Does Orthodox Christians have the Apocrypha in Their Bible?


A friend of mine who is Orthodox showed me her Bible and I noticed some books are missing, like maccabees and Tobit. She said that she heard about Tobit’s story when she was a kid. I

I was wondering if the OC had those seven books or not, I heard someone say that not only they have those seven books but also few more books like Maccabees 3! :confused:

Yes, the Orthodox use the same Deuterocanonicals that the Catholic Church uses, with the EXTRA addition of the following on top of that:

1 Esdras
3 Maccabees
4 Maccabees
Psalm 151

Do they read it in their liturgy?

Is it possible that not all Orthodox Churches use these books?

Well, the Orthodox Canon is a bit fluid precisely because they never actually formally defined a canon, per se. Virtually all Orthodox will use these books though, yes. Some, like the Ethiopian Orthodox, have many more even beyond that. The Slavonic canon is different yet. You’d have to know the exact branch to be 100% sure, but the above list is pretty safe.

Now that I don’t know. If I recall correctly, I don’t think they are read from formally much if at all during liturgy. (Please someone correct me if I’m wrong.) However, keep in mind that there are a few books that are never used in the Catholic lectionary as well, such as 1 Chronicles, Judith, and Obadiah.

Only Protestants call these books the Apocrypha. We call them Deuterocanonicals.

There’s a 3rd and 4th Maccabees? The 1st and 2nd already bored me to death. :eek:

Loved all the other OT Catholic canon books I never read before.

Totally forgot that! I don’t think of this subject much.

Orthodox usually use the Old Testament for the orthros before the Divine Liturgy. So, no, none of those books would be used in the liturgy. The Orthodox actually have more books than Catholics.

The Ethiopian Orthodox are part of the Oriental Orthodox communion I believe.

Also, keep in mind that having a complete Orthodox bible in English translation was quite rare until recently. So it would not be surprising if your friend was actually using a Protestant bible. I’ve seen some Orthodox churches have protestant bibles in their pews.

That explains a lot, thank you.

Yes, the Eastern Orthodox church has all of the books which were in the Greek Septuagint in their canon. Actually, they have on average four books not in Catholic bibles. Some believe the reason for this is Jerome had an incomplete version of the Septuagint while translating it into the Latin Vulgate. On average, Eastern Orthodox churches have every book accepted by the Roman Catholic church, however not always in the same place. For example, I believe Susanna and Bel and the Dragon are placed as separate books and not just additional chapters to Daniel as in the RCC. The canon of the Eastern Orthodox church is much more fluid but they also have 1 and 2 Esdras( which are 3 and 4 Esdras in the Latin Vulgate, Ezra and Nehemiah are 1 and 2 Esdras in the original Vulgate. Also, 3 Maccabees is part of the canon. 4 Maccabees is also in an appendix to the Greek Bibles but is only strictly canon in the Georgian orthodox church. 3 and 4 Maccabees are not connected to 1 and 2 at all. 3 depicts events about 100 years prior, and 4 is more of a philosophical work. The Oxford Annotated Bible w Apocrypha contains all of these books and explains how and why some churches accept them and others don’t. Another difference in orthodox bibles is naming. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings are called 1-4 Kingdoms. It is interesting but in the end it is the same. The largest bible canon is that of the Ethiopian orthodox church which has 81 books. They include Enoch and Jubilees. I often tell people to read these books even if it isn’t in their bibles, because it is possible it is still inspired. The new testament apocrypha are more unsafe to read as there was a lot of pseudipgraphia and books were written to discourage things. For example the Acts of Peter is a book which is obviously concerned over the growing followers of the Gnostic sect of Simonianism( followers of Simon Magus)

Wow! How did you come to know all of this? I’d like to read whatever whatever books you read.

It is from Tradition/tradition…

So, at both the councils of Hippo (393) and at Carthage (397), the North African bishops worked out the final canon of the both the Old and New Testaments for the universal Church. This is the present canon of the Catholic Church, which the North Africans then submitted to Rome for final ratification. Now, we’re not sure when this final ratification was given, but we do know that, by A.D. 405, Pope St. Innocent I was promoting the so-called “canon of Carthage” (397) throughout the Western Church. Rome would also have sent rescripts of its decison (final ratification of the Carthaginian canon) to Alexandria, the 2nd See of the universal Church and the primate in the East, with the expectation that Alexandria (as Eastern primate)would disseminate it throughout the East.
Now, this was modified somewhat when, at both the Byzantine Council of Trullo (692) and the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea II (787), both the church of Constantinople and the church of Antioch (along with Rome and Alexandria) recognized the binding canons of the Council of Carthage (397). This of course included the Carthaginian Biblical canon, which is thus TECHNICALLY binding on the modern Eastern Orthodox Church. :slight_smile: Yet, in terms of practice, the Antiochian (and thus Byzantine) parts of the Eastern Orthodox Church continued to use pre-Carthaginian books in their local canons …and for the simple reason that these books (e.g. 3 & 4 Maccabees or the apocryphal Esdras, etc.) were always read in the church of Antioch. The fact that the council of Carthage excludedthese books (because they contain some problematic material) was ignored. And it’s because of this neglect of the Carthaginian canon (as authorized by both Trullo and Nicaea II) that modern Eastern Orthodoxy (coming out of the Antiochian Liturgical tradition) often include such books in their published canons today. Yet, technically, they SHOULD consider themselves bound by Trullo’s and Nicaea II’s authorization of Carthage. :slight_smile:

This Bible contains all of the books in the Catholic and Orthodox bibles and explains why they are in certain bibles but not others etc. If you look at the preview you will see the “deuterocanonical” books section that has all of these books.

Many Lutherans accept the 73 book canon , and others suggest the Prayer of Manasseh as canon , so next time pls don’t generalize about the Churches in the Evangelical Catholic branch ( Lutherans , Reformed , etc.) .

I stand by what I said.

You just game me gold!!! Thank you :slight_smile:

Awesome. I wanted to read this. Thank you.

Trullo and Nicaea ratified several sets of canons, including the apostolic canons which themselves include another biblical canon. I am not convinced that either intended to bind the entire church to the canon at Carthage.

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