27th General Assembly of the Hellenic Bible Society

On Saturday 17th of March 2018, the 27th Ordinary General Assembly of the Hellenic Bible Society was held in a central Athens hotel. Within a climate of brotherly love in Christ, the members of the Society belonging to the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Church met. Every year the assembly of the Society members is a good opportunity for universal communication and exchange of views with the common goal of spreading the Bible in our country.

Prior to the commencement, Fr. Sebastian Freris, the Monk of the Jesuit Monastery, had the responsibility of biblical reading this year and brought a brief message of our relationship and fruitfulness with Jesus Christ, who is the true vine.

The General Secretary, Mr. Michail Chatzigiannis, then presented his report to the members, stating that for the year 2017 the total circulation of Holy Scripture, New Testaments and extracts from the sacred texts was 390,122 copies, while the audio editions reached 20,331 CDs. Special reference was made to the special orders received by our Society during 2017, which support and maximize our work. More specifically: The Gideons International (204,815 copies of the New Testament), Hellenic Ministries (140,000 copies of the New Testament), Apostoliki Diakonia of the Church of Greece (7,000 copies of the New Testament), Holy Metropolises of Grevena (5,000), Nea Smyrni (2,500), Neapolis and Stavroupoli (1,000).

The year 2017 the total circulation of Holy Scripture, New Testaments and extracts from the sacred texts was 390,122 copies, while the audio editions reached 20,331 CDs!


One of the new editions that have just been released is the illustrated Bible, which is about an original version that was unavailable in our country. The whole Bible in 1,728 pages, illustrated with more than 600 artistic paintings and 15 color maps which will help to understand the biblical text. A unique edition for both young and old to bring life to the family study of the Bible.

Another edition that we are preparing for this year is addressed to young people and catechism and will be titled “On the way… of God – fragments of modern word for catechism”. This is a kind of Kyriakodromio which includes all Sunday gospel readings, extracts from sermons on these passages, but also material that functions as a weekly calendar of spiritual reflections and actions. Its aim is to function as a catechism aid for the Orthodox Church, something which is currently unavailable. It has been developed by experienced specialist educators. Its starting point is God’s word, Sunday’s gospel reading, which is appropriately made good use of through modern pedagogical methods as a weekly spiritual feedback both at staff and at team level.

We are doing our best for the completion of the annotated Holy Bible. We hope that the New Testament edition will be launched during this year and that the Old Testament commentary will be completed. The translation of the Septuagint, which has been completed for the most part, is currently being delayed in the final editing of the genre. The revision of the New Testament translation, which begun two years ago, is being developed satisfactorily in all respects and is due to be completed in 3 years. These are major publishing events and we have great hopes for the publication and circulation of these works.

From August 28th to 31st, the work of the 4th Panhellenic Catechists Meeting took place at the Pastoral Center “Agios Pavlos”, at Posidonia of Syros, with the participation of three hierarchs of the Catholic Church. Among them is the Vice President of our Society, his Excellency Ioannis Spiteris Archbishop of Corfu, who, as the Chairman of the Synodal Committee on Evangelism and Catechism, declared the opening and made the first presentation. At the venue of the meeting was a book exhibition with the participation of our Society, represented by the sales manager Mr. George Sochos, who also brought a greeting. About 80 people, catechists, priests, monks, nuns and lay people took part in the meeting and studied the subject “Catechism as the first phase of growth: The missionary change of the Catechism”. In addition to our general presence there, our participation has led to a very impressive increase in orders of a wide range of our editions by the Catholic Church. It should be mentioned that the increase is particularly relevant.

Another, also a very remarkable initiative by the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens was the dedication of the 2017-2018 working year in the Bible. In this context, a conference on the subject: “Holy Bible, dialogue between God-human” was held recently on March 3rd of the current year. It was impressive that of the five rapporteurs-speakers, the three were members of our Society: Mrs. Myrto Theocharous, Mr. Christos Karakolis and Mr. Ioannis Tsevas, who in their excellent presentations did not fail to mention the Society and the essential work which it performs. Our Society participated in this conference with its mobile Bible Exposition, which is to be presented to other parishes of the Catholic Church outside and within Athens.

