Finding Faith: a short film by Monika Ivcenkova

Dear brothers and sisters,

Following this Sunday’s Liturgy, Monika Ivcenkova, will show the short film she has made, exploring discovering Orthodoxy through her interaction and interviews with the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church in South Wales.

May we, therefore, suggest that those interested in staying to see this film (made for her degree presentation) should bring a packed-lunch to eat in the church grounds, before returning to St John’s to see Monika’s work.

The film is not long (just short of twenty minutes), but we want people to have an opportunity for refreshment, so that as many as possible might be able to see Monika’s work.

As usual, the Hours will be chanted at 11:00, followed by the Liturgy around 11:30, depending in the number of Sunday confessions.

“Monika Ivcenkova is a Latvian born artist based in the United Kingdom. She is presenting her work through photography and videography. For the past three years her work has explored themes like humanity, motherhood and mental health- all of which is based on her own personal experience and thoughts.

Covid-19 pushed her to reconsider real life matters- she believes it pushed everyone on Earth to reconsider that too. This year she worked on the topic “Religion” which is very personal to her and very important and she believes it will open some closed doors for the audience. The topic is faith and the journey to find it. Being accustomed to religion since her childhood, the real importance of it only came to light when she was far away from her homeland at a young age. She felt absolutely lost. With the prayers of her family confessor she managed to find a Russian Orthodox church parish of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in Cardiff, just 40 minutes away from the place where she first lived. Finally she managed to be reunited with the church.

The thing that impressed her deeply was that in this parish there was not only the Slavic people (Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian and etc.) but there was also a lot of British people, and the priest – who is now the Abbot – is also British.

Since then, she kept in her mind that she needed to share their story about how they became Russian Orthodox priests.

The documentary ‘Finding Faith’ is about three British men who not only became Russian Orthodox Christians, but also dedicated their lives to serving God. Monika brought true, real life into the film by not making the priests look aesthetically perfect. She tried to make it simple and as close to reality as possible. The film will show their stories in their own words and will also introduce the audience to the filmmaker, Monika Ivcenkova, where she explains why this film is important to her. Furthermore, at the end of the film the topic of Covid-19 will be raised and it delves into how clergy managed to serve liturgies without parishioners.

Monika felt that this topic would be interesting for the audience…  and that this could generate a lot of questions for people deciding to change their religion to another one. She believes that this documentary will uncover some topics which have never been discussed in depth in British society. She also believes that this will help people to reconsider their existence and find their way to faith. This could happen not by changing religion, but understanding the importance of keeping the traditions which were held centuries ago so as not to forget our origins.”

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