Scripture Distribution Report 2017

More than 20% of all Bibles distributed by the United Bible Societies (UBS) fellowship in 2017 were downloaded from the internet. It’s the first time Scripture downloads have been recorded separately by Bible Societies – and it shows that online distribution is increasingly significant.

While overall Scripture distribution fell by 
12% globally, the number of full Bibles made available around the world topped 34 million for the third year running. Of these, more than 7.9 million Bibles were downloaded, primarily on apps such as YouVersion. In total, more than 107 million full Bibles have been distributed by the UBS fellowship since 2015.

Nearly 355 million Scripture items, including Bibles, Testaments, Gospels and smaller Scripture items like booklets for people learning to read, were distributed (or downloaded) in 2017. UBS continues to be largest translator and distributor of Scripture on the planet; around 70% of the world’s full Bible translations have been provided by Bible Societies.

The figures are compiled from annual Scripture distribution numbers reported by Bible Societies around the world, and include local sales and exports of Scripture material and unique internet downloads.

God’s Word at our fingertips

The full Bible was downloaded more than 7.9 million times in 2017 as unique downloads – but this is a conservative figure and it’s likely the real number of downloads was much higher. Around 90 Bible Societies are now making their Scripture translations available online, using hundreds of different websites, such as bibles.org, and apps such as YouVersion. In addition, more than three-quarters of Bible Societies have received training in how to make the Bible available digitally.

The Europe-Middle East region had the highest proportion of Bible downloads; 44% of all Bibles distributed there were provided online. But the Americas saw the biggest number of Bible downloads – some 5.4 million.

The download data for 2017 has been collated from YouVersion and tracking within individual Bible Societies. It errs on the conservative side, with downloads under- counted, but the data collection is a step forward from last year – and will become increasingly accurate in the coming years.

Most Bible Societies now store their texts in the Digital Bible Library (DBL), which is developed and maintained by UBS in partnership with other Bible agencies. It was launched in 2011 and has grown rapidly since then, making the Bible more accessible than ever before. By the end of 2017, the DBL contained 1,735 Scripture texts in 1,269 languages, spoken by 5.6 billion people.

Scriptures for conflict zones

More people are displaced today than ever before; an unprecedented 65.6 million people have been forced from their homes around the world. It’s a humanitarian crisis that has touched almost every region of the world. And it’s led to a huge demand for Scripture among people who long for God’s comfort, hope and healing.

In South Sudan, where four million people have been driven from their homes, Scripture distribution has increased dramatically. The Bible Society there has distributed more than 250,000 Bibles since the conflict began in December 2013, compared with an average of around 6,000 Bibles a year before the war started.

After four years of conflict in eastern Ukraine, 4.4 million people are in a ‘dire humanitarian situation’, according to the United Nations. Last year, the Ukrainian Bible Society distributed more than 190,000 Scriptures, many of them to people affected by the fighting, including refugees, soldiers and hospital patients. Half of those distributed were special editions of the New Testament, including a waterproof one for the military and another that highlights verses about hope.

“Amid tension, people are looking for the comfort and stability that is found in the Word of God,” said Bible Society General Secretary Rev Oleksandr Babiychuk.

Meanwhile, two million Scripture items, including more than 350,000 full Bibles, have been distributed in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq since conflict hit the region in 2011. A record number of Scripture portions – 200,281
– were distributed in Syria in 2017. George Andrea, who leads the team of four Bible Society staff in Syria, said the Aleppo bookshop has remained open almost every day throughout seven years of war.

“During Christmas we organised our greatest distribution ever,” said George. “You should see the children when they receive these gifts. They feel the Bible is a gift from God, special for them. In this way, we give children hope that God will help them pass through this bad time.”

15 million print Bibles in five nations

Five countries accounted for more than 40% of the global distribution of full printed Bibles by Bible Societies.


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


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


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.


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.


