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St. Bonaventure University

Indian theologians give thumbs-up to docudrama ‘Sultan and the Saint’

Jun 19, 2019

“The Sultan and the Saint,” the film telling the remarkable story of two men of faith that occurred 800 years ago, has been endorsed by a group of  prominent Indian theologians.

Fr. Michael Calabria, O.F.M., Ph.D., director of St. Bonaventure University’s Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, was among several scholars affiliated with the university who provided input on the film.

The film tells the tale of Saint Francis of Assisi who, in 1219, risked his life and crossed Crusade lines to meet the Muslim ruler al-Malik al-Kamil in Damietta, Egypt. This remarkable encounter, and the commitment to peace of the two men behind it, presented an alternative to the persistent call for war.

The docudrama was screened during the Fourth Seminar of the Forum for South Asian Jesuit Theologians, held last month in India.

The founder and director of Institute for Dialogue between Cultures and Religions, Fr. Michael Amaladoss described the film as “excellent.”

“The contrast between the Pope and Francis is really striking,” he said. “The mixing up of religion and politics is also well brought out. The Sultan too comes out as an enlightened and noble figure. The film is well taken. The message is clear. … The film has great educational value.”

Inspired by the encounter between St. Francis and the Sultan, the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies was established at St. Bonaventure in 2015. The center seeks to promote an understanding of Arab and Islamic cultures, an appreciation of both their historical and contemporary significance in the global community, and respectful relations between Muslim and Christian people.


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