Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Movie: "Fabiola" (1949)

Fabiola (UK title: The Fighting Gladiator) is a 1949 Italian language motion picture historical drama directed by Alessandro Blasetti, very loosely based on the 1854 novel Fabiola by Nicholas Patrick Wiseman. The film stars Michèle Morgan, Henri Vidal and Michel Simon. It tells the story of the Roman Empire in which Christianity is growing around the 4th century AD.

Directed by: Alessandro Blasetti

Starring: Michèle Morgan, Henri Vidal, Michel Simon

Release date: 3 March 1949; 1951 (UK & U.S.)

Running time: 164 min

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Christian Response to Being Unjustly Accused of Sexual Assault

By John Sanidopoulos

I was asked today by email the following question (which I condensed so as not to reveal any personal information of the inquirer):

"As you are aware, these days much is being is said in the media about sexual assault, and for the most part I think this is a good thing, as it needs to be exposed and women should feel comfortable to expose it if in fact they are the victims of such abuse. What troubles me is that many people are also saying that we should believe every accusation a woman makes regarding sexual assault, I guess because women feel they have been forced to keep silent for too long, or for whatever other reason. This troubles me because I personally have been accused of a sexual assault in the past, and it devastated my life because I knew none of it was true. My comfort at the time was reading scripture and the lives of the saints, and thankfully my wife believed me. Now this took place for me about twenty years ago, and the woman personally apologized to me about the false accusation not long after, and it was all swept under the rug as I moved on to another job, but because I know firsthand of myself and others I know that these accusations can be false unless proven not to be or at least examined, I was wondering, with your vast knowledge of Church history and the lives of the saints, if there are any specific examples of honorable people who were unjustly accused of sexual assault. Thank you."

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Franksgiving: When Thanksgiving Politically Divided the United States

I hear many people these days talking about how divided the United States is politically, and how they dread political conversations during Thanksgiving dinner. Since it can hardly be avoided to talk politics in certain situations during Thanksgiving, my solution is to remind people that this country has always been politically divided in one way or another, and that Thanksgiving itself at one time was politically divisive as well. And what made Thanksgiving politically divisive at one time, is now no longer an issue at all, but an accepted tradition that unites all Americans. What was it that made Thanksgiving politically divisive? It was something labelled "Franksgiving" at the time. Read about it below, via the Wikipedia article on the subject, compare it to the political divide we have today, see how such a major issue of the time for which the then President of the United States, who was criticized for being like Hitler because of this issue, was heavily criticized, and has today become an accepted tradition that unites all Americans, because time eventually gives us a short memory. It should remind us that history should be remembered in times when we feel something unique is going on, for nothing is new under the sun.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Rational Man According To St. Anthony the Great

By Dr. Constantine Cavarnos

Introductory Remarks

St Anthony (ca. 250-356 A.D.) is one of the great masters of the spiritual life of Eastern Christendom. He has been held in the highest esteem by Christians of the East from his own time down to the present. One of his eminent admirers was St Athanasius, who knew him personally and wrote a biography of him, which is one of the best sources of information we have about him. Two other outstanding admirers of this great saint are St Macarius, Metropolitan of Corinth (1731-1805) and St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (1748-1809). They have included at the beginning of the Philokalia, which was compiled and edited by them and published in 1782, a work containing many sayings and observations which have traditionally been attributed to St Anthony.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Holy Martyr Porphyrios the Mime of Ephesus

St. Porphyrios the Mime (Feast Day - November 4)


Porphyrios was adorned by the sword,
Brightly adorned with the purple of blood.

Saint Porphyrios lived during the reign of Emperor Aurelian (270-275), and was from the city of Ephesus. From a young age he was raised in the theater with the mimes, namely those who acted out every form and movement of people.

Once he followed the count of Alexandria to Caesarea, and there he acted out the Holy Baptism of the Christians, where he was baptized by another mime who falsely pretended to be a Bishop. In this way they mocked the mysteries of the Christians.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dr. Jekyll and His Conscience

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

By Robert Louis Stevenson

"In each of us, two natures are at war – the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we want most to be we are."

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Role of Conscience in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"

"Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! --no, no! They heard! --they suspected! --they knew! --they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony!"

