NEW YORK – Under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Christos Godas’ documentary film Apocalypse Again: Acceptance of Inheritance was screened at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan on December 7.
The original intention of the director to create a series of new documentaries on religious tourism changed entirely when he found himself on the Island of the Apocalypse, Patmos. A series of new revelations, contradictory meanings, and interesting characters inspired him to come up with a subject much larger than he had originally planned.
The main pillars of the film are the unparalleled charm and natural beauty of the northernmost island of the Dodecanese. There in the 1st century AD exiled for two years, St. John the Theologian, a disciple of Jesus, wrote the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse). After the death of St. John also known as the Evangelist, Patmos fell into obscurity for eight centuries.
Many centuries later, St. Christodoulos received permission from Byzantium Emperor Alexios Komnenos to establish the Monastery of St. John the Theologian on Patmos at the site of the ancient altar of the goddess Artemis.
According to the documentary, the temple of the goddess Artemis is based on the four columns that were built in ancient times, and the dome of the Greek Orthodox Church still stands on those columns today. And at the Byzantine castle of the Monastery, located at the topmost point of the island, the next ideological axis of the film passes.
Because there, in the rich library of the Monastery of St. John the Evangelist, texts by Aristotle, Aristophanes, and other great writers of the ancient Greek world were copied and rescued by the monks.
According to the film director, it is not an unknown historical phenomenon when a new religion is spreading to find extreme events of fanaticism. Such gloomy stories did not save Christianity from clashing against the pagan world.
But Patmos is a brilliant exception to reconciling the two apparently opposed ideologies. Why exactly were the Christian monks copying the ancient manuscripts, preserving ancient Greek civilization for the West to “discover” later on in the Renaissance. And that is where the great new “Revelation” comes in, nothing more than respect for diversity and the possibility of “diverse” elements within a society, not one taking over the other, but coexisting.
Through the ideas of coexistence, and forgiveness [in Greek the word forgive] (συν + χωρώ with + I live, that is, I live together with others) and diversity, according to the director, creates a culture’s greatness. And that is also the weakness of the modern Greek who assumes responsibility for the wrong texts, without giving credit elsewhere. The only solution the director sees in today’s deadlocks is to do his job and accept his heavy legacy.
The film includes the ideas of the late philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis and in-depth interviews with the renowned historian-Byzantinologist Eleni Glykatzi-Ahrweiler and Nicholas Alexiou, Sociology Professor at Queens College.
A scene from Apocalypse Again: Acceptance of Inheritance with director Christos Godas. Photo: Courtesy of filmmaker Christos Godas
Among those present at the screening was His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, who, speaking about the film and director Christos Godas, said, “The film is an achievement. The director in a very clever way uses the modern means of public confession. Music is also perfectly matched to the text. The film still has the element of suspense without becoming dull. I can also say, from personal experience, that it is an unforgettable experience to pray in the monastery of Patmos.”
Godas, besides directing the film is also the screenwriter and producer, and answered questions from the audience following the screening. He commented, “The film is a monologue that uses the language of images. It is also a film about memory, which is of particular importance in our time when everything is so ephemeral. In Greek, we have a word about the opposite of memory and it is oblivion (λήθη, lithi). Non-oblivion in our language is no different from the truth (αλήθεια),” meaning that anyone who remembers and knows his past knows the truth.
“Keeping memory alive we can move forward,” he said.
Also in attendance at the screening were Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral Fr. John Vlahos, Atlantic Bank President Nancy Papaioannou, the Director of Press and Communications of the Permanent Mission of Greece to the United Nations Ioannis Bouboukis, Nektarios Antoniou, and actress Anna Tsoukala.
The documentary was recently screened successfully at the New York Greek Film Festival and the Travel Film Festival in Moscow. It has also been purchased and screened by Greek Public Television.
For more information about the film or for any organization interested in viewing it for educational or informational purposes, please refer to the profile of the movie on Facebook, facebook.com/apocalypseagain/.
Director – writer: Christos Godas
Director of Photography: Dimitris Polydropoulos
Music: Pantelis Thalassinos
Sound Design: Che Panousopoulos
Editing: Michalis Kalligeris
Production: 2017, Greece / USA
Production Company: Nostalgia Blue