Robert Orlando, BFA, School of Visual Arts, is a filmmaker, author, scholar, and Executive Director of Nexus Media. His studies include film, religion, ancient and modern history, and biography as a scholar. As an award-winning writer/director, his films include thought-provoking documentaries such as Silence Patton, The Divine Plan, and Citizen Trump and the upcoming Shroud.
His books include Apostle Paul: The Final Days, The Divine Plan, The Tragedy of Patton, Citizen Trump: A One Man Show, and Karl Marx. He is published in the book Writing Short Scripts. His articles have appeared in the American Thinker, The Catholic Thing, Daily Caller, HuffPost, Townhall, Patheos, and Merion West. Orlando has spoken at numerous churches, colleges, The White House, and The Vatican. He is currently finishing his graduate studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he presently resides.
About: Author & Director
CAST OF EXPERTS
What happened in the last few years of Paul's life? Why was his goodwill collection rejected, mobbed in Jerusalem by his brethren, hunted by assassins, and thrown in jail? How and why did he die? Were his plans fulfilled or frustrated? Did he ever get to Spain? How should we interpret his last moments with history and the sources?
This epic series sheds light on these questions of Christian origins and Western history through Paul's social, economic, and legal context. Orlando leads a team of experts into the Apostle Paul's Roman, Jewish, and early Christian worlds, in which he spent his final days - with a heartfelt passion.
Surprising new insights emerge with broad significance for all who wish to know about the origins of their faith, Western history, or the life of this great Apostle. The filmmaker says, "to know Saint Paul, one must experience him during his traumatic final years, the time we can understand him most certainly.”
ACT I Apostle Paul: THE FINAL BID
ACT I: THE FINAL BID
It is 58 AD and 30 years after the death of Jesus, time for Paul to return a final time to Jerusalem with a collection for the poor, meant to heal the divisions between the Gentile and Judean Church. He has spent the last 7-10 years on fundraising while preaching his all-inclusive gospel of freedom and salvation.
As he spends long days on the high seas and winding roads during his return, he is well aware that some of the Jerusalem Apostles see him as preaching a "lawless message" and that he has gone too far. He faces rejection, even death when he returns but is determined. His return is a bold, even daring move.
Would James, the brother of Jesus and head of Jerusalem Church, reject Paul's collection as a peace offering after years of internal disputes with Paul's mission or try to play the honest broker?
ACT II Apostle Paul: the final journey, Part I
Act II: The Final Journey, Part I
Paul was about to realize the culmination of his grand gesture. Hanging in the balance was his ministry. But before reaching Jerusalem, he traversed Asia Minor and sailed the Aegean, preaching the gospel of Christ in Roman outposts and collecting converts along the way. If Augustus were king of the Roman world, Jesus would be the king of the coming world.
When he reached Corinth, trouble brewed in a clash between his eternal calling and earthly obstacles. Jerusalem leaders sent rumors to spread claiming he was embezzling funds. He was thrown into jail and had to endure an assault on his body, as he had to endure an assault on his character.
When finally released from prison, he set sail for Jerusalem again, only to have his ship return to shore, which delayed Paul for a year. When he would write his famous letter to the Romans and make his greatest appeal to unity. By then, the man and the mission to deliver the collection had become one.
ACT III Apostle Paul: THE FINAL journey, Part II
ACT III: THE FINAL JOURNEY, PART 2
At last, Paul nears the holy city. He lands at Caesarea, 50 miles from Jerusalem. The Apostle remembers his previous visit, contentious but not threatening. He knows this time he is about to enter the lion's mouth.
He was gambling his life on his vision of Christ and would be met with, at best, hostility from those he called "the false Apostles" and the many other factions that roiled Jerusalem. He comes face to face with James, who, instead of accepting the peace offering of the collection, suggests he take it to the Temple and undergo purification rites. The big question: was James unaware of the danger he was posing to Paul or was there something else?
Mobs are at the Temple gates and shout the accusation that Paul has crossed with Gentiles into the sacred space. He is grabbed and beaten. Rescue only comes from Roman soldiers from the nearby Antonia Fortress, where he asserts his Roman citizenship to Lysias, the Commander. For his safety, and without a friend to be found, they spirit him away to Caesarea in the dark of night.
ACT IV Apostle Paul: THE FINAL VERDICT
ACT IV: THE FINAL VERDICT
Having reached Caesarea, Paul faces the Roman Procurator Felix, one of whose main qualities was his corruption. He knew of Paul's transaction at the Temple and his enemies at the Sanhedrin and assumed he was a man of means—and likely a source of bribes over time.
Felix consigns Paul to prison and decides he will preside over the case himself. He called on the Apostle's accusers to come and present their charges against him. Their lawyer Tertulius flung out the charges: Paul was a plague who stirred up riots. He profaned the Temple. And then he suggested that Felix and Paul go over to them.