Possibly the most obvious and most stated of all themes presented in this tale is one of guilt. The guilty conscience of the narrator is typically viewed as the central, overarching theme of the entire story. It presents a very unique set of questions about the duality of the narrator's character, and perhaps Poe's point is that fine line that exists between the good and evil in all of us. This being, if the narrator is the insane, horrible, psychopath that we think he is, does the sane part of his being show through in his guilt? Is this a redeeming quality, or is this just the act of a raving lunatic, thinking he can hear the heart of a dead man through the floorboards?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dorian Gray and His Conscience

"It had brought melancholy across his passions. Its mere memory had marred many moments of joy. It had been like conscience to him. Yes, it had been conscience. He would destroy it."

- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Ch. 20

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Rapper Rick Ross Shoots "Santorini Greece" Music Video Inside Orthodox Church Without Permission, Local Metropolis Reacts to the Desecration

Rick Ross is a successful rapper and entrepreneur who was the first artist signed to P. Diddy's Ciroc Entertainment. He founded his own music label Maybach Music Group in 2009. A few days ago he dropped his latest music video for the song "Santorini Greece", depicting his lavish lifestyle while on the Greek island. In the song he gets political and reflects on today's racial climate, which brings him to a church on the island, saying, "These niggas don't believe in God, from this very moment, you should believe in God."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Anton Chekhov: Atheist, Agnostic or Struggling Orthodox Christian?

By Father Robert M. Arida


The question of Chekhov’s Christianity and his relationship with the Orthodox Church continues to be debated. Even those such as Father Alexander Schmemann, who lauded Chekhov’s deep insights into the complexities of the human person brought about by his religious and medical backgrounds, could not confidently state that he was a man of the Church.[1]

This paper does not pretend to provide the definitive answer regarding Chekhov’s faith and piety. However, it does attempt to draw attention to his passionate struggle for the meaning of human existence and how, through his characters, one encounters a doctor and writer who tenaciously wrestles with Christ, the Church and the Gospel.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

How the Forgotten Byzantine Empire Rescued Turkish Cinema

Emrah Güler
January 18, 2016

Trust Turkish filmmakers to resurrect the Byzantine Empire to play the much-needed enemy once every decade. Satirist and writer Gani Müjde returns to directing, satirizing where he feels at home, the depiction of Byzantines in Turkish cinema. Müjde’s “Bizans Oyunları: Geym of Bizans” (Byzantine Games: Game of Byzantine), released this week, pokes fun at the historical-action films from the 1950s to the 1970s which established the Byzantines as the ultimate enemy, a uniquely fictitious empire save its name.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Movie: "Anthropoid" (2016)

Directed by Sean Ellis
Produced by Sean Ellis
Written by Sean Ellis

Cillian Murphy
Jamie Dornan
Charlotte Le Bon
Anna Geislerová

Release date: 1 July 2016
Running time: 120 minutes
Language: English

Anthropoid is a 2016 British epic war film that tells the story of Operation Anthropoid, the World War II assassination of Reinhard Heydrich by Exile Czechoslovak soldiers on 27 May 1942.

The film was shot entirely in Prague, and where possible, at the actual locations of the events they depict. Director Sean Ellis stated in interview that scenes in the Orthodox Cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius were filmed on an exact replica of the church on a studio backlot, so as to make the location recognizable to Czech viewers. Gestapo and Czech contemporary reports allowed Ellis to recreate the film's final act (the assassination and church siege) with extreme accuracy, and the film has garnered praise for its commitment to realism and true events. Intense planning was necessary to allow for the assassination itself to play in real time, with each resistance member's movements researched, planned and tracked in order to reflect actual events.

The film can currently be viewed On Demand and is free to subscribers of Amazon Prime.