Last September a meeting was held in Ierapetra, Crete, between representatives of the Orthodox and Ancient Eastern Churches and the UBS. A memorandum of understanding and cooperation was formulated in its final form, the signing of which is due to be celebrated at the end of September and early October in Armenia, within the framework of an international scientific conference entitled “The Bible in a Changing World”. All this effort of approaching the Orthodox Churches from the UBS lasted 20 years, started in 1998 and the Hellenic Bible Society from the very first moment took the lead in this initiative.

In the autumn of 2018 a memorandum of understanding and cooperation between Orthodox Churches and United Bible Societies will be signed.


Last year 500 years have passed since Luther’s Reformation. This anniversary was the occasion for a multitude of events around the world, especially in Europe. On this occasion, our Society, continuing the tradition of recent years, organized an international conference on: “Readings of the Bible within the different Christian Traditions on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Luther’s Reformation”. The wider goal of the conference was to highlight the ways in which different Bible readings of the various Christian traditions from the reformation to date influenced the formation of modern Christian self-consciousness.

A very worthwhile initiative in the past year was the distribution of 370 New Testaments to the first-year students of the Theological Schools of Thessaloniki and Athens during the welcoming ceremony by the faculties. Funding was provided by a donor who wanted to remain anonymous and with whom the Chairman of the Board Rev. Meletios Meletiadis came into contact.

Also memorable is the presentation of the Psalterion by Professor Miltiades Konstantinou and Mrs. Kaiti Chiotelli, with great success in a large audience at the beginning of last November, during the Orthodox book fair at the Caravel Hotel.


2017 Global Scripture Access Report

In 2017, Bible Societies assisted in the completion of Scripture translations in 49 languages spoken by more than 580 million people.
2017 was a ‘first’ for 20 languages, spoken by over 14 million people. 7 communities received the very first full Bible in their language, 4 received their first New Testament and 9 communities received their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.
Languages change and develop over time. That is why Bible Societies are also committed to revising existing translations or providing new1 translations, when requested, giving new generations the chance to meaningfully engage with Scripture. In 2017, this resulted in 26 new translations and revisions, plus 9 study editions, with the potential to reach more than 566 million people.

Scripture Access Today

There are currently 7,097 languages in the world spoken by over 7.6 billion people.
674 languages spoken by nearly 5.4 billion people now have a complete Bible and a further 1,515 languages spoken by 631 million people have a New Testament.
This leaves 406 million people with only some portions of Scripture, and a further 209 million people with no Scripture in their language.
United Bible Societies is working towards the day when everyone can access the full Bible in the language of their choice. Bible Societies are currently working on over 400 translation projects around the world.

Scripture Access and Engagement

Developments in digital technology have provided unprecedented access to the Bible, and more people than ever before in history are engaging with Scripture – and sharing it, too.
The Digital Bible Library® (DBL) is central to our strategy to make the Bible as widely and easily accessible as possible. By the end of 2017, the DBL contained 1,735 Scripture texts in 1,269 languages spoken by 5.6 billion people. Audio Scriptures in the DBL nearly tripled in 2017 to 1,078 audio Scriptures in 732 unique languages spoken by 4.9 billion people.
The DBL is owned and maintained by United Bible Societies in partnership with other Bible agencies and with the support of the Every Tribe Every Nation alliance. It makes the Bible accessible by providing Scripture texts to the public through partners such as BibleSearch and YouVersion.

Why Bible translation matters

When a community receives the Scriptures in their language, something profound happens. People feel that God is speaking directly to them, from among them. “God speaks my language!” is a common joyful reaction as they start to experience the hope and transformation in the Bible.
While great strides have been made in Bible translation, with the full Bible available in the languages of around 81% of the global population, 209 million people across the world still do not have the chance to encounter any part of Scripture in their language. Much work lies ahead if at least some parts of the Bible are to be made available in these remaining 3,773 languages. Please pray for this vital area of mission and for the Bible Societies and partner agencies committed to meeting this need.


Holy Bible: Dialogue between God-human

On Saturday 3rd of March 2018, the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens organized and carried out the conference “Holy Bible: dialogue between God-human” in the amphitheater of the National Hellenic Research Foundation. The conference was held in the context of the Year dedicated to the Bible, which has been declared by his Excellency Sevastianos Rossolatos Catholic Archbishop of Athens and lasts from the 3rd of December 2017 to 25th of November 2018.

