In November 1988, Elder Paisios left the Holy Mountain for two reasons. First, he wanted to attend the all-night vigil in memory of the Venerable Arsenios the Cappadocian. The other reason was the elder’s intention to participate in a protest action, which was to take place in Thessaloniki against a blasphemous film.
The film was Martin Scorsese’s Last Temptation of Christ, shot in 1988 and based on the novel by Nikos Kazandzakis named The Last Temptation. This film was a blasphemy against Christ Himself.
The elder received a Divine vision conveying to him the need to take part in this action, which was why he was calling on other Athonite fathers to join him.
The reverend was very determined and was literally seething with sacred indignation when he was told that this film was simply “pure art”. His active position stirred up even those who decided that the best reaction to the film would be to pass over it in silence.
Venerable Paisios then said, “The mere fact of attending this demonstration is already a profession of Christian faith. Indeed, some people would do more with their prayer, but others would say, ‘So-and-so did not protest; it means that they are tarred with the same brush with those who made this film.’ That would result in great evil.”
The demonstration took place on Sunday, November 6, 1988, in front of the church of the Holy Great Martyr Demetrius, patron saint of Thessalonica. The speakers were standing on the dais in front of the entrance to the temple, next to bishops and monks of the Holy Mountain. Father Paisios was standing amid the protesters although the Protos of the Holy Mountain was pulling him to the forefront.
The elder’s face was illuminated with youthful strength and spiritual vitality. His strong prayer was complemented with the sacred enthusiasm that he embraced while listening to the protesters’ speeches and looking at the sea of people at the meeting.
Mass protests organized by believers, together with their prayers reached their goal, resulting in the blasphemous film being banned by the Greek government.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds