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Breaking Bread YIFY

Some things about this movie are very good. The producers of "Polycarp" did a fine job in researching and creating a set with props that reflected the customs and culture of the second century Mediterranean world. The food, costumes, and market looked authentic for the period. The casting included most of the main characters known from Polycarp's circle - especially Germanicus and Irenaeus. And the acting was mostly very good, especially by Garry Nation as Polycarp and Eliya Hurt as Anna. Others seemed hesitant or hammy, such as Curt Cloninger's overly ebullient Elias.The screenplay accurately reflects the key characters around Polycarp when he lived as bishop of Smyrna. And the script includes actual dialog attributed to the saint and early martyr. A letter of early 156 A.D. from the Church of Smyrna to the Christians in Philomelium gives the details of Polycarp's martyrdom. In it, after Proconsul Statius Quadratus said he would spare Polycarp's life if he would deny Christ and worship Caesar, Polycarp replied, "For six and eighty years I have been serving Him, and he has done no wrong to me; how, then, dare I blaspheme my King who has saved me!"Having done that good a job in researching Polycarp for the film, it's surprising that the makers then stopped short. Some key things are omitted and others glanced over about the saint and his life in Smyrna. Other reviewers have mentioned the lack of reference to him as the bishop of Smyrna. He was a disciple of the apostle, John, who appointed him bishop of Smyrna. Where the film shows a small family unit around Polycarp, his flock would have been large. The city was a thriving port and trading center, a key Roman city that very early had a large Christian population. The theater stadium of Smyrna seated 20,000 people.The film shows Polycarp being burned at the stake. In the account of his martyrdom, he had refrained from having his feet nailed down for the burning. And, when the flames did not go near his body, the proconsul ordered him to be pierced with a lance.But the most obvious thing that is missing is any semblance of the "breaking of bread," or Eucharistic celebration. The film shows a small group sitting at table to eat, with Polycarp offering a prayer. This would have been the agape meal. But then, it completely skips the breaking of bread observance, the Lord's Supper, afterwards. Besides the Biblical origins of the Lord's Supper, numerous references describe the practice that many of the early church fathers attest to in their writings.This short list of good information sources is for those who may be interested in learning more about this. "The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church," the "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology," the "Oxford Companion to the Bible," the Protestant "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia," the "Encyclopedia of Early Christianity," "The Didache," and the "New Catholic Encyclopedia."

Breaking Bread YIFY

One November evening a man stopped at our[Pg 3] gate. I was standing on thedoorstep breaking sticks. He looked over the top bar of the gate andcalled to me to know if Mother Barberin lived there. I shouted yes andtold him to come in. He pushed open the old gate and came slowly up tothe house. I had never seen such a dirty man. He was covered with mudfrom head to foot. It was easy to see that he had come a distance on badroads. Upon hearing our voices Mother Barberin ran out.

In the sack which Vitalis had slung over his back he took out a hunch ofbread and broke it into four pieces. Then I saw for the first time howhe maintained obedience and discipline in his company. Whilst we hadgone from door to door seeking shelter, Zerbino had gone into a houseand he had run out again almost at once, carrying in his jaws a crust.Vitalis had only said:

Vitalis then handed me a piece of bread, and while eating his own hebroke little pieces for Pretty-Heart, Capi and Dulcie. How I longed forMother Barberin's soup ... even without butter, and the warm fire, andmy little bed with the coverlets that I pulled right up to my nose.Completely fagged out, I sat there, my feet raw by the rubbing of myclogs. I trembled with cold in my wet clothing. It was night now, but Idid not think of going to sleep.

But I did not get warm as quick as Vitalis thought; for a long time Iturned and turned on my bed of straw, too unhappy to sleep. Would[Pg 48] allmy days now be like this, walking in the pouring rain; sleeping in aloft, shaking with cold, and only a piece of dry bread for supper? Noone to love me; no one to cuddle me; no Mother Barberin!

A policeman stood by while we arranged our things. He seemed annoyed,either because he did not like dogs, or because he thought we had nobusiness there; he tried to send us away. It would have been better ifwe had gone. We were not strong enough to hold out against the police,but my master did not think so. Although he was an old man, strollingabout the country with his dogs, he was very proud. He considered thatas he was not breaking the law, he should have police protection, sowhen the officer wanted to send us away, he refused to leave.

