David BruceThe movie is about God wanting to communicate a message to the world: "If you can be part of the Kingdom of God within, you will live forever!" The Church withholds this truth, so God speaks through an atheist.
-Review by David Bruce
This page was last updated  May 23, 2005
Patricia Arquette as Frankie Paige
Gabriel Byrne as Father Andrew Kiernan
Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Daniel Houseman
Nia Long as Donna Chadway
Thomas Kopache as Father Durning
Rade Serbedzija as Marion Petrocelli 
Enrico Colantoni as Father Dario
Dick Latessa as Father Gianni Delmonico

Directed by Rupert Wainwright. 
Writing credits:  Tom Lazarus (story), and Tom Lazarus and Rick Ramage (screenplay).  Produced by Frank Mancuso Jr. and Vikki Williams

Rated R for crucifixion violence and some profanity.

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The messenger must be silenced.
Stigmatableeding wounds of the head, hands, back and feet that mirror the five wounds of Christ on the cross - have appeared over the centuries on the bodies of deeply religious people all over the world. They have remained unexplained phenomena. But one thing has always been true: they appear only on the bodies of believers. In Stigmata, Frankie Paige has no religious affiliation, only the carefree swagger of a young woman who confronts the world head-on.

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Patricia Arquette as Jesus Christ

David Wainwright

"I was fascinated with the idea that it was a deeply religious story about someone who wasn’t religious, an unbeliever who is touched by religion in a most powerful and disturbing way,"

"There is very little research existing on stigmata. But the existence of the Roman Catholic Church and its impact on the world is profound. We are talking about an institution that has lasted longer than any empire in the history of civilization. It has lasted three times longer than the Roman Empire, twice as long as the longest Chinese dynasty. If we were to take on such a provocative subject, we decided we owed it to ourselves to be detailed and organized in our research."

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     The revelation in the so-called lost "Gospel of Jesus' is quoted in the film as: "the Kingdom of God is within you and it surrounds you and God does not live in temples of wood and stone.'

     Supposedly this revelation would dismantle the whole Roman Catholic Church because it eliminates the need for a human organization to run the Church of Jesus Christ.

     However, those who know the Bible will recognize these truths, not as suppressed revelation, but as prominent principles of the common everyday Bible.

Luke 17:21 KJV
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is (among) within you.

Acts 17:24 KJV
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

1 Cor. 6:19 NLT
Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,

2 Cor. 6:16 NLT
For we are the temple of the living God.

1 Cor. 3:9 NLT
We work together as partners who belong to God. You are God's field, God's building—not ours.


Says Director Rupert Wainwright: "This movie is going to be to the Vatican what the movie JFK was for the Warren Report."
Rolling Stone Magazine responds: "Yeah, right."

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     The movie ends by calling attention to the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, as though it is a suppressed document. It is not suppressed and copies of it can be easily purchased.

     Written before A.D. 400, the Gospel of Thomas is a collection of 114 secret sayings "which Jesus the living one spoke and Didymus Judas Thomas wrote down." This document is one of almost fifty discovered in 1945 near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt as a part of what many scholars believe was the library of a Gnostic community. The heretical emphases of the Gospel of Thomas are countered in advance by the canonical Epistle of 1 John, which emphasizes the gospel of Jesus Christ as the message of life, available for every person to experience, not just a select few as in the Gospel of Thomas.


The movie is about God wanting to communicate.
God has a message for the world:
"If you can be part of the Kingdom of God within,
you will live forever!"

In this film the Catholic Chuch hides this truth, so....
God communicates through an atheist!
Yes, God communicates through a female hairdresser!

Jesus once said:
"I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." -Luke 19:40 KJV

God wants people to know..
What a fabulous job this movie does to demonstrate this.
I resonated with the film beginning to end.
Especially when I thought about what God had to do to get my attention.

How has God been trying to break through with you?

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    In the film, the Frankie Paige character writes and speaks Aramaic, an ancient Hebrew like language spoken at the time of Christ that has largely been forgotten.  This was the actual tongue spoken by Jesus.

     William Schniedewind, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies and Northwest Semitic Languages at UCLA, was hired to recreate what Aramaic would sound like if spoken in the tongue of someone using the language two thousand years ago.

     "The problem in using the Aramaic of Jesus’s time is that it doesn’t have any vowels," explains Schniedewind. "So, we have to reconstruct the vowels in order to speak it. We don’t have any living speakers of 1st Century Galilean Aramaic. ... And speaking it as it was then as opposed to modern Aramaic today is like comparing Chaucerian English to modern English. There is an enormous difference."


Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002
From: Chadi

Keep up the good work and let the truth be heard by everybody. I say wake up for all who say that the catholic church is what Jesus wants. One mere example of today is the children abuser priests who are protected by the church instead of being dismissed. I don't believe in the money that that church has, I don't believe in the gold crows they put and any other form they use to divert people and keep them under their power. I also believe that many texts were deleted from the bible and the church ignores reincarnation and even the theory of evolution (which is a truth) which per se does not ignore god but can verify reincarnation... The church ignores where Jesus was between the age of 12 and 30, or they don't want people to know were he was. The Catholic church condemned scientists from the middle age till recently, they wanted people of that time to believe in their myths. They were sharing the large taxes paid by the commoners with the lords. They controlled as much as they could the people from reading other literatures, they burned many innocents, they burned scientists, they condemned saints. I don't want to say more....
Let the real Jesus be with you all...