In the same place, there was an exhibition of the Hellenic Bible Society titled “Holy Bible, from the Ancient Manuscripts to Modern Translations”, as well as an exhibition of old copies-heirlooms of the Holy Scriptures from the Archives of the Apostolic Center “Faith and Culture” of the Catholic Archdiocese of Naxos-Tinos, from the Library of the Institute of Human Sciences of the Jesuits Fathers and from the Greek Historical Evangelical Archives.

The Manus Apertae vocal ensemble enriched the event with a series of hymns starting with the prayer “Hymn to Love”. Afterwards, the Most Reverend Savio Hon Tai-Fai, Nuncio of the Holy See in Greece and his Excellency Sevastianos Rossolatos Catholic Archbishop of Athens brought a greeting. Followed by the General Secretary of the Hellenic Bible Society, Mr. Michail Chatzigiannis who, among others, mentioned in his greeting: “…It is indeed commendable that the inspirational initiative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens to declare the current working year as the year of the Holy Bible and in this context to organize this conference. While we are all preparing to celebrate in a few weeks the most important event of our Faith, the Passion, namely the Resurrection of Christ, today’s conference is of special interest. The subject of the conference “Holy Bible, dialogue between God-human” has a timeless but also timely importance.

Firstly, because the Bible is the cornerstone of our single Church, our common starting point and simultaneously our most important basis. Secondly, because admittedly in the “letters” of the Bible, we find the heart of our theology and our ecclesiastical ethos, and with these we give meaning to our existence and envision the hopeful goods of the future. Thirdly, because through the reading and interpretation of the Bible not only overtime we have the permanent, by the letter “remembrance”, in the body of the Church, but also to each of us separately, the once salvific events, centered on Christ and as an object the man and the whole creation. A reminder of what he said and what the Lord did. All these elements are absolutely necessary for the society and the bond of peace that ought to reign among us…”

On the first session of the conference under the chairmanship of the teacher – executive secretary of the Marist Mission in Europe and member of the Pastoral Committee, Mrs. Angela Sestrini, Mrs. Myrto Theocharous Professor of the Old Testament at the Greek Bible College, had the first presentation on the subject: “The Book of Deuteronomy and Social Welfare” followed by the presentation of theologian-scholar and interpreter of the Bible Fr. Sotiris Mavrofidis on the subject: “The formation of the New Testament.” On the second session under the chairmanship of the member of the Pastoral Committee of the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens, Maria Schick, the first rapporteur was Fr. Markos Foskolos theologian-historian on the subject: “The Bible in the Worship of the Church” followed by the presentation of Mr. Christos Karakolis associateprofessor of the New Testament in the Faculty of Theology of the University of Athens on the subject: “The New Testament as the foundation for dialogue and cooperation between Christian Churches.” Finally, Mr. Ioannis Tsevas, surgeon dentist, director of the Greek Historical Evangelical Archives, referred to the Exposition that there was outside the conference hall and briefly to the history of the Hellenic Bible Society and especially to its collaboration with the Catholic Church.

At the end of the conference, his Excellency Catholic Archbishop of Athens once again thanked the speakers and the choir, offering some souvenirs, congratulated all who helped in one way or another on organizing and carrying out the conference attended by many priests and hieromonks, nuns and monks of all monastic orders, laymen from many Parishes of the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens and many believers of other Christian confessions.

SOURCE: cen.gr

Photographs: Leonard John Vamvakaris


With the soldiers

On the 3rd of January his Eminence Metropolitan of Didymoteichon, Orestias and Souflion Mr. Damaskinos visited military outposts at the Turkish border, escorted by commander of Division XVI General Dem. Bonoras, its Deputy Governor Stavros Stavropoulos and the General of the 21st regiment Colonel Greg. Boutliakis. His Eminence was welcomed by the men of the outposts with Christmas carols. He first expressed admiration for their readiness and their excellent conviction and then he replied with wishes and gifts. His Eminence not only had the opportunity to communicate with members of the Armed Forces but also with the ordinary soldiers to whom he pointed out that they should be proud of serving their country and its values in this very sensitive and geopolitical neuralgic area of Evros. Finally, his Eminence distributed New Testaments in military variation to everybody, offer of the Hellenic Bible Society, emphasizing the value of the Holy Gospel in the life of man.

