Modern Productions

In modern times biblical themes and stories continue to be used as material in the creation of theatrical productions and movies. One contemporary example is The Passion of the Christ directed by Mel Gibson, which drew a lot of attention. Another example is a series of films, The Decalogue, based on the biblical Ten Commandments, by acclaimed Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941-96). In this collection of films dramatic situations are created in modern settings in ways that explore the themes of the Ten Commandments. Anyone who is familiar with biblical lore will find that in these films, and in works of music, art, and literature throughout the course of Western civilization, there are many explicit references to the resources of the Christian tradition.

People carry a wooden cross into the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem at Easter to reenact Christ's last journey through the streets on the way to his crucifixion at Calvary.

m chapter 6

CATHOLICISM AND ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY FACING NEW CHALLENGES

Even a brief study of the history of Christianity would make a person aware of the truth of Christ's words: "My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36) For Catholics and Orthodox Christians the peace promised by Christ is found only in the kingdom of heaven. In this earthly life, believers sense themselves as pilgrims on a journey to the promised land. In this life they expect challenges, difficulties, sin, weakness, misunderstanding, rejection, persecution, and even death.

Yet the faith and hope of Catholics and Orthodox Christians are anchored in the resurrection of Christ that followed his sufferings and death. They believe, despite all appearances to the contrary, in the mysterious providence of God. They also believe that God works through them as his instruments in establishing a foretaste of his heavenly kingdom here on earth. They realize that their calling from God is to face the challenges of life and to do so as they imagine Christ would.

Pope Benedict XVI, right, is greeted by Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I as he arrives at Istanbul's St. George's Church for a service in November 2006.

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