The sources quoted in this piece exhibit some of the maddening isolationism that so often characterizes the Orthodox.
This part is probably a good idea, since so many Orthodox are uninformed about their faith and since the Western Christian paradigm is so dominant:
Leaders of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago have sent letters to all of their parishes warning clergy and the faithful that some of the theological ideas expressed in Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ are not part of their tradition.
The film’s creator is a certain variety of Catholic, and there have been some good articles detailing how that tradition diverges from the Orthodox. It’s useful thing to keep in mind when viewing the film.
Unfortunately, the priest is quoted as going on to say, “My fear is that this might be the only ‘gospel’ that people see or read.” My question for him is in what language is the Gospel read in his own church? If he’s “afraid” that this is the only Gospel people see or read, what does that say about the dearth of “gospel” getting out among the people? And what is his diocese doing about it? Finally, if this is the only “gospel” people see or read, would he prefer that they have none at all?
Meanwhile, across the planet, Archbishop Christodoulos has said that the film “has an excessive, deeply stirring realism.” This is a bad thing, apparently.
The complaining Greeks in Chicago could issue a much shorter list of movies that are “accurate.” I don’t recall any Greek churchmen complaining that My Big Fat Greek Wedding presented an inaccurate view of the Church, even though, after his baptism, the young finance says, “I guess I’m Greek now.” No letters to parishes clearing up that possible misunderstanding. I enjoyed that movie a lot, but to treat the light romantic comedy as an unadulterated good and the attempt at capturing an aspect of the Gospel as an unadulterated evil seems to lack proportion, if nothing else.