Bancroft, Jessey and the supposed 14 corrections - Rick Norris conjectural fabrication that Bancroft intercepted the finished work

Steven Avery

Much of what I wrote on this was on the defunct older CARM and FFF, however I have remembrance and bookmarks and some others are now doing excellent studies. Also we do have the material about the conjectural fabrication that from Rick Norris that Bancroft intercepted the notes.

It might take a little time and effort to round this out.


Hixson and Berg parrot Rick Norris


Steven Avery

Best new thread.

Facebook -
Textus Receptus Academy - Sept 2022

Robert Lee Vaughn
One thing that comes to mind to me in all this is regarding Richard Bancroft's supposed 14 changes to the text. The Bois-Casaubon correspondence suggests they are still working on the translation (maybe only small tweaks?) in the fall of 1610. Wasn't Bancroft's changes supposed to come after Bilson and Smith did their review? I wonder when that happened? To put this together, Casaubon arrived in London October 30, 1610. Bancroft died November 2, 1610 (just 3 days later). When did Bancroft make the 14 changes, if he did?

Christopher Yetzer
Robert Lee Vaughn I actually don't know the reference to Bancroft's changes. Do you have that?
I am waiting on some documents but in my mind the general meeting took place from the beginning of 1609 to the end of 1610. There is an important document simply referred to as a "newsletter" from November 1609 that says they were done with the O.T and going on to the N.T. I have requested images of the document to try to understand it better, but if that is in reference to the general committee, then it would throw out the whole 9 months in 1610 idea.
There are other reasons to believe it started in 1609. 1. The letter from William Eyre to James Ussher in late 1608 requesting the manuscript back. 2. Some articles concerning Barker note that possibly 1609 is when he started to get money together. 3. It seems that several companies were finished by early 1607 and others seemed to be wrapping up by mid 1607 (see letters to John Harmar). That leaves another whole year before the general meeting.
Below is my new chart considering that change.

Robert Lee Vaughn
Christopher Yetzer thanks. Nice chart. Bancroft's 14 changes is a polemic Rick Norris pedals as a supposed "well-established fact" against the King James translation. There
Thomas Hill (c1602-1653), a member of the Westminster Assembly, preached a sermon April 3, 1648 called "Truth and Love happily married in the Saints and in the Churches of Christ." According to Norris he said, “I have it from certain hands, such as lived in those times, that when the Bible had been translated by the translators appointed, the New Testament was looked over by some of the great Prelates, (men I could name some of their persons) to bring it to speak prelatical language, and they did alter fourteen places in the New Testament to make them speak the language of the Church of England.” According to Norris, these changes (not all 14) are mentioned in the sermon: bishoprick (Acts 1:20); hell (Acts 2:27) instead of grave; Easter (Acts 12:4) instead of the passover; omitting of "by election" (Acts 14:23); Helps in government (1 Cor. 12:28) instead of helpers, governors.
It further seems all the evidence he supplied is second hand testimony. Here is one place where Norris makes some of these assertions:

Christopher Yetzer
Robert Lee Vaughn;view=fulltext
I do find it interesting that Norton never even mentions it. But I also don't find it convincing. Especially the Easter that was in all the previous Bibles. There probably could be some effort made to look at some of the others with the manuscripts recently available. I haven't read the whole sermon but I see the name Bilson, not Bancroft.

Bryan Ross
Christopher Yetzer, Robert Lee Vaughn From Olga Opfell page 106.

Bryan Ross
Robert Lee Vaughn, Christopher Yetzer A key might be to find where Smith complained about this.

Christopher Yetzer
Bryan Ross Agreed. It curiously matches the 14 rules given at the beginning. Wonder if someone got their wires crossed. Who would know and how would they know he made 14 changes. It seems suspicious to me. Plus Bancroft was dead before their work was finished, if the letters between Bois and Casaubon are correct.

Bryan Ross
Robert Lee Vaughn It is clear to me that 1 Cor. 12:28 was tampered with by someone at some point. My misgivings about Norris not withstanding.

