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Author Topic: The Passion of the Christ  (Read 3592 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 20, 2005, 02:46:59 AM »

As a fan of Mel Gibson and his movie "The Passion of the Christ" I was well pleased to read metropolitian Philip's statement about the movie

Beloved Clergy and Faithful of our Archdiocese:

Greetings and blessings to you in the spirit of this Holy and Great Lenten season.

Shortly after the beginning of our journey with our Lord to Calvary and the empty tomb, Mel Gibson released his excellent film, “The Passion of The Christ.” This film raised many favorable, and at the same time, controversial questions; thus, I decided to see this movie and form my own opinion. The following is my observation:

I think that Mel Gibson has done an outstanding job. Ninety-five percent of the film is based on the biblical accounts recorded in the Gospels. We cannot distort history nor can we betray the hymnology of our church and the story which we relive every year during Holy Week. I advise our clergy and faithful to see this movie and share the suffering of our Lord and the joy of His Glorious Resurrection.

Yours in the Triumphant Christ,


Metropolitan PHILIP
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2005, 09:16:21 AM »

I would say the Met. statement is right on. One of the most realistic movies there will ever be.
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2005, 10:25:01 AM »

I agree.  It is the only Jesus themed film that showed the true horror and pain of Our Lord's Passion (although JESUS OF NAZARETH is still my personal favorite).  I thought it was beautifully done and really made me see just what Christ did for us.  It did have it's add-ins that aren't in the Bible (i.e. Jesus inventing the table with chairs, Veronica, etc.), but all in all, any reader of Luke would have been pleased.

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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2005, 03:15:11 PM »

I have to be honest but first I'll tell you what a fellow Antiochian Orthodox priest told me. He said that he went to see the movie and thought it was appalling. That it was just a gorefest to shock people into an intoxicated state and then convince themselves that that is what Christianity is all about. My priest expressed to me his shock when he heard about Met.Philip's endorsement of the film.
I saw the "Passion" twice and thought it was disgusting and did nothing but depict a man being brutalized. There is nothing in the film that made me think this God. All it did was show humanity at its worst! Think to yourselves what does this film do? It is a grossly sensual film that appeals to the emotions. That in itself makes this film unOrthodox as Redemption and Penance have nothing to do with getting mushy and shocked with pain.
Though I did think the cinematography was good, found the use of the actual language of the time interesting, and thought the acting was good that has nothing to do with its awful presentation of Redemption. There are many Orthodox essays that express the same amount of disgust and accurately point out that this film shows just how bankrupt Western spirituality really is. If you want I'll give you the addresses where to find them.

Quote
I thought it was beautifully done and really made me see just what Christ did for us.
I hear this all the time and it always shocks me. What about what the Martyrs did? St.Adrian went throug far more pain and gore for his Orthodox faith then what our God 'went through.' How our God redeems us has nothing to do with the amount of pain or just how gory it was.
Hopefully I'm misreading you.

Maybe I'd be persuaded to you guy's side if Mel Gibson made a film about the Resurrection and the Ascension! I'd see that and I definitely wouldn't be afraid to take my nieces and nephews.
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2005, 03:29:12 PM »

Quote
St.Adrian went throug far more pain and gore for his Orthodox faith then what our God 'went through.'

Um, maybe I'm off, but I thought the reason it is possible that Christ has redeemed us is the fact that he suffered more than we ever could? I won't challenge you on the "gore" factor, since yes, there could easily have been more blood at subsequent martyrdoms. But as for pain...I think I have to disagree, simply because, to have saved our entire humanity, He must have experienced the worst of what we are able to experience - it is this fact that makes a martyr's torture and death endurable - "If Christ did it for me, I can certainly do it for Him." Unless I am misunderstanding the Orthodox understanding of suffering and martyrdom...

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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2005, 04:09:57 PM »



Um, maybe I'm off, but I thought the reason it is possible that Christ has redeemed us is the fact that he suffered more than we ever could? I won't challenge you on the "gore" factor, since yes, there could easily have been more blood at subsequent martyrdoms. But as for pain...I think I have to disagree, simply because, to have saved our entire humanity, He must have experienced the worst of what we are able to experience - it is this fact that makes a martyr's torture and death endurable - "If Christ did it for me, I can certainly do it for Him." Unless I am misunderstanding the Orthodox understanding of suffering and martyrdom...



