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A question about versions of the Synaxarion


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#1 Nathaniel Woon

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 04:06 PM

Dear all, I am now looking at what is available. I am now beginning to use the Synaxarion that is published in Greece and prepared by a monk of Simonos Petra. I am looking at it from the point that the synaxarion is one of the ways in which the faith was taught and handed down.

In the past I have been using the Prologue of Ohrid. I used it for a good three years and decided to have something that was more in depth hence the use of the above mentioned Synaxarion upon the recommendation of my priest.

Is anyone acquainted with the Synaxarion from Holy Apostles' Skete? I believe it has recently been completed. I have read some of their other publications and they seem to be quite well down.

Chrysostom Press is going through with their translation of the Synaxarion by St. Dimitri of Rostov but it's taking a while.

Then there is an online Synaxarion by a certain Fr. S Janos but I wonder if this is available in printable format - It would be good to be able to have everything in one place rather than to have to print it out one day at a time.

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 30 August 2009 - 04:27 PM.
Removed line breaks


#2 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 08:42 PM

I'm no expert- but from what I have seen there are two different versions of the Synaxarion (ie the full lives of saints arranged month by month). One is the Russian currently being translated by St John Chrysostom press. And the other is the Greek (I'm not sure if it's Holy Apostle's Skete translating this or not.)

So it may be good to eventually have both series.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#3 Nathaniel Woon

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 12:38 PM

Dear Fr. Raphael,

Father bless!

I believe 7 volumes (Sept-March) of the Russian one you mention has been translated from Slavonic on by St. Dimitry of Rostov. It is being sponsored by the Old Rite parish in Erie. The one by Holy Apostles is from Greek but as I have not actually seen it myself, I do not know exactly what the source is. Perhaps some folks on the list might know? This series is complete and I read online that a 13th volume will be forthcoming. The nuns who are doing the translation are working at a fantastic pace. I wish I could be as industrious as them! It would be good to eventually have both the series as you suggest.

Kissing your right hand,

Nathaniel in Malaysia

#4 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 01:19 PM

From what I can discover online the Holy Apostle's Convent version is The Great Synaxaristes. Each volume is one month so that there are twelve volumes total. Also from what the convent advertises each life is a full version. So it would appear that this is quite similar in principle to the St John Chrysostom Press version. Although since the latter works from the Russian version of St Dmitri of Rostov it would be interesting to see how the two versions compare.

Also it would be good to keep in mind that the Synaxarion from Simonos Petras (actually from Ormylia in the English version) stands mid way in length for each life in between the above versions and the Prologue.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#5 Father David Moser

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 03:48 PM

I believe 7 volumes (Sept-March) of the Russian one you mention has been translated from Slavonic on by St. Dimitry of Rostov. It is being sponsored by the Old Rite parish in Erie.


From what the publisher told me many years ago, the translation of the menaion of St Dimitry is complete - they only await sufficient funding for publication. If the money were there, they would be able to publish the entire work.

Fr David Moser

#6 Nathaniel Woon

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 11:37 PM

Dear Fr. David,

Father bless!

I was under the impression that it was a work in progress from what I heard fr Fr. Stade but I am probably mistaken. I know the publisher is looking for funding for the translation of the commentary on 1 Corinthians.

Kissing your right hand,

Nathaniel

#7 Nathaniel Woon

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 11:45 PM

Dear Fr. Raphael,

Father bless!

I am looking forward to seeing the series by Holy Apostle's Convent. The previous volumes they have published are quite good. I especially love the one on the life of the Theotokos. For us here in Malaysia though, shipping costs are prohibitively expensive. So we have to try to get these books in through friends who are coming back from the US. It was a miracles that we managed to get the volume on the life of the Theotokos.

We use the Prologue a bit and it is about the right length for a mission. We have some volumes of the Synaxarion from Simonos Petras and it is also good. As there are bound to be lives of saints not found in any one of these series, I suppose the more versions of the Synaxarion you have the better!

One question I still have though is on the source fro the synaxarion used in Menologion 3. The translator is a certian Fr. S Janos. does anyone know the bais of this translation?


Kissing your right hand,

Nathaniel in Malaysia

#8 Christophoros

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 11:49 PM

I own both the Holy Apostles Convent Great Synaxaristes and Hieromonk Makarios' Synaxarion. The former is quite lengthy; some major saints have over 100 pages of material. It is not, strictly speaking, simply a translation of the original Greek Great Synaxaristes complied by Fr. Matthew Laggis, but is largely based on this work, with other material added. The saints included in this collection are largely those found in the Greek liturgical calendar (with a few exceptions). And in as far as recently glorified saints, some have been added, while others have not, with no explanation (example: St. John of San Francisco is included, but St. Herman of Alaska is not).

I believe most will find Fr. Makarios' Synaxarion to be more digestable, and it is certainly more comprehensive, in that the author has tried include saints from the Russian, Serbian, Romanian, Georgian, Bulgarian, etc., calendars as well as the Greek. It also includes many newly glorified saints not found in other collections.

The only caveat I have heard in regards to St. Dmitri's collection is from Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, who wrote this: "It should be remembered that Dmitry of Rostov did not use Orthodox sources for his collection of Lives of the Saints. His collection is taken from the Polish Catholic and other Roman Catholic versions. In notable instances, Dmitry of Rostov's versions of the lives differs significantly from the Greek originals and one might wish to approach his collection with some caution."

