Message of the Romanian Patriarch Daniel at The Eight International East-West Symposium of New Testament Scholars

Message of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, at The Eight International East-West Symposium of New Testament Scholars (26-31 May 2019, Holy Cross Social-Pastoral Centre, Caraiman Monastery):

 Holy Scripture, source of light and communion between peoples and generations

Christ is Risen!

The Eight International East-West Symposium of New Testament Scholars, organised by the Romanian Patriarchate in cooperation with the Eastern European Liaison Committee (EELC) and with the support of the State Secretariat for Religious Denominations, represents a significant event taking place from 26-31 May 2019, at the Holy Cross Social-Pastoral Centre, Caraiman Monastery, and brings together Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant specialists in New Testament studies, from the country and from abroad.

The first meeting was organised in 1998, at the Theological Seminary in Neamţ Monastery. Subsequently, several academic meetings were held, which were organised at: Rila Monastery, Bulgaria (2001), Sankt-Petersburg, Russia (2005), Sâmbăta de Sus, Romania (2007), Minsk, Belarus (2010), Belgrade, Serbia (2013) and Moscow, Russia (2016).

The Symposium in Caraiman is the eighth of a series of events organised by EELC in Orthodox majority countries in Eastern Europe.

The topic of this year’s meeting is Anthropology in the New Testament and in the Tradition of the Church, and will be addressed both in major papers, entitled: Anthropology in Old Testament and Hellenistic Judaism, in the Synoptic Gospels, in the Gospel according to John, and in the Pauline Epistles, as well as in secondary papers with the following titles: Anthropology and Ethics, Anthropology and Creation, Anthropology and Eschatology.

The objective of this symposium is to analyse, at academic level, a central theological theme with profound New Testament biblical implications, as well as to highlight the role and importance of the Holy Scripture in the history of mankind.

In this way, we can contribute to the knowledge of the truths of faith revealed by the Holy Book – the Bible, which constitutes the basis and root of all Christian denominations, beyond doctrinal, canonical and liturgical differences.

The translation of the Holy Scripture into the language of each nation has been, from ancient times, a special concern of the Church so that the message of the Gospel may be assumed by every believer personally.

Let us remember that at the Feast of the Pentecost, the Holy Spirit blessed the languages ​​of the Gentiles, making them vessels worthy to receive and confess God the Word in the specificity of their words.

It is for this reason that the translation of the Holy Scripture into different languages ​​from the first centuries has been understood as a principal activity of the Church, through which the Word of God was made accessible to every nation in its own mother tongue.

In order to mark the historical moment of the 320th anniversary of the first complete translation of the Bible into Romanian, a translation known in history as the Bible from Bucharest, the Bible of Şerban or the Bible from 1688, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church decided that 2008 will be dedicated to the Holy Scripture and the Divine Liturgy in the Romanian Patriarchate.

By doing so, it has shown appreciation towards the Holy Scripture, as God’s Word preserved and preached by the Church, commemorating those who have laboured to translate and print the Bible in the Romanian language over three centuries.

The Romanian Patriarchate pays special attention to the fidelity of the Romanian translation of the Holy Scripture to the original text, as well as to the need for expressing it in an understandable way by the people, avoiding both unknown archaisms and neologisms that are difficult to integrate into the rite of the Church.

Over time, several editions of the Holy Scripture and the New Testament have been printed at the Publishing Houses of the Romanian Patriarchate; we mention the Synodal Bible dedicated to the Centenary Year, printed on the occasion of the 100th anniversary since the establishment of the Romanian unitary national state (1918 -2018).

At the same time, the year 2019 was proclaimed by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church as the Commemorative Year of Patriarchs Nicodim Munteanu and Iustin Moisescu and of the translators of church books. In this context, the Symposium also includes a session devoted to translations of Holy Scripture into Romanian.

As Reverend Professor Dumitru Stăniloae explains, regarding the prophetic role of the Holy Scripture in the history of the Romanian people: “The Bible has played a huge role, the primordial role in the spiritual formation of the Romanian people since its inception, not only since 1688, when we have it all printed in Romanian. But since then it has begun to play an even bigger one. And it will play an ever-increasing, uninterrupted, role in the whole future history of our nation”[1].

We congratulate the organisers of this symposium and bless all the participants, hoping that this event will contribute to the enhancement of academic ties between the faculties of theology represented by teachers here present, in order to confess and promote the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, that enlightens everyone coming into the world(John 1:9).

† Daniel
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church

[1] Prof. Dr. Dumitru Stăniloae, Cultură și Duhovnicie, vol. II, BASILICA Publishing House of the Romanian Patriarchate, Bucharest, 2012, p. 319.

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