On Saturday March 19th the twenty-fifth Annual Meeting of the Hellenic Bible Society took place at a central hotel in Athens. In an atmosphere of fraternal love of Christ 35 members of the Society gathered from the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Churches. Every year this meeting of the Society’s members is a good opportunity of ecumenical communication by exchanging views with a common goal of distributing the Bible in our country.
By decision of the Synod of the Church of Greece Metropolite of Demetrias and Almyros, Ignatius is President of the Society, Metropolite of Alexandroupolis, Anthimos is a member of the Board, the Catholic Archbishop of Corfu, Zante and Kefalonia, Ioannis Spiteris is Vice President of the Board. Chairman of the Board is Professor John Kremmydas of the Evangelical Church.
The General Secretary Mr. Michael Chatzigiannis after welcoming the two new members of the General Assembly, Fr. Adamantios Augoustidis, Professor in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Athens and General Archiepiscopal Commissioner of the Archdiocese of Athens and Ms. Vicky Kalfoglou-Kaloterakis, Lecturer in the Department of History and Archeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, he presented the annual report to the members, stating that for the year 2015 the total circulation of printed Bibles, New Testaments and Bible portions were 326.222 copies and audio CDs reached 20.521.
In 2015 the total circulation of printed Bibles, New Testaments and Bible portions were 326.222 copies and audio CDs reached 20.521!
A particular reference was made about special orders accepted by the Society in 2015 which greatly support and assist our work. Specifically: The Gideons International (130,000 copies of the New Testament), Hellenic Ministries (120,000 copies of the New Testament), Apostoliki Diakonia of the Church of Greece (10,000 copies of the New Testament), Holy Metropolises Nea Smyrni (2300), Gortyna and Arkadia (1000), Thessaliotis (2000), Demetrias (1000) and Monastery of the Great Meteoron (1000) a total of 7,300 copies of the New Testament 20,000 copies of a special edition of John’s Gospel distributed for free to public Christian Music Events named “Power to change”, with main speaker Tasos Mahairas. These events took place last summer in Athens, Thessaloniki, Larisa and Katerini and were supported by Evangelical and Pentecostal churches.
A special event was the awarding of our Society last May at the UBS Publishers Convention in Seoul with the Annie Valloton prize in the category of children’s books for our series “Stories of Kallistratos” by Vasiliki Nevrokopli and illustration by Athena Robie. This is a popular series of children’s books which began in 2012 with the main character Kallistratos, who tells stories that are based on the parables of Jesus. This award was a recognition of our efforts to produce original children’s publications providing a particular way of understanding the parables. Last December we published a forth volume to the series entitled “Kallistratos and the hidden treasure” based on the homonymous parable.
Our top publishing production last year was the Psalter. One of the most difficult texts to translate of the Old Testament, and its translation required a considerable amount of time. The “Psaltirion” completed a trilogy of publications for liturgy which we created in cooperation with the Special Synodical Committee for Liturgy Renaissance of the Church of Greece. It started with the release of the “Eklogadion” which includes text and translation of the liturgy readings from the New Testament of the whole ecclesiastical year, and continued by publishing the “Prophetologion” with parts from the Old Testament. A originality of the Psaltirion is the division (of the text and translation) into verses, hemistichs and strophes. Particular effort was put into creating a poetic translation of the prototype and the language of the translation, keeping in mind a possible future use of it in liturgy. Please note that the prologue of the “Psaltirion” was written by the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II.
The events our Society organized this previous year were the Scientific Conference held at the Cultural Center of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens. The topic was “The Bible and Greek Literature” which left very positive impressions on the selection of subject, the speakers and amount of audience. Another very interesting initiative of our Society in cooperation with the Institute of Human Science of Jesuits in Athens was the invitation of the internationally renowned vocal ensemble Consortium Vocale Oslo who specialize in Gregorian chanting. A wonderful type of music which is rarely heard in our country and draws its origins from the time of the undivided church. Two spectacular concerts took place that were based on the text of the Psalms: One in Volos under the auspices of our President and sponsored by our Vice President, and one in Athens under the auspices of the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens.
We also ensured, whenever we thought appropriate, to participate in events that contribute to the promotion of our publications. One of them was the 4 day event entitled “Proceeding Christmas” which was organized by the Cultural Center of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens, and the Children’s Book Fair organized by the Book Publishers Association of Athens at the “Stoa Vivliou” during the days of Christmas.
Why the New Testament revision is needed
- The translation of the Old Testament by the Septuagint and the necessity of making use of the translation of the New Testament mainly in the Old Testament quotations
- The need to improve the existing translation in light of any comments which have so far been collected
- The need for linguistic and stylistic changes which reflect the changes in today’s language
The training seminars for new translators continued during the past year and have already created a small group of new scholars which will also begin work on the revision of the New Testament. In previous General Assemblies there had been a lot of discussion about the need of a revision. The reasons leading to this direction quite briefly are: a) The translation of the Old Testament from Septuagint and the necessity of making use of the translation of the New Testament mainly in the Old Testament quotations. b) The need to improve the existing translation in light of any comments which have so far been collected c) The need for linguistic and stylistic changes which reflect the changes in today’s language. An important factor in the work of review is the use of new technologies. Apart from the special online translation program Paratext of UBS there is use of a special online communication platform, Canvas. This way members of the review team can communicate and talk to each other from their home without it being always necessary to physically be present at meetings. Apart from the review group there is an advisory committee composed of expert scholars. It has been decided that the changes made during the translation should not exceed 5% of the existing translation in order to maintain a continuum therewith.
In our relations with the United Bible Societies it is important to mention that is great honor for our Society that Prof. Miltiadis Konstantinou was elected as a member of the World Council (Global Council) of UBS. A few months earlier he was also elected as a member of the Committee of Church Relations of UBS and also retains the chairmanship of Translation Affairs Committee. Professor Christos Karakolis retains his place in the Editorial Committee of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 29 as well as of the Greek New Testament 6th.