Read also:

The Incredible True Story Behind World War Two Film 'Anthropoid'

Holy New Hieromartyr Gorazd of Prague, Bishop of Moravia and Silesia (+ 1942)

A Prague Church That Defied Nazi Rule

Monday, August 28, 2017

Consequentialism, the Moral Philosophy of the West

Jeremy Bentham, a founder of Consequential thought

Since the 1960's Western society, hitherto Christian in foundation, has come under the influence of a school of moral theology known as Consequentialism. Consequentialism, essentially denies objective truth and leads to moral relativism. Ultimately it leads to a culture of death that today sanctions everything from contraception to abortion, homosexual activity, sex outside of marriage, divorce, sterilization, in-vitro fertilization, pornography, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia and even false notions of a just war.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Rod Serling on Why Some Monuments of the Past SHOULD Haunt Us

"Mr. Schmidt recently arrived in a small Bavarian village which lies eight miles northwest of Munich... a picturesque, delightful little spot one-time known for its scenery, but more recently related to other events having to do with some of the less positive pursuits of man: human slaughter, torture, misery and anguish. Mr. Schmidt, as we will soon perceive, has a vested interest in the ruins of a concentration camp — for once, some seventeen years ago, his name was Gunther Lutze. He held the rank of a captain in the SS. He was a black-uniformed strutting animal whose function in life was to give pain, and like his colleagues of the time, he shared the one affliction most common amongst that breed known as Nazis... he walked the Earth without a heart. And now former SS Captain Lutze will revisit his old haunts, satisfied perhaps that all that is awaiting him in the ruins on the hill is an element of nostalgia. What he does not know, of course, is that a place like Dachau cannot exist only in Bavaria. By its nature, by its very nature, it must be one of the populated areas... of the Twilight Zone." (Twilight Zone, "Deaths-Head Revisited", Season 3, Episode 9, Opening Narration)

Monday, July 3, 2017

My 12 Favorite Movies of 2017 ... So Far

Now that we are a little over halfway through 2017, it is time to share my 12 favorite movies of the year so far, so people can start catching up with their movie watching for the summer, and to help prepare me for my final list at the end of the year. Each title below is linked to the Wikipedia page if you want to read more about it and see the trailer. I will also offer the brief film description from IMDB.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Elder Sophrony: "The World Does Not Need a Political Church"

By Elder Sophrony Sakharov

Every international or class war is associated with violence: "Strike the enemies." But Christ commands: "Love your enemies" (Matt. 5:44). The latter does not deteriorate at all the gospel at the level of the fratricidal division of material goods. When bishops, theologians and faithful Christians in general enter the ranks of militants, they consider those who avoid participation in these kinds of activities as petty and cowardly. The more dangerous the clash with the oppressors, the more this humanitarian mission is considered as "martyrdom" for Christ.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Characteristics of the Extremist Personality

By Profesor Tariq ibn 'Ali Al-Habeeb

First: Is there an extremist personality?

Second: Are there specific characteristics for the extremist personality?

Third: Can extremism in individuals be the result of genetic aptitude or of social and political circumstances?

This paper is not a comprehensive research but rather a journey to the different types of personalities to verify the researcher's proposition:

"Immoderation and extremism are not the inherent in certain personalities, for mere personalities cannot be extreme. Extremism is an intellectual ideology more than a psychological need. It is a separate idea which people choose and are attracted to mostly for social reasons."

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Athonite Film Wins Award at International Film Competition

Monks and students at Athoniada Ecclesiastical Academy participated in the 3rd International Cinema Competition with a short film titled Come To Me....

The final ranking was announced in Athens on May 25, 2017 at the Michael Kakoyannis Foundation during the award ceremony. It was one of seven films awarded out of 290.

Athoniada Academy is a school that operates out of Karyes on Mount Athos. It was originally founded in 1749 by Ecumenical Patriarch Cyril V and housed in a building of Vatopaidi Monastery.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Conspiracy Theories and the Derangement of Political Discourse

Does this prove Trump is a member of the Illuminati?

There's much that can be posted on this subject, but I will just minimize it to the three articles below for reflection on this issue, introducing people to the ridiculousness of anti-Trump conspiracy theories, similar to anti-Obama conspiracy theories of the past. However, it seems like a new conspiracy theory surfaces every day (at least) these days, that it is difficult to keep up with them. These are nothing but the result of the deep hatred people have in their hearts for anyone opposing their ideologies, to the point where they would demonize their opposition.

1. Trump's Critics Falling for Conspiracy Theories

By Tom Bailey

Bannon is no more a fascist than Obama was a Marxist.