Robert Lee Vaughn
Bryan, Christopher,
A few more comments on this.
1. The text we have is the text we have, whether the words in those (supposed) “14 places” are from the translators, the polishers (Bilson and Smith), the archbishop (Bancroft), or some now unknown persons. The main problem I have with Norton is that he is looking for some grand conspiracy theory to score points against the King James Bible (or, as he would say, KJVOs).
2. I would think that it is a possible though unknown factor (certainly unknown to me) in the timeline of the translation that the OT and NT were finished by the time that Bois is still working on the Apocrypha in late 1610. So maybe Bancroft would have time to go over them before he died.
3. I have read before the claim that Miles Smith complained about Bancroft making changes. So far as I have seen, though, no one has documented that.
4. Hill, the apparent first source of charging certain changes were made, does not mention Richard Bancroft. He says “some of the great Prelates, (men I could name some of their persons).” This is an unnamed group of more than one person, according to Hill. I am not sure when this became Richard Bancroft. A book by William R. Williams mentions Henry Jessey making that claim about Bancroft. This probably comes from Edmund Calamy, who says that Henry Jessey said Bancroft, but he supposedly repeating what Thomas Hill said (who did not say Bancroft).;view=fulltext (p. 47)

Nick Sayers
Robert Lee Vaughn in the book I have of Norton, he mentions Bod1602 over 500 times and Beza zero times.
It seems he has an unhealthy overemphasis that the KJV is a revision. The dedication to King James says clearly:
“…how convenient it was, that out of the Original Sacred Tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our own, and other foreign Languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English Tongue…”
It says out of the
2 English bibles
3 foreign language bibles
So narrowing it to just an update of the Bishops is misleading.

Robert Lee Vaughn
Nick Sayers I agree. They did not throw out the past English Bible work, and they did revise the Bishops Bible, but it is also a new translation. Some people seem to want to emphasize it _only_ as a revision and not as a translation. The cover page also makes this point: “Newly Translated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised…”

Christopher Yetzer
Robert Lee Vaughn I agree with 1. You make a good point on 2. That has been my thought. They did O.T. then N.T. and lastly Apocrypha.
As far as Hill. Everything seems to be based on Hill's comments (apart from the possibility that Smith made some complaint). His arguments are very week and now I see why no modern scholar takes him seriously. He is incorrect on almost every account. Easter was in Acts 12:4 since Tyndale and was in common use even in the 1645 Annotations. He argues that Bishoprick was added to support the system of Bishops in the church, but ignores that it was in the text since Wycliffe and that even his favored Geneva had the word Bishop in other passages. He doesn't mention that "hell" in Acts 2:31was in almost every English translation except the Geneva, and even then it was in Diodati's Italian 1607 and the 1602 Spanish etc. Acts 14 "ordained them elders" goes back to Tyndale and many of the translations between. The only one that has some question to it is 1 Corinthians 12:28. But judging by his information, I would reckon that he is not a trustworthy witness.

Bryan Ross
Christopher Yetzer Are you talking about Hill or Norris?

Bryan Ross
Nick Sayers If you haven’t already done so you need to read Lawrence Vance’s “The Making of the King James New Testament.” He is a King James advocate and concludes that the King James NT is 91% the same as the Bishops.

Christopher Yetzer
Bryan Ross I was specifically talking about Hill. His account and reasons are really weak. I think the complaint by Smith seems to be a separate accusation which in some places gets mixed with Hill's. The "14 changes" seems to come from Hill. It is possible that there were some things done, but I find it hard to believe that Smith would have gotten upset over a few standard readings that read like almost every English Bible before as well as many foreign language Bibles.

Robert Lee Vaughn
Christopher Yetzer There are 7 supposed changes combined – the 5 Norton mines from Hill’s sermon. Then one or two that Edward Whiston mentions in The Life and Death of Mr. Henry Jessy. Whiston seems to suggest that Hebrew 9:1 and Acts
19:37 were mentioned in Hill’s sermon, but I may be misunderstanding him. (I did not notice those in Hill’s sermon, and also I never noticed Norris mention Hebrews 9:1.);view=fulltext
Most of these changes do not seem to me to support the strong charges that are made against them. The gathered list appears to be Acts 1:20; 2:27; 12:4; 14:23; 19:37; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Hebrews 9:1. Yet only in Acts 14:23 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 (and perhaps Heb. 9:1) does the KJV not follow or agree with the majority of pre-1611 translations. There is some bit of variation in the pre-1611 translations of Hebrews 9:1 that does not seem to me to make that much difference in the meaning. Geneva 1560 is much the same as the KJV except it uses “testament” instead of “covenant” and “religion” instead of “divine service.” 1 Corinthians 12:28is an interesting case, in that most KJVs of which I am aware no longer have “helps in government” as per 1611, but “helps, governments.”

