By Metropolitan Methodios
Yesterday, together with other ecumenical leaders of Greater Boston, I had the opportunity of viewing Mel Gibson’s film, “The Passion of the Christ”. Much controversy has surrounded this movie. Some critics are concerned about the amount of violence it contains, and whether it is suitable for children. Others debate whether the script was faithful to the accounts of the divine passion in the gospels, or contains embellishments from non gospel sources. Finally, a strong voice of concern has been raised by Jewish groups fearing new outbreaks of anti Semitism throughout the world.
What is important, I believe, for us Orthodox Christians is to understand that no film concerning the life of our Saviour–especially one concerned exclusively with His passion—could possibly please everyone. The film was riveting, and cannot be compared to any other previous film on the life of Christ. The violence depicted throughout the film was excruciating to witness, and led me to reflect deeply on the pain of Christ’s passion. While there were numerous scenes where the producer used artistic license, the film as a whole was faithful to the gospel accounts. As an Orthodox Christian, I was disappointed that enough emphasis was not given on the triumph and joy of the Holy Resurrection.
As we continue our journey in the Great Lent, I encourage everyone to see the movie (parents should decide concerning its appropriateness for children), reflect on the pain of Christ’s passion, make their own reviews, and come to their own conclusions about the movie. As a Christian leader who witnesses the sufferings endured by Christians for their beliefs throughout the world, and who strongly protests the ongoing muzzling and ridiculing of the Christian message in America, I fully understand the concern and fear of our Jewish brethren that the film, in their opinion, may foster anti Semitism. I encourage all Orthodox Christians to continue promoting appreciation and respect of the beliefs of people who do not share our beliefs in the Risen Lord.
****Mr. Methodios is the Metropolitan of Boston of the Greek Orthodox Church.