Church reality show

The script of the TV reality show we have been treated to over the past few days – set in Jerusalem and starring irate «holy» men – has been more foul-mouthed than those we usually see on television, perhaps because the prize (the patriarchal throne and all this entails in power and property) clearly glitters more brightly. Ordinary reality shows have the excuse that everything occurs for, and is perhaps imposed by, the camera. All those who rant and rave in front of it, as well as those who cannot tolerate its glare, might behave very differently out of its range. After all, the camera usually manages to bring out the worst in people. Although one would expect that being in the public eye would cause people to exert some self-control, it seems the opposite is true. Excessive theatricality prevails, even a delight in making a fool of oneself. In this religious-themed reality show – where insults, rude gestures, threats and curses («May your tongue be torn out if you don’t repent» being one of the more inventive examples of clerical slang) alternate with the hypocritical «Christ is risen!» – it is difficult to distinguish who deserves the role of the Good Christian and who plays the traitor, thief or humbug. Insults, vanity, wild looks and self-righteousness are common to all. All invoke God, who sees all from on high and apparently takes sides too. Yet behind these scenes are probably a few clerics struggling alone against the demons of melancholy and futility. Power seems futile if it presupposes such a collective self-humiliation. Even more futile is the un-Christian concept of the Greekness of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. If this Greekness we are serving resembles the goings-on in Jerusalem, it might be wiser to forbid its export.