• Thomas Bonifield

A Team from "The Chosen" Meets with the Pope

Director Dallas Jenkins and lead actor Jonathan Roumie take part in an audience at the Vatican.

Jonathan Roumie (foreground) in a scene from season two of the program. Image: "The Chosen"/Instagram.

If there were any doubts about the broad reach of the The Chosen, the first multi-season show about the life of Christ, today's events in Rome should eliminate them. Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, took a few moments to speak with Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the show, and Dallas Jenkins who both created and directs the program. The interaction happened during the regularly scheduled Wednesday audience at the Holy See.


The meeting - posted here on social media - was profoundly significant for Roumie, who describes himself as a "born-again Catholic." The 47-year-old New Yorker used notes to speak with the Pontiff in Spanish - Francis is an Argentine - and said he prays for him regularly. When the actor mentioned that he plays Jesus on The Chosen, it brought a smile to the Pope's face and drew a response of encouragement: "May you find Him, and may He make you Happy."


A social media screenshot of Jonathan Roumie meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Image: Jonathan Roumie/Instagram.

Jenkins was then able to shake hands and share a few words with Francis, plus get a taste of the 84-year-old's jocular wit. The Pope pointed to Roumie and said, "This is Jesus," before turning his finger toward Jenkins and asking with an impish smile, "You are Judas?" That elicited a rapid string of "no's" from the director and a good-natured laugh from Francis. Jenkins then informed him that he is protestant, but "is making the series for everyone who loves Jesus."


In a social media post, Jenkins said the occasion was "quite an honor," though he doesn't have any "particular personal connection to or passion for the Pope." He also stated that while standing in line before being admitted to the audience, there were people from nations far and wide who recognized him and Roumie because of The Chosen, adding that this Vatican visit "is a wonderful opportunity to see the show expand all over the world."


Season three is expected to begin production early next year in Texas, though its release date is still to be determined. In the meantime, both seasons one and two are available to stream for free on the program's app - Android / Apple - and website.