FOX News: Why Jesus and Comic Books Need Each Other | Book of Revelation Graphic Novel

An interview on FOX News with Fr. Mark Arey of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese on transforming the book of Revelation into a graphic novel. What do you think?




  1. This is a very interesting video. I have the following questions.

    1) Fr. Mark has in the past done interviews in a suit and collar…. what is up with the suit and necktie?

    2) Is this effort blessed by the GOA?

    3) I guess being General Secretary of the Assembly of Bishops and planning the future canonical order of the Church in America does not require much work because your focus looks to be elsewhere?

    4)What makes this work uniquely Orthodox? After all, Fr. Mark is a Greek Orthodox Priest. Partnerships with evangelicals are nice as long as the help the message of the Church. How does this help the Orthodox Church?

    5)How Can Fr. Mark sound broadly evangelical and concerned with spreading the Christian message while at the same being a policy-maker for an organization that puts omogenia (race) before Orthodoxy? Heck, Fr. Mark used to stump for Archbishop Spyridon. So its only fair to ask which Fr. Mark is the real one….. the one I see on TV or the GOA bureaucrat?

    • Rostislav says

      The Priest Who Did Not Want To Serve The Divine Liturgy

      There was once a priest who did not want to serve the liturgy because it was a cold winter day.

      The temperature was 10 degrees below zero and the priest knew that the only person who was likely to come to the service was the chanter. The priest had no idea about the Church’s teaching on the presence of the Triumphant Church and how the Divine Liturgy benefits the living and the departed. With difficulty he forced himself to go to church. On the way to church he kept wishing that the chanter would not come so that he would not have to serve and go home. However, the chanter did come.

      The priest did the Prothesis (or Proskomedia, the service of preparing the holy gifts) in a hurry and began the Divine Liturgy. Shortly after, some bishops, priests, monks and nuns and some lay people arrived. Most of them sat in the choir section and began to chant so beautifully that the priest forgot about how cold and lonely he was earlier. His whole body was warm and his whole being was all a flame…. When he did the small entrance he noticed that the church was full of people – most of them familiar – he did not pay much attention and just continued with the Divine Liturgy.

      When the time came for the Sanctification of the Holy Gifts he saw three bishops, brightly clothed and radiant entering the Holy Altar. They knelt with him and prayed. The priest then stood up very carefully with fear, took the censer and in a loud voice said,

      ‘Especially our All Holy, Immaculate, Most Blessed and glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary…’.

      The soul of the priest was amazed and filled with divine joy. Peace and heavenly stillness, hesychia, dominated his inner self. When the time came for the elevation and dividing of the Host (Lamb) the whole church filled with the sweetest melodies. The whole multitude of people who were present along with the monks, priests and bishops chanted not only once but many times,

      ‘One is Holy, One is Lord: Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen’.

      Next they chanted the Holy Communion hymn,

      ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good, Alleluia.’

      The priest was wandering what to do. Should he partake of the Holy Communion first or step aside for the three bishops who were present. Just as he was thinking this, one of the bishops nodded to him indicating that he should receive Holy Communion and then to Unify and Place the remaining of the portions of the Lamb into the Chalice along with the portions in memory of the Holy Theotokos and the Saints. Having completed this the priest then opened the Beautiful Gate … and saw no one in the Church… he turned and looked back into the holy altar, he looked to the right, looked to the left, the bishops had disappeared, he stood there speechless, amazed. He slowly opened his mouth and chanted the next petition,

      ‘With the fear of God and faith and love, draw near …,’

      and the chanter slowly drew near to take Holy Communion. The priest was still amazed, still wondering! The whole Triumphant Church was present. All those present in the church were persons familiar to him, they were persons that had departed from this life and he would from time to time commemorate their names during each liturgy:

      ‘that’s why they were present, that’s why they all seemed so familiar’, he thought.

      As for the bishops in the altar they were the Three Hierarchs: Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory the Theologian.

      So many years of study at university, so much research and so many sleepless nights he spent studying and these efforts were not able to give him not even one drop of the sweetness and divine knowledge that this one Divine Liturgy gave him.