We must have walked for about two hours before I dared to stop, and yetthe dogs had looked up at me imploringly and Pretty-Heart had pulled[Pg 88] myear and rubbed his stomach incessantly. At last I felt that I was farenough away from the town to have nothing to fear. I went into the firstbakery that I came across. I asked for one pound and a half of bread.

Oh, no, it was not too much for my menagerie, but it was too much for mypurse. The bread was five sous a pound; two pounds would cost ten sous.I did not think it wise to be extravagant before knowing what I wasgoing to do the next day. I told the woman in an offhand manner that onepound and a half was quite enough and politely asked her not to cutmore. I left the shop with my bread clutched tightly in my arms. Thedogs jumped joyfully around me. Pretty-Heart pulled my hair and chuckledwith glee.

We did not go far. At the first tree that we saw I placed my harpagainst the trunk and sat down on the grass. The dogs sat opposite me,Capi in the middle, Dulcie at one side, Zerbino on the other.Pretty-Heart, who was not tired, stood up on the watch, ready to snatchthe first piece that he could. To eke out the meal was a delicatematter. I cut the bread into five parts, as near the same size aspossible, and distributed the slices. I gave each a piece in turn, asthough I were dealing cards. Pretty-Heart, who required less food thanwe, fared better, for he was quite satisfied[Pg 89] while we were stillfamished. I took three pieces from his share and hid them in my bag togive the dogs later. Then, as there still remained a little piece, Ibroke it and we each had some; that was for dessert.

I played on and on, Zerbino and Dulcie went round and round, but thewomen in the doorways did not even look over at us. It was discouraging.But I was determined not to be discouraged. I[Pg 92] played with all my might,making the cords of my harp vibrate, almost to breaking them. Suddenly alittle child, taking its first steps, trotted from his home and cametowards us. No doubt the mother would follow him, and after the mother afriend would come, and we should have an audience, and then a littlemoney.

Upon arriving in the village there was no need for me to ask where thebaker lived; our noses guided us straight to the shop. My sense of smellwas now as keen as that of my dogs. From the distance I sniffed thedelicious odor of hot bread. We could not get much for three sous, whenit costs five sous a pound. Each of us had but a little piece, so ourbreakfast was soon over.

Several hours had passed when I awoke. By the sun I could tell that itwas getting late, but there was no need for the sun to tell me that. Mystomach cried out that it was a long time since I had eaten that pieceof bread. And I could tell from the looks of the two dogs andPretty-Heart that they were famished. Capi and Dulcie fixed their eyeson me piteously; Pretty-Heart made grimaces. But still Zerbino had notcome back. I called to him, I whistled, but in vain. Having well lunchedhe was probably digesting his meal, cuddled up in a bush.

That morning before I had risen, Vitalis had packed some provisions.There was some bread and a piece of cheese. We all expressedsatisfaction at the sight of the food. Unfortunately, we were only ableto have a very small piece, for not knowing how long we should have tostay in the hut, Vitalis thought it advisable to keep some for supper. Iunderstood, but the dogs did not, and when they saw the bread put backin the bag before they had scarcely eaten, they held out their paws totheir master, scratching his neck, and performing pantomime gestures tomake him open the bag upon which their eyes were fixed. But Vitalis tookno notice of them; the bag was not opened. The dogs settled themselvesto go to sleep, Capi with his nose in the cinders. I thought that Iwould follow their example.

At supper Vitalis divided the remainder of the bread. Alas, there wasbut little, and it was quickly eaten; we gobbled up every crumb. Whenour frugal supper was over I thought that the dogs would begin makingsigns for more as they had done before, for they were ravenous. But theydid nothing of the kind, and once again I realized how great was theirintelligence.

The three hours passed slowly. It seemed that the night would never end.The stars were fading from the heavens, the sky was getting lighter. Daywas breaking. But as morning came the cold grew more intense; the airwhich came through the door froze us to the bone.

On the slippery snow we went straight ahead, without stopping, sleepingat night in a stable or in a sheepfold, with a piece of bread, alas,very small, for our meal in the evening. This was our dinner and supperin one.

"You know, Ricardo," said Garofoli, "I don't like to look on, because ascene like this always makes me feel ill. But I can hear, and from thenoise I am able to judge the strength of your blows. Go at it heartily,dearie; you are working for your bread." 041b061a72


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