News Archive 2006
December 31, 2006
news of Bible translation
The Four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles in the Dungan language have been published
The translation of the Holy Scriptures into Slavonic in the 11th century had an incredible impact on society. In this era of information technology the first translation into a language is unlikely to have the same effect. Yet much can still be achieved, and that is why the Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) started translating the Bible into the language of an ethnic minority (69,000 people), who live in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Their language is called Dungan. The first book of the Bible to be translated into Dungan was the Gospel of Mark (2002). This year the Institute has published a second book in Dungan, the Four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.
Historically, the Dungans came from China, where there are still about 8 million Dungan (Hui). The Dungans speak a Chinese dialect, which is related to the language of North-Eastern China and belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family. Even though all links with China were broken when the Dungans migrated to the Russian Empire in the 19th century, the Chinese foundation of the Dungan language has not changed much. However, the Dungan language has acquired many loanwords from Arabic, Farsi, Russian, Kyrgyz and other languages. There are two main dialects spoken by the Central Asian Dungans – Gansu (named after the Chinese Gansu province) and Shaanxi (named after Shaanxi province). The Dungans in China still use Chinese script, but the Central Asian Dungans started writing in their own language only in the 1920s. A complete transfer to Cyrillic script was made in 1952-53. That script is now used by the Dungans in Central Asia.
During the translation process the Institute has developed a good relationship with the Dungan Department at the Kyrgyz National Academy of Sciences. Famous experts on the Dungan language and culture have taken part in the translation work. When the text was tested on speakers of the language, it was obvious that the translation is well understood and written in modern literary language. It is now clear that it is possible to translate the Holy Scriptures into Dungan for the people to read and understand – and the Institute for Bible Translation will continue translating new books of the Bible. The next publication will be the Pentateuch, which the Institute plans to publish in 2008.
Our hope for the Dungan people is that the translation of the Holy
Scriptures will promote not only a spiritual revival, but also a
revival of their language, culture and education – as it has for
many other ethnic groups around the world.
On 8 September 2006 a book of Bible stories in the Shor language was launched in Tashtagol, the main city of the Shor people in southern Siberia. An audio-recorded version of the book was presented at the same time. The event was covered by press, radio and TV.
The presentation began with a group of priests singing in powerful harmony followed by prayer by Bishop Aristarch of Tashtagol. After this the Bishop spoke about the Orthodox mission activities in the last century, and he expressed satisfaction that similar work was going on even now - meaning the translation of Bible texts. He talked about the importance of this work and mentioned the tradition in the Orthodox Church of reading the text in different languages at Easter. Addressing the priest of the church in Tashtagol, he stressed that it is time to start preaching in the Shor language.
Sergey Sytchov, exegetical checker of the translation group and master of ceremonies, welcomed the participants and conveyed greetings from IBT in Moscow.
The translator, Gennady Kostochakov, talked about the problems and difficulties of translation, how he had learnt to translate, and the role that the translation is playing in the enrichment of words in the Shor language. His speech clearly showed the participants how difficult this work is and how much effort is required to provide such a book today.
Sergey Sytchov reported on IBT’s work, citing examples from the translation process. He also raised the questions “Why do we translate the Bible?” and “Is translation needed?” Several participants took part in the discussion.
A representative of the cultural administration said: “This book is of help to us as it gives useful words and expressions and it will help us to speak with people in our language when we organize Christian festivals (such as Christmas).”
Representatives of the Shore ethnographical organization expressed their concern regarding the issue of spiritual development among the Shors. They said they felt unable to reconcile the spiritual heritage of their people with Christian spirituality. The team members explained that Christianity brings one truth for all peoples and is not called to destroy the cultural heritage of each particular nation.
person commented: “Bible translation contributes to the
development of the language, which is the first and most important
significance of this book. Secondly, the publication in the Shor
language broadens vision and offers knowledge about faith. Taking
into account the syncretism in the Shor mentality, I think that
the Bible will solve the problems of the revival of Shor
A celebration to launch the Chuvash Children’s Bible took place in the National Library of Cheboksary, Chuvashia, on 4 September.
With great expectation people began to gather long before the event. Parents came with their children, teachers with their pupils; there were people interested in Bible translation, as well as all those specially invited by the Ministry of Culture. The event was covered by Chuvash press, radio and TV.
