Bible to be translated into Russian sign language beginning with Gospel of Mark

Moscow, February 2, 2017

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A meeting on the project to translate the Bible into Russian sign language was held in Moscow on January 27. The participants, representing the patriarchate’s Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Service, the Institute for Bible Translation, the All-Russian Society for the Deaf, clergy working with the deaf from various dioceses, sign language interpreters, and the deaf community, decided to begin with the Gospel of Mark, reports the site of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Meeting participants decided the Gospel of Mark would be the easiest to translate, and “besides, out of the four Gospels, only the Gospel of Mark mentions the healing of the deaf man,” noted the deputy director of the Institute for Bible Translation Natalia Gorbunova.

The idea of translating the Bible into sign language was developed by the aforementioned synodal department, Bible society, and society for the deaf. The first meeting was held in December. The target audience is both churched and secular deaf people looking for the Gospel in sign language in video format, as well as those who would like to learn sign language to communicate and work with the deaf.

“Sign language is very diverse, and we should preserve this diversity,” said the head of the Ekaterinburg Diocese’s pastoral, missionary, and social service center Hieromonk Vissarion (Kukushkin). Accordingly, the Gospel will be translated into Russian sign language with elements of foreign-borrowed words. A dictionary of Biblical terms will be developed at the same time.

Today sixty-two Orthodox parishes and communities with the deaf and blind, working with various departments and organizations to offer educational courses on the basics of sign language for priests, social workers, and volunteers, and to produce educational videos for the deaf.


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