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Bishops from Russia and Armenia speak on the importance of Scripture in their countries
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.- Yesterday during their interventions at the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, prelates from Russia and Armenia spoke on the importance of the Word of God to Catholics in their respective countries.

Bishop of Yegorievsk, Russia, H.E. Mark Segej Golokov addressed the Synod, stating that the Orthodox Church realizes it is necessary for the Word of God to be available to everyone in order to fulfill tradition.  "Reading the Bible in the Church during liturgical functions, however, represents the most valid way of hearing it. Together with the availability of biblical texts, one basic principle for understanding them is fulfillment of tradition. Orthodox theology does not deny new studies concerning the sacred texts, yet despite this we believe that the interpretation of biblical texts is closely connected to explanations left us by the Church Fathers. Faithfulness to tradition is the sure path that helps one from losing one's way among many opinions," he said.

The Russian bishop is also the vice president of the Department for Foreign Ecclesiastical Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow.

Also, from the same region, H.E. Armash Hagop Nalbandian, the first bishop of Damascus, Syria recalled that in Armenia, the Word of God "had already been proclaimed in the first century by the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew who, following their missionary activity, died as martyrs. The proclamation of the Word of God in the following three centuries bore fruit to the extent that, in 301, Armenia proclaimed Christianity as its State religion, the first nation in the world to do so."

"The Armenian people," the prelate continued, "bore a witness which still today forges the Christian identity of each Armenian. The Word of God has been and is the source of hope and survival."

Looking at the present situation of the proclamation of the Gospel in Armenia, the bishop explained that "Armenia is a post-Soviet country."  Since the fall of the Soviet Union, there has been a "spiritual awakening and a deep interest in listening to the Word of God."  Additionally, "the number of Bible groups and of persons who attend Church is increasing," he noted.

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