Documentary Movie on Russian Orthodox Church

April 29, 2018
St. Vladimir's Seminary
575 Scarsdale Road
Yonkers 10707

Russian Orthodox woman prays, gazing at an icon, in an Orthodox parish in St. Petersburg (CNS photo: Robert Duncan)Russian Orthodox woman prays, gazing at an icon, in an Orthodox parish in St. Petersburg (CNS photo: Robert Duncan)One hundred years after the Russian (Bolshevik) Revolution of 1917, a documentary movie recently produced and released by Catholic News Service chronicles both the ruin of the Russian Orthodox Church during that time and the rebirth of the Church following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The movie, Faces among Icons, will be shown on our campus in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family building at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, 2018, followed by a panel discussion. The producer of the movie, Robert Duncan, a Rome-based Catholic filmmaker, will attend the screening, and will be a panel participant, along with select seminary faculty and students. The event is free and open to the public, and fresh popcorn will be served!

While the release of Faces among Icons was timed to coincide with the centenary of the Russian Revolution, for Roman Catholics the year 2017 also marked the 100-year anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima, at which time the Virgin Mary was said to have predicted the conversion of Russia to Christ. Catholic News Service Editor-in-chief Greg Erlandson was quoted in the media outlet Crux as saying, “Following seven decades of atheistic communism, there now appears to be the seedlings of a Christian renewal, which is the subject of this remarkable film.” The documentary itself—notably—states at its outset that the “conversion” predicted by the Virgin did not specify a conversion to Roman Catholicism but rather “to Christ,” and that the film would focus on the renewal of the Orthodox Christian Church in Russia.

The fascinating 30-minute documentary showcases a range of Russian individuals providing firsthand accounts of the changes in religious life that have occurred within their country since the fall of communism. They offer widely diverse personal perspectives on the extent to which church-state cooperation is deemed healthful, and they evidence the tension in opinions as to how much influence the state should yield over the church.

Even with such tension, Pope Francis and Russian Patriarch Kirill have enjoyed a particularly warm and cooperative relationship—resulting in the first meeting between a pope and a patriarch in over 1,000 years. Together, they have pushed for Russian Orthodox and Catholic cooperation, both for shared Christian causes and international cooperation on various fronts.

We welcome you to our campus to watch this engrossing movie, and to engage in dynamic discussion.

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