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.


25th General Assembly of the Hellenic Bible Society

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


New Testament distribution in Exarchia

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Exarchia is a region located in the center of Athens. From the dictatorship period the area was inhabited by students and people with controversial anti-authoritarian spirit and beliefs. Today it is still full of young people, as there are many universities nearby, but also drug addicts and people living on the margins of society. It is worth noting that even today during demonstrations in the city center, small groups of people who act violently, find refuge in the area, because there is some kind of asylum from the police intervention.

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The Exarchia area is full of cafes, bars and art galleries, where many young people hang out, teens that finished school, students and unemployed. Usually these people have general questions that form the basis of questioning of traditional values of the society and the authorities, as the political, judicial and religious.

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Our goal is to reach those who are frequently in the area with an illustrated edition of the New Testament with images which won’t have anything in common with the stereotypes that these groups of people have in mind about God’s Word. The selection of photos have already begun and will naturally incorporate the photos that have to do with everyday life in the region, which will help readers to feel comfortable with the book, recognizing in it images of their lives.

Pray

  • for the achievement of the program
  • to find places (cafes, bars) that would accept to have the New Testament
  • that God’s Word would play a catalytic role in people’s lives
Support our effort

Near the akrites of our borders

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The Metropolitan of Didymotichon and Orestias, Damaskinos, accompanied by the Deputy Commander of the XVI Division Brigadier John Makris and the Commander of the 21st Regiment Colonel Andrew Floratos visited the Greek Military Posts of Marasion and Ormenion at the tri-border of Greece-Turkey-Bulgaria.

During the past four years 40,000 New Testaments have been distributed. Support us with a donation to our Society so that we may continue this project of distributing New Testament for free to men and women of the Armed Forces.


Affection love and concern was shown to the akrites of the borders by the Church and other than sweets, they distributed New Testaments offered by the Hellenic Bible Society. The Military Post staff reciprocated to his Eminence by singing the New Year Carols, the Commander gave the Metropolitan a commemorative with the emblem of the Unit.

 

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Record number of Bibles distributed by Bible Societies in 2014

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A total of 428,2 million copies of God’s Word distributed by Bible Societies in 2014!


2014 saw the highest number of printed Bibles ever distributed by Bible Societies around the world. Nearly 34 million full Bibles were distributed, a rise of 6% over 2013’s figures, and 14% higher than the number distributed in the first year of the decade.
In total, 428.2 million Scriptures were distributed by Bible Societies in 2014, including full Bibles, Testaments, Gospels and other smaller Scripture items – representing a 7% and a 17% increase over 2013 and 2010 respectively.


Distribution of New Testaments by Metropolitan of Lagada Ioannis

al14908_us44_20141217111433_dsc_13081000The Metropolitan of Lagada, Litis and Redinis Ioannis visited the Army Camp “Cavalry MAJ Prokopidis” on the morning of December 17th 2014, where he attended the awarding of honorary diplomas to graduate Soldiers of the Outpost Training Recruits.

In his short speech he gave wishes and blessings of our Holy Church, congratulated all graduates for the excellent training they received and which will help them better defend our country from any danger or threat, while simultaneously distributing the New Testament, published by the Hellenic Bible Society and wishing everyone hal14908_us44_20141217111413_dsc_13071600ealth and strength on the occasion of the celebrations and to continue successfully doing this hard work which comes with great responsibility.

 

 

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The New Testament by the Metropolis of Fthiotis

The Metropolitan of Fthiotis Mr. Nikolaos, presents the special edition of the New Testament on behalf of the Metropolis of Fthiotis translated by the Hellenic Bible Society.