the Greek and Russian Orthodox acceptance of the Reformation Bible correction/inclusion of the heavenly witnesses

Steven Avery

the Greek and Russian Orthodox acceptance of the Reformation Bible correction/inclusion of the heavenly witnesses
Romanian, Serbian Ukrainian, etc.

sister thread
Eugenius Bulgaris on the solecism, include bio on post#6

Facebook Resources

Facebook discussion on the Greek Orthodox Bibles
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New post coming, Nov, 2018

Facebook thread that includes Cyril Lucaris, discussion with Albert Hembd


The heavenly witnesses and Acts 8:37 were largely placed in the Greek and Russian Orthodox Bibles after the Reformation correction.

Eugenius Bulgaris clearly led one strong push for this acceptance of the heavenly witnesses.
Russian Orthodox - (and Romanian, Serbian )

Grantley McDonald has at least one good section, he tries to spin them but they show the strong acceptance.

Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe (2016)
By Grantley McDonald



Research Help Possible

Azim Mamanov

American Ecclesiastical Review (1897)
Thomas Joseph Lamy (1827-1907)

It is worthy of note that the Russian and Greek Churches, which claim the name of Orthodox, admit verse 7. One of the leading theologians of the Russian Church, Macarius Bulgakov, who had been a member of the Holy Synod and died as Archbishop of Moscow, writes in his Dogmatic Theology:

“The whole Orthodox Church has acknowledged and does acknowledge to-day, as authentic, the text of the Epistle of St. John, which we have just examined, and she proposes it to her children for their common instruction.” 2

He had previously said:

“It is without reason that some attempt to render the authenticity of the passage in question doubtful, under the pretext that it is wanting in some Greek codices of the New Testament. Our theologians have always made use of that text.”

And he cites Theophanus Prokopow, Hyacinth Karspinski, Ireneus Falcowski and Sylvester.3

2 Thiologie Dogmatique Orthodoxe, traduite par un Russe. Paris, 1859. I., pg. 228.
3 Ibid., pg. 222.
The note from Macarius can be seen here:

Théologie dogmatique orthodoxe, traduite par un Russe, Volume 1 (1859)
Mich. B. Macaire

(I) Non-seulement plusieurs auteurs protestants, mais aussi quelques écrivains de l'Église romaine. Nos théologiens, au contraire, se sont toujours servis de ce texte; quelques-uns même en ont défendu l'authenticité, bien qu’en peu de mots. (Vid.Theoph. Prokopow. Theolog., vol. I, de S. Trinitate, cap. 2, p. 542-544, Lips., 1782; Théol. dogm. de Macarius, chap. 3, p. 35, Mosq., 1786; Hyacinth. Karpinski Compend. theolog., cap. 2, sect, 2, p. 87, Lips., 1786; Iren. Falkowski Compend. theolog., lib 2, cap 2, p. 78, Mosq.. 1802; Sylvestr. Compendium theolog., cap. 21, p. 128, Mosq., 1805.)
The section is from p. 220-228, also see p. 231. The grammatical solecism in the corruption text is on p. 227. Also p. 83 shows how the heavenly witnesses is highlighted.

Pre-Reformation restoration of the full heavenly-earthly witnesses text

Lateran Council
Synod of Sis (Armenian)

Manuel Calecas (fl. 1360)

Joseph Bryennius (1350-1430)


Luminaries in the Orthodox Bible world

Cyril Lucaris (1572-1638)

Maximos of Gallipoli (d. 1633) (Greek: Μάξιμος Καλλιπολίτης; Latin: Maximus Callipolites)

Peter Simeonovich Mogila - (1596-1646) - Romanian Orthodox - Metropolitan of Kiev

Theophane Prokopowicz- Feofan Prokopovic - (1681-1736)

Hyacinth Karpinski - (1721-1798) Russian Orthodox

Eugenius Voulgaris - Bulgaris (1718-1806)

Gorodetsky Nikolai Ivanovich Platon, Metropolitan of Moscow, (1737-1812)

Ireneus (Ivan) Yakimovich Falkowsky- Іриней Фальковський - Іван Якимович Фальковський (1762-1823)

Neophytus Vamvas (1770-1856)

