The Mother of My Movie Lists

its-a-wonderful-life-3I have a friend and fellow graduate of a one-time missionary school held in an Orthodox Monastery in California. This friend reminded me of an old movie list that he has recently decided to resurrect for the salvation of his own soul and those of his immediate circle in memory of the former Abbot who authored the list, Fr. Herman Podmoshensky. I offer the list here in memory of the same Abbot, whose love and selfless devotion birthed in so many of us the need to feed our own souls along with our spirits.

May this list of old time favorites help spark your memory of a time when Hollywood was less besotted with entertainment that merely titillated but never transformed, a time when Tinseltown had a moral backbone and a heart of gold.

Saint Paisius Missionary School Must See Movie List

Jane Eyre, 1941, Orson Wells

Wuthering Heights

Les Miserables Continue reading

A Sobering Christmas Ghost Story: REPOST

It has been three years since this last time that Scrooge: A Christmas Carol was staged and this review was published. It is happening again, and the Friar Family is in it. Please don’t miss the action. Click on the banner below to buy tickets and come see us.

banner

leech-marleys-ghost-5
December 15, 2013
Concord, MA

Every year faithful Christians struggle with the rush and distraction of holiday preparations and long to take a moment to slow down and reflect on the real meaning of the season. It is an especially difficult struggle for Orthodox Christians as we are prescribed by Mother Church to fast in our preparation to meet the newborn King in his Nativity. The Lenten Fast by comparison is somewhat easier in the sense that the season is already more austere in the wider culture (everyone fasting in the springtime, if for no other religious reason, so that they can fit into summertime bathing suits). The weeks leading up to Christmas in America are anything but austere. Between Christmas parties at work, holiday concerts galore, and the extra latte at Starbucks to keep up our shopping stamina, few things in the broader culture give us pause to stop and reflect on our eternal destiny with one amazing exception, Charles Dicken’s classic Christmas ghost story, A Christmas Carol. Continue reading

God Is With Us

kneelingMarch 13, 2015
Sunday of Forgiveness
Beginning of Great Lent

Lord, I have loved the beauty of Thy house, the place where Thy glory dwelleth. (Psalm 26:8)

Fr. Michael Pomazansky of blessed memory has a wonderful phrase to describe the rich banquet of divine services offered by the Church for the salvation of our souls: He calls this banquet liturgical maximalism. And now as the Orthodox Church begins her 40 days of the Great Fast toward Holy Week and the Bright & Holy Pascha of Our Lord’s Resurrection, the sheer number of services multiplies exponentially. In just the two Orthodox parishes local to us, there is a service offered almost every day in this first week of Lent. What should we make of all this church-going in a month usually dedicated to madness and green beer? Doesn’t all this abstaining and prostrating lead to a repression of life and joy? Continue reading

The Transfigured Role of an Aristocracy

stream_img

A new marchioness, a baby boy, and five marriages (one consummated and four budding near to fulfillment). Thus did Baron Fellowes of West Stafford choose to end his six season saga Downton Abbey this evening as the last aired episode finally reached this side of the pond. What is the chief reason for the appeal behind this most popular of PBS series? Many have cited the pageantry, the intrigue, the utter unpredictability of its characters and plot twists. But I think that the show’s extreme popularity is due to what is missing most in modern American society: a sense of old-fashioned propriety, common kindness, and a transfigured, contemporary role for an ancient aristocracy. Continue reading

Waiting for the Word

tumblr_inline_nkt5dacs2t1tp32k5It’s rare that we cry through a film. Hollywood cheesiness has about as much effect on us as a doorbell on a deaf person. But when my wife and I saw this recent French film about a blind and deaf girl in the late nineteenth century, we could not help but weep for joy, sorrow, and deep, abiding Hope in the world to come. Continue reading