“Reading the Bible Together” audio project timed to the 75th birthday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill is presented at Chernigov Metochion in Moscow
The release of the first part of the “Reading the Bible Together. The New Testament” audio project was timed to coincide with the 75th birthday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
It was presented at the Book Chamber of the Patriarchal Metochion of Chernigov Wonder-workers on November 24, 2021, by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, rector of the Ss Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Post-Graduate Studies, co-chairman of the Christian Inter-confessional Consultative Committee (CICC), and rector of the Patriarchal Metochion of Chernigov Wonder-workers.
Working on the project were well-known film and theatre actors, including Yevgeny Mironov, Andrei Zavodyuk, Aleksey Fateyev, Igor Gordin, Sergei Makhhovikov, Aleksey Ivschenko, Aleksandr Gruzdev, Sergei Kolesnikov, Denis Nekrasov, Aleksandr Kovrizhnykh, Igor Taradaikin, and many others.
The Audio Bible has been released as a mobile application which can be downloaded to AppStore and Google Play for free by typing “Библия, читаем вместе” into a search engine.
Heads and representatives of Christian confessions in the Russian Federation, members of the Christian Inter-confessional Consultative Committee were among the guests: Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, ordinary of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, co-chairman of the CCIA; Archbishop Dietrich Brauer, Archbishop of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Russia, co-chairman of the CCIC; Sergei V. Ryakhovsky, Head Bishop of the Russian United Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith (Pentecostals); Peter V. Mitskevich, President of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists; Ivan I. Borichevsky, head of Administration of the Head Bishop of the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith; Oleg Yu. Goncharov, first deputy chairman of the Euro-Asia Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations and secretary of the CCIC; Viktor V. Ignatenkov, senior vice-president of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists; and Dmitry D. Shatrov, deputy Bishop of the Russian United Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith (Pentecostals) in the Northwestern Federal District.
Metropolitan Hilarion opened the presentation by telling those present about the Book Chamber, a religious educational centre functioning fr om September 30, 2021, which can be used for different events, including the presentation of books. “People can buy religious literature here, communicate with one another and discuss various projects pertaining to literature,” the archpastor said.
The work on the “Reading the Bible Together” audio project continued throughout the past year, and its release was timed to the 75th birthday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. “At a meeting with His Holiness yesterday, I presented this project to him and said that I would make its presentation to the leaders of Christian confessions today at the session of the Christian Inter-confessional Consultative Committee,” Metropolitan Hilarion said addressing the participants in the Committee’s meeting, and continued: “His Holiness asked me to greet you all on his behalf and to convey his best wishes and blessing. He expressed hope that the project would be in demand in different Christian confessions in our country – in all places wh ere the Bible is being read and heard in the Russian language.”
The DECR chairman, referring to the reflection-action conference in Moscow in October 2016 devoted to the 140th anniversary of the Synodal version of the Bible, said: “The complicated story of the work on this version actually started at the beginning of the 19th century and finished almost at its end. The work took so long not only due to the necessity of translating the books of the Bible both from Hebrew and Greek, but also because of a strong opposition to the process of Russian translation as such, which was a reality of Russian society of those days. The work began under Alexander I, suspended under Nicholas I, resumed under Alexander II, and only a little over 140 years ago it was completed.”
Today, the Synodal translations of the Bible is a generally accepted version in Russian used by all Christian confessions in our country, added the DECR head.
Speaking about specific features of the new project, His Eminence noted that “the new project differs from other existing audio versions of the Bible by offering a role-reading of the text that is apportioned accordingly among the biblical authors and characters, so that each has his own voice: we hear the voices of Jesus Christ, Evangelist Matthew, Apostle Peter. In addition, the reading proceeds with musical accompaniment at the background, which helps enhance the impression of the text emotionally. Some of the musical pieces were composed especially for this project.”
Metropolitan Hilarion personally took part in checking up the accents and worked with the cast and sound engineers on issues concerning the manner of reading. He said: “Professional actors and readers are skilled in presenting a text in a way that is pleasing to ear and heart. On the other hand, it was very important to avoid artificiality and affectation so that the reading would not be too mannered and imposing. Some actors had to be refused after several casting sessions; others had to work hard in order that their intonation would be natural and not irritating the hearing.”
Composer Svyatoslav Ovodov, taking part in the work on the Audio Bible, wrote the music for “The Revelation.” “I was very impressed by this music,” said the archpastor, “It enhances the perception of the text very much.”
According to Metropolitan Hilarion, one of the reasons for the project “Reading the Bible Together” to get its name was to encourage people to read the Holy Scriptures together. “Every self-respecting person today finds it necessary to have a Bible on the shelf. People buy this thick book, open it and begin reading, understanding nothing or very little, and at a certain moment they give up the endeavor on the excuse of the text being too complicated and time-consuming, or finding some other pretext. Meanwhile reading together, which is possible within a family, in a parish community or at a Bible study meeting, makes comprehension of the sacred text much easier and allows people to perceive it by ear.”
Then those present heard Chapter 21 from the Gospel according to John.
In the opinion of Natalya Roslan, the producer and artistic director of the project, the Bible in the audiobook format in a cell-phone application is very relevant for modern people. “The most important thing is that the texts written almost a century and a half ago sound very topical and up-to-date,” said Natalya Roslan and added that it was an “unimaginable discovery” for all involved in the project.
She said that the 27 books of the New Testament had been already recorded. This is 20 hours and 25 minutes flow of sound. The Old Testament comprises 50 books, which is a 95-hour-long sounding. “We are still in the process of recording the Old Testament, fully aware that the 115 hours call for a huge amount of work. Some of it is already done and some is yet to be done,” the producer and artistic director pointed out and added that the work on the remaining portion of the Audio Bible would continue into the next year.
After that the participants in the presentation heard Chapter I from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans.
The author of the music for the Book of the Revelation, composer Svyatoslav Ovodov, told the audience about the process of composing his piece of music, mentioning that he had completed the composition over a very short period of time – for less than a month and a half. “This is an unthinkable timing for a composer. I am thankful to God for His miraculous presence during my work: otherwise it would have never been humanly possible for me to hold on. We know the contents of this book, its urgency, relevance and mysteriousness. I hope that my music does “catch up” with the text, becoming part of it, and believe that it is a gift from above for me,” said the composer.
Then those present were listening to Chapter 8 from the Revelation.
Members of the Presidium of the Christian Inter-confessional Consultative Committee participating in the presentation unanimously supported the project, underlining its significance and necessity of using the Audio Bible in Christian communities, in work with young people and for listening to it in the family circle.
“The Audio Bible is a piece of creative work. It has involved a large group of professional readers, composers, sound engineers, art advisers, who not only have shared their professional skills doing this work, but also put their heart into it,” Metropolitan Hilarion said in conclusion and, thanking all the participants of the project, wished them God’s aid.
DECR Communication Service