Christoforos Schuff

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Christoforos Schuff
Orthodox Priest standing and speaking
Christoforos Schuff at the opening of an art exhibition in Mytilene, 2016
Background information
Birth nameChristopher Michael Schuff
Born (1979-02-06) February 6, 1979 (age 40)
Carmichael, Sacramento County, California U.S.
OriginSacramento, California
Genres
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter
Years active1999–present
LabelsCellar Records

Christoforos Schuff (born February 6, 1979 in Sacramento, California as Christopher Michael Schuff[1]) is a former Greek-Orthodox priest,[2][3] musician[4] and artist,[5][6] recognized for his humanitarian work and social activism.[7][1] He has held discourses on religion and society, social justice, human rights and participates in inter-faith dialogue.[8][9] Schuff has appeared in the media regularly, especially in Norway and Greece, since 2006.[10][11][12][13][14][15] He has been the subject of several documentaries[16][17] and in various programs in Europe and the United States for his work with refugees.[18][19][20]

Schuff has been described as "a bit unorthodox"[21] and "Colorful in black",[22] due to his way of life and stances on certain religious and social issues.[23]

Early life and education[edit]

Schuff was born in Carmichael, Sacramento County, California as the son of John W. Schuff and Lynn M. Mapes. Schuff has one older brother and in his teenage years resided periodically with two foster families. At 17 he was featured in The Sacramento Bee as an up-and-coming magician.[24]

Schuff was enrolled in two private, Christian schools until completing middle school and graduated from Rio Americano High School in 1997. He has a master's degree in religious studies from the University of Agder in Norway, a graduate diploma in music pedagogy from the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs of Greece, in addition to undergraduate studies in subjects such as linguistics, history, pedagogy and organic agriculture.[25][26] He is a certified teacher (lektor) in Norway.[27]

Religious life[edit]

Schuff attended several non-denominational churches in the Sacramento area throughout his childhood and youth.[16][28] From 2001 Schuff resided for extended periods of time annually at the Saint Ignatios Monastery (Limonos Monastery) on the Greek Island of Lesvos where he was baptized in 2006.[12] He was ordained a deacon under the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe in Paris in 2007 and a priest in 2008 in Oslo.[1]

Schuff has said that he feared being excommunicated or defrocked by The Orthodox church for his positions and beliefs, commenting "I sometimes wonder if I can continue to wear the same dress as priests who have ideas totally opposed to mine."[1]

Civic engagement[edit]

He is known for promoting sustainable living[29] and for advocating for fair and equal treatment of often marginalized groups such as immigrants, refugees, indigenous peoples and the poor.[30] In the Fall of 2010 he allowed a Serbian family from Kosovo to receive church asylum in his home, which also housed a chapel.[31][32] He started the organization "Filoxenos" in 2013, focusing on work with the Romani people,[33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40] beggars,[41][42][43][44][45] immigrants and refugees.[46][47][48] He has been noted for his role in the refugee crisis on Lesbos.[49][50][51] He has been active in the anti-war movement through his music and art, speeches and writings and he often ends his appearances with the phrase: "Fuck injustice and God damn the war!".[52][53] In 2013, Schuff received the Focus Award (Fokusprisen) from the deacons' association of the Norwegian Church, for his work with homeless Romani immigrants.[54] In 2015 he was given the Bridgebuilder Award (Brobyggerprisen [no]) by the Norwegian Church Academy (Norske kirkeakademier) for his civic engagement for the poor.[55][56][57] On MLK Day 2017 he was awarded the MLK Non-Violence Prize (Ikkevoldsprisen [no]), for his participation in non-violent political demonstrations, his "fearless stances" and work with the poor and refugees.[58][59] He received the LGBT+ Pride Award in 2017 from the National Association for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender People of Southern Norway.[60]

Marriage Equality[edit]

Schuff has supported LGBT Rights, same-sex marriage and marriage equality for what he has called "love in all its forms"[1] and the right for "people of age to live consensually in relationship forms of their choosing," including in polyamorous relationships.[61][62] His position on marriage equality has been criticized[63][64] as being at odds with much of mainstream Christianity and the doctrine of the Orthodox Church.

