The presentation of the second edition of the liturgical Gospel in the aprakos format, translated from Greek into Ukrainian, took place on August 15 in the Stauropegium of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine.
The event was led by the spiritual mentor of the Foundation, Metropolitan Oleksandr of Pereyaslav and Vyshneve and the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Ukraine, Bishop Michael of Koman.
The aprakos Gospel is a type of liturgical books of the Holy Scriptures, whose text is arranged not in the usual sequential order, but according to the annual calendar schedule of liturgical readings, starting from Easter Sunday. The aprakos Gospel in Ukrainian was published for the first time in January 2023 by the Stauropegium of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine at the expense of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to test the new translation and format in domestic liturgical use based on the example of the Hellenic liturgical tradition.
The second edition is a joint project of the Metropolitan Volodymyr Foundation, the Pereyaslav-Vyshneve diocese, and the Stauropegium of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine. Unlike the first, the second edition is an A4 format, which is close to the desktop one.
Metropolitan Oleksandr, in his speech to those present, emphasized the convenience of using such a Gospel during divine services.
“The edition that is being presented today is a reformatted one that was created by Stauropegium and the translation team… Why did such a desire arise? Because according to the first book, from which we began to perform the Divine Service, it is of course small visually and its font was not at all convenient to read. For home use, it is excellent, and as the first experimental edition, it is an irreplaceable and historic edition that we saw,” the Metropolitan said.
What we have today is already a practical and liturgical thing. It is possible to put it on the throne and solemnly take it out and read it in a larger font, assured Metropolitan Oleksandr.
Priests who currently take care of Ukrainian communities abroad especially appreciated the book. Simplicity and clarity of use are much more important than large and ornately decorated gospels.
Bishop Michael, who dealt with the first edition, noted that the aprakos format is an ancient Ukrainian liturgical tradition and is not something new. He says that later the plan is to publish it in the same format as the Apostle, and that a translation has already been prepared.
The Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch was satisfied with the favorable reviews and constructive criticism of the previous edition of the Gospel. He explained that the aprakos Gospel was used in the territory of Ukraine a century ago, but then this tradition was lost. Now “we are restoring this tradition. This inspires and gives us strength for further projects,” said Bishop Mihail.
Responding to the question of the translation of the liturgical apostle, Bishop Michael asked to follow the announcements.
The translation of the Gospel was done by the EUM translation group. One of the translators who worked on the project is priest Rostyslav Vorobiy. He noted that during the translation the team tried to preserve the peculiarities of the style of certain evangelists, even if it did not always correspond to the modern norms of the Ukrainian language. The main thing, in his opinion, is to convey to the readers the mood and features of each author’s presentation.
The project manager of the publication, Maryna Burdeyna, emphasized that the main goal of their work is to make the text of the Gospel more relatable and more understandable to people. She spoke about the creation of the eum.org.ua website, where everyone can get acquainted with detailed information on the publication, in particular, learn about the primary sources that were used for translation. The site provides for feedback, so Ms. Maryna called on attendees to leave feedback and wishes there, which will be taken into account when preparing new editions for print.
Finally, Metropolitan Oleksandr honored the late Metropolitan Volodymyr, who instilled in him a love of books. The bishop also announced publications that will appear soon. This is the 6th June volume of the Ukrainian-language Lives of the Saints and the 3rd edition of the Prayer Book of Orthodox Believers.