I agree that in the death and suffering humanity is cleansed of sin but I think the problem is that you cannot put a worldly value or amount on that. To say that you can see just how much by watching Gibsons passionate and sensual film just doesn't make sense. Many times i feel awful or have had a terrible illness, internal bleeding even, and no one can see I'm in pain. The Self-Emptying of our God on the Cross is not something that is simply seen.

There is an article by Fr. Gregory Telepneff here: http://www.synodinresistance.gr/EkdoshsParag_en/OT_XXI,%20no.%202.pdf pages 10-14 which accurately show what I think is wrong with the "Passion."
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2005, 05:04:49 PM »

  I think it just depends on what you believe.  The movie isn't going to "save" anyone.  It is benefitial for those that call themselves Christiians.   What you get out of it will be what you project onto it- like any work of art.  Was it gorie?  Yes  Was it something I personally should have seen?  Yes, there are things in the Gospels about Christ's suffering that I had never noticed till I watched this movie.
  I was hoping he would continue and make other movies about the Gospels, maybe one about Christ's ministry or the nativity.
  We may be showing the movie this year in the parish hall if enough people sign up.
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2005, 05:15:23 PM »

  I was hoping he would continue and make other movies about the Gospels, maybe one about Christ's ministry or the nativity.
  We may be showing the movie this year in the parish hall if enough people sign up.

I think one of the most important aspects of the movie is that it made "Christ" a talking point.  (I'm going to sound lik an Evangelical right now -- which I'm not  Wink), but I feel as though somewhere along the line "Christ" became a bad word in everyday life.

It was almost as though (the masses) were afraid to talk about Christ and their belief in him.  I think the biggest thing the movie accomploshed is that it got regular people interested in faith (again).  Now, I'm not saying it made anyone "religious" in the narrow sense of the word, but it made "Church" and "God" cool again, if you will.

I see a lot more young people interested in reading the gospels  and finding out about all Biblical stories.

I think what you'll find is that in time, making movies about our Lord will be "less risky".
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2005, 05:24:31 PM »

Quote
I saw the "Passion" twice and thought it was disgusting and did nothing but depict a man being brutalized. There is nothing in the film that made me think this God. All it did was show humanity at its worst! Think to yourselves what does this film do? It is a grossly sensual film that appeals to the emotions. That in itself makes this film unOrthodox as Redemption and Penance have nothing to do with getting mushy and shocked with pain.

Well, that's what Christ actually went through. I believe what the Scripture says when it describes Chirst as being unrecognizable due to the brutality of cruxifiction. If you also put the eastern/western polemics aside and do a secular historical study of the brutality of roman cruxifiction you can only come to the conclusion that what Gibson portrayed was pretty close to the real deal. Keep in mind also Christ recieved 40 lashes before that also with some of the most brutal instruments intended to inflict horrible pain and bodily damage as well. I really don't see what the problem is and why some people have a problem with this film. There is no reason to turn this into an east versus western thing because it simply is what it is.
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2005, 06:31:13 PM »

Quote
I agree that in the death and suffering humanity is cleansed of sin but I think the problem is that you cannot put a worldly value or amount on that. To say that you can see just how much by watching Gibsons passionate and sensual film just doesn't make sense. Many times i feel awful or have had a terrible illness, internal bleeding even, and no one can see I'm in pain. The Self-Emptying of our God on the Cross is not something that is simply seen.