Robert Lee Vaughn
Regarding the KJV as a translation or a revision, my idea is that it is not either/or, but both/and.

Bryan Ross
Robert Lee Vaughn Yes. Both/And

Robert Lee Vaughn
Bryan Ross, Christopher Yetzer. As to where Miles Smith complained about Bancroft, the earliest record I can find so far is what Edmund Calamy said that Henry Jessy said.
“And Dr. Smith, who was one of the Translators and the Writer of the Preface, (and who was afterwards Bishop of Glouchester,) complain’d to a Minister of that County, of the Archbishop’s alterations: But says he, he is so potent, that there is no contradicting him.” (A Continuation of the Account of the Ministers..., Vol. I, p. 47).
Unless there is some earlier record, this is “fourth-hand” evidence -- Smith to a minister in Glouchester County, to Jessy, to Calamy. That does not mean it cannot be true, of course, but just that there is much dependence on something repeated and passed down, rather than something from Smith’s pen.

Robert Lee Vaughn
Another interesting comment on the subject of changes in the final process, though somewhat inexactly sourced:
"Dr. Bret [this refers to Richard Brett, translator in the First Oxford Company, rlv] reported that the Bps. [Bishops] altered very many places that the translators had agreed upon: He had a note of ye places." Reading this through in context suggests he means the Bishops Bilson and Smith, who he had just mentioned, and not Bancroft, of whom he follows up saying that "Archbishop Bancroft himself insisted upon certain changed being made in a few places." The Bishops: very many places. Bancroft: a few places.
Charles Butterworth in The Literary Lineage of the King James Bible, 1340-1611, p. 213

Christopher Yetzer
Robert Lee Vaughn
I read your information from the forum you posted. I agree with all your thoughts.

1. The 14 changes seems to have been mixed with the thoughts of Smith or Brett over the years. The 14 comes from Hill and should be separated from the thoughts of Smith or Brett.

2. Who cares if 100 20th century writers quote Hill or some other 19th century writer quoting him. Stop with all the quotes from people quoting the same thing in different wording. Get back to the fount. (You said this well in the forum.)

3. I do think the order was originally meant to be translators->Bishops->Privy Council->King. But I'm not sure how much of that took place. At this point it seems very little if any. It could be possible that they finished the OT in the fall of 1609 and handed it immediately over to the Bishops. Then the NT midway through 1610, and the Apocrypha at the end of 1610. If the Bishops' changed something or the Privy Council or the King, than that was part of the process. I have no problem with that. There is evidence that the translators disagreed with themselves at times, so I see no problem with an experienced, educated Bishop or even the King himself (considering the process that the translation went through) deciding something needed to be emended. At this point all the arguments I have seen are very weak for any of the places recommended as being those places.

4. As far as proof (for historical purposes) I think Vance's statement at least seems to point to an original source, "A manuscript about the translators in the Lambeth Palace Library, apparently written about 1650, records that Richard Brett (1567-1637), a translator of the Oxford Old Testament company, reported that ‘the Bps. altered very many places that the translators had agreed upon: He had a note of the places" I don't have his book though to check the citation: King James, His Bible p. 52. Apart from that the earliest citation that specifically mentions Bancroft seems to be from Edward Whiston's 1671 work "The life and death of Mr. Henry Jessy" which appears to build upon Hall's sermon.

Steven Avery
Robert Lee Vaughn - also there was a lot of politics at that time grumbling about the AV (even John Owen) and grifters trying to get $$$ from the Long Parliament.
Jessey had his New Testament translation, unpublished, so he was far from an objective
Rick Norris even fabricated the idea that Bancroft had intercepted the AV on the way to the printers. Totally dishonest writing.
You have good stuff in this thread, my add-ons are from memory but I can find more later at home.
Glad to see others correcting the history.