Arrest[edit]

Schuff being arrested following a demonstration at the Norwegian Parliament – April 2016

On April 10, 2016, Schuff was arrested for demonstrating without a permit in front of the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) together with five other demonstrators.[65] Schuff and the other demonstrators submitted peacefully to the arrest.[66] They were released April 11, 2016, charged with holding an unlawful demonstration and for refusing to obey police officer orders. Schuff was convicted by the District Court of Oslo.[67][68] For ideological reasons, Schuff has refused to pay the 11,000 Norwegian kroner (NOK) fine.[69][70] According to Schuff, the peaceful demonstration was intended to cast light upon the situation of refugees and asylum seekers in Norway and Europe following a law proposal making the criteria for seeking and receiving asylum in Norway much stricter.[71] Several weeks later Schuff spoke at a parliamentary hearing on this proposal.[72] According to the newspaper Vårt Land, it had been almost thirty years since the last time a priest had been arrested for a political demonstration in Norway.[73] While Schuff appealed the conviction, citing the right to freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, his appeal was rejected. Eventually Schuff will have to spend twenty-two days in jail for the conviction.[69]

Music and Art[edit]

As a musician and singer, Schuff uses the pseudonyms "JustX" and "Chris Padrino".[74][75] He periodically appears with his wife, using the name "Simpleminded".[76][77] Some of his music is characterized by social political messages, where he periodically uses profanity, such as in his anti-war song "God damn the war"[78](2010) and several of his raps, including "War and More" (2011).[79][1] His music receives periodic radio play on NRK.[80] Schuffs art has been featured in a number of exhibitions,[81][82] with his art expressing social and political messages.[83] Schuff has also done minor voiceover work for various film projects, such as for the film Yohan: The Child Wanderer and in the documentary "Med rett til å kapre", broadcast on NRK. Schuff appeared in a cameo role in the series Okkupert,[84] broadcast on TV2 and streamed on Netflix.

Personal life[edit]

In 2000 Schuff married the Norwegian Hildegunn Marie Tønnessen, they moved to Norway shortly thereafter and have three children together.[17] He and his family have previously lived extended periods of time in Greece since 2001.[85] In the Fall of 2017 he filed for separation[86] and the divorce was finalized in 2018.[87] Following the separation he has shared custody of their three common children.[86] Schuff married Helene Harstad on Sicily in May 2019.[88] For ideological reasons, Schuff does not own a personal vehicle[89] and he currently resides in a cabin in the forest of Greipstad in Songdalen in Southern Norway.[86]

Health[edit]

In January 2013 it was revealed in an interview in Fædrelandsvennen that Schuff had been diagnosed with Follicular lymphoma in the Fall of 2012,[90] a form of cancer which, while indolent, is generally considered medically incurable after Stage I.[91][92]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Schuff has received various awards[93][94][95][58][96][97][98][60] for his humanitarian work and activism.

  • Focus Award (Civil Service Award) (2013)
  • Bridgebuilder Award (2015)
  • MLK Non-Violence Award (2017)
  • LGBT+ Pride Award (2017)

Discography[edit]

  • My Friend – single (2009/2012)
  • God damn the war – single (2011)
  • War and More – single (2011)
  • Christmas Song – single (2011)[99]
  • Recuerdo – single (2012)
  • Hellige natt – single (2014)[100] [17]
  • Para siempre – single (2015), under the pseudonym Chris Padrino