SOURCE: Holy Metropolis of Didymoteichon, Orestias and Souflion


Readings of the Bible within the different Christian Traditions

The Hellenic Bible Society organized on December 15-16, 2017 at the Cultural Center of the Archbishopric of Athens, the International Conference “Readings of the Bible within the different Christian Traditions” on the occasion of the 500-year anniversary of Luther’s Reformation. The conference began with the welcoming greetings of Fr. Zisis Ktenidis, Director of the Cultural Center of the Archbishopric of Athens and of Fr. Georgios Polychronopoulos, representative of the Church of Greece, who read the message of the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, Ieronymos. The opening of the conference was concluded with the welcoming addresses of the Hellenic Bible Society’s General Secretary, Mr. Michail Chatzigiannis and the of the Dean of A.U.Th’s Faculty of Theology, Mr. Miltiadis Konstantinou.

Fr. Theodosios Martzouhos, priest of the Church of St. John Chrysostom in Preveza, presented the topic of “Tetravaggelo” (The Four-Gospel Book) in the opening session of the Conference that was chaired by the Hellenic Bible Society’s General Secretary, Mr. Michail Chatzigiannis.

The Dean of A.U.Th’s Faculty of Theology Dean, Mr. Miltiadis Konstantinou, chaired the second session of the first day of the Conference, during which there were three presentations. The first one, by the Rabbi of Athens, Gabriel Negrin, was under the title “The Genuine place of the Pentateuch in Tanakh according to Jewish Readings”, the second presentation by the Dean of Nida Institute, Philip Towner, was under the title “The Bible in Anglican Liturgical Praxis”; the last presentation of the session, by Fr. Luigi d’Ayala, member of the Monastic Community of Bose was under the title “The Role of the Holy Scripture in the Life of the Monastic Brotherhood of Bose”.

In the beginning of the second day of the Conference on Saturday morning, two presentations were held in the first session that was chaired by Charalampos Atmatzidis, Associate Professor at the School of Theology at the A.U.Th. The first one by Myrto Theocharous, Lecturer at the Greek Bible College, was under the title “The Gospel of Moses for the Church: Luther’s Hermeneutical Approach to the Book of Deuteronomy”; the second presentation by Thanasis Papathanasiou, Director of Synaxis Journal was on “From the Women of the Bible to the Women with the Bible: Reformation and the Emergence of Women Missionaries”.

During the second, and last, session of the day that was chaired by Ekaterini Tsalampouni, Assistant Professor at the School of Pastoral and Social Theology of the A.U.Th., four presentation were held. The Director of the Norwegian Archaeological Institute at Athens, Jorunn Økland, presented on “Luther’s «method» and his views on celibacy (1Cor 7)”. Following her presentation, Moschos Goutzioudis, Assistant Professor at the School of Theology at the A.U.Th., presented his topic under the title “Luther’s Contribution in the Study of the Epistle to the Hebrews during the Reformation”. The Academic Director of the Greek Bible College, Jeff Baldwin presented on “The Only Acceptable Contribution: Cain and Abel in the Exegesis of Church Fathers and Reformers”. The last presentation by the Associate Professor of the School of Theology at the U.o.A., Christos Karakolis, was under the title “Sola Scriptura or Soli Patres? A Contribution Attempt in the Dialogue Between the Orthodox and Protestant New Testament Hermeneutics”.

The Academic Committee of the Conference consisted of: Miltiadis Konstantinou, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the A.U.Th., Charalampos Atmatzidis, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Theology at the A.U.Th., and Ekaterini Tsalampouni, Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Theology at the A.U.Th.

You can watch the presentations of the Conference following the link of the each title, as well as on our YouTube channel: Hellenic Bible Society.

You can find more photographs here


Cooperation between Orthodox Churches & United Bible Societies

The Holy Metropolis of Ierapitna and Sitia hosted on September 19-20, 2017 the representatives of the Committee for the Relations of the Orthodox Churches, the Ancient Eastern Churches and the United Bible Societies. The meeting of the committee was held at Hotel “Sunshine” in Koutsounari of Ierapetra where the representatives of the Churches and the Bible Societies discussed issues on the advancement of their relations and cooperation.