I never said that simply by watching The Passion we understand by any means what Christ went through for us - I agree that it is impossible to put a "worldly value or amount on that." However, it is impossible to understand and quantify a LOT of things in our faith, but we are human so we try anyway, and as long as it is taught and understood that we will never fully understand much about God until we are united with Him again (and then, we still won't know EVERYTHING), I think it is healthy and acceptable to find ways to better understand our faith - and this film accomplished this for many people (of the East and West, as Nacho pointed out), and so it has much value.
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2005, 10:25:18 PM »



Well, that's what Christ actually went through. I believe what the Scripture says when it describes Chirst as being unrecognizable due to the brutality of cruxifiction. If you also put the eastern/western polemics aside and do a secular historical study of the brutality of roman cruxifiction you can only come to the conclusion that what Gibson portrayed was pretty close to the real deal. Keep in mind also Christ recieved 40 lashes before that also with some of the most brutal instruments intended to inflict horrible pain and bodily damage as well. I really don't see what the problem is and why some people have a problem with this film. There is no reason to turn this into an east versus western thing because it simply is what it is.

If the goal of art in Orthodoxy was artistic realism we would have no Icons.
If I went by secular studies I would've have never become Orthodox and remained an Atheist. Secular history tells us that our Lord would not have carried his Cross, so much for the long walk to Golgotha, but that those condemned would usually carry the cross bar. However I am Orthodox and believe what Scripture says.
I totally agree that this film has gone to great lengths to be historically accurate, which is why I went to see it a second time.
But consider what I'm saying about this film appealing to the mushy and even prurient side of man. There was no mushy music in the background at the Crucifixion. There was no spectacularly disgusting point when a whip with metal spikes got caught in Christ's side and then was shown up close so everybody could be shocked and grossed out. There was no point when Judas was hiding under a bridge and then is shocked to see Him he betrayed tossed over the side being held up by chains.
As for making this an East versus West thing I think the article speaks for itself. The author, Fr.Gregory Telepneff is not making a blanket statement about all Western Christianity, in fact he has been heavily involved in the study of Celtic Monasticism and its Orthodoxy.



I never said that simply by watching The Passion we understand by any means what Christ went through for us - I agree that it is impossible to put a "worldly value or amount on that." However, it is impossible to understand and quantify a LOT of things in our faith, but we are human so we try anyway, and as long as it is taught and understood that we will never fully understand much about God until we are united with Him again (and then, we still won't know EVERYTHING), I think it is healthy and acceptable to find ways to better understand our faith - and this film accomplished this for many people (of the East and West, as Nacho pointed out), and so it has much value.

All I can say is that if you want to know what the suffering, Crucifixion and Death of our Lord was about go to the services on Great and Holy Friday in an Orthodox Church. As a catechumen who went through them last year I can honestly say I never had an inkling, Mel Gibsons film included, about what the suffering and Self-Emptying of my Lord on the Cross was all about. I just think people should read the Scriptures, the Fathers, and consider the Crucifixion as part of the whole work of our Redemption. Instead of going and getting shocked sensually by a gross and graphic film. As St.Nikodemos the Hagiorite taught, Guard the Senses!
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2005, 10:28:36 PM »

Quote
All I can say is that if you want to know what the suffering, Crucifixion and Death of our Lord was about go to the services on Great and Holy Friday in an Orthodox Church.

I have never been to these services before, being a recent (w/in the past year) catechumen myself, but God willing I will be there this year Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2005, 12:19:47 AM »

This should help: http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8437.asp and this http://www.byzantines.net/liturgy/good%20friday.htm and heres the Passion Akathist http://www.monachos.net/other/akathist_passion.shtml Three of the women at the mission I attend were in tears after Vespers on Great Friday afternoon. The night Lamentations and Vigil is really hard to describe except to say that Christ has died and we sorrowing for taking part in his death await his Resurrection with calm but deep sorrow inside ourselves. However it really is hard not to be moved with a sense of Joy that God has offered His humanity up and destroyed sin in His suffering and death upon the Cross.
In Matins of Holy Friday, we hear:


Today He who suspended the earth upon the waters is suspended on a tree.
A Crown of thorns is placed on the head of the King of angels.
He Who wore a false purple robe covered the heavens with clouds.
He is smitten wWho, in the Jordan, delivered Adam.
The Groom of the Church is fastened with nails, and the son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear.
Thy sufferings we adore, O Christ!
Thy sufferings we adore, O Christ!
Thy sufferings we adore, O Christ!
Make us to behold thy glorious Resurrection.