Robert Lee Vaughn
1. Yes, this seems to be something that has become convoluted and confuse through the years.
2. I really am not sure whether Rick Norris actually thinks all these people referring to the same thing supports and strengthens his case, or whether he just likes to bury a discussion with a mass of cut-and-paste information.
3&4. I don’t think Richard Brett’s statement adds much we didn’t know, even if Norris and others try to make it somewhat conspiratorial. That Thomas Bilson and Miles Smith went over the final version of the text is a known factor, not new news. It would not be unlikely that any or all of the translators might have differed with some of the editorial changes they made.

Steven Avery
Christopher Yetzer - somebody could search out sermons of Miles Smith, which I think are in Lambeth or somewhere over there. I never found any complaints.

Robert Lee Vaughn
Steven Avery good point to remember about Jessey. Also ridiculous idea from Norris. He was the Archbishop and wouldn’t have to sneak around and “intercept” the translation if he wanted to see it.

Steven Avery
“In the sharp controversies of the Commonwealth period the slight indications given by the version of a certain ecclesiastical bias were unduly exaggerated. Charges of a direct prelatic influence were freely made, and various rumours were circulated, as if upon good authority, that Archbishop Bancroft had taken upon himself to introduce alterations in opposition to the judgment, and even the protest of the translators.’

Lectures on Bible Revision (1881)
Samuel Newth (1821-1898)
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Steven Avery

Archbishop Richard Bancroft and his Influence on the KJV


Note: I engaged the following email correspondence with someone commenting on the third section above:

>You have a strange article up on your web-site that purports to be history that is a bit of an embarrassment to your own accuracy and integrity. There are a lot of problems with the article, but I simply want to emphasize one point.

The finished work of the KJV translators did not satisfy Bancroft. This proud Archbishop had to make some changes in the translation before it was even published.

There is no primary source documentation for this account. The quote given arose hundreds of years later, essentially a fabrication, and the author of your article is well aware of the lack of primary source documentation, not even in the later 1600s, when there were a lot "rumours unduly exaggerated" (Samuel Newth - Lectures on Bible Revision). Even then, there is no record of any such claim.

In fact, Richard Bancroft died in 1610, so nobody today even knows if he was alive and active at the time the King James Bible translation was finished.

How you could allow such trash history to be on your web-site is a bit of a puzzle ... although I grant that few know the specifics and it is written as if it were factual.

You can see more of the strange method of writing history of Rick Norris analyzed on the following 3 page thread.

historical Bancroft assertion (conjectural fabrication) unsupported

There are many more problems than just the specific claim. However in that thread you can understand how your author, Rick Norris, fabricates history.


As I say on the contact page: "To comment on an article written by someone other than me, please use the appropriate e-mail address from the list below." I say this as I obviously did not do the research for articles not by me so I am not in a position to gauge the accuracy of any objections to them.

>Hi Gary,

Actually there is nothing complicated in "gauging the accuracy" of a fabricated historical claim. Especially when you can see the specific dialogue about the false assertion. By posting the article you are indicating confidence in the material, which can reflect on your credibility when the material is a fabrication. Since Rick Norris is the fox who wrote up this hen house, asking him to guard it is not likely to be productive.

Anyway, I just thought I would share with you, so you would have the opportunity to keep your own website away from distortions and fabrications. Ultimately, it is your choice.


Steven Avery

Documenting the Henry Jessey attempt to be paid for his new Version.

There may be more detail in:

The Life of Death of Henry Jessey by Edward Whiston

Counted Worthy: The Life and Work of Henry Jessey - Jason G. Duesing


The Monthly Repository of Theology and General Literature, Volume 11 (1816)
Review of Wilson's Dissenting Churches

The History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches and Meeting Houses, in London, Westminster, and Southwark - Vol 1 (1808)
Walter Wilson

Besides his constant labours in die ministry, Mr. Jessey was employed many years upon a new translation of the Bible, in which he was assisted by many learned men, both at home and abroad. This, he made the great master-study of his life; and, in order to evince its necessity, observed, that Archbishop Bancroft, who was supervisor of the present translation, altered it in fourteen places, to make it speak the language of prelacy, (m) Mr. Jessey had nearly completed this great work when the Restoration took place; but the subsequent turn to public affairs, obliged him to lay it aside, and this noble design, eventually, proved abortive.