In the morning of October 19, just before the opening of the meeting, a Doxology took place at the Church of Savior’s Transfiguration inside the hotel, celebrated by the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Ierapitna and Sitia Kyrillos. The Most Reverend President of the Committee and representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Metropolitan of Sasima Gennadios as well as the members of the Committee were present.

After the completion of the Doxology and at the opening session of the meeting the Most Reverend Bishop of Ierapitna and Sitia wholeheartedly welcomed the participants and briefly referred to the history of its bishopric, that is one of the oldest in the prefecture of Lasithi and among the first ones that were founded on the island of Crete, to the canonical dependence and distinctive relations of the Church of Crete with the Mother Church of Constantinople highlighting at the same time its leading role in the “Ecumenical Movement”, as the first in rank among the Orthodox Churches and the one with primacy in responsibility.

As he highlighted: “both the Hellenic Bible Society, a full member of the global fellowship of the United Bible Societies, and the other Bible Societies of about 200 countries, work having a high sense of accountability in order to provide the Churches with scholarly and theologically reliable biblical translations. They serve the churches through translation, publication, supply and broader dissemination of the Holy Scripture. The most important fact is that they work with the Church in harmony and they do not usurp her mission, as they consider the Church as the major carrier of the divine mission in the world. This cooperation, as well as the largely homogenous stance of the representatives of the Churches and the Bible Societies in the efforts to disseminate the Word of God has only born good fruit not only for the Churches and their relations among the Christians coming from different church traditions, but also for the entire world”. Finally, he wished everyone a pleasant stay, and a successful and fruitful meeting.

The Most Reverend, President and Professor, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Metropolitan of Sasima Gennadios on behalf of the Standing Committee for the cooperation of the Orthodox Church, the Ancient Eastern Churches and the United Bible Societies stated after the completion of the works of meeting: “The work of the Standing Committee for Cooperation and Relations of the Orthodox Churches, the Ancient Eastern Churches and the United Bible Societies was successfully completed today under the hospitality of the Holy Metropolis of Ierapitna and Sitia and especially the Most Reverent Metropolitan Kyrillos on behalf of our Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The purpose of the meeting in Ierapetra was to finalize a memorandum of cooperation that has been under discussion by this Committee for many years and defines the parameters of the relations among the three parties involved, as well as the cooperation regarding the meaning and the importance of the Holy Scripture, the matter of Divine Inspiration, and finally the issue of Bible translation. The United Bible Societies are especially involved with Bible translation, its realization, publication, and dissemination around the world. There are about 150 Bible Societies in 200 countries around the world. There is also the Hellenic Bible Society, that was represented by its President and representative of the Church of Greece, Most Reverend Metropolitan of Dimitriada Ignatios, as well as by its General Secretary Mr. Michalis Chatzigiannis, the Bible Society of Cyprus that was represented by the Bishop of Arsinoi Nektarios, while the representative of the Russian Patriarchate was absent due to prior engagements. We finally concluded that this memorandum of cooperation should be accepted by everyone, by all three parties, after some meeting. This meeting will be a world congress that will take place in Armenia in September of 2018. This memorandum will be presented there so that it will be signed by all members and will ensure the continuation of the cooperation with the United Bible Societies.

The beginning of these relations and cooperation is owed to His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who fifteen years ago accepted this cooperation with the United Bible Societies and called the other Orthodox Churches from around the world to participate. This Committee is the so called “Small” since not all local churches participate but only representatives from the three parties. We wholeheartedly wish to extend a warm thank you to the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Ierapitna and Sitia Kyrillos for the Abrahamic and generous hospitality. All the members of the Committee are pleased by Cretan hospitality and happy to have met everyone here even though the meeting only lasted for two days”.

The members of the Committee, who is presided by each representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, are Archpriests as representatives of the Orthodox Churches among whom are the Professor and Most Reverend Metropolitan of Sasima Gennadios the representative of the Mother Church of Constantinople, the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Dimitrias Ignatios the representative of the Church of Greece and President of the Hellenic Bible Society, the Bishop of Arsinoi Nektarios representative of the Church of Cyprus, Metropolitans and Bishops from the Eastern Orthodox Churches, that is the Coptic, the Armenian, the Jacobite Syrian Church, the Dean of the Faculty of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Mr. Miltiadis Konstantinou, the General Secretary of the Hellenic Bible Society and other representatives of the United Bible Societies.

