Tuesday, December 1, 2020

An Interesting Comment by Francis Ford Coppola on Orthodox Christianity


Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, in the director's commentary of his movie, Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), as he is watching the stars of the movie Winona Ryder & Keanu Reeves being married, which was actually filmed at Saint Sophia's Greek Orthodox Church in Los Angeles, makes the following comment (transcribed from the audio):

"The Orthodox religions - Greek Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox - is [sic] in fact the original Christianity and, for my part, I think the most beautiful expression of Christianity. That Roman Catholicism is Christianity having been fused with the Roman Empire and really I think has more to do with the Roman Empire than it does with Christianity."

This is a pretty strong statement in favor of Orthodox Christianity, and at the same time an interesting juxtaposition is being made between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, which he views unfavorably in comparison.

Coppola is apparently unaware that the Orthodox Churches he mentions, Churches in doctrinal agreement with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, are the actual direct descendants of the State Religion of the Roman Empire, founded under the authority of the Patriarch and the Emperor in Constantinople (starting with Constantine), while modern Roman Catholicism, far from being Christianity "fused with the Roman Empire," is the religion of the Bishops of Rome who repudiated the authority of the Roman Emperor and excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople. The religion of the City of Rome detached itself from the religion of the Roman Empire, i.e. Medieval Romania, centered in Constantinople (known as New Rome). Few people, indeed, remember that Medieval "Romans" meant the Greek, Albanian, Vlach, Armenian, and other inhabitants of the so-called "Byzantine" Empire. The phenomenon that Coppola describes is thus not Christianity being "fused" with the Roman Empire, which is actually the way it began - it was the "Roman" religion to one and all - but Catholicism being corrupted by the attempt of the Popes to assume the authority of Emperors, and have more in common with the culture of Charlemagne's Frankish Empire, which he self-proclaimed to be the Holy Roman Empire, rather than the historic and ancient Roman Empire that existed in the East well into the fifteenth century. When the Emperors were strong, whether in Constantinople or in Germany, the ability of the Popes to make good their claims was limited; but in the decline of the power of both Thrones, there was little to restrain them. 
In the same commentary, Coppola even proposed that Winona Ryder & Keanu Reeves were really married during the filming (a comment that caused a media uproar a few years ago), because the Orthodox priest, who was a real Orthodox priest, did the complete marriage ceremony for them, and for years both actors half jokingly even refer to each other as husband and wife, though they were never really a couple.