(m) Dr. Miles Smith, afterwards Bishop of Gloccstcr, who was one of the Translators of the Bible, and wrote the Preface, complained of the
Archbishop’s unwarrantable alterations ; "But" says he, “he is so potent, there is no contradicting him."



Ecclesiastical History of England ... (1867)
John Stoughton

VII.—Vol. n. 150.
Draft or a Bill for revising the English Translation of the Scriptures.

Hill quoted




Illustrations of Biblical Literature, Exhibiting the History and Fate of the Sacred Writings: From the Earliest Period to the Present Century ; Including Biographical Notices of Translators and Other Eminent Biblical Scholars, Volume 2 (1847)
James Townley



The Quest for a Baptist Bible: The Rise and Demise of the American Bible Union, 1850-1883. (2016)
Michael Kuykendall

The third initial of the famous JLJ church, the first Particular Baptist church, belonged to Henry Jessey, a man whose constant companions were the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament. He called one his "Sword and Dagger" and the other his "Shield and Buckler." (1) Jessey completed a revision of the entire King James Bible sometime before his death. Alas, the restoration of Charles II to the throne of England in 1660 resulted in Jessey's imprisonment. He languished there until a few months before his death on September 4, 1663. His translation was never published, and no manuscript has been discovered to date.
(1) Edward Whiston, The Life and Death of Mr. Henry Jessey (London, 1671), dedicated several pages to Jessey's translation effort. See Jason G. Duesing, ed., Counted Worthy: The Life and Work of Henry Jessey (Mountain Home, AR: BorderStone Press, 2012), 33-47, 189-190.
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Steven Avery

The first1 serious attempt at a further revision was made by the Rev. Henry Jessey, M.A., pastor of that greatly persecuted Congregational Church in Southwark, which had been gathered by Henry Jacob in 1616. In the time of the Commonwealth
proposals were made by Jessey, that "godly and able men should be appointed by "public authority" "to review and amend the defects in our translation." Pending their appointment, he set himself to secure the co-operation of a number of learned men, at home and abroad, writing to them in the following fashion: "There being a strange desire in many that love the truth, to have a more pure, proper translation of the originals than hitherto; and I being moved and inclined to it, and desirous to promote it with all possible speed and exactness, do make my request (now in my actual entrance on Genesis) that as you love the truth as it is in Jesus, and the edification of saints, you with others (in like manner solicited), will take share and do each a part in the work, which being finished will be fruit to your account." Of the names of his fellow-workers the only one recorded is that of Mr. John Row, Hebrew professor at Aberdeen, "who took exceeding pains herein," and who drew up the scheme in accordance with which the work was carried on. Jessey's proposal received at least so much of support from "public authority," that he was one of the committee whose appointment was recommended to the House of Commons in 1653. The result is thus quaintly told by Jessey's biographer :1 "Thus thorow his perswasions many persons excelling in knowledge, integrity, and holiness, did buckle to this great Worke of bettering the Translation of the Bible, but their
Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah (imperfect), Esther, and a Latin version of part of Joshua; vol. iii. contains Job, Psalms (partly in Latin), Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel (partly in Latin), the Minor Prophets, the first chapter of St. John's Gospel, Romans, Corinthians, Philemon, James, Peter, John, Apocalypse (partly in Latin), Jude.-Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Fourth Report,
names are thought fit at present to be concealed to prevent undue Reflections upon their persons; but may come to light (if that work shall ever come to be made publick), and unto each of them was one particular book or more allotted, according as they had leisure, or as the bent of their Genius, advantages of Books or Studies lay, which when supervised by all the rest, dayes of assembling together were to have been set apart, to seek the Lord for His further direction, and for conference with each other touching the matter then under consideration. In process of time this whole work was almost compleated, and stayed for nothing but the appointment of Commissioners to examine it, and warrant its publication." The death of Cromwell, and the political events which followed, prevented the realization of Jessey's hopes. It had been with him the work of many years of his life, and his soul was so engaged in it that he frequently uttered the prayer, "O that I might see this done before I die."