Theofan Stilian Noli, (1882-1865) Albanian Orthodox - omits

Macarius (1816-1882) - Mikhail Petrovich Bulgakov,
Михаил Петрович Булгаков, Metropolitan of Moscow
Section on the heavenly witnesses p. 220-228

John of Kronstadt (1829-1908) - Russian Orthodox

Philotheos (Bryennios) of Nicomedia (1833-1917)

Alexandros Palis (1851-1935)

Vasilios Antoniades (1861-1932)

1904 Greek Patriarchal Edition
Vasilios Antoniades
Michael Kleovoulos of Sardis
Apostolos Christodoulou of Stavroupoli
...the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the late 19[SUP]th[/SUP] century (more specifically, in 1899) assigned a three-member committee consisting of two Metropolitans (Michael Kleovoulos of Sardis and Apostolos Christodoulou of Stavroupoli) as well as of Vasileios Antoniades, professor at the Theological School of Chalki, with the task of collecting and studying the manuscripts of Constantinople and Mount Athos,and with the preparation of a Greek edition of the New Testament that would provide “the best reconstruction of the most ancient text of ecclesiastical tradition and, more specifically, of the Church of Constantinople”

Vladimir Lossky (1903-1958)

John Zizioulas (b. 1931)

Georges Vasilievich Florovsky (1893-1979)- historian

Johannes Karavidopoulos - Ιωάννης Καραβιδόπουλος, (b. 1937)
(NA27, omits)
Textual Criticism in the Orthodox Church

Yuri Valerevich Maximov (b-1979-) -

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Steven Avery

Peter Mogila - The Orthodox Confession of the Eastern Church - 1643

Peter Simeonovich Mogila - (1596-1646) - Romanian Orthodox - Metropolitan of Kiev

Petru Movilă, Ukrainian (Петру Мовилэ)
Петро Симеонович Могила, Polish
Piotr Mohyła, Romanian
Petru Movilă, Russian (Пётр Симео́нович Моги́ла)

<cite>Harvard Ukrainian Studies</cite>
The Many Worlds of Peter Mohyla (1984) - free
Ihor Ševcenko

The Russian Review
Peter Mogila-Metropolitan of Kiev (1955)
Hugh F. Graham


[The Orthodox Confession of Faith of the Catholic and Apostolic Church of the East (also called Catechism from its method) was drawn up by Peter Mogilas, Metropolitan of Kieff, the father of Russian theology (d. 1647), or under his direction, and was revised and adopted by the Græco-Russian Synod at Jassy, 1643, signed by the Eastern Patriarchs, and approved again by the Synod of Jerusalem, 1672.

Atqui Pater natura verus et æternus Deus est, rerumque omnium, quæ sub adspectum veniunt aut non veniunt, conditor; talis igitur omnino tum Filius est, tum Spiritus Sanctus, sibique invicem consubstantiales sunt, docente ita Joanne Evangelista (1 Joh. v. 7):

Ἀλλὰ μὴν ὁ Πατὴρ εἶναι Θεὸς κατὰ φύσιν ἀληθὴς καὶ αἰώνιος, καὶ πὰντων ποιητὴς τῶν ὁρατῶν καὶ ἀοράτων, τοιοῦτος λοιπὸν εἶναι καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς καὶ τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα. Καὶ εἶναι ὁμοούσια ἀλλήλοις, κατὰ τὴν διδασκαλίαν τοῦ Εὐαγγελιστοῦ Ἰωάννου, ὁποῦ λέγει (ά. Ἰωαν. έ. ζʹ.)· ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ Πατὴρ, ὁ Λόγος καὶ τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα· καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσιν.


Steven Avery

Cyril Lucaris and Greek Bible editions

From Received Text on Facebook - pictures needed to be added.{"tn"%3A"R9"}

Edmund Calamy (1722) argued that Cyril would not have agreed for the verse to be in the Maximos (Maximus) Rodios of Gallipoli. translation unless it was in some Greek manuscripts.

"Nor have we any reason to suppose, that either Maximus the Translator, or Cyrillus Lucaris, who was at that Time Patriarch of Constantinople (who also prefix'd a Preface to it) would have inserted this Text, if it was not to have been found in any of their Greek MSS."

It would be nice to see if that Geneva 1638, or the London 1703 editions are online. Geneva is ancient and modern Greek in two columns, not sure about London.