SOURCE: Holy Metropolis of Ierapitna and Sitia


Global Scripture Distribution Report 2016

For the third year running, Bible Societies have distributed more than 400 million Scripture items around the world – including more than 34 million Bibles. That’s enough for more than 5% of the world’s population. And since the beginning of the decade, the United Bible Societies fellowship (UBS) has distributed enough Scripture material for two out of every five people on the planet.


The distribution of nonprint Bibles such as digital downloads, CDs, Scripture texts and DVDs has more than doubled across the world in 2016, driven by the growing demand for Bibles on our phones and devices. The trend mirrors growing internet use around the world. Around 45% of the world’s population now have access to the internet, and by 2020 seven out of every 10 people on the planet will own a smartphone. We spend more time on our phones than any other media.Meanwhile, the global Digital Bible Library now has Scripture in 1,134 languages, which reach a total audience of more than five billion people.


At the end of 2016, Bible Society of Brazil reached the milestone of 150 million Bibles and New Testaments produced at its Bible Press since 1995. In Bangladesh, where nine out of 10 people are Muslim, the Bible Society team distributed more than eight times as many New Testaments as in the previous year. Altogether they provided 105,081 New Testaments through book fairs, distribution among rural believers and an initiative to reach mothers and families. The Palestinian Bible Society distributed five times as many New Testaments in 2016, compared to 2015. This was against a backdrop of violent outbursts between Israelis and Palestinians throughout the year, which raised tension and volatility in the region. And during a historic year for Cuba, when former ruler Fidel Castro died and Barack Obama, then President of the United States, made an unprecedented visit to the country, Scripture distribution soared. The number of Bibles and Scripture portions made available by the Cuba Bible Commission more than doubled, with more than 350,000 full Bibles provided in the nation. The distribution effort was part of the ‘One million Bibles for Cuba’ campaign, which was launched in 2013 and is due to run until the end of next year.


4th PanHellenic Meeting of Catechists of the Catholic Church

The fourth PanHellenic Meeting of Catechists took place at the Pastoral Center “Saint Paul” in Posidonia on Syros island from the 28th until the 31st of August with the participation of three hierarchs from the Catholic Church, Their Excellencies Archbishops of Corfu Fr. Ioannis Spiteris, Athens Fr. Sevastianos Rossolatos and Syros Island Petros Stefanou. Around 80 catechists, priests, monks, nouns and lay people from Athens, Thessaloniki, Larisa, Corfu, Patras, Tinos, and Syros, worked on the subject: “Catechism as first proclamation for the increase of faith. The missionary turn in Catechism”.

His Excellency the Archbishop of Syros island during his opening address welcomed the catechists in Syros and wished that the meeting will bear fruit in the field of catechism and will be of everyone’s benefit. At the place where the meeting took place there was also a book exhibit in which the Hellenic Bible Society participated. The representative of the Hellenic Bible Society, Mr. Giorgos Sochos, also addressed the meeting during the opening session. Due to their inability to attend the meeting His Excellency the Archbishop of Naxos and Tinos Island Fr. Nikolaos Printezis and the Mayor of Syros-Ermoupolis Mr. Giorgos Maragos sent their written greeting address.

The opening of the meeting was declared by the President of the Synodal Committee for Evangelization and Catechism and Vice President of the Hellenic Bible Society His Excellency Archbishop of Corfu Fr. Ioannis Spiteris who had the first presentation on the: “The semantic definition of the Terms New Evangelization, Re-Evangelization and First Proclamation: A general presentation”. The next presentation was by Fr. Markos Foskolos, vicar of St. Nikolaos in Chora, Tinos island and Archivist of the Catholic Archdiocese of Naxos-Tinos on the: “The First Proclamation in the New Testament and the early Christian communities”.

The first presentation of the second day came from Fr. Yiannis Maragos, Doctor of Theology, director of the newspaper PAROCHIAL BELLS and vicar of the St. Panteleimon in Foinikas. The imaginative title: “Oh mother, in what kind of world have you brought me” or “The new evangelization in the modern world of postmodern era” directs us to substantial content that caused concern to the people who attended the meeting. The second presentation by His Excellency the Archbishop of the Catholic Church of Athens, Fr. Sevastianos Rossolatos was entitled: “New Evangelization: Who? What? How?” and it was based on the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) that is the voice of the Catholic Church today.

