Monday, September 20, 2021

Movie Review: "Man of God" (2021) - Reviewed by Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria


As you may know from the 26th of August there began to be screened in the cinemas of Greece and Cyprus the film "Man of God", which is a film dedicated to Saint Nektarios of Pentapolis the Wonderworker.

Saint Nektarios is one of my beloved Saints and lived within the environment of the Patriarchate of Alexandria. I would like to convey my thoughts, those that were created by watching the film, because I believe that this film can give a lot of consolation and strength to the faithful in these difficult days that humanity is going through.

The film is directed by the Serbian in origin Yelena Popovic who also wrote the script. Many internationally renowned actors participated. I think that for the first time a film is presented to the Greek community that extols a Saint of the Church with equivalent seriousness and professionalism.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Movie Review: "Man of God" (2021) - Reviewed by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos


 
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

I watched with interest the film "Man of God" which refers to Saint Nektarios, Metropolitan of Pentapolis, founder of the Sacred Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Aegina, the production of which the Sacred Monastery of Vatopaidi from the Holy Mountain took part.

The life and conduct of Saint Nektarios, but also the miraculous charisma given to him by God, are wonderful, as well as his theological patristic training is also wonderful. His texts show the meeting of theology and pastoral care.

Watching this particular movie, the first thought that came to my mind is that our director and producers are not engaged in the projection and presentation of the elements of Orthodox tradition, but are content with presenting the various diseased elements of everyday men, with their various passions, love affairs, rivalries, violence, divorces, murders. A Serbian director, Yelena Popovic, had to come to show us that the people need to follow the healthy models which can be found in the Orthodox ecclesiastical environment.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Mikis Theodorakis on Hellenism, Orthodoxy and Modern Progressivism


On 30 March 2007 Mikis Theodorakis, who passed away today at the age of 96, presented in the Cathedral of Athens the musical composition of the Funeral Service of Saint John of Damascus.

In the press conference held the day before, Mikis Theodorakis had referred to Orthodoxy and his own faith, while he had also sharply criticized those who nowadays identify themselves as progressive by devaluing our history and our origins.

"I was a resistance fighter, a communist and at the same time a Christian, a man who believed in Orthodoxy," he had said characteristically.

Mikis Theodorakis, however, had also referred to current issues:

Monday, August 30, 2021

The First Movie About Saint Nektarios from 1969


 
On August 26th, Yelena Popovic's popular film The Man of God, which refers to Saint Nektarios, opened in cinemas in Greece. This film is primarily in English.

This brings to mind another film about the Saint from 1969, filmed in Greek, titled Saint Nektarios - The Protector of the Poor, produced by James Paris. A social drama directed by the great Grigoris Grigoriou and written by Kiki Segditsa and Antonis David, the script moves between two time periods, the modern era with flashbacks to the life of Saint Nektarios.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

A Famous Greek Actor and Director Talks About His Miraculous Birth Through the Intervention of Saint Irene Chrysovalantou


On the Thursday 15 April 2021 episode of the Greek late night talk show The 2nite Show, the well-known in Greece actor and film director Renos Haralambidis talked about how his miraculous birth took place through the intervention of Saint Irene Chrysovalantou. His real first and middle name is Irenaios Chrysovalantis, which testifies to the miracle.

While his parents were Greek villagers who went to find work in Germany, they tried through various means to have a child, going to the best hospitals, and this effort lasted fourteen years. It came to the point where his mother said to his father to leave her so he can marry someone else who would be able to give him a child. He did not leave her. The truth is that she had an issue that prevented her from having a child and it was irreversible.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Greek Television Journalist Testifies To Her Miraculous Healing By Saint John the Russian

 
According to her Instagram account, Anthi Voulgari is a Greek Journalist, Television Host, Radio Producer and a Health, Fitness and Lifestyle Blogger. In September 2017 she underwent brain surgery to remove a benign tumor. The journalist did not lose her courage and optimism for a moment and the surgery was a success. Then on May 27th 2018 she wrote the following message on Instagram that shocked her fans in Greece and the Greek media in general. She wrote:

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Trailer for the Television Series on the Life of Saint Paisios the Athonite

Prokopis Agathkleous as St. Paisios
 
The life of Saint Paisios the Athonite has become a television series (as reported in September 2020) and aspires to bring to the screens of our homes the most important moments of the life of the Saint, from the moment he was born until his death. The first season, which has already been completed, concerns the course of the Saint from his family being led out of Farasa by Saint Arsenios of Cappadocia, who baptized Saint Paisios, to growing up in Konitsa, his experiences in the Greek army, his initial monastic venture in Konitsa, until the moment he enters Mount Athos. The second season will begin with his life on Mount Athos and end with his death.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Limited Screening for the Film "Man of God" Announced

 

The film about the life of Saint Nektarios, Man of God, is traveling to the Los Angeles Film Festival in the United States of America after being awarded the Audience Award at the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival.

