Mt. Athos, January 22, 2020
A documentary on one of the greatest saints of the 20th century will soon be released.
In the meantime, a trailer for the film, “Elder Joseph the Hesychast,” has been published online on the “sceptic production” YouTube page.
St. Joseph is one of the newest saints of the Orthodox Church. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople announced his canonization during a visit to Mt. Athos in October.
As His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol of the Cypriot Orthodox Church says of St. Joseph in the trailer: “The quietude of Elder Joseph was such that he wanted nothing and nobody else, nothing human in his heart except Christ.”
The film features 5-time Emmy award winning actor and convert to Orthodoxy Jonathan Jackson in the role of St. Joseph.
View the trailer below:
According to the YouTube page:
The film depicts the life of an ascetic monk of Mt. Athos who recently has been canonized a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The title of the film bears his monastic name: Elder Joseph the Hesychast.
Scenes from his early childhood on the island of Paros, his transition and efforts in Athens, lead on to his monastic life on Mt. Athos. Having been offered the invitation by God for an ascetic life, he was tonsured a monk in 1921. He was granted many experiences of the divine but simultaneously great demonic temptations. He lived with prayer, fasting and vigil, and was granted the Grace of the Holy Spirit, while obtaining the spiritual gifts of foresight and prophecy. Elder Joseph very soon took on students, one of whom has also been canonized a saint: Elder Ephraim of Katounakia. Another three of his spiritual students became Abbots of the monasteries of Mt. Athos, just as he himself had prophesied. His spiritual children built up monastic centers in Greece, Cyprus, USA, Canada and all over the world. Elder Joseph is recognized as one of the greatest contemporary ascetic personalities of Mt. Athos, and the Church at large.
The unique film uncovers his ascetic struggles in the most deserted parts of Mt. Athos. The film is unique in that the entire life of the ascetic monk is dramatized with great precision and detail by the 5 time EMMY award winning Jonathan Jackson. It is the first time the camera lens has captured the hidden ascetic life of the monks of Mt. Athos. Elder Joseph met with experienced elders, some of whom have recently been canonized as saints.
In an interview with the Orthodoxia News Agency, Jonathan Jackson spoke about his experience taking on the role of St. Joseph the Hesychast, which he called perhaps the most challenging role of his career and a great blessing: