Earlier a part of orthodox liturgical books was printed in Venice, however, as the territories invaded by the Osman Turks were expanding, these books could not reach the Romanian Principalities. Realizing this, and to meet the demands, special cyrillic printing presses were founded and working between 1544 and 1588 in the towns of the Transylvanian Saxons.
The first of these was working in Szeben (Cibinium, Hermannstadt, Sibiu, R) where in 1544 the printing of liturgical books for the orthodox church began. They were printed with cyrillic script, but their language was either Old Chruch Slavonic or native Romanian.
1544 is the date when the first book printed in Romanian language was produced, no book was printed in the Romanian Principates before that date, either. The cyrillic books printed in Transylvania were transported and sold in the Romanian Principates: in Moldavia and Wallachia.
The printer working in Szeben with cyrillic types was Philip diacon.
More than twenty years before the first product of his printing press the name of Philip already occurs in the town inventories and account books, as he was also engaged as an interpreter with the Romanian towns. From 1521 he is mentioned in contemprorary sources several times as Philip "Pictor". This is a proof that he was also acting as a wood-cutter. In fact, there are wood-cuts in the books produced by him, that bear his signature.
Philip, like other printers in Transylvania producing books in cyrillic script, followed the tradition of early liturgical books, with a characteristic way of decoration and the frequent use of red colour printing.
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HERVAY Ferenc: L'imprimerie du mâitre Philippe de Nagyszeben et les premiers livres au langue roumaine, In: MKsz 1965. 119-127.
BIANU, Ioan-HODOŞ, Nerva-(SIMONESCU, Dan): Bibliografia româneăscă veche, I-IV (Bucureşti, 1903-1944.)