Bible and Visual Arts

The Hellenic Bible Society organized on the 16th and 17th of December at the Cultural Center of the Archdiocese of Athens, an International Conference on “Bible and Visual Arts”. The Conference began with the opening address of the Hellenic Bible Society’s General Secretary Mr. Michalis Chatzigiannis, while the representative of the Church of Greece Bishop of Velestino Damaskinos read the salutation of the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Ieronymos II.

Conference sessions began with Prof. Miltiadis Konstantinou, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki presiding during the presentation of Professor of Philosophy Christos Yannaras under the title “How does Painting Read the Bible? Gruenewald’s Crucified and the Crucified from Dafni”.

The second session of the day was presided by Professor Emeritus from the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Dimitris Kaimakis and included two presentations. The first one from the Associate Professor at the School of Visual and Applied Arts at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Stella Lavva under the title “Bible Reception in European Painting of the thcentury” and the second one from the Assistant Professor at the School of History and Archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Melina Paisidou under the title “Iconographical Issues from the Area of Prespes and Ohrid during the 15thcentury”.

The first session of Saturday morning was presided by Associate Professor from the Faculty of Theology at University of Athens Konstantinos Zarras and included three presentations. The first, by the archivist and librarian of the Catholic Archdiocese of Naxos-Tinos fr. Markos Foskolos had the title “Biblia Pauperum – Biblia Analphabetarum: The Holy Scripture during the Romanesque and Gothic Era”, the second, by the Director of the Greek Historical Evangelical Archive Mr. Ioannis Tsevas had the title “Van Gogh and the Bible”, and the third, by the Lecturer of the Faculty of Architecture at Ariel University in Israel Edna Langenthal, had the title “The Garden of Paradise as a Pre-House”.

The second session was presided by the Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki fr. Ioannis Skiadaresis included three presentations. Georgios Kordis, theologian, painter and iconographer presented on “Painting Dialogue with Biblical Subjects. Performance and Art”. The following presentation, by fr. Loukas Xenofontinos, an hagiographer, was on “Inspiration and Artistic Creation under the Light of the Holy Scripture”. Konstantinos Xenopoulos, Master Hagiographer of the Patriarchate of Alexandria presented on “Tradition in Art”.

During the final part of the Conference there was a round table discussion in which fr. Loukas Xenofontinos, Georgios Kordis, and Konstantinos Xenopoulos participated. The round table was presided by the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Miltiadis Konstantinou.

The scientific committee of the conference comprised of: Ioannis Karavidopoulos (Prof. Emeritus of the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Miltiadis Konstantinou (Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), and Konstantinos Zarras (Associate Professor of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Athens).

You can watch the Conference’s presentations by clicking on each title through our YouTube Channel: Hellenic Bible Society

For more photos click here.


50 new Scripture translations completed last year

In 2015 Bible Societies assisted in the completion of translations in 50 languages spoken by nearly 160 million people.

2015 was ‘a first’ for no fewer than 28 languages, spoken by nearly 33 million people. 11 communities now have their very first full Bible, 6 have a New Testament and 11 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 2015 this resulted in a further 20 new translations and revisions plus 2 study editions with the potential to reach over 127 million people.

100 Bibles in 1000 Days

In 2013 United Bible Societies identified 100 full Bibles that could be translated by the end of 2015. We are pleased to report that 90 have completed the translation stage with 53 published and encouraging their communities, and 37 in pre-production or printing.

Please pray for all those working on the remaining 10 translations that they will be able to complete their work as soon as possible. Please also pray for two confidential projects which have been completed but need permission from the authorities before they can be published.

Scripture Access Today

GSAR-2015-graph-en

563 languages (spoken by nearly 5.1 billion people) now have a full Bible and a further 1,334 languages (spoken by 658 million people) have a New Testament. This leaves 281 million people with only some portions of the Bible and a further 497 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 – so much work still remains to be done. Furthermore, languages are constantly changing; therefore we are committed to ensuring that existing translations are regularly revised and new translations undertaken to meet the needs of the communities that use them. Bible Societies is currently working on over 400 translation projects around the world.