Alumnus Launches Second Career as Novelist
- Douglas Burton (UTS ’82)
Pietro Marchitelli, (UTS ’92), is warmly regarded by fellow congregants of the New Hope Family Church in Bowie as a devoted father of three talented sons and a respected teacher in Prince George’s County, MD, but only those who have read his books know of his extraordinary religious imagination.
The fact is that Marchitelli was a serious searcher when he encountered the Unification movement in Italy, 33 years ago, and he didn’t stop searching during his time at UTS nor has he paused today, after launching a second career as novelist in 2011.
His first novel, Jesus the Second Adam (2011) and a monograph in 2014 on Jesus as a married man, Jesus, the Historical Husband, Father, and Messiah, are bold and imaginative, to say the least. Kirkus Reviews calls the latter work a “sprawling, highly ambitious new program of Christian understanding that will likely fascinate many readers.” Both books explore the author’s understanding of the hidden life of Jesus and are informed by personal revelation as well as his reflections on the metaphysical implications of the revelatory teaching of the Founder of the Unification Theological Seminary, Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
Kirkus opens its review of Jesus, the Second Adam, with the following summary. “The life of Jesus, as depicted in the New Testament, still holds many questions and possibilities. For example, is it possible that Jesus had a biological father? What was his childhood like? What was Jesus’ true relationship with such figures as John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene?
This novel ambitiously investigates these and other inquiries, following Jesus from his days as a youth to his eventual death and resurrection. It includes many famous events (such as the raising of Lazarus), as well as various new twists. Marchitelli’s Jesus, for instance, does have a biological father and is John the Baptist’s half-brother. Although Jesus and John were raised separately, the two are familiar with each other when they meet on the banks of the Jordan River. John initially looks down on his half-brother, as do many others during Jesus’ youth, as he considers Jesus’ parentage illegitimate. As difficult as things get for the young savior, however, he eventually marries a loving woman: Mary Magdalene.”
Kirkus concludes its review with this line: “A book that presents alternatives to the traditional story of the Gospels and that may open up new possibilities for curious readers.”
Although the author comes from a strong Christian spiritual foundation, he credits his introduction to the teaching of the Unification movement as a door-opener to his spiritual journey towards new and deeper understandings. “I came to hear the Divine Principle in 1982 in Turin, Italy,” Marchitelli tells UTS News. “At that time I was on the search for something that was missing in Christianity. There were contradictions in Christianity that really didn’t satisfy my curiosity. So, I heard what they were teaching, and I felt good about it.”
After serving as a missionary for six years, Marchitelli studied church history and philosophy at UTS. But his passion for the Divine encounter called him to a life of prayer and introspection.
“When I was at UTS I wasn’t thinking about writing books. I spent my time deepening my relationship with God. I wanted to understand God from the point of view of Him and Her. Day after day, I was developing my personal qualities, day by day thinking about the nature of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.
“The best experience I had at UTS was going outside and praying. I used to go outside in the evening and walk around and pray. I really felt God inside my heart. UTS has lots of history there, the old and new blending into one,” he says.
After graduating from UTS in 1992, Marchitelli was off to a big wedding in Seoul, Korea with his talented, Spanish-born bride, Concha, and the two settled in the Washington, D.C. to raise their family. They must have done some things right: Their sons are high-achieving leaders in Troop 1212 Boy Scout Troop and highly supportive participants of the church’s youth ministry.
In Marchitelli’s chapter book, In the Land of The Birds (2012), “a pair of young birds learns that the secret to life rests in finding a partner with whom to ride out the joyful tail winds and difficult head winds of life,” according to Kirkus Reviews.
Marchitelli’s most recent speculation on the life of Jesus (2014) from the point of view of history and evidence is Jesus, the Historical Husband, Father, and Messiah: Understanding the principles of life using the logic of love and rule of rationality
“Marchitelli’s Jesus, as his title suggests, wasn’t the distant, semi human rabbi and prophet enshrined in Catholic orthodoxy but rather a fully committed man of the world, a passionate husband and a loving father.” Kirkus continues reporting it this way: “A sometimes-startling and always thought-provoking new look at the fundamental tenets of Christianity.”
Unificationist readers of his novels and historical treatise may sense that Marchitelli’s passion is to share his admiration for the Divine Principle through works of the imagination. His penchant for analysis and using historical clues which draw surprising but plausible conclusions will delight the inquisitive reader.