Over the past 30 years, American Bible Society(ABS) has been steadily building a very strong relationship with the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States, and with the Hellenic Bible Society, in Greece. This relationship began with the first approved product known as “Come Receive the Light”-a Good News New Testament, back in the 1980’s.
For the last 10 years, ABS’s Greek Orthodox Ministry Team has been instrumental in further developing this relationship, and working collaboratively on projects with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. These projects have met the many needs of the Greek community and further engaged the Orthodox faithful in reading the Scriptures. This partnership has influenced the creation and distribution of many Greek Orthodox Scripture resources, which have impacted thousands of lives, including the first-ever:
Children’s Bible Reader
ABS, in cooperation with the Hellenic Bible Society and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, published the first ever Orthodox illustrated Bible Stories for children in Greek, English, and Spanish. 10,000 copies were reprinted in 2012, and this book has been published in over 9 additional languages by Bible Societies around the world. An interactive flash based online version http://cbr.goarch.org gives children an interactive experience of the most popular Bible stories. The stories are accompanied with an audio track, beautiful drawings, and interactive games.
Orthodox Youth Bible
The Orthodox Youth Bible was distributed free of charge in 2012. 7000 copies were made available to all summer youth camps in the USA and at the Ionian Village in Greece. This Bible is part of a kit to help young people learn key scripture lessons. Also included in this kit are an Orthodox calendar and a moderator discussion guide. Funding for this project was through a generous grant made possible by The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund (Leadership 100) which supports the priority needs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and is broadly dedicated to advancing the Orthodox faith and Hellenic ideals in the United States.
New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs, Pocket Sized Orthodox Youth Edition
2012 also brought the publication and distribution of 15,000 copies of a pocket-sized New Testament and Psalms, Orthodox Youth Edition. Because of the success of the Orthodox Youth Bible, this New Testament was also made available to Churches for their youth and contains articles relevant for teenagers and young adults.
Military New Testament for Orthodox Christians
Also in 2012 a second printing(5,000 copies) of the Military New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs was made possible in response to the request and funding from Leadership 100.This pocket-sized New Testament has been an incredible success and support for the 25,000+ Orthodox service personnel in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Biennial Clergy Laity Congress
In July of 2012, ABS sent two delegates from the Greek Ministry Team to attend the Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress in Phoenix Arizona from July 1-5, 2012. Sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America this Congress is a gathering of religious and lay leaders from around the United States . The central theme was “Chosen and Appointed by God to Go and Bear Fruit”. This theme has been central to the ABS-Greek Orthodox Archdiocese partnership, influencing the creation and distribution of many Greek Orthodox Scripture resources. Over 1,200 participants and 330 parishes from across the U.S. attended along with the Archdiocesan Council, National Philoptochos, the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council, the Sisterhood of Presvyteres, the Retired Greek Orthodox Clergy of America and the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Also in attendance is a representative from The Ecumenical Patriarchate. The event provides greater insight into National Greek Orthodox Ministries as well as the administrative and legislative process of the Archdiocese. ABS had a booth at the event which enabled our team to display new and upcoming projects and speak about Bible Society work. The Clergy-Laity Congress occurs every two years and will reconvene in the summer of 2014.
ABS Prayer Breakfast
On February 8, 2013, seven Greek Orthodox religious and lay leaders supported the American Bible Society’s third annual Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
Orthodox Family and Wedding Bible
The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund approved a grant of $50,000, to create and publish an Orthodox Wedding and Family Bible designed in the Orthodox tradition, produced for purchase in the Orthodox Marketplace online store, and geared to Orthodox married couples and their families. The only such family Bibles currently available are produced in Greece; consequently, many parishes distribute Protestant-based Bibles to Orthodox couples being married in the Greek Orthodox Church. Funds will be used to license the Revised Standard Version English-language text and print (after a multiple printing bid process) an initial run of 8,000 copies. The Archdiocese Department of Family and Ministry will collaborate with American Bible Society with a projected publication date of November 2013.
Orthodox Study Bible
An Orthodox Study Bible is being developed by a team of both New and Old Testament Scholars. This Bible study tool will be used by Orthodox Christians all over the world.
Greek Orthodox Advisory Council
An advisory council will be established in 2013 with the objective of providing guidance and support for the partnership between American Bible Society, the Hellenic Bible Society, and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit and Mr. Jerry Dimitriou, both ABS Board of Trustee members, will be honorary Chairmen. The other members will be well known and established members of the Greek Orthodox community in the United States. Members will come from both Clergy and Laity.
Or e-mail us at: Orthodox@AmericanBible.org
Cover photo of the Pantocrator from St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, Orange, CT. © Patric Marchitto, Used with Permission