Hymn: [from Vespers]
O, how could the lawless council condemn to death * the King of Creation * without being ashamed at the thought of His good works * which He recounted to them, saying: * "0 My people, what have I done to You? * Have I not filled Judea with miracles? * Have I not raised the dead with a word? * Have I not cured infirmities and sufferings? * So now, what do you give Me in return? * Why have you not remembered Me? * For the healing you have wounded Me; * for life you gave Me death; * you hang Me, your benefactor, on a tree as a criminal. * You treat Me, the Lawgiver, as a lawbreaker. * You condemn the King of All." * Q longsuffering Lord, glory be to You.

Donna after going through Holy Week I think you'll see why I have a rather negative view of the "Passion." It takes such a glorious event central to our Redemption and tries to contain it in an overly realistic portrayal and convey it on the grosser medium of film in a highly sensual way. The only reason why I think it has been so popular is that we live in an age when people don't read and are so desensitized by stress and over exposure to loud music, loud cars, TV, movies, etc. that they it's almost impossible to convey importance without shocking or disturbing someone in a gross way. I guess it just took a really gross and sensual portrayal of the Crucifixion to wake a lot of my generation up and tell them, "There is a God and He loves you so much that He is willing to become the least of all and die a criminals death for your Redemption." Of course we see what my generation did: they gasped, some went to church on Easter, and then they forgot, saw other movies, and went back to partying and feeling good. It really is tragic.
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2005, 12:27:14 AM »

Sabbas,

Thank you for the links. I will check them out as soon as I can. I respect and appreciate your feelings about the film, but for me it has still had a lot of value, and I have generally given up trying to justify that value to people who don't agree. Smiley Thank you, though, for the information and your personal experiences on Great and Holy Friday...I truly hope I am able to make those services this year (I may not be able to due to school obligations). Please keep me in your prayers.

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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2005, 03:19:14 AM »


I truly hope I am able to make those services this year (I may not be able to due to school obligations).


Donna, skip school and go. Tell them you were ill (we all are spiritually) and you had to go to the hospital (for souls) Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2005, 09:08:32 AM »

I for one was very moved by the movie.  It wasn't just a gore fest...people did these things (and still do in some sad parts of the world) to each other. Didnt you see how Pilate was upset at the excessive nature of it...you got the psycho soldiers stationed in the middle of nowhere (to them) and they are bored and well, they got into it. I like how Pilate was protrayed as a torn man just doing his job as best he could (but then i am a student of ancient Rome, and with Roman politics being what they were...anyway...) and i liked that i had to read the movie.  Wink  My priest has been discussing with me how Jesus experienced everything we did, as a human, and i saw that in this movie.  His despair, his hope, his suffering, his joy...This is how the movie appeared to me. Matters of perception, as it is with any film or book or anything else.  If anything, it brought me to the church, I started going after i saw the movie.  I plan on watching it again this year, i just havent got the guts up to do it yet.  Not one I can watch over and over again, but I think it will be an annual thing. (and no my kids are not allowed to see it yet.  Maybe the 15 year old, but not the younger ones.)
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2005, 06:02:05 AM »

Hi all!

Please allow me to add a Jewish view. I think that the ADL's response was way overblown, entirely out of place & counterproductive.

(Orthodox!) Rabbi Jonathan Rosenbloom wrote in The Jerusalem Post last February that:

Quote
...the proper approach is that adopted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center: an open appeal to Christians of goodwill to do for Jews what we cannot do for ourselves - i.e., work to ensure that The Passion does not become a vehicle for arousing anti-Semitic furies.

The Wiesenthal Center's "Appeal to People of Faith" expressly eschews any request that Christians renounce or censor their most holy texts. It places the focus on actions, not beliefs. And that is as it should be.

Believing Jews have no interest in dictating others' theology or demanding that they reject their most sacred texts. (One more reason for religious Jews to avoid a frontal confrontation with Mel Gibson.) All religion suffers when any religion is subjected to the strictures of modern-day political correctness. Already on many university campuses, it is a "hate crime," punishable by expulsion, to express the biblical abhorrence of homosexual acts.

