Man of God movie – three reflections on the Christian faith


Man of God (in Odeon cinemas 9th-11th September) is the award-winning box office hit that depicts the inspiring life of the widely venerated Greek Orthodox saint, Saint Nektarios of Aegina. The movie is written and directed by Yelena Popovic, and stars Hellenic Academy Award winner Aris Servetalis (The Waiter), Russian superstar Alexander Petrov (Attraction) and Golden Globe winner Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler).

The film has won multiple international awards and tells a beautiful story of what it means to be a truly humble and gentle leader, with a gentle pace and plot progression to match. We reflect on three lessons from the movie that can strengthen our faith and works…

Jesus’ love is offensive to the self-righteous.

A priest of the common people, St. Nektarios’s popularity provokes jealousy and fear among the clergy in Alexandria and, as a result, he is defrocked and expelled from Egypt. In contrast to his religious ‘superiors’, Nektarios cares for the poor, teaches peasant girls to read and write, and performs miracles. His lifestyle mimics that of Jesus – offending self-righteous leaders of his time, by spending time with those who society had rejected. As ‘the people’ begin to respond to the heart of a good leader, those in power allow the fear of losing their positions to tempt them into terrible actions against the priest, rejecting him and trying to remove him from their circles of influence.
Later in the film, having been sent to a remote island, Nektarios is further accused of terrible crimes against the women in his monastery as people struggle to understand why women are willing to give up their belongings and lifestyle to devote themselves to God and his leadership. However, as viewers, we have a behind the scenes look at the lifestyle of an elderly man who is willing to scrub toilets, toil in the gardens, and give up everything to love and welcome those around him.

When to fight and when to submit

Throughout the movie, we see a counter-cultural display of submissive servanthood. St. Nektarios is quick to help and submit to those in authority, and even those abusing that power. His actions are reminiscent of that of David, who continues to serve King Saul even though his actions are filled with malice towards David (1 Samuel).
However, Nektarios seems to distinguish between the right time to bow in submission, and the right time to take a stand. In the latter parts of the movie, we see Nektarios defending a monastery of nuns, under attack by religious and political leaders. In a moment with his assistant Kostas, Nektarios explains his actions: “My dear Kostas, when you are persecuted, the right thing to do is to turn another cheek. But when your children are persecuted because someone is trying to hurt you, the right thing to do is to fight, to protect your children.”
This quote stands out, as a wonderful depiction of God’s heart for us. It’s a description of Jesus Himself, our lion and lamb, who when persecuted, turned the other cheek, but who also fights fervently for His children and has won the victory.

Character prevails over power

Man of God provides a simple but powerful reminder of what it means to lead with humility.
When challenged by his peers, and encouraged to fight for a recognised leadership title, Nektarios responds: “You don’t have to be a Patriarch to do great things.” What a challenge for many of us, living in today’s recognition-driven, fast-paced culture.

Throughout the movie, we see a man experiencing some of the same treatment Jesus received — to be slandered, rejected, demoted, and demonised for living in love and truth.  And yet, in this depiction of his life, Nektarios does not allow bitterness to take route, and at the end of his life is exonerated by the Church. The fruit of his work, his character, and the testimony of others is what lives on in his legacy.  Even his last moment on earth was used to help another: upon his death, Nektarios’ undergarment was removed, and as it fell upon a paralyzed man in the hospital bed next to him, the lame man miraculously arose to walk. Nektarios was recognised as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1961, and his feast day is celebrated on November 9th.

Man Of God is definitely a prompt to examine our own faith, and to remember the key characteristics of Jesus. Why not organise a cinema trip or watch party with your church friends or small group!

Watch Man of God in Odeon Cinemas on 9th – 11th September in the UK.


Taylor Bentliff

Taylor works within our brand team at TBN UK, looking after the majority of our editorial copy and wording across online, print, and production platforms. Taylor has spent 10 years working in Christian media and loves to bring words together to share God's truth.

You may have seen her on various TBN UK programmes including Big Church Day Out, TBN Meets, Start Your Day, Praise, and Partner Time.

She is also a Bible teacher and shares some of her passion for the Word of God on the channel and on our exciting new Grow with TBN UK platform. Why not join one of her workshops!

She is also the founder of Clarity Magazine for Christian women, and on the Leadership Team for Newday, a Christian youth event coming soon to TBN UK!