In his introduction Deputy Minister of Culture Michail Krasnov stated: “In order to make our country wealthy and to revive the economy, we need people who are spiritually and morally rich … Today with the help of the Institute for Bible Translation we have received the Children’s Bible in Chuvash. It is significant that this book has been published in this year that the Chuvash president declared “the year of spiritual revival”. Nothing is better for children than to read the laws of life in their own language … It is important that every child should read this book, and this will be a great task for our teachers and librarians. We have received this book free of charge for every library and school, thanks to IBT which has given us 5000 copies.”
This is an eternal book, which will be passed on from generation to generation,” said Svetlana Starikova, director of the National Library. “It is not a book which will stop being useful after a year. I hope that when the children read this book with their parents it will bring them to faith… It is a great gift not only to believers but also to those who are seeking. The book will greatly assist in preserving the Chuvash language and also spirituality, because there cannot be culture without spirituality.”
Inspired by these words of encouragement and the good reception of the Children's Bible, the IBT Chuvash translation team is now looking ahead to the next stage of the Chuvash Bible translation project. This is to complete the final checking and to arrange the external review of the New Testament, which is expected to be published in 2007-08.
The translation work on these books began in Vladikavkaz in 1999. The translation team comprised translator Suren Vaneyev, exegetical checkers Tamara Bagaty and Inna Smirnova, and philological editor Safar Khabliyev. The books were also printed in Vladikavkaz.
of the Institute on the Ossetic project is nearly complete. The
previous book from this project was the New Testament, published
in September 2004. Now IBT is working on Psalms. It is planned to
publish this under one cover with a new revised edition of the New
Testament that takes account of feedback from readers that is
being studied and analysed now. This publication will be IBT’s
last in the Old Testament series in the Ossetic language. We hope
that, in addition to these three books, the whole Old Testament
will soon be available to Ossetic readers, thanks to the efforts
of other translation agencies (Russian Bible Society and United
The books and audio cassettes have been sent to the region for distribution among the Shor people.
According to the 2002 census, there are more than 14,000 Shors. They live in remote villages in Gornaya Shoriya, a region close to Altai and Khakassia, and call themselves “Tadar-Kizhi”. Shor is a Turkic language.
Literacy in the closely related Altaic language started to develop as early as the 1940s. However, not one book of the Bible had been translated into Shor until recently. The Orthodox Missionary Fellowship had published a book about sacred history in the Shor language, but this was not a translation but a brief account of basic bible texts. From the early 1990s a start was made on publishing books again in Shor. Schools began to teach Shor language and literature, and interest in the traditional culture grew.
On the initiative of the Institute for Bible Translation, the Gospel of Mark was translated into Shor and published in 2004. Today IBT is able to present a second book of the Bible in this language – this time for children. It is the illustrated Bible Stories, containing a selection of stories from IBT’s The Children’s Bible. The book was produced by an IBT team, including translator Gennadiy Kostochakov (famous Shor poet and lecturer at the Pedagogical Academy in Kuzbasska), philological editor Lyubov Arbachakova (famous Shor poet, artist and trained folklorist) and exegetical checker Sergey Sychov (with more than ten years’ experience of work in several IBT projects).
Sychov comments: “In our translation work we face the huge task of
not only conveying the contents of the Book of books with the help
of the Shor language, but also of doing this through the prism of
the Shor worldview – not imposing ancient Greek, Hebrew or Slavic
worldviews on them, but opening up the world of fellowship with
God through means that they understand and can relate to… The
problem is that many of the Shor people have forgotten their own
language and cannot read in Shor without help. But I have seen how
people have wrestled to understand the translation of the Biblical
texts because it is their language; it is their culture, their
future. The illustrated Bible Stories in Shor (excerpts
from the Old and New Testaments) will be the first Shor Bible.
Even though it is an abbreviated version, this book will give
answers to the main question: ‘What is the meaning of life?’”
Kabardians, Adyges, Tabassarans, Nogais and other representatives of IBT’s Caucasian translation projects gathered in Nalchik, northern Caucasus, for a training seminar on comprehension testing. Experienced co-workers from SIL and IBT provided the teaching both for experienced testers to enable them to share their expertise with beginners, and for potential new testers.
the participants turned theory into practice, were divided into
pairs and acted out possible scenarios. Each person had the
opportunity to be both tester and respondent. After each session the
participants were asked to write up an analysis of the results, just
as if it were to be presented to a translation group. Afterwards the
scenarios were discussed and the participants were given feedback.
