'Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer' coming early 2011
- An ancient Christian prayer of meditation will be highlighted in film and
book early 2011
"Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer"
New York, July 1, 2010 -- A little known 2000-year-old Christian prayer,
still used by monks and nuns in far away caves and monasteries, is the
subject of a documentary feature film and book slated for early 2011.
Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer focuses on the prayer, Kyrie Eleison ("Lord
Have mercy") that is thought to have been first practiced by the Apostles.
Traveling with cameras and crews to ancient lands of peace and solitude, the
Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin, Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen Professor of
Byzantine Christian Studies, Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University,
and Dr. Norris J. Chumley, a media producer and columnist for Beliefnet,
visited hermits, priests and nuns in caves and monasteries to record their
use of this ancient mystical prayer.
Their film and companion book from HarperOne retraces their steps and
beyond, bringing the wisdom of both ancient saints and modern Christian
sages to worldwide audiences.
The film and book begin with a visit to St. Anthony's in Upper Egypt, the
oldest existing monastery on earth, where Father Lazarus explains what the
prayer is and how to use it. The authors' voyage continues to St.
Catherine's monastery, in existence near Mt. Sinai since the fifth century,
and to monastic communities in Eastern Europe, Romania, Ukraine and Russia.
The ancient prayer has been passed down through generations. Initially
recited verbally, it was ultimately written in obscure instruction manuals
intended only for monks. It was kept in secret, only to be revealed as part
of a dedicated life of isolation. Some spiritual counselors advise using it
only with the help of a disciplines guide, in the context of a life devoted
to monasticism. Others say anyone can use it.
The Jesus Prayer has great power. It is available in short form, long form,
and with multiple variations. The documentary feature film and companion
book from HarperOne, Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer, will introduce this
prayer taught directly by Christian spiritual masters early next year so
that anyone can use it at any time and in any place.
Look for the book and film around Easter 2011. Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer
(http://www.mysteriesofthejesusprayer.com)is a production of Magnetic Arts,
LLC, New York, The film is a not-for-profit project of the Hartley Film
Serving on the Advisory Board of the project are Nikki Stephanopoulos, a
member of the National Council of Churches Governing Board and NCC
Communication Commission, and her husband, Father Robert
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ
in the USA has been the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among
Christians in the United States. The NCC's 36 member faith groups - from a
wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic
African American and Living Peace churches - include 45 million persons in
more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
For more information see: www.ncccusa.org
NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212