Preces Christianae

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Preces Christianae: Barmanorum lingua atque litteris editae (Rome: Typis Sac. Congreg. De Propaganda Fide, 1785). Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process


In the eighteenth century, publishing a translation of Christian prayers meant not only studying the foreign language and selecting the right words but also cutting and casting the type needed to print those words onto paper. The Propaganda Fide Press, or Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, did it all.

Founded in 1622 to promote the spread of Catholicism in non-Catholic countries, the Propaganda Fide served missions in North America, Africa, and the Far East. They were the first European press attempting to publish in all the languages of the world.


Father Percoto was sent to Burma in 1761 and became fluent in the Burmese language, authoring both a Latin-Portuguese-Burmese dictionary and a Burmese grammar in manuscript. Fifteen years later, the Propaganda Fide published the first printed book in Burmese, Alphabetum Barmanum seu Bomanum regni Avae finitimarumque regionum (1776).

The Preces Christianae offers Christian prayers printed in Burmese script. In addition, it has been set to show-off the talent of the Propaganda Fide designers and the variety of type forms available.

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You wouldn't happen to know who cut the non-latin type at the Propaganda Fide at this time, would you?