Monastery Slava

On a beautiful day, Saturday, February 15th, we served the Divine Liturgy with Bishop Maxim officiating, at Monastery of the Meeting of the Lord in Escondido, California.

The Ioannite Sect

Reading The Rasputin Files, an account of this very mysterious figure Grigory. Came across this passage about Fr John of Kronstadt. Wasn’t it ROCOR that initially canonized him. I knew that he was a controversial priest but had no idea that there was an entire sect that worshipped him:

Masoretic vs. Septuagint

Not many people in church yesterday for the Feast of the Three Hierarchs. About seven of us in total. But a very nice liturgy. Quiet. Uneventful if one can say that of the Holy Eucharist. It definitely has it’s advantages, those less attended weekly liturgies. Below is a text and topic that has greatly interested me in the past and still does today. Enjoy.

Age old debate. HT here

Masoretic vs Septuagint : Guns, Lies and Forgeries

A Bible Story By Robert E. Reis

Once upon a time there was a tribe living in the Middle East that had a collection of sacred texts written in Hebrew, Chaldean and Aramaic. It is the nature of sacred tests to be venerated and transmitted from generation to generation unaltered.

As time passed members of this tribe emigrated to areas where Hebrew and Aramaic and Chaldean were not spoken. A large community settled and prospered in the city of Alexandria in Egypt. Greek replaced their tribal language. They needed an accurate translation of their venerated documents into Greek.

Around 250 B.C. seventy rabbis translated the sacred texts into Greek. This translation was not a bootleg edition. The project was approved by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. The Septuagint, the translation of the seventy, was an official document.

A Hebrew Bible exists today. It is used by Jews everywhere. It is called the Masoretic text. It was compiled around 700 A.D. It is almost one thousand years newer than the Septuagint. The rabbis who compiled the Masoretic text were not accountable to the High Priest in Jerusalem. There no longer was a High Priest. The rabbis who compiled the Masoretic text were not accountable to the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. There no longer was a Sanhedrin.

The Septuagint predates the first appearance of the Masoretic text by almost ten centuries. The Septuagint is based upon Hebrew texts at least twelve centuries older than the texts upon which the Masoretic version is based. Yet, modern Christian translations of the Old Testament rely on the Masoretic Text, not the Septuagint.

Where is the problem?

Most of the quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament used the Septuagint as their primary source. The integrity and truthfulness of the Septuagint is completely dependent on the Septuagint being a truthful translation. Discredit the Septuagint and there is no New Testament.

There was no controversy about the integrity of the Septuagint from 250 B.C. until 135 A. D.

What had happened to provoke dissatisfaction with the Septuagint among the Jews?

Annas and Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin had rejected the messianic claims of Jesus. The New Testament documents had been written and were circulating by A.D. 70. The Jews knew that the credibility of the Christian Gospels depended on the credibility of the Septuagint.  Something had to be done.
Around 95 A.D. Rabbi Akiva, who later proclaimed Bar Kochba as the messiah, hired a man named Aquila to translate a Hebrew to Greek version of the Old Testament that would undermine the messianic claims of Jesus found in the Septuagint. Some scholars believe that the Masoretic text was based in part on this tendentious translation by Aquila.

How is the Masoretic text different from the Septuagint?

Psalm 22:16 the word “pierced” has been replaced by “lion”.

Psalm 145: 13 omitted entirely.

Isaiah 53:11 the word “light” is omitted.

On 134 occasions the Tetragrammaton, the name of God, has been replaced by “Adonai”.

Psalm 151 was omitted entirely. (It is now omitted by almost all Christian Bibles !)

Exodus 1: The number 75 replaced by 70

Genesis 10:24 some generations removed.

Deuteronomy 32:8 “Angels Of Elohim” replaced with “children of Israel.”

Jeremiah 10 verses 6 and 7 have been added in the Masoretic.

Psalm 96:10 “Say among the nations, YHWH reigns from the wood” omitted.

Isaiah 19:18 “city of righteousness” changed to the “city of the sun” or in some versions “the city of destruction.”