They were also taught how best to prepare the text for testing.
02.07.2006 | IBT has published The Children’s Bible in Chuvash. This is the thirty-third translation of the book of illustrated Bible stories, well-known to many Russian readers. The book was first published in Russian, but has now been translated into many non-Slavic languages in Russia and the CIS. For many people this book has been the first step towards getting to know the Holy Scriptures.
The new publication contains a selection of adapted Bible stories, each accompanied by a colourful illustration. The text appeals to both children and adults, thanks to its simple sentence structure, its faithfulness to the Scriptures and the many direct quotations from the Old and New Testaments. The appendix contains maps and photographs of Biblical places, and the foreword is written by Aleksey II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and Barnabas, Metropolitan of Cheboksary and Chuvashia.
The Children’s Bible was delivered to Chuvashia in time to greet readers at the beginning of the new school year. Since 1990, when both Chuvash and Russian were made official languages of the Chuvash Republic, the Chuvash language has been taught in all middle schools in the region, as well as at the universities. There are 650 schools in Chuvashia where all the teaching is in Chuvash up to fifth grade. In other regions, where there are many Chuvash speakers, there are about another 300 similar schools.
There are 1,637,000 ethnic Chuvash, for 86% of whom Chuvash is their native language. So this edition of 5,000 copies of The Children’s Bible is relatively small. The books will be distributed to various libraries and schools, as well as to churches, so that as many readers as possible may become familiar with it.
Work on the translation of The Children’s Bible into Chuvash began in 1999. The IBT translation team working on this book consisted of Pyotr Yakovlev (famous Chuvash philologist and poet), Aristarch Dmitriev (experienced editor, journalist and translator), Natalya Movleva (exegetical checker), Natalya Manzienko (exegetical checker) Zoya Petrova (local teacher with expert knowledge of her mother tongue).
Prior to the publication’s launch in September the Chuvash Ministry of Culture wrote the following to IBT:
“There are 685 public libraries in Chuvashia, most of which serve people in rural areas. Nowadays it is difficult for readers in the villages to enlarge their private libraries, and so for many of the children there the first book comes from the library. But at the moment the libraries themselves are also facing difficulties in finding funds for new books.
“Many people have shown
an interest in the new publication,
at the libraries in the republic. This is a publication suitable
for readers of all ages – from school children to pensioners. It
will be an important resource for spiritual growth among the
His Holiness Alexiy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, received a delegation from the Institute for Bible Translation
A meeting between Patriarch Alexiy II and a delegation from the Institute of Bible Translation took place at the Patriarch’s working residence. The participants were Dr. Marianne Beerle-Moor, Director of the Institute for Bible Translation in Russia; Anita Laakso, Director of the Institute for Bible Translation in Helsinki; Archpriest Boris Danilenko, Director of the Synodal Library of the Moscow Patriarchate; Archpriest Aleksandr Troitskiy, Chairman of the IBT Russia Board; and three members of the Institute’s staff, Andrey Desnitskiy, Natalya Gorbunova and Sergei Chernoivanov.
The IBT delegation informed the head of the Russian Orthodox Church about the changes in the structure and personnel within the organisation, and about the work that the Institute has done since the previous meeting with the Patriarch in the year 2001. In particular, IBT’s translation projects of biblical texts into non-Slavic languages of the peoples in Russia and the CIS were discussed. More than 100 IBT editions, published in the past 5 years, were presented. With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Alexiy II, IBT has worked on a project called “Translation of the New Testament into 15 languages by 2005”. Among the latest publications within this project are the New Testament in Yakut, published in 2005 on the 135th anniversary of the Yakut Diocese, and the New Testament in Mordvin-Erzya with the liturgical texts of the New Testament used in Orthodox Church services, published by IBT Helsinki at the beginning of 2006. This year IBT plans to publish translations of the New Testament into three more languages - Avar, Mari and Chechen – which will complete the project.
“It is very good to see that the work that was started in Stockholm is now continuing and developing in Russia, in cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church,” Alexiy II said.
During the meeting the representatives from the Institute presented a new project to His Holiness Patriarch Alexiy. The project is called “The Bible in 5 languages and the New Testament in 5 languages by 2010”. Within the framework of this project IBT plans to finish the translation of the New Testament into Kumyk, Bashkir, Chuvash, Khakas and Nogai, as well as to publish the whole Bible in Tajik, Tatar, Tuvin, Uzbek and Chechen in the coming five years.