Religion is drained of all its power and majesty when its adherents witness its sacred texts and thousands of years of exegesis adjusted in accord with the demands of the local thought police. Recently, I was asked by a BBC moderator of a discussion of the Women of the Wall: "But don't you think that a religion must update in accord with the times?"

"Not unless it wishes to be as irrelevant to the lives of believers as the modern Church of England," I replied.

This somes up my attitude.

Be well!

MBZ

PS: The film has yet to open Israel since no distributor is willing to show it. I've heard that an art-house type theater here in Jerusalem may screen it.

PPS: Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ was banned here in Israel on the grounds that it was grossly insensitive/offensive to Israel's various Christian communities (http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Facts+About+Israel/People/Focus+on+Israel+-+The+Christian+Communities+of+Isr.htm).
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2005, 09:41:16 AM »

Please allow me to add a Jewish view.  I think that the ADL's response was way overblown, entirely out of place & counterproductive.

I think many share this view.  I've seen the movie several times and the most recent was with my best friend (who is Jewish).

She did not believe the movie to be anti-semetic and she understood why many Christians would feel that attacking this movie was an attack against Christianity.  I also showed her a passage out of my Orthodox Study Bible which explicitly statest that the "so called blood curse" is NOT to be construed as means of hating or blaming Jews for the death of Christ.

Her one critique of the movie was that she thought it perpetuated the stereotype of "Jewish Puppet masters".  I'm not sure I agreed, but could understand her point.

As a piece of cinema, overall she believed it was well made, albeit very graphic.  I agree with this assessment, although I understand the need for the extreme violence.  I think many have said (and I agree), I would have liked to see a bit more in the way of the resurrection. 

Hopefully someone (maybe even Mel), will make two more movies.  One about his teachings and the second about his resurection and the work of his disciples thereafter.

Regards.
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« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2005, 11:04:47 AM »

Hi SouthSErb99!

I've heard that Mel Gibson has expressed interest in making a movie about the Maccabean Revolt (http://www.aish.com/literacy/jewishhistory/Crash_Course_in_Jewish_History__Part_29_-_The_Revolt_of_the_Maccabees.asp). If he sticks to I Maccabees (which we regard as historically accurate even if we do not accept it as canonical), and doesn't do a Braveheart-style chop job on the actual history, that should be a very interesting movie!

I'll add that Caiaphas (Joseph Bar Caifa, in our sources, our Sages say that he was very arrogant; his ossuary is at the Israel Museum here in Jerusalem, see http://tinyurl.com/6k3of) and a majority of the Sanhedrin at the time were Sadducee heretics, about whose ravings I couldn't care less.

Be well!

MBZ

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« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2005, 12:29:00 PM »

Anyone who would use the Passion of Our Lord as an excuse to hate the Jewish people is severely off base.  First, It is wrong to hate anyone.  Second, while the Bible says (depending on your version) that the Jews killed Christ, it would be more accurate to say the Jewish leaders and a small segment of the population of Jerusalem incited by those members of the Sanhedrin, who called for his crucifixion.  By no means was it all Jews.  That would make no sense.  There were many Jews who followed Jesus, or who were opposed to the actions taken by this small segment of the population.

Also, the reason the film didn't focus more on the ressurrection of Christ, is that in Western Christian thought, the most momentous event in the life of Christ was His Crucifixion.  The Resurrection was important, but it is not the tantamount event in their thought.  It is just a cap on the matter and a proof of who Christ was and is.  Atleast this is what my old church taught us.  I don't buy that it isn't of the most extreme importance, though.  Praise God.
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At His Feet The Six-Winged Seraph, Cherubim, With Sleepless Eye, Veil Their Faces To His Presence As With Ceasless Voice They Cry:ÂÂ  Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!ÂÂ  Lord Most High! --From the Liturgy of St. James (Translated by Gerard Moultrie)
aurelia
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« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2005, 01:22:53 PM »

" it would be more accurate to say the Jewish leaders and a small segment of the population of Jerusalem incited by those members of the Sanhedrin, who called for his crucifixion."

Bingo!!! 
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