We’re thrilled to have here today Bishop Ignatius Theophorus from Donald Joiner’s new historical novel, The Antioch Testament. Bishop Ignatius is a 68 year old religious leader living in Antioch the capital of the Roman Province of Syria.
It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Bishop Ignatius. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
Ignatius: It had never occurred to me that my response to a request by the daughter of the late esteemed government official, Theophilus in answer to her question about what happened to the Lord’s apostles after his glorious resurrection would find its way into a historical novel. My intention in writing was to comfort Christian believers in an age they were undergoing fierce persecution. But to your point, yes, I was certainly treated with respect.
Q: Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
Ignatius: My role in Mr. Joiner’s novel was essentially the same as in my report to Dorothea, the honorable Theophilus’ daughter, which was to compile information from various sources about the the journeys and activities of the twelve apostles as well as their eventual fate. The novel and my report to Dorothea were not about me, but were about our Lord’s companions and what happened to them.
Q: What do you believe is your strongest trait?
Ignatius: Through the laying on of blessed Peter’s hands, the Lord has seen fit to place me in a position of leadership in his church at the very time that intense persecution of believers has reared it’s ugly head. I pray constantly that the Lord will strengthen me and make me worthy of this task come what may.
Q: Worse trait?
Ignatius: It is no secret to believers and unbelievers alike. Impatience. I constantly battle with impatience. I’m impatient with those who would deny their faith and forsake eternal life in the face of persecution. I’m equally impatient with those within the church who so easily fall prey to false teachers and their heretical messages, but most of all I’m impatient with life on this earth and yearn to be counted among the saints who have been martyred and now reside with the Lord in his Father’s kingdom.
Q: If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Ignatius: Sean Connery.
Q: At what point in the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
Ignatius: I was dismayed when toward the end of the book the ancient manuscript fell into the hands of the unbelievers who conspired to destroy it. I was concerned that the ones charged with interpreting it would abandon their task in the face of such hostility.
Q: If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
Ignatius: That’s easy to answer. The evil presence of Zaid al Rifa, the despicable leader of a sinister and fanatical organization, who was so dedicated to death and destruction in his quest to create an Islamic caliphate. His hatred for Christians and anything to do with the history of Christianity is vividly presented in the book.
Q: How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
Ignatius: I was gratified to find that in spite of the evil intentions of those who sought to destroy it, the character responsible for initially saving the ancient manuscript determined to press on with the task of presenting the translated work to the modern world in the face of potential scholarly opposition.
Q: What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?
Ignatius: I would advise the author to make haste. Word has just reached me that Emperor Trajan is en route to Antioch and is furious that I have encouraged believers to refuse to worship him. It is being said that I’m to be arrested and brought before the emperor to be judged for what is considered a major crime.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Bishop Ignatius. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
Ignatius: I think not. Those who offend the emperor are not likely to escape his retribution.
Title: THE ANTIOCH TESTAMENT
Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction/Suspense
Author: Donald Joiner
Publisher: Seraphina Press
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book:
Donald Joiner, a veteran who served during the Korean War era, is a lifelong student of history. Joiner’s passion for history shines through in his debut novel, The Antioch Testament, a sweeping, suspenseful novel resplendent with rich historical detail.
When The Antioch Testament opens, it’s 2004 during the insurgency in Iraq. An American army patrol manages to rescue a frightened group of Iraqi Christians fleeing Islamic militants. The refugees’ severely wounded leader, a priest, carries with him a mysterious bundle the group has brought with them from a northern Iraqi Christian monastery. As he clings to life, the priest insists on handing over the carefully-guarded package to the American army chaplain. When the bundle is unwrapped, Army chaplain Charles Monroe finds a large, scuffed, leather-bound ancient manuscript written in an unknown language. Fearing for the manuscript’s safety in war-torn Iraq, the chaplain arranges to have the manuscript sent to Augusta, Georgia, his hometown. Eventually, the manuscript winds up in an Eastern Orthodox monastery where internationally- recognized linguists begin the arduous task of interpreting it. What the linguists discover is absolutely astonishing: the manuscript is a first century AD testimonial in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, describing what happened to Jesus’ apostles after his Resurrection. But time is running out. Unbeknownst to the interpreters, a fanatical Iraqi insurgent organization is bound and determined to retrieve or destroy the ancient manuscript before its secrets can be revealed. Some secrets may be worth dying for—but these secrets might even be worth killing for.
Imaginative, inventive, and intriguing, The Antioch Testament explores the lives of the apostles after the resurrection. A thoughtful and thought-provoking page-turner, The Antioch Testament is a carefully-crafted page-turner with a pulse-pounding plot, and engrossing storyline.
About the Author:
Georgia native Donald Joiner is a veteran who served during the Korean War era. A retired school superintendent and a lifelong student of history, Joiner has been married for fifty-two years and is a proud father and grandfather. He has taught Sunday school in his church for forty years. Joiner has also authored two previous books about antebellum churches in Georgia.
Connect with the author on Facebook.