The Masoretic scribes purposely and willfully rearranged the original chapter order in the prophetic Book of Daniel, so that the chapters make no sense chronologically.

Isaiah 61:1 “recovery of sight to the blind.”.  Omitted.

In Psalm 40:6 “a body you have prepared for me” was replaced by “you opened my ears.”

Deuteronomy 32:43 ‘Let all the messengers of Elohim worship him.’” Omitted.

Genesis 4:8: “Let us go into the field” is omitted.

Deuteronomy 32:43. Moses’ song is shortened.

Isaiah 53 contains 10 spelling differences, 4 stylistic changes and 3 missing letters for light in verse 11, for a total of 17 differences.

Isaiah 7:14. “Virgin” replaced by “young woman.”

(When Aquila made his Greek translation of the Old Testament at the behest of Rabbi Akiva, he changed the Septuagint’s “virgin” into “young woman”. The Masoretic compilers may have followed his lead.)

The Masoretic text differs from the Septuagint in hundreds of places.

How do we know which text is accurate?

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered just after World War II.

According to carbon dating, textual analysis, and handwriting analysis the documents were written at various times between the middle of the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD.  There are fragments from all of the books of the Hebrew Bible fragments except the Book of Esther and the Book of Nehemiah.

In addition an independent Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible exists, the Peshitta.

Control of the Dead Sea Scrolls was a military objective of Israelis. It was achieved by their victory in the Six Days War.

The publication of the scrolls slowed to a trickle.

After 1971, the international team even refused to allow the publication of photographs of the material. They excluded scholars who wanted to make independent evaluations.

The embargo was not broken until 1991.

An addition to the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars can use the Peshitta to decide between the Masoretic text and the Septuagint.

I have given examples above of some of the places the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Peshitta, and the Septuagint agree.

The Masoretic Text is part of a tradition that began with Rabbi Akiva. Rabbis rewrote the Jewish Bible to destroy the credibility of the New Testament.

The Hebrew versions of the Old Testament have been used to proclaim scores of “messiahs” . The Septuagint was only used once.

Examples for Priests and People

3-hierarchsA loose translation of a homily delivered by Bishop Joanikije on the Feast of the Holy Three Hierarchs Here. 

We celebrate today three Apostles of Christ, who after the Holy Apostles continued, in the true sense of the word, the apostolic service throughout the ecumene. We refer to them ecumenical teachers and saints – which truly they are – and they are saints because they took their cross, all three of them, and as the Holy apostles, followed Christ from their youth.

During the reign of Constantine and following the Edict of Milan, many pagans came to the Church, and the righteous of God and ecumenical teachers, Saints whom we commemorate today, took up themselves the people who were not yet enlightened enough. There were plenty of Christians during the pagan reign of the Roman Empire, but we mustn’t forget that Christianity was persecuted and all the way up until Constantine, and after him, many held to pagan, Hellenism, while these Saints, who studied worldly knowledge and wisdom, literature, philosophy, were well educated in history, the arts, and knew how to approach the people who were not Christian.

They Christianized the ancient Hellenic culture and civilization, at the same time, being opened to those newly come to the Church of God, they preserved as the Apostles once did Christ’s holy faith of God’s Revelation, the holy mystery of the Church of God. Receiving the pagans they, in fact, gave them the Gospel of God. To this day they are – after the Holy Apostles – the greatest authority in the Church, besides St. John the Baptist and Mother of God. After the Holy Apostles we always mention these three Holy and great hierarchs.

The joint feast of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory the Great was established later. As usually happens among people, there was a dispute about which one of them is the greatest. Each of them was great in something but their greatness , in fact, is the same. Each of them used their gift to the glory of God and it had a great effect, they all lived holy lives. They all shared the same faith, they all followed the same path, and though their gifts varied, and had different abilities and talents, they multiplied them.  They are among the ones who multiplied their talents, who shine upon us with their holy lives, holy deeds, and teachings. All three have great knowledge of Holy Scripture, all three have great knowledge of worldly wisdom, but – above all- they are people of faith, people of prayer, people of holy living, asceticism, podvig and battle, examples to this day for every priest and every Christian.