Subject: Stigmata
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002
From: Jeremy

My name is Jeremy, please don't use my email address on your site if you post this.

Stigmata is a great movie. Fiction: yes. Entertaining: yes. Thought provoking: yes. Let me first start by saying this; movies today are the literature of yester-year. What used to be the job of literature and art, such as provoking thought, challenging the status quo, etc., has fallen into the hands of the screenplay writers. If anyone thinks for a minute that these screenplays are strictly for entertainment clearly hasn't watched movies.

 Next the issues that the movie Stigmata addresses. The first and foremost message is the silencing of the truth. This parable (Stigmata) is that of Christ's life, he had a message that was proved to be a threat to the religious leaders at the time and so they sought to silence this messenger. Just like the Catholic leader attempted to do to the hair-dresser in the film, when he tried to kill her. This message calls each and every clergy member to the floor (of which I am included). It makes us question if we have ever done things contrary to the message in order to keep our jobs. It is a issue that the Pharisees were faced with, its an issue that the Priest was faced with in the film and its an issue that we are faced with in the ministry today.

 The other issue that the movie tries to raise is that of a "hidden gospel". They try to say that this hidden gospel is from Jesus Christ and are His words. In reality this Gospel of Thomas is indeed quite available to anyone who looks for it. The reason that it is not included with the Bible (canon) as we know it is this. First of all the Gospel of Thomas is a Gnostic text, and in 397 AD at the Council of Carthage where the current Bible was compiled, the Christian leaders were attempting to gather the best texts about Jesus into one volume in order to eliminate the confusion and false teachings that were sweeping through the church at the time. They found, as do many scholars today, that the Gospel of Thomas was Gnostic (which is deemed by many as heretical). The problem with gnosticism is that it concentrates on "knowledge" (which is the Greek root of Gnostic) of Christ as being that which saves, instead of the relationship with Christ. It was precisely this line of thought that the Council of Carthage was trying to remove from the Christian churches of its time. And that is why the Gospel of Thomas as well as many other ancient texts were left out of the current Bible.

 The reason that the screen-play writer as well as Hollywood chose to use this Gospel of Thomas is to try and make an issue out of something that is not an issue. If they provoke people to look for this "Gospel" when they find it they will immediately think that their Pastors and Clergy have kept some dark secret from them, and thus cast a dark shadow over the church. They attempt to use a little fact to propagate a big fiction. But, those are just my thoughts. See what you think.

Subject: Stigmata
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002
From: ?

I was reading your bulliten board and wanted to provide a source for the English text of the Gospel of Thomas. As I'm sure you know, the gospel is published in numerous books of early Christian texts, but there is an especially good collection from Bart Ehrman (I believe that I've spelled his name correctly) which includes a copy of Thomas' gospel. When I first saw the movie (Stigmata) in the theaters, I loved it right up until the very end when they implied that the gospel imagined in the movie is, in fact, the Gospel of Thomas. Clearly, there are some very important factual differences. I was studying theology at the time of its release and the first thing I did after I saw it was to go home and reread the gospel very carefully. The number one difference that people seem to ignore is the Gospel of Thomas was not, in fact, written in Aramaic. I mean, aside from the clearly gnostic overtones and heretical statements about women/salvation etc., some fairly basic facts have been changed. Clearly the Gospel of Thomas was not written by Jesus Himself if it is not in Aramaic. It is also written in the third person (Jesus said "...) and why would Jesus have begun his own gospel with the words "Jesus said" ? I think that people don't realize there were any more than just the three versions of the gospel story at the time of canonization. It's much easier to believe that the ones we have are the only ones there ever were. I seem to have gone off on somewhat of a tangent, but I'm sure you're used to that by now. In short, I wish the filmmakers hadn't tried to make the movie a religious statement with buzzwords like "heresy" and "refusal to aknowledge" and simply let the film stand on its own as a piece of art. I hope that this reference helps (it really is a wonderful collection from a brilliant theologian). Thanks for your time,

Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002
From: HJ

Hi I love the movie but truly there is no need for the vial language truthfully nonchristians as well as good hearted Christians finds this vial as well as the sex screen why do this this is always a private matter one finds themselves turning there head away out of embarrassment (don't agree) then think about if you saw two people kissing passionately at your local grocery store you'd immediately turn your head away out of sheer embarrassment -you think heartily to yourselves they need to find somewhere private I mean REALLY! truthfully its the same way in seeing it played out in movies it's repulsive!!! no need for it to be put in movies think of all the movies that are brought home to be in family home library its the movies -without the vial language and repulsive sex scenes when the movie Stigmata came to a close it left the main characters Frankie and the priest Andrew Kiernan dangling in the air by not giving us a closer after these supernatural experiences ended It would be great to have a sequel to finish the story of what became of Frankie afterwards did this experience change her outlook in believing in Jesus refine her character into a decent woman what became of the Priest Andrew Kienan did he stay a priest or did he and Frankie get married I'd love to see sequel and always when this is done for a good movie the movie grows in popularity
P.S. One desides to love their fellowman before this can take place in their hearts Peace...

Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001
From: Muffy

Stigmata is a movie, not a factual account. For those of you who do not what a feature film is, then let me spell it out: FICTION. It is the fabrication of someone's imagination based on some research - it is designed to entertainment and provoke thinking. It is a DRAMATISED STORY. It is not the truth, nor claims to be. I am astounded that anyone with an eduction or any form of intelligence would take such importance in a movie that is designed by a Hollywood studio to make money. It's an interesting movie, but if you seek the truth, don't go and find it in a film. And for those of you who are going to debate that it might losen the faith of some Christians, then I say, 'Don't you believe the true words of God to be more powerful?'. Surely, a movie of that nature should not cause any confusion to anyone who walks in the faith and believes in God -- if it does, then you'll need pray a little more.
Peace to all.

Subject: A few thoughts on the film and "Thomas":
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001
From: "john coleman"

Re. the film:
As a Catholic with two degrees in Catholic theology, I think I have an answer for why so many faithful Catholics cannot, as an earlier poster put it, "take the film for what it is" and be quiet about it.

It is precisely that detractors of the film *do* take it for what it is that they speak out. To wit:

1) The pop-culture view of the Catholic Church today is that of an institution of old men who hate sex telling everyone else to stop having any fun imaginable. Upon viewing Stigmata and how it portrays traditional Catholics, I did not find it to significantly in any way seek to give a more accurate portrayal of those in the Church. On the contrary, I have found the most vibrant and faithful Catholics tend to be the younger ones at colleges such as the University of Dallas and Franciscan University in Ohio.

2) From a historical perspective, the film gives a wholly inaccurate portrayal of the sigmata and saintly relics. As Roger Ebert put it in his thumbs down review, 'The blood of the lamb does not cause pain' (I admit to paraphrasing; the entire review can be found in Ebert's book: "I Hated, Hated, Hated this Movie!"). In the film, the wounds of Christ are tossed almost at random to a foul-mouthed girl because she touched a genuine Stigmatist's rosary. If the film's writers had bothered to look up the historical accounts of actual stigmatists, they would have found that this is a gift bestowed by God upon individuals of profound holiness and surprising emotional strength, and the gift is never given unwillingly.

3) As for the Gospel of St. Thomas, again, the writers did not bother to find out what the actual 'gospel' was. It was not condemned as heretical because it threatened the power of the Church; it was condemned because it claimed in its last verses that (are you sitting down?) women cannot go to heaven, unless Christ's grace converts them into men.

Again, to paraphrase, at the end of "Thomas'" gospel (not really Thomas', incidentally; by the 3rd century, 'suppressed' gospels written by shysters with apostle's names attached to them were all over Christendom. This is why we have the 72 books of the Bible today, since the Church had to meet and separate the wheat from the chaff), Christ has just ascended into heaven. Someone notices that Mary, the mother of God, has witnessed the event.

"Mary shouldn't be here," says an apostle, "she's a woman, and unworthy!"

"My grace will be sufficent to make her a man," says Jesus, "and thus worthy to enter heaven." The entire accurate text of this tripe can be found in "This Rock" magazine, though I forget the month of the issue.
Check at
John J. Coleman

Subject: Jesus and his disciples founded the Catholic church
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001
From: Alberto

Hi mi name is Alberto from Puerto Rico and I'm part of the Roman Catholic church, I'm a pre-seminarist and I will become a good priest in a future. There's a lot of things that bothers me about this movie.

First of all the Stigmata's victims where deeply religious people and this woman was an atheist. God creates the Catholic Church that means universal and also the document of St. Thomas' gossple is not an Heresy because there's not enought evidence about if it really the true words of Jesus Christ.

I'm only 18 and I have a religious vocation and I will be a good priest in the future and church is not the only thing of salvation, is part of it but the actions are very important, what you learn is to leave it!
thank you very much! everyone that want to e mail me can do it!

Subject: Luke 1:1-2
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001
From: Sandra

You stated in the comments section of the movie Stigmata that there was a lost Gospel of Jesus Christ cited in Luke 1:1-2.... For as much as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word. KJV I'm sorry, I just can't see how these verses could possibly be interpreted to mean that there is a lost Gospel written by Jesus Christ. Can you shed some light on this?
Thanks, Sandra
Please do not include my email address.

Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001
From: Moe

Hi my name is Moe!! I would like to know if anybody found out about the what this "Lost Gospel" says from A to Z. Also, is it related to any other coming Prophet after Jesus Christ to bring another Law that confirm all other messages before (ex Torah, Gospel...)??
Thank you very much!

Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001
From: FIX

I Love Your Movie. It is on of my favorites. Sorry, had to get that out of the way. I have been trying to find a translated version in English. A Latin translation would be fine if the first is not possible. I have even looked into recieving a copy from the Vatican (which didn't pan out). Any assistance would be greatly appriciated. Thank you.

Bulletin board continued

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