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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


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I recently viewed the Russian film OCTPOB ("The Island"). The official Russian language website for the film can be found here. The Internet Movie Database page in English can be found here. The film is directed by Pavel Lungin.

I was struck by how well this film depicts the main character, Father Anatoly, in his role as a Fool-for-Christ.

Father Anatoly is often depicted as being harsh, rude and teasing in his interactions with others. He is believed to be a starets (or Elder) by many people who flock to him for guidance despite his seemingly "unsaintly" behaviour.

He is ultimately revealed as a great man of God even though he does not always attend the church services with the other monks and is disruptive when he does attend. He also plays pranks on the brethren.

There were several other themes in this film that I found of interest including:

Father Anatoly's podvig of severe physical asceticism

the coal-house as a symbol of hell

the relationship between Father Job and Father Anatoly and how it is ultimately transformed

how people are often ungrateful even after miracles have been worked in their lives

how people get caught in the spiritual traps of their worldly possessions

Father Anatoly's moments of doubt and uncertainty as to why he has been chosen by God

Father Anatoly's personal knowledge of the demon that has possessed the young widow

the symbolic similarities of Father Anatoly's death and burial with the Baptismal service

A DVD of this film that comes with English subtitles can be found here.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey David,
Do you know a place where this movie
can be rented?
Send me an email on facebook if you
know of a place, o.k.
Thanks......the movie sounds great!
Lee Barrow

11:12 PM  
Blogger DAVID said...


3:33 PM  

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