What Do the Man Who Played Forrest Gump and the Author of ‘The Idiot’ Have in Common?

They are going to be promoting Orthodoxy on billboards across Russia and neighboring countries.

You see, it’s like this: Tom Hanks converted to Orthodoxy when he married Rita Wilson, who is Greek Orthodox. Marriage conversions are not uncommon. Hanks, it seems, went through an evangelical “phase” in his teens (see his Wiki page), which he pretty much shucked off once he started dressing like a lady person, because, well, you know how evangelicals are. They like their women straight. (So to speak.)

Now it’s fun to see Orthodoxy waking from its slumbers and promoting its unique traditions and long history. If Lutherans are a sleepy bunch compared with, say, Baptists, the Orthodox are comatose.

Tom Hanks is to appear on posters promoting Orthodox Christianity in Russia and neighboring states alongside prominent local cultural and sports figures.

The Russian Orthodox youth movement Soboryane said it is launching a massive poster campaign during a missionary event entitled “My Pravoslavnye” (“We Are Orthodox Christians”) on October 13 and 14 in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

The poster featuring Hanks has his quote taken from an interview the actor gave the Russian newspaper Argumenty I Fakty back in 2009. “I realize how important and beautiful it is to have the opportunity to go to church and reflect on important questions that Orthodox Christianity asks you and answers it offers,” it reads in translation back to English.

I would love to know if the journalist interviewing him at the time asked about his decision to lend his considerable star power to the Da Vinci Code movies. Because, had I not just read that quote, I would have figured he believed in God sorta kinda and went to church on Christmas/Pascha to be with his family but was not really Orthodox in the way you think of Martin Sheen or Jim Caviezel as being Catholic, if you know what I mean.

But perhaps Hanks keeps his faith to himself and is more devoted to the church than we know. And if so, I apologize a hundred and eleven times for even insinuating otherwise.

Here’s a clip from Bosom Buddies, which featured Rita Wilson as “a daughter of Satan.” (Would I make that up? Well, I’m not…)

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2 thoughts on “What Do the Man Who Played Forrest Gump and the Author of ‘The Idiot’ Have in Common?

  1. It might be a good marketing move. I have a friend who was raised a Lutheran, but is now an Orthodox monk. He tells me they get a lot of inquiries from people who clearly have no idea what Orthodoxy is about, but have a vague idea that because it’s eastern and exotic, it must be new agey and non-dogmatic in some way.

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