Vatican Radio: A meaningful gesture by the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church towards the Pope John Paul II
- Text that the Vatican Radio will broadcast around the world on the
occasion of the meeting between His Holiness John Paul II and the Patriarch
Ignatius Zakka I Iwas on May 5th 2001 in Damascus.
A meaningful gesture by the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church towards
the Pope John Paul II
In the context of a courageous ecumenical mission by Pope John
Paul II dedicated to promoting unity among all Christian Churches, is
included a small event that has great significance.
Some two years ago group of Bishops of the Syrian Orthodox
Church together with leaders of the Syriac lay communities all over the
world decided to underwrite a mass media project that would divulge the
history of their Church and its congregation by commissioning a film
accompanied by a literary publication that would give the widest possible
vision of the subject content.
By coincidence, Giacomo Pezzali, the producer they approached,
had already made two films that concerned the reigning Pontiff. The first,
FROM A FAR COUNTRY made shortly after John Paul IIs election, traced the
events that lead Polish citizen Karol Wojtyla to the threshold of his
papacy; the second, OUR GODS BROTHER, is based on a play written by the
Pope when he was a young man.
After two years of intense production from screenplay to
pre-production, from location hunting to principal photography the complete
work is now finished and will soon be distributed around the world in 8
languages under the title : THE HIDDEN PEARL
Produced in 12 different countries , in the Middle East , India,
North America and Europe for Trans World Film Italia, the completed work
comprises a documentary film in three one hour parts directed by Marcello
Baldi and three richly illustrated volumes written by Professor P. Sebastian
Brock of the Oriental Institute of Oxford University, the worlds most
respected expert on the Aramaean people, the Aramaic language, and the histo
ry of the Syrian Orthodox Church, the guardian of the Aramaean heritage.
Now, another providential coincidence has deemed that on the eve
of its worldwide distribution,
THE HIDDEN PEARL , an expression coined by St. Ephraem of Nisibis , 4th
century Christian theologian, poet, hymnist, and doctor of the Church, to
define the Kingdom of Heaven, will be given by His Holiness Moran Mor
Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Supreme Head
of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, to Pope John Paul II, in a gesture
of extreme ecumenical significance, during the His Holiness visit to
Damascus on May 5th .