Canons prohibiting laity or clergy from acting on stage?

Discuss the Canons of the Orthodox Church and the Anathemas, especially those against various heresies that have arisen since the beginning of Christ's Holy Orthodox Church.

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Maria
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Re: Canons prohibiting laity or clergy from acting on stage?

Postby Maria » Sun 8 March 2015 4:24 am

We have several threads on Orthodox morality plays. I have consolidated all the threads into this one post. These videos are excellent to view during Great Lent.

Here is the first:
The little oil lamp, part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enZmieJagYs
The little oil lamp, part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZiYBkHUiRs

Here is the second:
The Wedding Shirt, part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T87e6_1Mbk
The Wedding Shirt, part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwT-GIzcIDw

And a third:
Monastic obedience: A puzzling command - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4hEMOx0Tnk

And a fourth:
Prayers that are not heeded - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njr4jYliR20

And a fifth: On how to pray with a pure heart
You are Three, part 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnlXsWoE_Zw
You are Three, part 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0Ky5CUxSsY

And a sixth:
The visit of Christ, part 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64mDNq4nF9A
The visit of Christ, part 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR13ziHLyQI
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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Re: Canons prohibiting laity or clergy from acting on stage?

Postby Barbara » Mon 9 March 2015 1:26 am

I watched the first 3. But I didn't see these others ! Thanks, I really, really enjoyed those.
Especially the one about the wedding shirt. I was laughing so hard !
Thanks, I will check these out.
I assume they are all by the same producer ?

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Re: Canons prohibiting laity or clergy from acting on stage?

Postby Barbara » Fri 13 March 2015 2:09 am

Today was the day of a Martyr Gelasios of Hieropolis. He was named "the Actor". I thought that was worth investigating.
But there was seemingly no material in English online. Perhaps he was a former actor who converted to Christianity,
as his date of martyrdom is given as 297.

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Re: Canons prohibiting laity or clergy from acting on stage?

Postby Lydia » Fri 13 March 2015 4:48 am

Barbara wrote:That helps explain some angles, thank you, Maria.

We also have to look at for example in the 1800s and 1900s, even, too, acting for a small audience or a congenial audience, such as a Church group, has been popular. For example, Russian emigres in Harbin put on acting performances of classics, usually, as a way to keep alive their culture and traditions in a foreign milieu. One can not complain about that.

I rather think "acting on the stage" refers to acting in plays for a general audience. That has always been rather low in tone and often ridiculously cheap, such as vaudeville or even circus performers.

There have been so few good plays written in the past couple of hundred years in America that it is clear that any play which reaches Broadway, for example, will be highly unedifying - at the best ! There may be a few exceptions.
But one has to ask : WHO would WANT to be up there in front of so many strangers playing a role ?
And WHY ? Often it's because the person has low self-esteem to begin with and is seeking external approval. Rather than considering at all to seek God's approval. There is worship of human beings [the audience ; in a movie setting, the box office reviews]. The more one continues in this career, the more one seeks the adulation of the crowd.

If dropped for a term, the actor or actress wilts and may fall into depression, rather than seizing the opportunity to develop himself or herself internally. In short, only an extremely shallow person will pine for this acting route in life.

Hence, society and the media make sure to worship "stars" so to encourage vast numbers of other people to emulate their empty lives.

I don't know...
My Granparents and their Russian Refugee friends and neighbours used to dress up in traditional costumes and put on plays, sing, play instruments, dance, act,etc. I think they wanted to preserve, at least for themselves, a culture that they loved and had lost. I have photos of these "theatricals" where the cast is together with priests or bishops(the clergy were not part of the plays, of course.)

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Re: Canons prohibiting laity or clergy from acting on stage?

Postby Maria » Fri 13 March 2015 6:16 pm

Lydia wrote:
Barbara wrote:That helps explain some angles, thank you, Maria.

