A ceremoney was held last month at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Yangon to celebrate the achievements of Reverend Charles Edward Garrad, who in the early 20th century spent 26 years as a Christian missionary in Myanmar.
At the ceremony, which occurred on November 25, clergy were presented with copies of Rev Garrad’s Myanmar-language translation of the Bible, which has recently been revised with help from his descendents.
Rev Garrad arrived in Myanmar from England in 1906. At the request of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, for whom he was working, he made revisions to Adoniram Judson’s original Myanmar-language translation of the Bible.
Rev Garrad’s grandson Mr Peter Carter, who was present at the November 25 ceremony, told The Myanmar Times by email that the revisions were completed by Rev Garrad and two colleagues, Rev William Sherratt and Rev George Kya Bin.
“They started work in 1923, having been seconded to the Burma Bible Society. Then they made a complete new translation, translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Myanmar and the New Testament from Greek into Myanmar,” Mr Carter said.
They completed their translation in 1926, and it was published in 1927. Known as the Garrad Bible, it is used by churches, Christian colleges and many Christians for personal study.
For most of his time in Myanmar, Rev Garrad worked with his younger brother Rev William Garrad as a priest in Mandalay, helping to set up schools and hospitals.
“He also preached the Christian gospel and took Church services,” Mr Carter said.
Rev Garrad left in Yangon in 1932 when he became ill, returning to England to go into hospital. He died in 1958 at the age of 82.
“Rev Garrad still worked on corrections to the published text of the Bible until just a few days before his death,” Mr Carter said, adding that the reverend sent more than 200 handwritten corrections to the Bible society.
“The Burma Bible Society reprinted the Garrad Bible in 1991, but felt they needed a new, modern and more lightweight edition that also included corrections done by Rev Charles Garrad and other Christian leaders,” he said.
In 2009 Rev Garrad’s daughter, Ms Anne Carter, started a project to edit the Bible based on Garrad’s suggested corrections. This was completed earlier this year, and the new edition was presented at last month’s ceremony.
“The Burma Bible Society incorporated the handwritten corrections to errors sent by Rev Garrad and produced this new 2012 edition of the Bible,” Mr Carter said. “My family is very proud of his work. I take immense pride in the work of my grandfather and the efforts of my mother and family to bring about the new edition of the Bible.”
Ms Anne Carter has also written a book titled Bewitched By Burma, describing the lives of Rev Garrad and Mr Peter Carter.