The Prelacy’s Lenten program began Wednesday, February 22, the first in a series of six consecutive Wednesday evening programs at St. Illuminator’s Armenian Cathedral in New York City, with the overall theme of “The Book,” the Bible (Asdvadzashoonch). His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, the Prelate, gave the keynote lecture entitled “Armenian Bible translations – yesterday and today.”
Archbishop Oshagan, a seasoned Bible translator, together with Archbishop Zareh of blessed memory have translated the entire New Testament and the Book of Psalms into western Armenian, which was published by the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia in conjunction with the Bible Society of Lebanon (1993), a translation used in public readings in our churches, as well as in private devotion.
His Eminence first spoke about the ancient translations of the Bible, starting with the translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek, known as the Septuagint (sometime after 300BC), from which the Armenian translation of the Old Testament was made. After the invention of the Armenian alphabet, translating the Bible into Armenian was the very first thing our Church Fathers did, first from Syriac and then from Greek, he said. The Bible has been translated into over 2000 languages. The Armenian version is one of the earliest translations after the Syriac, Latin and Coptic. The Armenian translation is recognized as “the Queen of translations.”
His Eminence then turned his attention to modern Armenian translations, in both eastern and western Armenian dialects, translations made by Armenians and non-Armenians. He spoke about different schools of translation, their advantages and disadvantages, giving ample examples. The purpose of translating the Bible, then as now, is to make the Word of God available and understandable for the faithful, said Srpazan Hayr. A lively discussion ensued after Srpazan’s informative presentation.
The evening program also included Lenten Service and table fellowship. Next Wednesday, His Grace Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General, will speak on “The Bible in our worship services.” For details about the upcoming programs, please click here.