Celia Peterson

BBC Arabic broadcasting this documentary on the 21st August 2018 at 7pm GMT.
Global premiere cinema screening was at the Full Frame Festival, USA, April 2018.
See more at The Good Struggle’s website.

The Good Struggle is an intimate and rare portrayal of a Greek Orthodox Christian monastic community in Lebanon. Situated in the Qadisha Valley 30 miles from the Syrian border, where the community has lived for 22 years. The monastery takes 30 minutes to reach trekking up a steep mountain.

There are currently 18 monks at the Hamatoura monastery who have been resident for various lengths of time. The daily spiritual life is divided on a daily basis into 3 sections of 8 hours each: 8 hours of communal prayer, 8 hours of work, 8 hours in the monk’s bedroom where they can continue their prayers or rest.

As the monks go about their simple, traditional and almost silent way of life producing candles, painting icons, making cheese, translating texts from Greek to Arabic and working the agricultural fields, their voice-overs disclose their personal journeys and struggles. They recount how they first joined the monastery, the reactions of their families and how ultimately the process has changed them, how they have spiritually developed over the years under the guidance of the Archamandite Pandaleimon Farah.

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