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Clémence Bragard and Léa Dauplé (April 7, 2016). "Padre X: le rap, la croix et la banniere" [Padre X: the rap, the cross and the banner] (in French). Terminus Europe. Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  2. ^ Ecumenical Patriarchate [1]. Retrieved March 31, 2017
  3. ^ Exarchate of Constantinople [2]. Retrieved March 31, 2017
  4. ^ Sorlandsavisen February 15, 2017 p. 34
  5. ^ Marianne Jakobsen (June 21, 2014). "Gjennom romfolks kameralinse" [Through the lens of the Roma] (in Norwegian). NRK. Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  6. ^ Kors:vei Nr. 3/2015 Archived October 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Vårt Land, January 7, 2013 p. 3
  8. ^ Emil Otto Syvertsen (April 10, 2014). "Sacra Art Festival og jakten på det hellige" [The Sacred Art Festival and the search for the sacred]. Fædrelandsvennen (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  9. ^ Tørst Spring 2016, pp. 24 – 27
  10. ^ Vårt Land, March 15, 2006 pp. 26 – 27
  11. ^ NRK September 29, 2010
  12. ^ a b "God helg" (Fædrelandsvennen) December 24, 2010 s. 1, 8 – 9
  13. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, January 4, 2011, p. 23
  14. ^ Vårt Land, May 28, 2011 pp. 14 – 15
  15. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, December 27, 2012, p.16
  16. ^ a b "Faderen på Greipstad" NRK, April 17, 2011
  17. ^ a b "Dokumentarserien 'Underveis': (9:12) Faderen fra Greipstad" [Documentary Series 'Underveis': (9:12) The Priest from Greipstad] (in Norwegian). NRK. April 4, 2012. Archived from the original on March 29, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  18. ^ Matt Vickery and Kelly Lynn Lunde (February 17, 2016). "The Greek Island helping Syrian refugees". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  19. ^ Public Radio International April 15, 2016 [3]
  20. ^ PBS December 26, 2016 [4]
  21. ^ Barbara Gigilini and Natasa Papanikolaou (October 10, 2016). "Η φιλία του Δημήτρη (που από τα 14 δήλωνε κορίτσι) με τον πατέρα Χριστόφορο, η Συκαμιά και το μήνυμα για τον σεβασμό στη διαφορετικότητα" [The friendship of Dimitrios (who declared himself a girl at 14) with Father Christoforos: Sykaminea and the message of respect for diversity] (in Greek). Huffington Post Greece. Archived from the original on October 26, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  22. ^ NRK April 15, 2011
  23. ^ Al Jazeera February 19, 2016 [5]
  24. ^ Sylva, Bob (February 8, 1996). "Tricks of the Trade". The Sacramento Bee. p. E1, E3.
  25. ^ "God helg" (Fædrelandsvennen) September 22, 2012 pp. 20 – 23
  26. ^ Fædrelandsvennen October 1, 2012 p. 12
  27. ^ Dagen October 2, 2013
  28. ^ Underveis (9:12) – NRK 2012/2013
  29. ^ NRK December 23, 2008
  30. ^ Adresseavisen August 3, 2016 [6]
  31. ^ NRK October 21, 2010
  32. ^ NRK November 16, 2010
  33. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, December 6, 2010 p. 7
  34. ^ NRK June 4, 2012
  35. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, June 4, 2012
  36. ^ NRK July 16, 2012
  37. ^ Ny Tid, August 3, 2012, "Ny Tid" Number 27
  38. ^ NRK August 7, 2012
  39. ^ Er tiggernes venn [The friend of the beggars] (TV) (in Norwegian). Kristiansand, Norway. September 25, 2012. Archived from the original (News Broadcast) on April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  40. ^ NRK December 21, 2012
  41. ^ Aftenbladet July 20, 2012 [7]
  42. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, July 20, 2012 pp. 1, 6 – 7
  43. ^ Verdens Gang, July 20, 2012 [8]
  44. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, July 21, 2012 p. 6
  45. ^ NRK August 7, 2012 [9], m.m.
  46. ^ NRK September 25, 2015
  47. ^ Vita August 23, 2016
  48. ^ Daniel Etter (October 5, 2016). "Ode to Lesbos, the villagers who helped refugees – in pictures". The Guardian. Archived from the original on December 14, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  49. ^ Berliner Zeitung November 4, 2015 [10]
  50. ^ Weser-Kurier, November 6, 2015
  51. ^ Associated Press November 7, 2015 [11]
  52. ^ Eivind Kristensen (September 22, 2012). "Uortodoks" [Unorthodox]. Fædrelandsvennen (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  53. ^ Fædrelandsvennen December 15, 2014 p. 22