We also have to look at for example in the 1800s and 1900s, even, too, acting for a small audience or a congenial audience, such as a Church group, has been popular. For example, Russian emigres in Harbin put on acting performances of classics, usually, as a way to keep alive their culture and traditions in a foreign milieu. One can not complain about that.

I rather think "acting on the stage" refers to acting in plays for a general audience. That has always been rather low in tone and often ridiculously cheap, such as vaudeville or even circus performers.

There have been so few good plays written in the past couple of hundred years in America that it is clear that any play which reaches Broadway, for example, will be highly unedifying - at the best ! There may be a few exceptions.
But one has to ask : WHO would WANT to be up there in front of so many strangers playing a role ?
And WHY ? Often it's because the person has low self-esteem to begin with and is seeking external approval. Rather than considering at all to seek God's approval. There is worship of human beings [the audience ; in a movie setting, the box office reviews]. The more one continues in this career, the more one seeks the adulation of the crowd.

If dropped for a term, the actor or actress wilts and may fall into depression, rather than seizing the opportunity to develop himself or herself internally. In short, only an extremely shallow person will pine for this acting route in life.

Hence, society and the media make sure to worship "stars" so to encourage vast numbers of other people to emulate their empty lives.

I don't know...
My Granparents and their Russian Refugee friends and neighbours used to dress up in traditional costumes and put on plays, sing, play instruments, dance, act,etc. I think they wanted to preserve, at least for themselves, a culture that they loved and had lost. I have photos of these "theatricals" where the cast is together with priests or bishops(the clergy were not part of the plays, of course.)


Having Orthodox Christian morality plays, like the ones I posted above, is different from acting on stage and in movies that depict immorality, violence, and nudity. The Holy Canons were written at a time when sexual acts were performed on stage and where all sorts of immorality, blasphemy and profanity were used.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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Re: Canons prohibiting laity or clergy from acting on stage?

Postby Cyprian » Mon 16 March 2015 5:33 am

Doesn't the film Ostrov (2006) feature a young woman who is demonically possessed? It is spiritually dangerous for one's soul to take on a role where one has to act demonically possessed or evil or cruel toward others. The fathers counsel that we should never even pretend to act in an evil manner.

I believe there's also some propagandist demonization of Germans/Nazis in the beginning of this film as well, so I find little use for a film like this.

St. Cyprian of Carthage would not even permit communion to a teacher of actors, who no longer acted himself.

St. John Chrysostom threatened his flock once by saying if he caught any of them at the theater, he would refuse them communion.

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Re: Canons prohibiting laity or clergy from acting on stage?

Postby Maria » Mon 16 March 2015 6:01 am

Cyprian wrote:Doesn't the film Ostrov (2006) feature a young woman who is demonically possessed? It is spiritually dangerous for one's soul to take on a role where one has to act demonically possessed or evil or cruel toward others. The fathers counsel that we should never even pretend to act in an evil manner.

I believe there's also some propagandist demonization of Germans/Nazis in the beginning of this film as well, so I find little use for a film like this.

St. Cyprian of Carthage would not even permit communion to a teacher of actors, who no longer acted himself.

St. John Chrysostom threatened his flock once by saying if he caught any of them at the theater, he would refuse them communion.


I agree, Cyprian.

There was one recent "Orthodox Christian" movie which showed a young maiden being shot through the heart by a drunken Nazi. I stopped the movie at that point, and ceased watching it. The film was too brutal with too many violent passions being depicted.

It is very hard to act without taking on the character and personality of another person, which is a lie. Even though the morality plays that I linked above may bring about good, some of the scenes depicted may also cause a rise in the passions. In addition, the imagination is activated, if not in the minds of the audience, then certainly in the minds of the actors, the authors of the play, and the scriptwriters. I should know, as I have written a morality play. It became a very intense two weeks of writing and polishing that play, in which I lived that experience even in my sleep and felt very strong emotions. Furthermore, my students who read that play reacted as if the story were real.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.


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