In Christ,
Chris

In Christ,
Chris

#9 Nathaniel Woon

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 12:21 AM

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the reply. Thank you for feedback from your own experience of using the Synaxarion fr Holy Apostles' Convent. It will be something I hope to obtain in the future. One does wonder why St. Herman of Alaska has been left out! Folks I know have found Hieromonk Makarios' Synaxarion lengthy but I suppose that depends on the individual. I like it and have just two volumes left to obtain. I am suprised to hear that St. Dimiti of Rostov's Synaxarion is influenced by RC sources... I have noticed some differences between the lives there and the ones in the other Synaxarions.

Regards,

Nathaniel in Malaysia

#10 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 02:33 PM

Nathaniel wrote:

I am suprised to hear that St. Dimiti of Rostov's Synaxarion is influenced by RC sources... I have noticed some differences between the lives there and the ones in the other Synaxarions.



One would need to look at such sources to see if they really are a problem. If St Dmitri did turn to Roman Catholic lives of saints for example (and I am not at all sure that this is so) then there is not necessarily a problem. For example the original source for many acts of the Roman martyrs is still from the Latin. And later collections in the west that use these are not really problematic.

Apart from this however St Dmitri's original collection was continually revised throughout the 19th c by the Russian church in reference to other collections. Unless the St John Chrysostom version is a deliberate attempt to use the original from St Dmitri (and why would it since it is the later versions which the Russian church blessed for use) then what we read in English is translated from later revised versions.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#11 Ryan

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 03:04 PM

I can't comment on St. Dimitri's Synaxarion in particular, but Archbishop Lazar does have a tendency toward an excessive anti-Westernism. He is also quick to apply words like "heretic", "Gnostic," and "fundamentalist" to Orthodox with whom he disagrees. Did Archbishop Lazar mention any problems with St. Dimitri's work, other the fact that the sources were Latin?

#12 Christophoros

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 02:22 AM

The quote from Archbishop Lazar is from a footnote on page 11 in one of his typically overdone works against the toll-house imagery, "The Tale of Elder Basil 'the New' and the Theodora Myth." He generally criticizes St. Dmitri's collection because it contains references to the visions experienced St. Basil the Younger and other saints (which, incidently, Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra affirms as being "strongly traditional and is to be found in many of the Fathers and many Lives of the saints" in his own edition of The Synaxarion, vol. 4, p. 242). But I have heard from others, who do not have an axe to grind on the toll-house issue, that St. Dmitri's over-reliance on Latin sources is a genuine issue.

In Christ,
Chris

#13 Father David Moser

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 03:26 AM

The quote from Archbishop Lazar is from a footnote on page 11 in one of his typically overdone works against the toll-house imagery, "


I would like to point out that although 'Archbishop Lazar' is an intelligent man who is also a prolific writer, he also has some pervasive personal issues that color his view on theological issues. I really could not accept his opinion as authoritative, especially when it is contrasted with that of a person that we recognize as a saint.

Fr David Moser

PS. I realize that the quote marks might seem odd to some, but it is worth noting that the title of Archbishop for this person is not universally accepted. Rather than drag out the gory details, I simply satisfy my conscience by the use of punctuation. My own longstanding relationship with the person is quite complicated (at least to me).

#14 Christophoros

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 12:14 PM

Apart from this however St Dmitri's original collection was continually revised throughout the 19th c by the Russian church in reference to other collections. Unless the St John Chrysostom version is a deliberate attempt to use the original from St Dmitri (and why would it since it is the later versions which the Russian church blessed for use) then what we read in English is translated from later revised versions.

In Christ- Fr Raphael


This is a good point. I couldn't find any references to the edition St. John Chrysostom Press is using for its translation on their website, but the age of the original set is a big reason why I haven't obtained any volumes yet. A Russian collection without St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. Herman of Alaska, or St. John of Kronstadt seems inadequate at best. But perhaps a supplemental volume will be created once the original volumes are translated.

In Christ,
Chris

#15 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 12:47 PM

I couldn't find any references to the edition St. John Chrysostom Press is using for its translation on their website


On the title page of Volume I of the St John Chrysostom version it says:

Translated from the Slavonic edition published by the Christian Printshop of the Transfiguration Alms-House in Moscow in the year 1914 from the original compiled by St Demetrius of Rostov and published in Kiev.


A few pages later the volume also has a three page list of the Fathers and Church historians as well as collections of lives of saints that the volume relies on.

In Christ-Fr Raphael

#16 Christophoros

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 01:28 PM

Fr. Raphael,

Do you know if saints added to the calendar after the repose of St. Dmitri have been added/included in the English version?

In Christ,
Chris

#17 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 01:38 PM

Do you know if saints added to the calendar after the repose of St. Dmitri have been added/included in the English version?


Given the later date for the version that was used for the translation I would say yes. But I do not know if more recently glorified saints have been or will be included.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#18 Nathaniel Woon

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 12:46 AM

I suppose there must have been some updating since the Synaxarion by St. Dimitri of Rostov has been in print for some time. Another question I have is the use of the term 'synaxarion' and the term 'prologue'. Is it accurate to say that the second term is used for Slav Synaxarions?

Nathaniel in Malaysia

#19 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 08:34 AM

'The Prologue' is not a general term for synaxaria, but refers specifically to the work of Bp Nicholai of Ochrid.

#20 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 02:43 PM

'The Prologue' is not a general term for synaxaria, but refers specifically to the work of Bp Nicholai of Ochrid.


Dear Fr Deacon Matthew,

From what I have read, a 'prologue' was also a form of pious literature that existed in old Russia. It contained a short form of the life of the saint(s) for the day along with brief spiritual readings for each day. In other words Bp Nikolai's version follows the previous format and that is why it is called The Prologue.

Unfortunately though, I have never seen a copy of this old form of the prologue, either here in the diaspora or in Russia. I can't say what it really looks like.

In Christ- Fr Raphael




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