Patmos History and Theocracy (01:27)
The Aegean island of Patmos, where the author of Revelation first had his strange visions, is home to the Monastery of St. John, which dominates the island's theocratic government.
The Orthodox church claims the most direct descent from the Apostolic church of Christ. In a ceremony, the Bishop of Patmos reenacts the events of John's Gospel and performs rituals.
Patriarchies at Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem governed a church united by the Nicene Creed before Rome asserted its dominance, leading to ninth century schism. An orthodox bishop discusses the causes of schism.
Worship and Liturgy (02:30)
Unlike Western Christianity, Orthodoxy has accommodated local traditions. A Bishop describes the worship, of which celebration of divine liturgy is the most important element.
Temptations of Modernity (02:44)
Under Turkish rule, the Church sustained Greek national identity. Today, the danger is a worldly focus, as Patmos thrives as a tourist haven. A secular-minded islander is interviewed.
Secular Drift of the Young (01:21)
An older woman discusses her love of the church; she and others discuss younger generations' move away from the church, toward American and Western European attitudes.
Ritual and Optimistic Emphasis (01:27)
Church ritual has a powerful role in Patmos life. Thursday morning, the Epitaphia is adorned with flowers in a ceremony. Catholicism emphasizes Christ's suffering and man's sin, while Orthodoxy emphasizes God's grace.
Devout Patmos Life (02:13)
Away from beaches, patterns of rural life have hardly changed for centuries; ritual is part of this pattern. Lent involves abstaining from many foods; feasts and baking have spiritual importance.
Commemorating Christ's Death (02:32)
Good Friday Evening, young men bear the Epitaphia through town, symbolically bearing the weight of the dead Christ. Veneration of icons is another instance of physical contact with enactment of the Gospel narrative.
Icon Painting and Theology (01:51)
Icon paintings depict ideals rather than pursuing originality and the life-like. Because Christ's death sanctified the material world, an icon can represent the Word; the believer can communicate with Icons.
Purpose of Orthodox Art (01:44)
Western art's imitation of beautiful models leaves little room for the spiritual, an icon painter explains. Icons are books for the uneducated; Christ transforms the feelings they express.
Easter Celebration (02:05)
Lighting of candles Saturday night symbolizes the spread of the light of resurrection. The Congregation heads to the village square as Easter morning approaches; Christ's resurrection is proclaimed, followed by fireworks.
Credits: The Greek Orthodox Church (01:14)
Credits: The Greek Orthodox Church
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