It is the story of Francis of Assisi and the Sultan of Egypt, and their meeting on a bloody battlefield during the period of Christian-Muslim conflict known as the Crusades. This is big history, important history.
Not only does it speak directly to the conflicts of today, the story itself is very dramatic with many fascinating twists and turns, and with central characters who are more compelling than even their legends claim.
On one hand there is Francis, a starry-eyed would-be knight in provincial Assisi, captured as a prisoner of war and imprisoned for a year, then released as an abused victim of violence, whose one solution to witnessing so much hatred was a radical reorganization of his life and values.
And there is a forgotten Muslim prince, the young nephew of the brilliant Saladin, Richard the Lionheart’s famous opponent, who was raised in the Sultan’s palace and groomed for the throne by his mother steeped in Islamic learning. Two more unlikely protagonists are hard to imagine. And yet the meeting between these two men, at a crossroads moment, changed history.
The film features interview with the following renowned scholars, historians, and religious leaders.
Michael Calabria, O.F.M.
Professor of Islamic Studies, St. Bonaventure University
Neuroscientist, University of Pennsylvania
Professor of Islamic History, Smith College
Medieval Historian, Cardiff University
Author, The Saint and the Sultan
Islamic Scholar, Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute
of Islamic Thought
Islamic Scholar, Institute for Islamic, Christian
and Jewish Studies
Michael Cusato, O.F.M.
Kathleen Warren, O.S.F.
Author, Daring to Cross the Threshold
Narrated by Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons
Saint Francis of Assisi
Oliver of Paderborn
Sr. Anne Martin Phelan
We Clinton Franciscans see this film project as an opportunity to teach the truths of peace and charity and understanding … all of these qualities are respected in both Christianity and in Islam.
The life of St. Francis has been one of the most important and inspiring examples for my own life. And the story of his engagement with the Sultan, I believe, is one of the most important stories for our time. If enough of us learn this story and enter into its drama, it could change the world!
Sr. Kathy Warren
Francis is telling us clearly in his testament, to be a peacemaker in this world in the manner of Jesus Christ.
Imam Mohamed Magid
I do believe that Muslims, Christians, & Jews have no option but to talk to one another. I really like what UPF is doing in creating movies, films that spark this dialogue. Please join UPF’s wonderful effort.
Professor John Esposito
I’m personally as well as professionally excited about UPF ’s new project, The Sultan and the Saint. As a former Franciscan, I know the power of the story, and believe the film and their associated outreach programs can help bring Muslims and Catholics together and have a global impact on Muslim-Christian relations.
We encourage you to sign up to host a screening and dialogue with The Sultan and the Saint, and to check out our other 10 award-winning PBS documentary films. Join the over 80,000 participants who have used our films to promote education and dialogue in classrooms, community centers, living rooms, government offices and religious congregations.