Note that a major stash of his mss went down in a storm per Edward Pococke (wiki).

Another possibility:

Paschalis Kitromilides suggests that Maximus used Giovanni Diodati's modern Italian version of the New Testament as a model for his own translation (Kitromilides 2006:200).

Cover Pic


Here is a bit about that Greek New Testament lineage:

Greek: Modern Bible History

1638 New Testament [Pierre] Aubert, Geneva
The first published Modern Greek N.T., printed with Ancient Greek.
The Modern Greek text, prepared by a Greek monk named Maximus,
was published at the expense of the Dutch States-General.

A revised text, edited by a defrocked priest named Seraphim, was published by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1703."--1000 Tongues [Info only: monk?]

"1710 New Testament Orphan House, Halle [Lutheran]
A revision of Maximus’ text, with corrections by Anastasius Michael,
edited by August H. Francke. It was often reprinted. The first edition by the BFBS published in 1810; by the Russian BS in 1817.
Numerous editions with slight revisions appeared, notably recensions by G. C. Renouard and Thomas Pell Platt, 1824; by D. Schinas, 1927; by H. D. Leeves, 1830."--1000 Tongues [Info only: 1927 probably should be 1827. Was NT being changed?]


"This Greek New Testament was later made the basis for the Greek New Testament printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Cf. Rufus Anderson, Observations upon the Peloponnesus and Greek Islands, made in 1829. Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1830:280. "


These two references could use a little translation:

Here is Prudent Maran (1746)

Here is the John Selden Latin reference (1653)


Then there was the vigorous defense of the verse in the 1700s by Greek Orthodox writers. Theophane Prokopowicz and - Feofan Prokopovic may have good material. Later, of course, you get the incredible contribution of Eugenius Bulgaris.


However, the 1643 Confession already strongly affirmed the heavenly witnesses:

The Orthodox Confession of the Eastern Church A.D. 1643.


The earlier 1629 Latin Confession of Cyril was light on scripture referencing on this site:


Cyril makes scriptural references at the end of each article in order to strengthen his position and argument (Maloney 1976:130)


There could be hints in his correspondence east and west.


A bit about the 1638 ground-breaking (!) Bible edition:

The 'Calvinist Patriarch' Cyril Lucaris and his Bible translations*
Antony J Khokhar
Université catholique de Louvain Belgium

New Testament in Modern Greek
.... The title of the text is ... "ΗΚαινήΔιαθήκητουΚυρίουημώνΙησούΧριστού: Δίγλωττος, Ενηαντιπροσώπωςτοτεθείονπρωτότυπονκαιηαπαραλλάκτωςεξεκείνουειςαπλήνδιάλεκτον, διάτουμακαρίτουκυρίουΜαξίμουτουΚαλλιουπολίτουγενομένημετάφρασιςάμαετυπώθησαν,""ΗΚαινήΔιαθήκητουΚυρίουημώνΙησούΧριστού: Δίγλωττος, Ενηαντιπροσώπωςτοτεθείονπρωτότυπονκαιηαπαραλλάκτωςεξεκείνουειςαπλήνδιάλεκτον, διάτουμακαρίτουκυρίουΜαξίμουτουΚαλλιουπολίτουγενομένημετάφρασιςάμαετυπώθησαν,"

A rough translation of the title would read thus: "The new covenant of Our Lord Jesus Christ: in two languages, one with the face towards the divine original and precisely similar to the other in a simple language, through the blessed lord Maximus Kallioupolitos a translation was made and simultaneously written down."



There are doubts about the authenticity of the Confession of Faith. Some hold that the Confession of Faith was the work of the Jesuits to malign Cyril. A Diomedes Kyriakos is one among such thinkers. M Gedeon and Chrysostom Papadopoulos suggest that it was the work of the Protestants in the name of Cyril Lucaris. A Diamantopoulos argues that it was in fact a malicious act of Léger. For further reference, see Hadjiantoniou 1961:102-103; Kitromilides 2006:197-198. The majority, however, supports the argument that the Confession of Faith is indeed the authentic work of Cyril, because he himself signed the Greek text at Geneva. This text has been preserved in the public library at Geneva. Cf., Toynbee 1954:157.


