UGCC sets Coordination Group to translate the Holy Scriptures into Ukrainian

01.12.2023, 11:50
UGCC sets Coordination Group to translate the Holy Scriptures into Ukrainian - фото 1
At its 95th session held on November 17–18, 2023, the Hierarchical Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) in Ukraine blessed the commencement of work on a new official translation of the UGCC's Holy Scripture into the Ukrainian language, titled "Kyiv Bible." In accordance with Decree No. 6 of this Synod, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Head of the UGCC, established a coordination group that will work on this translation.

This was reported by the UGCC Information Department.

The principal scientific coordinator of the project, as well as the scientific coordinator for the Old Testament/Greek Bible (Septuagint), appointed by His Beatitude Sviatoslav, is Mr. Vasyl Babota. The scientific coordinators for the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and the New Testament are Mr. Oleg Pravets and Father Roman Ostrovsky, respectively.

The coordination group has been tasked with translating the Holy Scripture from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into Ukrainian within a timeframe of 10 years.

In his Decree, His Beatitude Sviatoslav quoted the document "Dei Verbum" of the Second Vatican Council, which states: "It is necessary for the faithful to have broad access to the Holy Scripture. For this reason, the Church, from the very beginning, made its own ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament under the name of the Septuagint and always honors other Eastern and Latin versions, especially the one called the Vulgate. However, since the Word of God must be accessible to everyone at all times, the Church, with maternal care, ensures that appropriate and accurate translations are made into various languages, preferably starting from the original texts of the sacred books" (para. 22).

Therefore, as stated in the Decree, the Word of God should be expressed in contemporary literary language to ensure that readers and listeners can best understand it and respond to it with their faith. The Patriarch added that this Bible translation project "begins at a time when our lands are enduring a brutal, aggressive war initiated by the Russian aggressor, with great hope that the Lord grants us victory and a just peace," and he imparted his blessing.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav also urged the faithful of the Church to support the group's work with their prayers.

As noted by members of the coordination group, various translations of the Holy Scripture into the Ukrainian language, some partial and others complete, have been published in Ukraine and beyond for centuries. The most well-known translation within the UGCC is that of Father Ivan Homenko (1963, with revisions in 1983 and 2004), which is considered official. Additionally, translations by Father Rafael Turkoniak were presented in 2020 and 2023 and published by the Ukrainian Bible Society.

For each biblical book of the new translation, one biblical scholar will be appointed as a translator, and in certain cases, a highly qualified philologist specializing in Semitic languages, one biblical scholar as a reviewer, and one philologist specializing in biblical languages as another reviewer. The final text will be verified by two experts in the Ukrainian language.

"Initially, we plan to translate the Pentateuch and historical books, prophetic books, Johannine corpus, and Catholic epistles. Later, we plan to begin the next phase: Psalms and wisdom books, Synoptic Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, and Pauline corpus. It is considered reasonable to publish individual volumes of biblical books, enabling wider discussion, critique of the translation, and, later, the complete official translation of the Holy Scripture. We are also considering the possibility of publishing a translation of biblical books with explanations," noted members of the coordination group Vasyl Babota, Oleg Pravets, and Father Roman Ostrovsky.