During the third day Mrs. Anna Maria Printezi-Vasileiou, theologian, presented on: “The First Proclamation in Catechism” and Mrs. Antonia Zaloni, also a theologian presented on: “New Evangelization and family”. During the meeting the catechists participated in experiential workshops and all ecclesiastical provinces of the catechetic movement made presentations.

The last of the meeting was devoted to its evaluation and the catechists that participated had the opportunity, to express in front of the pastors and the prelates, the ones responsible for the catechetic work of the Catholic Church, their concerns and present the new reality they experience in which they are called to transmit the message of the gospel. The catechists that literally come from every part of the world asked from their Bishops, with passion, courage and optimism, to continue to support them in their effort and to provide them with opportunities to get to know each other and involve themselves in creative discussions.

The prelates on their side thanked the catechists for their great efforts, especially in difficult social situations, to respond to the mission the Church has entrusted them. His Excellency the Archbishop of Corfu Fr. Ioannis Spiteris, president of the Synodal Committee for Evangelization and Catechism, when concluding the meeting was particularly encouraging and urged everyone to take advantage of every opportunity they get to acquire further education and seek access to every form of information to enrich their intellect and their knowledge so that they can be of benefit to the people whose catechism they are responsible for. He also highlighted that this was the purpose of the book exhibition that took place during the meeting with the participation and presence of the Hellenic Bible Society’s representative, and the display of their excellent publications and of course the presence of Fr. Savvas Freris, Jesuit hieromonk and member of the Hellenic Bible Society’s Board for his effort to disseminate the good book! Finally, he asked everyone to trust their efforts in the power of the Holy Spirit so that they will receive the light in their minds and their hearts!
The meeting concluded with an Archbishops Concelebration in which Their Excellencies Sevastianos Rossolatos, Archbishop of the Catholic Church of Athens, Fr. Ioannis Spiteris, Archbishop of Corfu and Fr. Petros Stefanou, Bishop of Syros island, surrounded by the priests that participated in the meeting.

Source: Catholic Diocese of Syros


2016 Global Scripture Access Report

In 2016, Bible Societies assisted in the completion of translations in 61 languages spoken by over 428 million people.

2016 was ‘a first’ for no fewer than 30 languages, spoken by over 95 million people. 17 communities now have their very first Bible, 6 have a New Testament and 7 communities have their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.

Languages are constantly developing so Bible Societies are also committed to revising existing translations and providing new translations, when requested, to help as many people as possible engage with the message of the Bible today. In 2016, this resulted in a further 28 new translations and revisions plus 3 study editions with the potential to reach over 333 million people.

Scripture Access Today

There are currently 6,880 languages in the world spoken by over 7.4 billion people.

648 languages (spoken by over 5.1 billion people) now have a complete Bible and a further 1,432 languages (spoken by 657 million people) have a New Testament. This leaves 434 million people with only some portions of Scripture and a further 253 million people with no Scripture translated in their language at all.

United Bible Societies is committed to working towards the day when everyone can access the full Bible in the language of their choice. Bible Societies are currently working on over 400 translation projects around the world.


26th General Assembly of the Hellenic Bible Society

Hellenic Bible Society’s twenty-sixth Annual General Assembly took place on Saturday 11 March 2017 at a central hotel in Athens. The thirty-five members of the Society’s General Assembly, coming from the Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Churches, met in a brotherly and loving atmosphere in Christ. Each year, the General Assembly provides us with a great opportunity for an ecumenical communication and exchange of views, having as its main aim to disseminate the Holy Scripture in our country.

Ekaterini Tsalampouni, Assistant Professor at the School of Pastoral and Social Theology of the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki had the responsibility of preaching the Bible, so she chose to deliver a short message from the Parable of the Weeds.

Afterwards, mr. Michalis Chatzigiannis, General Secretary of the Hellenic Bible Society, presented to the members of the General Assembly the annual report, stating that in 2016 the distribution of the Holy Scripture, New Testament and other portions of Scriptural publications reached the number of 270.790 copies, while recorded editions reached the number of 5.405 CDs.

