Where are you, Adam?
Film by Aleksandr Zaporoshchenko
Produсed by Aleksandr Plyska
Where are you, Adam?
Film by Aleksandr Zaporoshchenko
Produced by Aleksandr Plyska
Log-line
This film is an immersion into the life of one of the monasteries of Holy Mount Athos. Secluded monastic life full of authentic characters and everyday saints comes forth onto the screen from under the wraps of our mundane priorities.
What emerges is a fascinating account of a completely unparalleled way of life within a thriving monastic community in the midst of the twenty-first century.
«Where are you, Adam?» is set at the ancient Dochiariou Monastery on the western shore of Mount Athos, the Aegean peninsula dedicated solely to Eastern Christian monasticism. Images of nature alternate with the monks' almost ceaseless round of work and prayer, creating a rhythmic bond between man and the natural world that hints at a paradise we all dimly yearn for.
The jewel of this rich Byzantine setting, however, are the monks themselves, whose warmth and authenticity has been captured through a revelation of their daily lives, each with its joys, hopes and frailties. By inviting the filmmakers into their midst, the monks hope to encourage each viewer to awaken to his own resurrection. A central figure in the film is the monastery Elder, Abbot Gregory, whose decades of leadership have given him a keen understanding of the souls under his charge and their desire to regain for themselves a state akin to the humanity of Adam before the Fall.
Synopsis
Docheiariou Monastery, founded in the tenth century, is one of twenty Orthodox monasteries on a Greek peninsula in the Aegean Sea that is known as the Holy Mountain or Mount Athos.

The Athonite «monastic republic» is governed as an autonomous polity within Greece, requiring a special visa for any man who wishes to visit. Traditionally, women are not allowed, except for the unseen presence of the Virgin Mary – the Mother of God – who the monks believe to be the defender and «abbess» of many generations of men who have come to live and repose under Her protection.

Empires, states and rulers emerged and fell, while Mount Athos and its distinctive monasticism has outlived all of them, remaining practically unchanged for centuries.

Today, around fifty monks live in one of these monasteries, Docheiariou (dedicated to the Holy Archangels), in the south-west of the peninsula among orchards and groves. It ranks tenth in the hierarchy of Athonite monasteries and houses the icon of the Virgin «Gorgoepikoos» or «She Who is Quick to Hear [Prayers].» Over the past half-century, Docheiariou has been revived through the efforts of its abbot Archimandrite Gregory (Zumis) and the monastery brotherhood.

Geronda Gregory reposed in the Lord in October 2018. Only the first eleven years of his life (out of seventy-six) were spent outside the walls of a monastery. In the 1970s, he received an invitation to move with other brothers from central Greece to Docheiariou Monastery. Shortly upon his arrival on the Holy Mountain, Archimandrite Gregory was chosen as the abbot. The monastery, which was in decline and slowly disintegrating, revived under his leadership and new brethren gathered.

As a marked departure from Athonite practice, Abbot Gregory allowed the film-making crew to live within the monastery walls and film intimate scenes of daily life. After the film's completion, he sanctioned a preview screening of the documentary inside the monastery.
Docheiariou
An abbot on Mount Athos, nearing the end of a long life, reflects on the physical and spiritual work, and even on the pain of feeling disregarded, that is necessary to live peaceful lives in an earthly, and some day in a heavenly, paradise.
He and his community, the monks of Dochiariou on Eastern Orthodox Christianity's Holy Mountain accept the hardship, toil, and suffering involved in a life lived for Christ and for the monastic ideal. Their life, as their music, is a touching, authentic cry to God on behalf of man and nature that cannot help but draw the viewer in.
Within the rain, the sea, the earth and trees, this community discerns a calling to profound stillness, and they distill that stillness into joy through the worship of God. Just as they build of stone and draw their food from the raw elements of nature, these fathers also form their spiritual lives from the building blocks of exhausting physical labor, obedience, and all-night prayer services.
Story-Line
We see that the monks are rough men, capable of building a retaining wall against the sea through sweat and muscle and prayer. The sea is a metaphor for the world, the wall a metaphor for the monastic politeia, or civilization. The ringing of the blacksmith's hammer echoes the wood-on-wood cadence of the call to prayer – yet soon it is back to work again!

Abbot Gregory reflects on the life of the monks in direct on-camera discourse with the filmmaker. Great effort and labor is needed, he tells us, or the monastery will become «a pile of stones».

The elder confesses that he regrets many things in his life; most of all, becoming a priest and an abbot because of the responsibility inherent in these spiritual offices for the sins and falls of others. He tells us that he cries every day for the brethren and the monastery.

More is said about the meaning of the monastic life. The fight to build the sea wall continues. We imagine the reclaimed oasis of land behind this retaining barrier, and marvel at the pure labor undertaken throughout the monastery.
We see that the monks are rough men, capable of building a retaining wall against the sea through sweat and muscle and prayer. The sea is a metaphor for the world, the wall a metaphor for the monastic politeia, or civilization. The ringing of the blacksmith's hammer echoes the wood-on-wood cadence of the call to prayer – yet soon it is back to work again!

Abbot Gregory reflects on the life of the monks in direct on-camera discourse with the filmmaker. Great effort and labor is needed, he tells us, or the monastery will become «a pile of stones».

The elder confesses that he regrets many things in his life; most of all, becoming a priest and an abbot because of the responsibility inherent in these spiritual offices for the sins and falls of others. He tells us that he cries every day for the brethren and the monastery.

More is said about the meaning of the monastic life. The fight to build the sea wall continues. We imagine the reclaimed oasis of land behind this retaining barrier, and marvel at the pure labor undertaken throughout the monastery.

A nighttime vigil unveils the starry night in full glory. Holiness; kneeling; prayerful preparation: the miracle-working icon of the monastery, a jewel renowned throughout world Orthodoxy, is brought into the main church. It is a rare event.

The monastery houses the icon of the Virgin Mary Quick-to-Hear, and yet
the abbot also reminds us of the goodness of having the answer to our prayer delayed.

The Resurrection is proclaimed, and all is light and joy! Bells peal, and so does laughter.

We enter an empty chapel on the top of Mount Athos into which the snow has invaded. We are reminded again of the truth of the abbot's words. Without major effort, the monastic way of life will be lost. The film closes with an inversion: until now, the monastery and its life had been the subject. Now, it is the viewer who is asked, «Where Are You, Adam»?

Trailer
Where are you, Adam?
Movie teaser
Where are you, Adam?


CONTACTS
+38(099)2908691 (Aleksandr Plyska)
plyska74@gmail.com (Aleksandr Plyska)


FOR CONTACTS IN NL & BELGIUM:

email: where.are.you.adam.2022@gmail.com
Tel: 31-621703480
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