The New Testament in Modern Greek

The most important pastoral initiative undertaken by Cyril Lucaris, in the words of Paschalis Kitromilides, is the translation of the New Testament (Kitromilides 2006:200). Cyril wanted his flock to have access to the Sacred Scriptures in Modern Greek.11
Although this was not the first ever attempt to translate the Bible into Modern Greek, this was the first effort to result in a complete New Testament and in, as Vaporis remarks, "controversy which carried into the twentieth century." There had already been attempts to translate individual books into Modern Greek for non-Greeks. Cf. Vaporis 1977:232-233.


King James

Establishing relationships with the English ambassadors, Edward Barton and Sir Paul Pindar, he wrote a letter to the archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbot, in 1612 with a request to allow some of his clergymen to study in England. His request was approved by none other than James I. In this way, his relationships with England expanded (Davey 1985:7).


Codex Alexandrinus ... There are some, however, who hold that this Codex was presented to King James I. Cf. e.g., Scott Mandelbrote, "The Authority of the Word: Manuscripts, Print and the Text of the Bible in Seventeenth-Century England," in The Uses of Script and Print, 1300-1700, Julia Crick and Alexandra Walsham (eds.). Cambridge, UK: University Press, 2004:150; James A Patrick, 'Bibles,' in Renaissance and Reformation, vol. 1, James A Patrick (ed.). Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2007:109.


This was fun for me, filling in a lot of dots.


Pic below is of the 1638:


Not sure which editions might actually be online

Steven Avery

Steven Avery

Council of Florence

From later in the same thread.

Checking the pre-Reformation history, the Council of Ferrara and Florence around 1440 discussed textual elements in Trinitarian controversies, with emphasis on Basil, Epiphanius and others. Also which side had more corruption in their texts :).

So far I do not see any direct references to the heavenly witnesses being referenced.


To add to some of my references about Cyril, Antoine Boucat has material here, again in Latin, bottom of the first column:

Theologia patrum dogmatica, scholastico-positiva, Volume 4 (c. 1726)
Andre Boucat;seq=340;view=1up;size=100;id=ucm.5319090061;q1=%22tres%20unum%22;page=root;orient=0;num=322

There is wonderful material to be sort out through many Latin writers.


Steven Avery

Patriarch Nikon of Moscow - triple Alleluia -: Simiaon Polatski’s

Patriarch Nikon of Moscow (1605-1681)
"... seventh Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' of the Russian Orthodox Church, serving officially from 1652 to 1666. He was renowned for his eloquence, energy, piety and close ties to Tsar Alexis of Russia. Nikon introduced many reforms which eventually led to a lasting schism known as Raskol in the Russian Orthodox Church."

Information on his Reform campaigns, p. 61-64, also to p. 70

Religion and the Early Modern State: Views from China, Russia, and the West (2004)
Robert O. Crummey

Sailing to Byzantium: Greek Texts and the Establishment of Authority in Early Modem Muscovy
David A. Frick

Simiaon Polatski enlisted the Trinitarian proof text found at 1 Jn. 5.7 (“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one”) in support of Nikon’s “restored” triple alleluia.106 At the other end of the Muscovite confessional spectrum, the Solovki monks complained of the omission of the same passage 107 in some of the new Nikonian texts. Neither side betrayed an awareness that the passage—the so-called comma johanneum—had become a cause célèbre thanks to Erasmus’ Greek-inspired criticism of the Vulgate. Nor do they seem to have been aware that it was, at least at first, Erasmus’ Greek philology that 108 had argued against the passage's authenticity.

107 Subbotin, Materialy 4:264.

108 Erasmus later reinstated the passage when a non-discredited Greek witness was found. On the Comma Johanneum and sixteenth-century biblical scholarship, see H. J. De Jonge, “Erasmus and the Comma Johanneum," Ephemerides theologicae lovanienses 56 (1980): 381-89; A.
Bludau, “Der Beginn der Controverse über die Ächtheit des Comma Johanneum (I Joh. 5, 7, 8.) im 16. Jahrhundert,” Der Katholik, 3rd ser. 26 (1902): 25-51; Jerry H. Bentley, Humanists and Holy Writ: New Testament Scholarship in the Renaissance (Princeton, 1983) 152-53. On the
Polish discussions, see Frick, Polish Sacred Philology, 99, 145-47, 230.