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mosaic at the Byzantine-era church includes a request for prayer that refers to the Apostle Peter as the “chief and commander of the heavenly apostles

Irish45

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From a historical point of view it's definitely an interesting find.

From a theological point of view it would be interesting if an understanding of the word "commander" is made. Greek is different to English, so it's easy to misunderstand the inscription as saying that Peter had the last word (as Catholics would probably say).
 
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I'm surprised the inscription didn't also have "Pope of Rome" tacked on at the end.
 

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From a historical point of view it's definitely an interesting find.

From a theological point of view it would be interesting if an understanding of the word "commander" is made. Greek is different to English, so it's easy to misunderstand the inscription as saying that Peter had the last word (as Catholics would probably say).
It all depends on what your definition of "is" is.
 

Cavaradossi

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It all depends on what your definition of "is" is.
I don't think it's a bad question to ask what the original said. As the Italian play on words goes: traduttore, traditore (translator, traitor). For example, a common term applied to St. Peter is κορυφαῖος (coryphaeus, often translated as chief or leader), but translators usually neglect to mention that this term is also applied to St. Paul, as is done by the 9th century hymnographer Ephraim of Caria in his composition (which is used as the doxastikon of the aposticha of the vigil for Ss. Peter and Paul) which begins Ἑορτὴ χαρμόσυνος, ἐπέλαμψε τοῖς πέρασι σήμερον, ἡ πάνσεπτος μνήμη τῶν σοφωτάτων Ἀποστόλων, καὶ κορυφαίων Πέτρου καὶ Παύλου (Today, a joyful feast has shone forth to the ends [of the earth], the all-august memorial of the most wise apostles and coryphaei Peter and Paul).
 
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Irish45

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From a historical point of view it's definitely an interesting find.

From a theological point of view it would be interesting if an understanding of the word "commander" is made. Greek is different to English, so it's easy to misunderstand the inscription as saying that Peter had the last word (as Catholics would probably say).
You made some interesting points for sure.

I’ve never seen Peter called commander before. Are there any other instances where somebody refers to him by that name? Are there any instances of other apostles having that title?
 

melkite

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I don't think it's a bad question to ask what the original said. As the Italian play on words goes: traduttore, traditore (translator, traitor). For example, a common term applied to St. Peter is κορυφαῖος (coryphaeus, often translated as chief or leader), but translators usually neglect to mention that this term is also applied to St. Paul, as is done by the 9th century hymnographer Ephraim of Caria in his composition (which is used as the doxastikon of the aposticha of the vigil for Ss. Peter and Paul) which begins Ἑορτὴ χαρμόσυνος, ἐπέλαμψε τοῖς πέρασι σήμερον, ἡ πάνσεπτος μνήμη τῶν σοφωτάτων Ἀποστόλων, καὶ κορυφαίων Πέτρου καὶ Παύλου (Today, a joyful feast has shone forth to the ends [of the earth], the all-august memorial of the most wise apostles and coryphaei Peter and Paul).
Do "chief" and "commander" have other meanings in Greek? Particular, when they are used together like that? If so, that's definitely worth looking at.
 

Irened

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It could be seen as "Chief (first among equals) of the heavenly apostles", no?
 

RaphaCam

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Is it possible that this was a case of Westerners taking things way too literally to say what they already wanted to?
I don't mean to be dry, the comment just fits. :p On a serious note, I don't think theologising over isolated expressions of hymns, epithets, etc, is wise, even when these expressions are widespread. Religious language doesn't usually convey sense in a word-to-word basis. It's more about how words relate to each other in context and the images they transmit to those who are receiving the message.
 

Cavaradossi

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Do "chief" and "commander" have other meanings in Greek? Particular, when they are used together like that? If so, that's definitely worth looking at.
Chief and commander don't mean anything in Greek because they are not Greek words. If words had such simple one-to-one correspondences between languages, we would never have even devised this wonderful English expression, "lost in translation".
 

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Chief and commander don't mean anything in Greek because they are not Greek words. If words had such simple one-to-one correspondences between languages, we would never have even devised this wonderful English expression, "lost in translation".
What are the actual Greek words, and what are all their potential glosses?
 

Cavaradossi

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What are the actual Greek words, and what are all their potential glosses?
That was my point to begin with. Based on the article posted, we don't know. The image provided (if the image is of the inscription) is illegible, and no transcription is given. Without that, it's hard to have a meaningful conversation about what the inscription means.
 
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