With the most important award, that of the audience, to which a film is addressed and the preference of which all films seek to conquer, Yelena Popovic's film about the life of Saint Nektarios will soon be released, as soon as the conditions allow for theaters to open, in cinemas in Greece. This will be followed by a wider release of the film, with no official dates set due to the pandemic.

However, the much-discussed film will be available on the Los Angeles Film Festival website www.lagff.org for two screenings on May 22 and 23. 


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Documentary on the Making of the Film "Man of God"


The following Special Report on the upcoming film Man of God about the life of Saint Nektarios was featured on ANT1 on Easter Sunday. It is primarily done in Greek, with parts in English. Not only does it cover some aspects of how the film was made, but the report also goes to Aegina and discusses the background of the film's subject - Saint Nektarios. 
 
Click here to see the video on Facebook. 

 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Movie Review: "Dara of Jasenovac" (2020)


Since today, April 22nd, the Serbian Orthodox Church commemorates the Serbian new martyrs of the Ustasha death camp in Jasenovac, I thought I would bring to people's attention an excellent new movie about the horrors of this period of Serbian history, called Dara of Jasenovac.

The film Dara of Jasenovac, directed by Predrag Antonijević and written by Nataša Drakulić, is the first feature film about the suffering of Serbs, Jews and Roma, including children, in the Ustasha death camp in Jasenovac, during the so-called Independent State of Croatia, a fascist/nazi puppet-state during World War II. The historical war drama about one of the most horrific concentration camps in history was filmed 76 years after its closure, based on authentic testimonies of camp survivors and with the support of the Film Center of Serbia.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Movie Review: "The Girl Who Believes in Miracles" (2021) with a special mention of "The Unholy" (2021)

 

Since my goal is to review every movie that has ever been made in which Jesus makes some sort of an appearance, I could not overlook a movie I saw a few weeks ago called The Girl Who Believes in Miracles. It's about a young girl named Sara who is taught at home and in church to have faith in God, but when one day she makes the claim that Jesus appeared to her as a man wearing a t-shirt and jeans over a lake after praying, an encounter that gives her the ability to work miracles and healings which leads to her own loss of health, few believe her except those who share the same simple faith that she does.

Overall the message of the movie is that simple faith has power and reaps rewards, even a vision of Jesus Christ Himself. Typically I would look at a movie like this as silly and dumb, but I must confess the film moved me and it did a good job in conveying its message. In a way, I think the movie is supposed to be sort of silly and dumb, in order to highlight the fact that it is faith in its simplicity that pleases Jesus. Even though the movie does show Sara going to church, it does the best it can in not making it a story within the confines of a certain denomination, but it is a typical American girl in a typical American family that lives in a typical American town where everyone lives a typical American life. The focus is meant to be on simple faith.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Movie Review: "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988)

 
The Last Temptation of Christ

Director: Martin Scorsese

Producer: Barbara De Fina

Screenplay: Paul Schrader

Based on: "The Last Temptation of Christ" by Nikos Kazantzakis

Cinematographer: Michael Ballhaus

Music: Peter Gabriel

Starring: Willem Dafoe as Jesus

Production company: Cineplex Odeon Films

Country: United States

Initial release: August 12, 1988

Run Time: 163 minutes

The Last Temptation of Christ is a 1988 film directed by Martin Scorsese that was adapted from Nikos Kazantzakis' controversial 1955 novel The Last Temptation of Christ, shot entirely in Morocco. Although a box office failure, it received positive reviews from critics and some religious leaders, and Scorsese received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director. Barbara Hershey's performance as Mary Magdalene earned her a nomination for the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Peter Gabriel's music score also received acclaim, including a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. Dafoe's performance was praised, with some thinking he should have been nominated for Best Actor. However, Harvey Keitel's performance was not well received and he was nominated for Worst Supporting Actor.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Prince Philip, Orthodoxy and His Unknown Visit to Mount Athos in 1992


Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born on the Greek island of Kerkyra on the dining room table of the villa of Mon Repos on 10 June 1921.

