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Conference explores digital media and Orthodox pastoral care

Conference explores digital media and Orthodox pastoral care

International conference on digital media and orthodox pastoral care, Orthodox Academy of Crete, Greece, Photo: Pemptousia

05 July 2018

* By Sofia Karekla

The benefits of digital media in the mission of the Orthodox Church, as well as the dangers of over-use, were discussed at the 2nd International Conference on Digital Media and Orthodox Pastoral Care. The conference was based on the view of the digital world as a sphere for the reiteration of Pentecost and the “living world” of Saint Paul the Apostle. The event was held on 18-21 June at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolymbari under the auspices of His-All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Clergy, academics, theologians, journalists and experts in new media from all over the world discussed the prospects of digital media and its use in pastoral care of the Orthodox Church. In this context, Pemptousia, the organizer of the conference, announced the establishment of an international ecclesiastical news agency, “Orthodoxia News Agency”, which will broadcast in eight languages.

The abbot of Vatopaidi Monastery, Elder Efraim, emphasized the dynamics of digital media for the evangelization of the whole world.

Professor and writer Dr Jean-Claude Larchet argued that "during periods of fasting we must avoid social media". The Orthodox Church must, according to Larchet, urge people to dissociate themselves from the new media in order to connect with God.

During the conference, interesting issues were discussed with challenging dimensions for the Orthodox Church, such as the relationship of children and young people with digital media, the relationship of humans with new digital devices, digital advertising and its use in pastoral care and the association of restraint with digital life.

Professor of the Department of Mathematics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Ioannis Antoniou argued that "the challenge facing the Orthodox Church today is greater than that faced by the first Christians. The challenge then was obvious, the evil Roman soldier. Now it is not. It is fake news, the false news with a cover of truth.”

The organizers of the conference announced that the third international conference on the same issues will take place in 2020 at the Orthodox Academy of Crete, with the support of Vatopaidi Monastery.

Pemptousia was the organizer of the conference, with the cooperation of international web sites such as Οrthodox Christian Network and Ancient Faith Radio from America, Zvornik-Tuzla from Bosnia, Mitropolija Zagrebacka from Croatia,  Orthodoxie from France,  Basilica and Doxologia from Romania, Bogoslov and Pravmir from Russia and Orthodox heritage of Ukraine on Mount Athos from Ukraine and the support of Vatopaidi Monastery, Holy Mountain.

* Sophia Karekla is a journalist, editor in chief of Orthodoxia.Info