Author Topic: Crown of the Syrians: A Film About St. Severus of Antioch (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)  (Read 372 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Severian

  • My posts on this site don't necessarily reflect my current position on any given subject.
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,644
  • Pat. St. Severus, pray for my family & friends
    • St. Severus of Antioch's Writings
  • Faith: Coptic Orthodox Christian
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bKU3YiVboc

I was very impressed by this one. Very good effects, scripting, casting and acting for an amateur film. My father actually knew one of the actors way back when. :)

It was well researched and the Christology/theology of the film was impeccable. It is clear that the scriptwriters are familiar with St. Severus' corpus and the theological controversies of his day. Although, there are a few subtitles that I would have translated differently.

I have a few questions and comments about some of the historical events depicted in the film, though:

1. The vision of the abbot of St. Romanus' monastery: are there any hagiographical sources that mention this?
2. The debate between Macedonius II of Constantinople and Sts. Severus and Philoxenus in Emperor Anastasius' court: are there any references that discuss this confrontation?
3. Sozopolis is in Pisidia (modern-day Bulgaria), not Antioch.
4. They omit any mention of the henoticon of Zeno and the subsequent animosity it created between St. Severus and Peter Mongus of Alexandria.
5. St. Philoxenus' fate is not elaborated upon in the film. We are told from hagiographical sources that the Chalcedonians asphyxiated him after capturing him.
6. They (intentionally?) shrouded St. Severus' familial origins in ambiguity. It is unclear from the film whether he hailed from a Christian home or a pagan one. Indeed, as has been discussed before on other threads, there are conflicting accounts regarding his faith background prior to his baptism as a law student.

The film is a bit polemical, but I do hope you will enjoy it, nonetheless.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 03:19:18 AM by Severian »
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

No longer active on OC.net. Please pray for me and forgive any harm I might have caused by my ignorance and malice. Pls email me, don't send PMs.

Offline minasoliman

  • Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
  • Section Moderator
  • Hoplitarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 16,789
  • Pray for me Sts. Mina & Kyrillos for my interviews
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic
Severian,

I'll be honest with you.  Very few Coptic movies I like, and those that I do like seem to be on the more contemporary saints, and even then, not great.  Copts tend to over-dramatize and exaggerate.  So I wasn't very keen of the movie when I saw this.  With that said, I'm pretty sure the sources might be from Coptic and Copto-Arabic sources:

https://www.gorgiaspress.com/bookshop/pc-57432-87-the-life-and-works-of-severus-of-antioch-in-the-coptic-and-copto-arabic-traditionbrby-youhanna-youssefbrgorgias-eastern-christian-studies-28.aspx

That's my guess (ridiculously expensive, I know).  There are also some pdf's by this author lurking online that I haven't read either.

My specific criticisms of the movie:
---St. Severus strikes me as a strong personality you don't mess with with a spiritual side.  Forgive me for saying this, but the actor is a "softy".  He would probably be great for other saints with that type of reputation, but I imagined St. Severus not to be that type of personality in the movie.

---The emperors, including Anastasius, seem to be portrayed as "crazies".  Yes, Anastasius was on our side, but even the actor for him made him to be this mentally unstable character.  And Justinian was much more intelligent than the movie made him out to be.  Being as someone who knows history in detail, the hagiographical portrayal is very off-setting.  Justinian did have a council with supporters of St. Severus openly debating the supporters of Chalcedon.  Justinian struck me as a personality who is torn between supporting Chalcedon and also somewhat seeing St. Severus' point of view when looking deep in history.  That is not to say he had his evil side as well in persecuting us, but I respect a movie more if they can show a complicated character, not a cartoon character as this movie did.

---They left off other aspects of St. Severus' life.  His connection with St. Peter of Iberia, his joining of the Acephali, his dealings with specific heretics even in our own Church, not just outside the non-Chalcedonian Church.  And I'm not surprised the movie does not show his issues with St. Peter III.  How can the movie explain a Coptic Pope who staggers and being questioned by St. Severus?  No, our Popes are "always perfect" in the movies.  The mentality has not changed.

