur, was the writing system used by the medieval Komi people in eastern Russian.

The alphabet was introduced by a Russian missionary, Stepan Khrap, also known as Saint Stephen of Perm (Степан Храп, св. Стефан Пермский) in 1372. The name Abur is derived from the names of the first two characters: An and Bur.

Stephen first came to the Komi in 1376. Rather than imposing Latin on the indigenous populace, as all contemporary missionaries did, Stephen learned their language and traditions and worked out a distinct writing system for their use, creating the second oldest writing system for an Uralic language, the oldest being Hungarian.

The alphabet was in use until the 17th century, when it was superseded by the Cyrillic script. Abur was also used as cryptographic writing for the Russian language.

April 26 is the saint’s day of Stephen of Perm and is celebrated as Old Permic Alphabet Day.



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