  54. ^ NRK March 6, 2013
  55. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, March 17, 2015
  56. ^ NRK March 23, 2015
  57. ^ Norske kirkeakademier
  58. ^ a b NRK January 12, 2017
  59. ^ KPK (January 21, 2017). "Roses for modige meninger" [Lauded for courageous stances]. Dagen (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  60. ^ a b Aud Refseth (August 27, 2017). "Kjemper for et rausere samfunn" [Fighting for a more generous society] (in Norwegian). NRK. Archived from the original on January 8, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  61. ^ Vårt Land, October 12, 2011 p. 3
  62. ^ Nytt norsk kirkeblad nr 3-2013, pp. 27 – 32
  63. ^ Fædrelandsvennen August 22, 2015
  64. ^ Erlend Friestad (August 27, 2015). "Villig til å ofre jobben for homo-ja" [Willing to offer his job for his gay 'yes']. Vårt Land (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  65. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, April 12, 2016 p. 4
  66. ^ Hans Dahle (April 10, 2016). "Detienen a sacerdote por protestar contra política de inmigración de Noruega" [They arrest the priest for protesting against immigration policy in Norway] (in Spanish). Radio Latin-Amerika. Archived from the original on April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  67. ^ Dagen May 31, 2016
  68. ^ Fædrelandsvennen May 31, 2016
  69. ^ a b Dagen May 8, 2016
  70. ^ NRK, April 17, 2016
  71. ^ Adresseavisen April 20, 2016
  72. ^ Stortinget April 28, 2016 Parliamentary Hearing on Prop. 90 L (2015–2016) [12]
  73. ^ Vårt Land, April 12, 2016, p.6
  74. ^ Eivind Kristensen (September 22, 2012). "Uortodoks" [Unorthodox]. Fædrelandsvennen (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  75. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, December 15, 2014 p.22
  76. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, October 1, 2012 p. 12
  77. ^ Fædrelandsvennen, December 15, 2015 p. 22
  78. ^ Torgeir Eikeland (December 14, 2014). "Gatepresten har spilt inn julesang og laget musikkvideo" [The priest of the street has released a new song and music video]. Fædrelandsvennen (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  79. ^ "God helg" (Fædrelandsvennen) September 22, 2012 pp. 20 – 23
  80. ^ NRK December 15, 2014
  81. ^ Svein Morten Havaas (June 6, 2014). "Fokus på romfolk" [Focus on the Romani] (in Norwegian). Lister24. Archived from the original on April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  82. ^ Dagen June 13, 2014
  83. ^ NRK June 21, 2014
  84. ^ IMDb-database [13]
  85. ^ Maria Ritzaleou (November 24, 2015). "Ο παπάς από την Αλάσκα που σώζει πρόσφυγες" [The Pope from Alaska (California*) who saves refugees]. Ethnos (in Greek). Archived from the original on March 11, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  86. ^ a b c Birgitte Hoff Lysholm (December 25, 2017). "De vet at de snart skal dø" [They know they will soon die]. Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on January 8, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  87. ^ Aase, Inger Marie (2018). Å komme til seg selv [To come to ones self]. Norway: Efrem. pp. 277–287. ISBN 978-82-92922-51-4.
  88. ^ Fædrelandsvennen June 29, 2019 p. 51
  89. ^ STREK, Nr. 2, 2011, p. 19
  90. ^ Eivind Kristensen (January 16, 2013). "Er uhelbredelig kreftsyk" [Incurably ill with cancer]. Fædrelandsvennen (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  91. ^ Anne-Line Henriksen (September 2, 2016). "Når den du elsker er livstruende syk" [When the one you love is terminally ill]. KK (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on September 23, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  92. ^ MacMillan Cancer Support – Follicular Lymphoma (Retrieved January 16, 2013) [14]
  93. ^ NRK March 6, 2013
  94. ^ NRK March 23, 2015
  95. ^ Fædrelandsvennen March 17, 2015
  96. ^ Dagen January 21, 2017 [15]
  97. ^ Sorlandsavisen January 17, 2017 pp. 1, 4
  98. ^ Søgne og Songdalen Budstikke January 17, 2017 [16]
  99. ^ NRK, SørlandsScenen, December 21, 2011
  100. ^ NRK Sørlandet, December 15, 2014

External links[edit]