He was baptized by the Greek Orthodox priest Fr. George Sardanis, at the Church of Saint George in the Old Fortress.

When he was eighteen months old he was exiled from Greece with his family. His father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, had been sentenced to death for high treason after the Asia Minor catastrophe, and was saved at the last minute, with British intervention. He was blamed in part for the country's defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) and for the loss of Greek territory, and the family was forced into exile until the restoration of the Greek monarchy in 1935.

The British naval vessel HMS Calypso evacuated Prince Andrew's family, with Philip carried to safety in a cot made from a fruit box. Philip's family went to France, where they settled in the Paris suburb of Saint-Cloud in a house lent to them by his wealthy aunt, Princess George of Greece and Denmark. Prince Andrew and his family were stripped of their Greek nationality, and traveled under Danish passports.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Movie Review: "Jesus Christ Superstar" (1973)


 Jesus Christ Superstar

Director: Norman Jewison

Producer: Norman Jewison, Robert Stigwood

Screenplay: Melvyn Bragg, Norman Jewison

Based on: "Jesus Christ Superstar" by Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber

Cinematographer: Douglas Slocombe

Music by: Andrew Lloyd Webber

Starring: Ted Neeley as Jesus

Production company: Universal Pictures

Country: United States

Initial release: June 26, 1973

Run Time: 106 minutes

Adapted from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Broadway rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar recounts the last days of Jesus Christ (Ted Neeley) from the perspective of Judas Iscariot (Carl Anderson), his betrayer. As Jesus' following increases, Judas begins to worry that Jesus is falling for his own hype, forgetting the principles of his teachings and growing too close to the prostitute Mary Magdalene (Yvonne Elliman). After Jesus has an outburst in a temple, Judas turns on him.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Aristotle Onassis and the Bishop

 
On March 15, 1975, Aristotle Onassis passed away. In his memory, Archimandrite Fr. Timotheos Iliakis published an incident that was often narrated by the late Metropolitan of Paramythia Titos Matthaiakis (+ 9/4/1991).

One summer after the Divine Liturgy in beautiful Parga, the pastor of the church had a lunch for the Metropolitan in a beach restaurant. Suddenly Onassis appeared with his friends, wearing shorts, a simple shirt and sandals. As soon as he saw the Metropolitan, he notified the owner of the restaurant and asked for a special place to sit alone for a while, while at the same time he sent someone from his escort to his boat.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Official Trailer for the Upcoming Film about St. Nektarios - "Man of God"

 
 
The popularity of Nektarios Kephalas, Metropolitan of Pentapolis, provokes the jealousy of the clergy in Alexandria.

Fearing that he would become the next Patriarch of Egypt, the clergy slander him and as a result they deprive him of his hierarchical status and exile him from Egypt.

In Athens now, thanks to his advanced education, he becomes famous and loved by the people and at the same time indulges in great literary work.

But the workload overwhelms him and he decides to retire to Aegina.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Chet Hanks, Son of Tom Hanks, Talks About Converting from Atheism After Being "Touched by God"


Actor and musician Chester Hanks, better known as Chet and the son of Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, described his conversion from atheism after being touched by the hand of God.

Hanks, who has starred in recurring roles on TV shows such as “Empire,” made an appearance on the “IMPAULSIVE Clips” podcast, where he opened up about a time in his teens that his famous parents sent him away to a wilderness camp because of his bad behavior.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Princess Diana, Her Greek Friend, and Metropolitan Paul of Siatista


The late Metropolitan Paul of Siatista (+ 2019) for years served as Hierarchical Commissioner of Mantoudi in Evia and was always dear to the people.

In September 1996, Yiannis Kalyviotis, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, passed away. The 27-year-old Yiannis was the eldest of the four children of the Kalyviotis family from Limni in Evia. He had finished law school and was a practicing lawyer in Halkida when he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. He went to England in 1995 where he remained for twenty whole months in treatment at Royal Brompton Hospital in London. He was accompanied to London by Father Paul Ioannou, the future Metropolitan of Siatista.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

English Author Paul Kingsnorth Baptized in the Romanian Orthodox Church

 
A few weeks ago I was sent a link to the OAQ page on author Paul Kingsnorth's website, where he writes the following:

I have never been a scientific materialist. My suspicion that there is more to the world than modernity will allow for has informed my sensibility since I was a child, and was the backdrop to all my environmental activism and writing.