When Obama was first elected in 2008, sections of the US right went into overdrive to prove that behind the smooth talking and smile there was something more sinister. Some conservative media outlets believed Obama was secretly a radical socialist – a Marxist, even. Tied to him were said to be various radical left-wing people, groups and ideologies....

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Easter Sunday When Greeks Asked "How is Lord Byron?" Before Saying "Christ is Risen!"

Lord Byron in Greek/Albanian dress painted by Thomas Phillips in 1835.
Venizelos Mansion, Athens (the British Ambassador's residence)

By John Sanidopoulos

The Philhellene Lord Byron arrived in Missolonghi, Greece on 5 January 1824. Though a wealthy and renowned celebrity at only 35 years old, he gave it all up to help the Greek cause of liberation from the Turks, and his bravery and sacrifice was admired by all. It was not long before his life came to an end however.

On 9 April that same year, having been soaked by a heavy rain while out riding his horse, Byron suffered fever and rheumatic pains. By the twelfth he was seriously ill. Repeated bleedings, which he initially resisted, further debilitated him. On Easter Sunday, he entered a comatose state at 11pm. At six o’clock on the evening of Easter Monday, 19 April 1824, during a violent electrical storm, Byron died, being 36 years old.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Movie Review: "The Promise" (2016)

Directed by Terry George, The Promise is set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, specifically 1915 when the Turks waged a genocide against Armenian Christians. The overlying story however follows a love triangle between Michael (Oscar Isaac), a brilliant Armenian medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), who was born in Armenia and raised in France, and Chris (Christian Bale), a renowned American journalist based in Paris.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Country Receives Its Value From Good Citizens

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

The most important thing in a meadow is grass. In a field, it is wheat. In a garden, it is vegetables. No one boasts about the enclosure of the meadow more than they do the hay in the meadow. Nor does anyone boast more about the shed in the field than they do the wheat in the field. Neither does anyone boast of the ditches more than they do the vegetables in the garden.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Movie Trailer: "The Student" (2016)

The Student (Russian: Ученик, translit. Uchenik) is a 2016 Russian drama film directed by Kirill Serebrennikov. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival where it won the François Chalais Prize.

The plot revolves around a young man who has become a religious fanatic whose behavior gradually has an impact on his environment and the whole school which eventually leads to disaster.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Hollywood Production on the Greek War of Independence Coming Soon

A new dramatic film, "Cliffs of Freedom", based on a fictional historic Greek tale, written and co-produced by Marianne Metropoulos, just wrapped filming in New Mexico a couple of months ago.

Many Greeks were involved in the film’s story and production, and some were involved on-camera as well. Billy Zane, Simon Kassianides, and Costas Mandylor all play important roles in the movie. “Cliffs of Freedom” also features well-known US actors including Christopher Plummer, Faye Dunaway, Tania Raymonde, Raza Jaffrey, and Jan Udin.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Top 30 Movies of 2016

I posted my original list of top 25 movies of 2016 on January 31st, which sparked an inquiry as to why I did not include three of the films nominated for best picture by the Oscars. I mentioned that even though I liked those three films and enjoyed them very much, I thought they were overrated and probably would only make my list if I did a top 40 movies of 2016. This brought the challenge to include five more films to my original that I thought were better than these three, so I expanded my list, and even made a few adjustments to my original list. Still, I could not bring myself to include those three films, as I found others to be more interesting and engaging. What can I say... it was a great year for film.

1. Manchester By The Sea

2. The Witch

3. Hell or High Water

4. Don't Think Twice

5. Lion

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chesterton and Muggeridge on the Weakness and Temptation of Journalism

It is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, “Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe,” or “Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet.” They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complex picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority.

- G.K. Chesterton, The Ball and the Cross

Monday, January 16, 2017

When Archbishop Iakovos Received News of the Murder of Martin Luther King

Archbishop Terrence and Archbishop Iakovos in 1968 at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

In New York City, the night of the murder in Memphis, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Iakovos was giving a reception in Orthodox headquarters for the newly-installed Roman Catholic Archbishop Terrence J. Cooke of New York, when word of the death of Dr. King was received. The two prelates went to the adjacent chapel and, kneeling side by side, led hierarchs representing several Orthodox jurisdictions in America, and newsmen, in reciting the Lord's Prayer.