Paul answered that he had worked out a resolution with James and that "their hearts had changed, not mine." Inspired by Paul's eloquence, and his own self perseverance, Felix decided to keep him under his protection, until he was replaced by Festus.
ACT V Apostle Paul: THE FINAL DEFENSE
ACT V: THE FINAL DEFENSE
Paul's fate is now in the hands of Festus. And there is yet another hearing where accusations were, again, not proved. Paul proclaimed his innocence and declared his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar. Festus, passing it up the chain of command, said, "to Caesar, you have appealed; to Caesar, you will go."
But before that happened, the Jewish King, Herod Agrippa, asked to hear from Paul, who knew that Agrippa would understand the nuances of his argument. He unleashed a passionate recounting of his previous life before his vision, and then the Lord said to him, "Get up and stand on your feet, for I have shown myself to you for a reason." Agrippa admitted, "he would have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.
Paul then sets off for the center of the Roman world, where, as an older man, he comes face to face with the young and dissolute Nero, who sentences him to the honorable death by beheading. Paul's death did not end his story. The letters and followers he had left behind were only beginning to change the world.
Book: Apostle Paul: the final days
Book Jacket Review
In a feat of investigative research and superb storytelling, a veteran author and filmmaker have gone back almost two thousand years to throw fresh light on how one of the most influential men in history lived out his last days.
After more than three decades of study, Robert Orlando brings to light much that has been left in the shadows.
This book highlights how profound the differences were between the Apostle Paul and the Apostles in Jerusalem. And how his near martyrdom resulting from a collection created one of the greatest saints of Western civilization.
It takes the reader through Paul's final cataclysmic journey to Jerusalem as he is beset by his brethren, his confrontation with Nero, and his last years as a nearly forgotten man through his trial in the Roman court.
The Apostle's last days were shrouded in mystery until this book. In filling out the whole story with new insights and research, Orlando ranges far and wide over Roman and Greek civilization to turn out an engaging and rewarding introduction to the early Christian Church and a man-in-full portrait of a titanic figure.
The book is fascinated by a detective story and the emotional impact of a tragedy. It is written not as a debunking operation but with reverence for the past, love of Paul, and grief over the indelible blot on history's first failed attempt at religious unity.
Orlando has been a maverick during his lifelong career as an author and filmmaker, seeking to uncover the truth wherever that mission takes him, whether the subject is antiquity, the media, World War II, or the Cold War.
Apostle Paul: The Final Days is also a cautionary tale showing how history might repeat itself if we cannot avoid the same conflicts today and uncover the Apostle Paul as one of the seminal figures of Western history.
"If Oliver Stone was a Bible Scholar
he might turn out a movie like this."
-- Film Critic Amy Longsdorf of the Morning Call
"I can't recall having seen anything quite like this"
-- Mark Goodacre, Duke University
"fair and airs a spectrum of opinions"
-- Ben Witherington, Asbury Theological Seminary
"an informative and provocative film"
-- Larry Hurtado, University of Edinburgh
"the most unique book ever written about the apostle Paul."
-- Jeffrey Butz, Penn State University
"It will challenge everything you thought you knew"
-- Valerie Knight WOGL-FM
"for the first time some one told the truth!"
-- Paul Achtemeier, Union Seminary
"Anyone interested in one of western history's most fascinating and consequential figures will profit from engaging with Orlando's work."
-- Steve Mason
"a compellingly-told story of a key figure in the history of early Christianity."
-- James McGrath, Butler University
"ardently and articulately makes a plausible case for what might have happened to Paul"
-- Corrie Norman, University of Wisconsin
"scholars and laypersons alike are given the unique chance to meet Paul again for the first time"
-- Gerd Ludemann, Vanderbilt University
"thought-provoking, informative, inspiring and eye-opening"
-- Paul Perrello Metro Networks
"pulls back the veil on that history revealing the true account of the parties and politics"
-- James Tabor, University of North Carolina
"does a good job at getting at some of the major tensions and problems in Paul's life and ministry"
-- Bill Tameus, Faith Matters Blog
"a narrative that cannot easily be dismissed, regardless of one's faith or political leanings"
-- Joshua Paul Smith Near Emanus Blog
"The artwork should be exhibited in the Philadelphia Museum Of Art"
-- Phillip Silverstone "Time Out"
WWDB-TALK 860 Philadelphia
"seamlessly blends cutting‐edge Pauline scholarship with narrative storytelling"
-- Mark Mattison, "The Paul Page"
“Orlando seeks to move from Paul’s theology to look at his first-century identity”
— Bradford McCall Claremont School
Interviews with the Director
We dedicate these films in honor of those who have committed their lives to the
sacred truths of scripture and especially to those we have lost during the making of the series.
Their work and their memory keep this story alive.
Author Director Robert Orlando