“It is encouraging that in these times, when so many attempts are made to discredit everything holy (a reference to recent films and publications that cast aspersions on biblical events and on the person of Christ Himself), your work to translate the Holy Scriptures draws the public’s attention to God and gives people an opportunity to turn directly to His Word.”
Another topic of discussion was the possibility of recruiting and training theological coworkers within the Russian Orthodox Church for IBT’s translation projects. His Holiness the Patriarch gave his blessing to inviting leaders from Christian universities, theological academies and seminaries to a meeting at the Synodal Library in the Andreyevskiy Monastery to discuss this further. At the meeting IBT will inform representatives from the educational system of the Russian Orthodox Church about the work of the Institute and tell them about the need for theological coworkers.
Patriarch Alexy II
also expressed his support for the Institute’s idea of publishing
a book with the Easter readings in the languages of the peoples of
Russia. This publication is planned to be ready for Easter 2008,
and it will contain the text of the first chapter of the Gospel of
John, which is normally read in different languages during the
Easter midnight mass, an act that symbolizes that the Gospel is to
be preached to all peoples. In the Patriarch’s opinion, such a
book that accords with the mission of the Institute for Bible
Translation will be a good gift to Russian believers.
Gagauz is a Turkic language spoken by the Gagauz people, who live in Moldova (135,500 people), in the Ukraine (31,900 people) and in Russia (10,100 people). There are different theories about the origins of the Gagauz people. The most probable is that they may be found among the Turkic nomads (the Oghuz, the Pechenegs and the Cumans). European researchers have seen possible ancestors of the Gagauz in the Turkic proto-Bulgarians, who moved from the shores of the river Volga to the Balkans during the second half of the 7th century, and whose descendants converted to Orthodox Christianity in the 13th century.
The Gagauz language belongs to the Southern Turkish group of the Turkic language family. The first book in Gagauz was published in Moldova in 1907, thanks to the efforts of the Gagauz illuminator, archpriest Mikhail Chakir, who first made a translation of parts of the Old Testament possible, and further the liturgical Gospel (Aprakos) and the Gospel of Matthew. In 1957 a new Gagauz alphabet was created, based on Russian. However, since the 1990s the Latin script has been in general use.
A project for translating the Bible into Gagauz was started by the Institute of Bible Translation in 1975 with a reprint of archpriest Chakir’s Gagauz translation of the Gospel of Matthew from 1934. In addition, the Institute translated and published a small collection of Gospel stories with illustrations called The Life of Jesus (1981).
The constant, and sometimes radical, changes in the language (such as changing the alphabet and orthography), created a need for a new translation of the Biblical texts into a more modern, understandable and acceptable language. Besides, the Gagauz New Testament translation of the 1930s was far from complete. With its publication of the Gagauz New Testament IBT completed the process of making a modern language translation, which had taken many years.
A project plan was made at the beginning of the 1990s, but it took time to find a translator. In 1995 S. Bayraktar started the translation work. Theological editor J.Dannenberg (Great Britain) and later UBS consultant D. Clark (Great Britain) worked on bringing the translation into line with the original Greek text. The prominent Gagauz expert, professor L.A. Pokrovskaya, made an invaluable contribution to the project.
Sadly, the translator passed away before he could finish the translation work. Between 2001 and 2005 work on the translation and preparations for publication continued. Readers’ comments were gathered, the text was made uniform and brought into agreement with the language’s rules for proper nouns, and a program was developed to transliterate the translated text from Cyrillic to Latin script, in accordance with the rules of Gagauz orthography.
Because of the complicated sociolinguistic situation of the Gagauz speakers, it was decided that part of the edition would be printed in Cyrillic script, since that is the script that the older generation is used to reading, and the other part in Latin script, which is that used in schools and at the university, as well as in newspapers, magazines and books in Gagauz.
readers now have the opportunity to get to know this immortal work
of world culture and to read the Word of God in their mother
On 25 May 2006 the presentation of the Psalms in Kalmyk took place in Elista, the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia
The Kalmyks live on the steppes in Southern Russia, north of the Caucasus. They number 174,000 and they are the only Buddhist ethnic group in Europe.