Steven Avery

A History of the English Bible as Literature (2000)
David Norton

p. 98
discussions at Whitelocke’s house is, again, unknowable, but the most
active promoter of revision, the Baptist divine, Henry Jessey (or Jacie,
1601-63), eventually became one of a group of revisers appointed in the
latter days of the Long Parliament (1652 or 1653 - the authorities vary),
and presumably the two sets of discussions followed similar lines. Jessey’s
biographer, E.YV. (probably YVhiston), gives an account of the principles
of revision without keeping clear whether he is expressing his own or
Jessey’s ideas. Jessey’s knowledge of the originals was, YVhiston relates,
such that he was called ‘a living concordance’ {Life of Jessey, p. 62). He
believ ed ‘that our language is not copious and significant enough to bear
the true import of every word, the sacred languages being so full’. As a con-
sequence of this and of annotations and explanations to the unlearned
that the original reads in such a way there is ‘a diversity of rendering the
texts [which] hath been a stumbling to many, and an occasion of reproach
to others’. Thcrcforejesscy conceived it ‘our duty to endeavour to have the
whole Bible rendered as exactly agreeing with the original as we can
attain'. This duty should be carried out under the supervision of ‘godly
and able men’ appointed by public authority to ensure the soundness of
the work since he feared it might otherwise be a dangerous precedent
tending ‘at the last to bring in other Scriptures, or another gospel, instead
of the oracles of God and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ'. He
recruited many for this work, writing to them of ‘a strange desire in many
that love the truth to have a more pure, proper [literally accurate] transla-
tion of the originals than hitherto’. This work ‘was almost completed, and
stayed for nothing but the appointment of commissioners to examine it
and warrant its publication’ (pp. 45-7). No specimen of the work survives,
nor any account of why so much labour came to nothing.


Whiston quotes Jessey’s
somewhat ungrammatical response to such opinion: ‘by way of confes-
sion that the last is the l>est translation, and is in most material things
exact and true. And the translators were learned, sincere and diligent;
and therefore [Jessey] encourages all Christians to prize and value it’ (p.
48). YVhiston qualifies the picture by observing that ‘the Church of
England doth not exempt the aforesaid translation from all deficiency,
and do show in their pulpits continually how the text may Ik* better
translated’ (p. 50). From his point of view of ‘fifty years and more since
that translation was finished’, ‘the knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek
hath been improved even to admiration since that time, and so conse-
quently a translation might be undertaken and made to be more per-
fectly agreeable with the original’ (pp. 48 9). Advancement of
scholarship was constantly to be alleged as a chief reason for revision
through to and beyond the making of the RV12
Much of the rest of Whiston’s account makes detailed criticism of the
KJB and then lays down principles of revision. It is not always clear that
he is reporting Jessey, and he includes the principles of John Row,
Hebrew professor at Aberdeen, another leading light in the push for
revision and a man whom Jessey often consulted. Since there is no visible
disagreement between these three men, their views may be taken
together.11 The KJB is accused of being made to speak ‘the prelatical
language’ in using words like ‘bishopric’ and ‘hell’ instead of ‘charge’
and ‘grave’ (p. 49),14 and there are objections to its inclusion of the
Apocrypha, of ‘scandalous and Popish pictures’ (p. 57),15 and its

p. 100-101 missing

p. 102=103 - more good stuff add pic
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Steven Avery

Facebook - tra - robert lee vaughan

Yes, Rick is one of the writers who repeats this. From his book:

“Miles Smith, final editor of the KJV with Thomas Bilson, protested that after Bilson and he had finished their editing, Bishop Bancroft made fourteen more changes. He gave as an example Bancroft’s insistence on using ‘the glorious word bishopric even for Judas in Acts 1:20’

(Paine, Men Behind the KJV, p. 128).” Rick Norris, The Unbound Scriptures, Fayetteville, NC: Unbound Scriptures Publications, 2003, p. 93.


compare to

The finished work of the KJV translators did not satisfy Bancroft. This proud Archbishop had to make some changes in the translation before it was even published.