  2. M. Stankovich says

    When I was a child, my mother subscribed me to a “National Georgraphic-like” book that came once a month, and she would sit and read it to me several evenings a week and on Sunday. My Grandmother (who lived with us), invited me into her bed early in the morning to read the morning prayers – albeit from her her little Slavonic prayer book – and then we read the morning paper every Saturday morning before she made breakfast. When I started 2nd grade, my mother made me check out a library book every week (the first was The Cub Scout Mysteries!), and while she knit or read, I would read for an hour every evening. None of this was “trendy,” Benjamin Spock recommended hoo-hah parenting of the day, but a simple idea that reading was better for children than watching television.

    If, in fact, Greeks seek wisdom, it would seem they would learn from the life of the Lord Himself, at age 12, “it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the middle of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” (Lk. 2:46-47) The discipline of reading instills the love of words, and the love of words instills the love of literature, and the love of literature does not need 250 colour illustrations and a “graphic interpretation,” but are attractive by the thrill of the prose alone. It is like Fr. Alexander Schmemann describing his hearing his first few lectures at the mouth of Archimandrite Kiprian Kern: “I was so astonished. I had never heard things such as these. And all I could think at the time was: I must go home and tell my mother!” And so, I must conclude, if a 14-year old is so moved by The Book of Revelation – A Graphic Novel that they run to their mother to share it , I am open to reconsidering this as yet another lack of trust in the sufficiency of the Church alone to move our hearts.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, M.S.! Nice going. How much more can we dumb down and marginalize Christianity? We are doing it with Christian “rock” music, the C.C.M.I., televangelists, Bible-themed amusement parks, and horrible t.v. programming with the likes of “Bibleman” and programs similar to it that showcase corny and horrible acting. I’d rather read the Shakespeare version of the Holy Scriptures than the Cliff Notes. Your fond reminiscences of childhood reading remind me of the recent book I had read by Dr. Ben Carson entitled, “America The Beautiful.” He attributes his success in life to his mother’s mandate of reading two to three books a week followed up by book reports. She was illiterate and feigned erudition by red-marking corrections on his reports. And as I ponder briefly the Christian fast-food televangelism pervading the airwaves in circus yahooesque fashion, I am reminded of the 1989 Chevy Chase comedy classic, “Fletch Lives.” If you haven’t seen it, Mr. S., I’d highly recommend you do and be prepared to laugh.

  3. cynthia curran says

    Bible man,certainly not Ben Hur or Quo Vadis, which were good novels and fair movies of the time. The book of Revelation deals with Nero or Domitian as the anti-Christ, not too much pictures of actual Roman art in the comic book. The code word for Rome was Babylon because of the persecutions of Nero and later Domitian in the first century. Domitian persecutions might have included a cousin that was a excuse of atheists and Jewish ways Flavius Clemens which some scholars think is a reference to Clemens being a Christian. St Clement might have been the servant of Flavius Clemens.

  4. Rostislav says

    I believe I have made my opinion known on the GOA (Even though I wouldn’t apply the “Esphigmenou Standard” they have set on their non commemorator parishes in North America) so I generally wouldn’t come out with an opinion here, but I would like to write something useful.

    I don’t think that the comic is intended as a spoof, nor in reality that is what it constitutes. I haven’t read it to be certain, but I have read the Apocalypse quite a few times to be able to say it is not light reading and generally not necessarily accessible to teenagers. I understand comics might not really be consumed by the young adult crowd so much any more, but if this is what gets people reading books of the Bible, what is wrong with it? Art being set to Scripture to reach people: that is part of the point behind iconography, right?

    I find it a good thing that this Priest is using a venue which normally would be promoting some very different from a religious message to introduce readers to biblical teaching.

    I just reflect on the Scripture, “I have become all things to all men that I might save some…”

    As far as lack of clerical dress, etc., to even get into that on this topic I don’t think would be edifying. Yes, Orthodox Priests should wear cassocks, but I think that might be one of the least of issues which merit discussion right now.

    • Rostislav says

      For the record, I was a supporter of the efforts of +Archbishop Spyridon, to the extent those efforts would have “set things aright” in the GOA in its presentation of Orthodoxy in North America by providing a Greek Orthodox witness which reflected Orthodox practice accurately both in the Greek world and throughout Orthodoxy.

    • Rostislav says

      Panning Evangelicals is not helpful either. They have a lot more together than we do: we have everything to learn from their missionary, apologetic, youth ministry, fellowship, relief and stewardship efforts.

      As far as the Book of Revelation being a historical allegory for the Persecution of Nero – that is one thought – but the Holy Fathers see the book as eschatological, as a prophesy of the end times, building somewhat on the Book of Daniel and the words of CHRIST.