Now, here is what the movie did well in:

---It showed the ambiguity of his family past.  The director used creative license not to show whether his family were Christians or pagans, but just a loving family wanting the best for their progeny to be educated well.  The conversion story and baptism of St. Severus though needed improvement on the acting side.

---I appreciated the ambiguous end of St. Philoxenus as well, showing him tortured in the last scene for him, since we also have similar ambiguities in the history.

---The scene of St. Severus and the miracle of the reappearing prosphora was done very well.  That one actually did give me some goosebumps, and I do like the story.

Other than that, I don't think I can answer some of your other questions.  Perhaps Isa can answer your ancient geography question.  And I'm guessing if there was a debate between St. Severus and Archbishop Macedonius, I would imagine a more intelligent discussion on both sides.

My two cents.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Severian

  • My posts on this site don't necessarily reflect my current position on any given subject.
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,644
  • Pat. St. Severus, pray for my family & friends
    • St. Severus of Antioch's Writings
  • Faith: Coptic Orthodox Christian
^These are very legitimate criticisms. Thank you for your input.

Quote
The Life and Works of Severus of Antioch in the Coptic and Copto-Arabic Tradition
By Youhanna Youssef
(Gorgias Eastern Christian Studies 28)
ISBN:   978-1-61719-738-3
Weight:   2.1 LBS.
Price:   $222.63
To get the 40% Gorgias Biblioperks discount, simply login.
https://www.gorgiaspress.com/bookshop/pc-57432-87-the-life-and-works-of-severus-of-antioch-in-the-coptic-and-copto-arabic-traditionbrby-youhanna-youssefbrgorgias-eastern-christian-studies-28.aspx
:o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 01:47:41 PM by Severian »
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die [...] These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -The Lord Jesus Christ

No longer active on OC.net. Please pray for me and forgive any harm I might have caused by my ignorance and malice. Pls email me, don't send PMs.

Offline minasoliman

  • Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
  • Section Moderator
  • Hoplitarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 16,789
  • Pray for me Sts. Mina & Kyrillos for my interviews
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic
I know...

Here's a pdf I found though that might help somewhat, concerning where they might get St. Severus' speeches both to Anastasius and Justinian:

http://arabic.coptic-treasures.com/deacons/youhanna_nessim_youssef/books/Patristic-Quotations-of-Severus-of-Antioch-in-Coptic-and-Arabic-Texts_Dr.Youhanna-Nessim-Youssef.pdf

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline seekeroftruth777

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,247
  • Faith: Orthodox Catechumen
  • Jurisdiction: GOARCH
^These are very legitimate criticisms. Thank you for your input.

Quote
The Life and Works of Severus of Antioch in the Coptic and Copto-Arabic Tradition
By Youhanna Youssef
(Gorgias Eastern Christian Studies 28)
ISBN:   978-1-61719-738-3
Weight:   2.1 LBS.
Price:   $222.63
To get the 40% Gorgias Biblioperks discount, simply login.
https://www.gorgiaspress.com/bookshop/pc-57432-87-the-life-and-works-of-severus-of-antioch-in-the-coptic-and-copto-arabic-traditionbrby-youhanna-youssefbrgorgias-eastern-christian-studies-28.aspx
:o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

ouch am I reading the price right?

Offline seekeroftruth777

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,247
  • Faith: Orthodox Catechumen
  • Jurisdiction: GOARCH
So does this have subtitles? the last Coptic documentary I saw was a near 2 hours one on monasticism, It was awesome.

Offline minasoliman

  • Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
  • Section Moderator
  • Hoplitarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 16,789
  • Pray for me Sts. Mina & Kyrillos for my interviews
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic
Yes, it does have subtitles, but it is not a documentary.  It's a movie with actors and actresses depicting a historical figure.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline seekeroftruth777

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,247
  • Faith: Orthodox Catechumen
  • Jurisdiction: GOARCH
Yes, it does have subtitles, but it is not a documentary.  It's a movie with actors and actresses depicting a historical figure.

Thanks mina, I got through some of ths film, I think they lost me once they got to the emperor, the movie made him out to be sort of nuts, plus it gets polemical once Chalcedon is brought up. I will give it a second a try tonight when i have free time. I also didn't find Zachariah too likeable, I can't figure out why, he didn't do anything bad up to the point that I watched.