One of the new publications in the past year was the “The Compact Guide to the Bible”, a brief encyclopedia of the Holy Scripture. A significant effort is being made for the completion of the Septuagint Translation into Modern Greek as well as for the Study Bible. Regarding the Study Bible, the Pentateuch is almost ready and our aim is to publish it separately. Additionally, the New Testament Study Bible will be ready within the current year. The Septuagint Translation into Modern Greek is almost complete; its expected date is also by the end of the year. Those are all very important publishing events and their completion brings us great hope.

In the past we have already mentioned the translational seminars organized by our Society with the co-operation of the United Bible Societies. Through these seminars our Society has managed to form a core group of associates who have been working on the New Testament Translation Revision for a year. New available technologies eliminate distances and allow these people to work closely together, as well as with the professors acting as academic consultants. At the same time, once a year the group meets so as to discuss issues that might have come up and attend relevant presentations from biblical scholars. The aim is for the program to be completed in the next four years.

From the above mentioned translation seminars a new idea evolved. An international Orthodox Bible Translation Postgraduate Program was established under the name “Innovation and Tradition”. This program provides Bible Societies in Orthodox countries with an opportunity to propose eligible attendees. It is co-organized by Nida Institute of the American Bible Society, the University of San Pellegrino in Misano Italy and our Society that acts as the coordinator. The postgraduate program is extended over three years of distance learning as well as 2 weekly residential seminars each year. Upon completion, participants will be awarded a certified postgraduate degree (certified by the E.U. a 60-ECTS diploma). The curriculum includes the following sub-fields:
Role of Bible in Orthodoxy (theology and performance), Orthodox Hermeneutics, Orthodox Bible Translation (history and theory), Contemporary Translation Studies, Biblical Languages and Textual Criticism, Translation Software Technology and Management.
The faculty consists of scholars from academic institutions, mainly in Orthodox countries, who apart from being distinguished in both teaching and research are also experienced in Bible translation. At the end of last September the first residential meeting took place in Athens where the 10 students attended the first orientation course. The next meeting will take place in Bucharest in May 15-19.

A very important meeting on New Testament Textual Criticism took place in Athens at the end of February 2016 in cooperation with the Volos Academy for Theological Studies. The members of the Nestle-Aland 29 editorial committee who were meeting in Athens at our Society’s offices at that time gave the presentations. It was a really fortunate occasion to present their research in front of a Greek audience some of the most prominent scholars in the field of Textual Criticism. During the last General Assembly Meeting the event was positively commented and there were several suggestions for a continuation of similar meetings for larger audiences whose aim will be to introduce Christians in Textual Criticism issues and help them appreciate its contribution to Bible editions.

An important event of the past year was the Bible Societies’ Global Meeting that took place last May in Philadelphia U.S.A. The meeting took place during the 200-year celebration of the American Bible Society. Upon completion of the Meeting the text of The Philadelphia Promise was published. The Philadelphia Promise restates the fundamental United Bible Societies’ commitments: More effective and substantial Holy Scripture distribution, translation services, publication and dissemination, ministry to all Christian Churches. Furthermore, the following aims, to be fulfilled until the next Global Meeting in 2022, were set:
1. Develop and resource programs aimed at young people and families. The programs will also include Holy Scripture translations with special focus on people under 30. They will also focus on refugees, people with special needs, people living with HIV as well as people living in a Muslim environment.
2. Strengthening Church relations all over the world and building new relationships with Churches that are not currently involved in the UBS work.
3. Resourcing the Mission if the Bible Societies, especially those that are in countries where Christians are under pressure.
4. Digital technology that will support the whole Bible Lifecycle that is not only Bible translation but also publication and new audience approach.
5. Building leadership capacity that will promote succession planning and talent management.

Last December, as it has been customary for the past few years, the Hellenic Bible Society organized an International Conference under the title: “Bible and Visual Arts”. The broader aim of the conference was to promote the Bible as the living text of the Church, as an essential factor in the process of cultural creation and intellectual production, in addition to promoting a more creative dialogue with the whole society. More specifically, the topic of the conference was chosen so as to highlight the ways in which throughout history the Holy Scripture affected arts and it has always been a source of inspiration for artists. Everyone who attended the conference realized the excellent quality of the papers presented and the conference’s great success.

Finally, the General Assembly ended with the election of the new Administrative Board, its term will be 3 years. You can see the members of the new Administrative Board here.