Ihar Klimau. Concerning biography of Vasil Ciapinski, the translator and publisher of Gospel

Knowledge about Vasil Ciapinski, a Belarusian Protestant of the second half of the 16th century, is very scarce and uncertain. All evidences about his life and activity come from two unequal sources. The former is several mentions of Symon Budny, the famous Protestant translator of Bible, and one Protestant report. The latter is a large quantity of records about the Ciapinski family which were found in acts of the Lithuanian Metrica. Majority of these records has been found by the famous historian M. Dounar–Zapolski in the late 19th century. But in the early 20th century his results were criticized by the Ukrainian historian O. Levic’ky who pointed out that not all from these records relate to the Belarusian Protestant who translated and published Gospel. In Levic’ky’s opinion at that time there were several persons who could have the name Vasil Ciapinski. At the present time this idea has been supported by the Belarusian archivist U. Viaroukin-Saluta. The new documentary evidences about Ciapinski found in the 1980th let precise some facts from the life of the Ciapinski family as well reconstruct their lineage.

All known evidences about the Ciapinski family in the 16th century (most early records come from 1520th) resided largely in Northern Belarus as well as about their possessions (most known is manor Ciapina near Casniki) are considered in the paper. On the basis of these data a reconstruction of Ciapinskis’ lineage in the 16th century is undertaken and a well-founded conclusion is made: the Belarusian translator and publisher of Gospel Vasil Ciapinski is rather a son of Matej who had an estate Latyhola / Latyholicy near Maladzecna, but is not his cousin Vasil Ciapinski a son of Mikalaj who had manor Ciapina, as it was supposed before. Moreover publishing Gospel could not take place in Ciapina at all. Vasil Ciapinski was close to the powerful protectors of Protestantism in Belarus (among which Astafej Valovic) and had possibly a support of a Protestant community where he could be a minister.