  5. Texas Alexis says

    I wonder what the muslims would do if someone in their religion decided to comic-book the koran or a chapter of it? I am sure there would be swift retribution the likes of which were seen in the Rushdie era. These people don’t play and take their beliefs seriously. On the other hand, we here in fast-food pop culture America take something reverential and beautiful and marginalize it in order to make it more appealing and palatable simultaneously chipping away at the respectful significance owed. I mean, we here in America have the unique skill of taking something healthy (a baked potato) and totally trashing its healthful effects with the unhealthy (i.e. cheeze whiz, bacon bits, etc.), so why would I be surprised when we can do it with Christianity? Yes, we are becoming “all things to all men” for the sake of the Christ to make followers, but at what cost?

    • M. Stankovich says

      You are late to the show, friend. Likewise the former Greek Orthodox Steven Georgiou who performed as award-winning singer & song-writer Cat Stevens, until converting to Islam in 1977, has since written books and music for children (e.g. “A” is for “Allah”) under the name Yusuf Islam.

      I would re-phrase your question to ask, “Yes, we believe we are becoming “all things to all men” for the sake of the Christ to make followers, but at what cost?” I personally have never met a single individual who has told me they were so moved by one of these “trendy” approaches as to be drawn to the Church. This, of course, is my subjective experience, for what it’s worth. And at what cost?

    • I would simply ask you to consider the benefit of Christian alternatives as witness in the face of all out secular, atheist assault.

    • And again, I don’t consider biblical comics as a total debasement of the Christian message, but, rather, purveying the Christian message through an alternative medium.

      Anything which presents the message of the Gospel to more people in a serious way is nothing to be rejected. After all, Orthodox Christian children books have become some of the most popular Orthodox books just this last decade. Seems they are achieving their purpose.

      I look at things like this in that way.

  6. How many of you currently live under the same roof as a teen boy? With all the debauched media options presented to our kids every day, we are taking potshots at this? Wow. As an Orthodox mom of 3 young men ages 14, 16 and 20, I’m exceedingly thankful any time creative Christians engage our youth with the Gospel message, as long as the medium is appropriate and the content is in keeping with the Church’s teaching. More power to them.

  7. M. Stankovich says

    Please pardon me if I appeared as “endorsing” or potshooting. Ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin, either will get you where you need to be. My subjective point was that my experience was organic, intimate, tested by time, and absolutely free. It is a small point, but I find it a very intimate experience to read to my wife – and likewise she to me – as was suggested to me by Blessed Vladyka Basil (Rodzianko) many years ago. It is the love of words, and the love of the art of prose, and the love of the literature that is so intimate and so powerful. My point was not to “dismiss” these techniques being utilized in good faith to reach out to young people, but I fear the distancing from the intimacy and love for words and literature that comes from simply reading the text.

  8. cynthia curran says

    Seraphim in Hagia Sophia they uncovered again has different positions so someone who explore Hagia Sophia from the bottom asked did the artist in the middle ages that created it knew about animation since the Seraphim is in different positions and looks like its going into flight. This is not much different than the comic book. Maybe the Roman Artist about 800 years ago use animation to demonstrate about the flight of the Seraphim in Hagia Sophia Constantinople So, maybe the comic book is not that unorthodox.

  9. M. Stankovich says


    I apologize for not seeing this earlier, but when I saw your description of “animation,” it reminded me of when my student job at St. Vladimir’s was to be the janitor of the auditorium, among the responsibilities which was to set up and remove the chairs when there was a lecture. Fr. John Meyendorff taught a Byzantine Church History course on Monday evenings, thereby allowing outside community members to attend. Many times I would sit on the floor outside the doors to listen. One night, someone was carrying on to him about how we had fallen away from the traditions of Byzantium and how it was ruining the church, etc., etc. what would he suggest? Fr. John had such a dry sense of humor which he often did not betray by facial expression, so he responded that he was partial to restoring the practice of several smaller cathedrals in Constantinople with elaborate pulley & rope systems that allowed little boys dressed as angels to “fly” over the iconostasis during the singing of the Cherubic Hymn. Unfortunately, “a spate of injuries” killed the practice. A “spate of injuries.” That cracked me up and Fr. John looked over at me and smiled. I had to leave the building. Byzantine animation at its best.

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