The Urantia Book Takes Root in Greece

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In 1999 four readers in Greece were listed on the Foundation's mailing list. In 1997 an article in a Greek esoteric magazine presented The Urantia Book in a cloud of mystery. Very little was known about it.

In 1998 a Greek citizen found the book in London and, after several readings, and having experienced the profound impact the book has on one's spiritual life, decided to attempt to find ways to bring the book to the notice of his fellow Greeks. While the Greek Orthodox religion is strong in Greece, there are many individuals searching for truth outside of that religion. The first task was to prepare information about The Urantia Book in Greek and the second, to generate local interest by bringing the book to the notice of groups of truth seekers who were already connected to certain book distribution channels dealing with alternate religious material.

A strategic alliance was created with the editor of an esoteric magazine who also owned a bookstore and was a book distributor. In January 2000 a two-hour presentation of The Urantia Book was arranged in one of the bookstores in Athens belonging to this distributor. It was attended by 80 individuals who responded to the magazine's promotion of the event. The book was also on display and for sale.

A synopsis of The Urantia Book highlighting its prominent messages was later enclosed in one of the magazines and sent to over 7,000 subscribers. At the end of the synopsis, an email contact address was given for people interested in receiving further information. Also a call was made for volunteers who may wish to assist with a translation effort Before long, the Greek translation had begun and was progressing well.

In May 2000 a Foundation Trustee and the Foundation's Translation Manager visited Athens to meet with translators and readers. In August 2000 the leader of this group signed agreements with the Foundation and became the Chief translator for the Greek translation, as well as the Foundation's Representative for Greece. By that time around 100 English books had been sold by one of the booksellers.

At the IUA New York conference in 2000, having been inspired by the gathering of kindred spirits and the power and effectiveness of workshops, our new Representative for Greece decided to organize a weekend seminar/ workshop in Athens to introduce The Urantia Book. He invited an experienced longtime reader from the United States to help him lead and direct the program. The magazine publisher sponsored the workshop which was held in February 2001 and attended by 35 individuals. The theme was “The Art of Living in Today's WorldPersonal and Planetary Transformation.” An article on the Art of Living, as well as excerpts from The Urantia Book, were published in the magazine to promote the workshop.

Shortly afterwards two study groups of readers studying the translated Greek papers emergedone in Athens and another in Thessaloniki. These groups now assist the translation effort by providing feedback to the translators. In May 2001 the first draft of the Greek translation of the book was completed and editing has commenced. The team hopes to have the Greek translation available in the bookstores by the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

The Greek distributor has added a page to its company's website about The Urantia Book. This site receives around 1,000,000 hits per month, obviously reaching many Greeks from all over the world. Another seminar/ workshop is scheduled for March 9-10, 2002. It is hoped that brothers and sisters from other European and Balkan countries will attend. To date approximately 200 copies of The Urantia Book have been sold in Greece.

It is interesting to note that during this time the Pope visited Greece in an effort to heal the rift between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church. In addition, Greek politicians are attempting to heal the rift between the Christian Greeks and the Muslim Turks via the future entry of Cyprus into the European Union, which is likely to take place around 2004. These are indeed interesting times for Greece.

Foundation Info

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