CROSS PURPOSE; TWELI GRIFFITHS EXPLORES VARIATIONS IN THE CHRISTIAN FAITH Tvcymru

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Byline: By DAVID POWELL

AMID Blaenau Ffestiniog's charcoal-grey slate scree slopes, a priest worships the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in a converted terraced house. And the priest - the Very Reverend Archimandrite Father Deiniol - sheds light on his denomination in a new S4C series about Christianity, Cod Cristnogaeth (Decoding Christianity).

It takes a fresh look at the art, icons, rituals, myths and miracles in 11 countries central to the Christian faith for past centuries It features Christian Filippinos atoning for their sins by undergoing crucifixion and flagellation, worshippers at Moscow's oniondomed churches, and a million crosses placed on a hill by Lithuanian believers.

Journalist and producer Tweli Griffiths interviewed Father Deiniol in Blaenau Ffestiniog for two of the six episodes.

He says: "You go into a normal looking, terraced house, and when you get to the lounge, it's an orthodox church. It's a very atmospheric place with icons. Father Deiniol is a charismatic person. He looks the part with his black robes and a very long beard. We could have been anywhere in the Orthodox world."

Tweli, 54, explains: "Father Deiniol was very knowledgeable about the theological side. He talks about the theological differences between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church. There was a split in the 12th Century. He also talks about the importance of icons."

Of course, many viewers will recall Prince Charles's arrival by helicopter for an impromptu visit to the priest in July 2003. Countless children will also remember being taught piano in that house in the 1960s by an earlier occupant, Miss Jones.

Tweli's series also visits other North Wales religious sites - St Winefride's Well in Holywell and Capel Cildwrn in Llangefni.

Tweli says: "The well is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Europe. We spoke to the custodian of the well, Lolita L'Aguille, who had a degenerative bone disease. She came from London in the hope of being healed, and stayed."

And the documentary makers also traced the history of the sparse Capel Cildwrn where firebrand preacher Christmas Evans addressed enthralled congregations.

The one-eyed Baptist minister, who died in 1838, had lost an eye after being attacked at a west Wales fairground. …