Year 2020, though not considered the best year for many, is a very special one for the Bible Societies in the Middle East as it marks the 200th year for the Bible Society work in the region, and the 70th year for its official registration in Lebanon. For that reason, on 9 September 2020 – the date of its registration in 1950 – the Bible Society celebrated the bicentennial/platinum 200/70 milestones at the Maronite Patriarchal See in Dimane.

Taking into consideration the pandemic safety precautions, the attendees were limited to the patron of the celebration, Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Rai, His Beatitude Krikor Bedros XX, Patriarch of Cilicia for the Armenian Catholics, His Excellency Archbishop Joseph Spiteri, the Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon, and several bishops and church leaders representing all the Churches in the Levant.  A few other Bible Society supporters attended, such as news anchor Majed Bou Hadir, who was the master of ceremony, renowned actor Youssef Al Khal, as well as Bible Society Board Chair, General Secretary, some board members and staff. As for the attendance of the wider audience, they were able to watch it live on TV on Tele-Lumiere, NourSat and Nour Al Sharq, as well as live on Facebook on the Bible Society Facebook page.

The celebration was a mixture of short speeches and Bible readings in different languages from church leaders, including a series of videos that tell the story of Bible Society’s formation until today. Following the words of welcome from Maronite Bishop Antoine Awkar (Board Treasurer) and Bible Society Chairman, Amine Khoury, and a prayer by Rev. Dr. Habib Bader, His Excellency Archbishop Joseph Spiteri summed up the Bible Society’s history in these words:

 “For the last two centuries, you have been distributing copies of the Bible printed in Arabic, Greek, Syriac and other languages. You have not only dedicated yourselves constantly to the work of translation, but you are also using modern technology and social media to spread the Bible and to ensure a better knowledge of sacred scriptures”

 


After looking at the Bible Society’s history for the past 200 years, the CEO and General Secretary of the Bible Society Dr. Mike Bassous then looked upon the future and affirmed that the mission of the Bible Society is not finished. The Bible is alive and active and speaks to every generation, at all times, and in all circumstances. That is why, the Bible Society is ready to grow and advance to face challenges and seize opportunities that would come its way with the purpose of further spreading the Word of God in the region.


The celebration was concluded with a word from His Beatitude Cardinal Rai, Patriarch of the Maronite Church, during which he congratulated the Bible Society for its history and anniversaries, and affirmed the need for all people, including our politicians, to read and engage with the Scriptures.

To watch the full celebration, click here