“Everyone can find what their soul needs in the book containing the psalms of David,” Archbishop Zosima of Elista and Kalmykia stated when he opened the ceremony in the National Library. “For us the publication of Psalms in Kalmyk is a cultural event of great value. We rejoice that Kalmyk literature has been enriched with such a treasure. We are grateful to those who worked on this translation.”
The translation by the Institute for Bible Translation took five years. The team comprised translator Vera Shugraeva, member of both the Writers’ Union and the Journalists’ Union; philological checker Peter Bitkeev, professor of philology and a distinguished academic in Kalmykia; tester Nina Badmaeva who checked the text with Kalmyk speakers; translation consultant David Clark, and two exegetical checkers from SIL.
The Kalmyk minister of culture and information, Nikolay Sanjiev, expressed support for the work of Bible translation. He commented that through this book the Kalmyk people can share in the wealth of the world’s culture.
A book containing Genesis and Ruth in Kalmyk, which had been published earlier, was also launched on this occasion. All those present were given copies of both this and Psalms.
When a Kalmyk student read Psalm 27 in Kalmyk the participants opened their new books and were able to follow it in their native language.
It is our hope that this book will reach readers for whom the words of wisdom, consolation and encouragement will now be heard in a new way.
Publications of the Institute of Bible Translation were on display at an exhibition entitled “The Bible in Russia” held in the State Duma (Russian parliament) from 17 to 19 May 2006.
“The Duma deputies’ interest in Russia’s most important sacred object is quite understandable when Christianity’s role in the formation of the state in our country’s history is considered,” Aleksiy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, wrote in his message of greetings to the exhibition’s organizers and visitors. He noted that the Bible “not only serves as a source of divine revelation for hundreds of millions of Christians, but also is one of the main foundations of world culture”.
The exhibition marked the anniversaries in 2006 of several dates of great spiritual and cultural significance for Russia: the 950th anniversary of the Ostromirov Gospels, the 130th of the Synodal Bible translation, and the 50th of the Moscow Patriarchate Publishing House’s people’s Bible in Russian in modern orthography.
The history of the translation and publication of the Bible in Russia was depicted through manuscripts, books and video displays. A section was devoted to the propagation of the Scriptures in the languages of ethnic groups of the Russian Federation. Among IBT’s featured publications were the New Testament in Tatar, Kalmyk, Ossetic, Tuvin and Yakut, the Four Gospels in Chuvash, and the Gospel of Luke in Itelmen.
The exhibition was organized by the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Bible Society, the Patriarchal Synodal Bible Commission, the Moscow Patriarchate’s Synodal Library, and the Orthodox Peresvet charitable fund.
Seminar for “beginners” 11-16 March 2006
New members of translation teams gathered for a seminar for “beginners” 11-16 March. The participants were future translators, language editors and testers of Bible translations. They can really only be called “beginners” with great reservation, because although they are new to Bible translation, they are all professionals and specialists in their own languages - Abkhaz, Kumyk, Gagauz, Bashkir, Kabardian, Balochi and Nogai.
Those participants who have decided to become involved in translation projects will soon need to master completely new tasks – the art of Bible translation. And from the outset experienced teachers, consultants from IBT and UBS introduced them to subjects such as introduction to biblical culture and history, basic communication theory, general translation principles, functional equivalence, translation of unknown concepts, translation of idioms and key terms, introduction to discourse analysis, syntactical restructuring, etc. The coordinators of the translation projects informed their new co-workers about the structure of the translation group, the translation process and the field testing of the translation.
With this seminar IBT has resumed training courses for translation projects which had been interrupted for two years (2002-04) owing to problems of financing this type of education. These problems have now been resolved and we are able to make plans for future seminars.
On 14 February 2006 a presentation of the Gospel of Luke in Koryak took place in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka. The event was organised by the Governor of Kamchatka, Oleg Kozhemyako, the Bishop of the Orthodox Church and the Institute for Bible Translation, Moscow, whose director, Dr Marianne Beerle-Moor, participated in the presentation together with members of the translation team.
The translator of Luke’s Gospel was Aleftina Zhukova of the Gertzen Institute in St Petersburg, a well-known specialist in the languages of Kamchatka; the philological editor was Valentina Dedik, teacher at the Pedagogical Institute in Palana. Marina Vasilieva of IBT was the exegetical checker, and Mick Foster of SIL the translation consultant.