Over the last decade, I have been on an increasing determined search for Truth which – as for so many lost Western people – has taken me to all quarters. For five years I studied and practiced Zen Buddhism; I’m still grateful for the insights that accorded me, but there was something missing. In search of what that something might be, I explored Daoism, mythology, Sufism, traditionalism, Alexandrian Wicca and all sorts of other bits and pieces. They all taught me something, but not enough.

Then, in 2020, as the world was turned upside down, so was I. Unexpectedly, and initially against my will, I found myself being pulled determinedly towards Christianity. It’s a long story, which I might tell one day. Suffice it to say that I started the year as an eclectic eco-pagan with a long-held, unformed ache in my heart, and ended it a practicing Christian, the ache gone and replaced by the thing that, all along, I turned out to have been looking for. In January 2021 I was baptised and received into the Eastern Orthodox Church. I don’t know where the path leads from here, but at last I know how to walk it.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Yes, Whataboutism Can Be a Fallacy, But Not Always, and Even Then It Is Usually Quite Rare


"Physician, heal thyself." 
(Luke 4:23)

"Why do you look at the speck of dust in your brother’s eye, 
and not notice the log in your own eye?" 
(Matt. 7:3)

Yesterday the term "whataboutism" was trending on social media, because during the impeachment trial of Former President Donald Trump, Democrats were anticipating for Trump's lawyers to issue forth a series of whataboutisms in their response to the accusation that he incited an insurrection on the Capital Building. At the end of the day, Democrats felt vindicated, because while Trump's lawyers presented their evidence and pointed out the hypocrisy of his accusers, they in turn were believed  to have also committed the fallacy of whataboutism, which they thought invalidates all their arguments. But should they feel vindicated? I would say no, because whataboutisms when you think about it are very rare, and not as common as accusers would like to think.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

"So Shines a Good Deed in a Naughty World"



"How far that little candle throws his beams! 
So shines a good deed in a naughty world."
 
- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice 


Thursday, January 28, 2021

A Shocking Movie Scene With a Tangible Reality

 
By Metropolitan Prodromos of Toliara and South Madagascar

I have loved cinema since I was a child. Those two hours of images and sounds, moments, special effects, profound thoughts that sweat to capture intangible nature through images. Screenplays and books that dared to elevate art for art's sake, or art for profit's sake, or both. I can say that I have seen a huge number of movies, so many that if the hours I spent in front of screens equaled that spent in prayer I would already be in Abraham's Bosom.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Dostoevsky's Pandemic


[Raskolnikov] was in the hospital from the middle of Lent till after Easter. When he was better, he remembered the dreams he had had while he was feverish and delirious. He dreamt that the whole world was condemned to a terrible new strange plague that had come to Europe from the depths of Asia. All were to be destroyed except a very few chosen. Some new sorts of microbes were attacking the bodies of men, but these microbes were endowed with intelligence and will. Men attacked by them became at once mad and furious. But never had men considered themselves so intellectual and so completely in possession of the truth as these sufferers, never had they considered their decisions, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions so infallible. 
 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Short Film: "Naaman and Elisha" (2013)


According to the Bible (2 Kings 5:15–19), Naaman was a commander of the army of Syria. He was a good commander and was held in favor because of the victory that God brought him. Yet Naaman was a leper. Naaman's wife had a servant girl from Israel who said that a prophet there would be able to heal him. Naaman tells his lord this and he is sent to Israel with a letter to the king. The king of Israel didn't know what to do, yet the Prophet Elisha sent a message to the King, advising that the King tell Naaman to come to see him. Elisha then told Naaman to go bathe in the Jordan seven times and he would be clean. Naaman was angry and would have left, but his servant asked him to try it and he was healed. A servant of Elisha, Gehazi, seeing Naaman being turned away from offering God offerings in thanksgiving for his healing, ran after him and falsely asked for clothing and silver for visitors. And the leprosy that had previously been on Naaman fell on Gehazi and remained in his descendants.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Short Film: "Maria of 11" (2018)

 

 
The following short film by Babis Kiliaris, titled "Maria of 11", is a tragic fictional story that portrays in a simple and beautiful way the true story of many who suffered with leprosy. The lead actress portrays a newly-married woman named Maria who was 21 years old when she was diagnosed with leprosy. Immediately after her diagnosis in 1946, she chooses to be admitted at the Lovokomeio of Chios, which served as a leper colony. In Room 11 she lived by herself for 11 years until she died and was buried in grave number 11. To add to the tragedy, she dies just a year before a cure is found for leprosy (Hansen's disease).