IBT began Bible translation into Koryak as early as 1992. The translation work was difficult, as many of the biblical and religious words did not exist in the Koryak language. A trial edition of portions of the Gospel of Luke, published in 1995, was the first step, after which the cumbersome work continued. In 1997 the text was tested in the Koryak area.
Not long ago IBT published Luke’s Gospel in Even (2002) and Itelmen (2003) and now, just in time for the celebration of 300 years of Orthodoxy in Kamchatka, the Gospel of Luke has been published in Koryak, Kamchatka’s third minority language. The Governor of the Koryak area himself financed the audio recording of this Gospel, which we hope will help readers to understand the text even better.
Every ethnic group should have the opportunity to get to know the Holy Scriptures and to be able to turn to God in their own language,” said the Governor. “The mother tongue and love for it can awaken considerable power within a person and open ways to success which this person would never experience apart from the inner potential of his people. This way, within the framework of the church, will lead to real freedom.”
The translation of the Gospel of Luke into Koryak is not only of cultural importance, but it is also of linguistic value to our region. The number of Koryak speakers is diminishing. The language is the soul of the people, an important part of their world view and culture, their special connection with the world around. A text in the language of their forefathers, even if this language is no longer used so much, will be accepted in a completely different way than if it were in any other language. This applies especially to the Holy Scriptures. I don’t speak Koryak, but it seems to me that this wonderful feeling is available only to the small ethnic groups who in spite of all difficulties have preserved their roots.”
This edition of Luke’s Gospel will be delivered to the Koryak area and distributed among churches, schools and libraries.
The Tuvin translation of the Pentateuch, Psalms, and Proverbs soon will be off the press, with a print-run of 5,000 copies. The translation of these seven books of the Old Testament has been published in one volume by the Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) after several years of painstaking labor by the Institute’s translation team working onsite in Tuva, a Siberian republic of the Russian Federation. The translation of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Psalms is the first ever in the Tuvin language, while that of Genesis and Proverbs is new (the first Tuvin translation of these two books was produced by other translators several years ago, but not widely circulated).
This publication has been eagerly awaited by Tuvin Christians for a long time. Besides the objective importance of these books in Christian theology, these books also resonate closely with the Tuvin mindset. According to Elena Samba, the team’s comprehension tester, “The poetic flavor of Psalms and Proverbs touches my people’s soul much more intimately than mere prose, and the nomadic lifestyle of the patriarchs as depicted in the Pentateuch is in many ways similar to traditional Tuvin culture. After all, we ourselves were nomadic cattle-herders until the middle of the 20th century. I think that Tuvin readers, both believers and non-believers, will greatly enjoy reading this book.”
Previous publications by the Institute for Bible Translation in the Tuvin language include the New Testament (2001), the Children’s Bible (2001), and Four Books from Ancient Israel (2003), a compilation of Ruth, Jonah, Lamentations, and Esther. The culminating publication will be the entire Bible in the Tuvin language, expected in 2010.
On 10 January the Institute for Bible Translation opened its doors to all who wanted to be better acquainted with our work and to take part in a Christmas fair for the benefit of the Institute. The programme was rich and varied – an exhibition and sale of handicrafts made by IBT staff and their friends, a raffle on the theme of Christmas with prizes for all, and a “museum” exhibition with unique items collected from all departments of the Institute. The stories told by the “staff of the museum” were meant primarily for the children of staff taking part in the festivities, but they were of interest to other guests and colleagues who had not previously heard all the details of the Institute’s history and activities.
In a “photographic studio” in the Publishing Department guests could have their picture taken against a background of biblical landscapes. In the Quiet Room, where translation groups usually work, children were busy producing Christmas tree decorations.
The buffet table, supervised by Father Frost and the Snow Maiden, was laden with delicious food from far and near to suit everyone’s taste. Much had been made by the Institute’s staff themselves.
The culmination of the evening was the performance of the Nativity play, “King Herod”, by the Moscow puppet theatre group directed by Natalia Artemova. The theatre box, representing the cave of the Nativity scene, was illuminated by the twinkling light of candles in the hands of puppet angels. On the upper level were the Holy Family and clay figures of the three wise men, shepherds and knitted sheep, and on the lower level were hardhearted King Herod with his soldiers, and Death with his scythe. The performance was accompanied by old traditional Russian and Ukrainian songs.
ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE CHARITY CHRISTMAS FAIR WENT TO THE FUND FOR PUBLISHING THE CHUVASH CHILDREN’S BIBLE.