Archdiocese of Athens going digital

The Archdiocese of Athens of the Greek Orthodox Church recently held an intensive seminar, introducing its clergy to the world of digital technology.

Three hundred clergymen filled the seats in the archdiocesan Cultural Center to receive their new training at the hands of diocesan chancellor Archimandrite Symeon Volioti, reports After an opening prayer, Fr. Symeon set about explaining how the archdiocese’s new applications can make life easier for both clergy and laity.

Soon certificates of celibacy, marriage licenses, Baptismal certificates, solemn declarations, and other documents will be available through applications that will soon be available on the archdiocesan site. The archdiocese decided that such convenience is useful for those living the hectic Athenian lifestyle.

“This is an innovative project, if you consider that we deal with over 2.5 million citizens who are drowning in time, finances, and practical matters… So we designed an electronic information system to improve services for our citizens, and also our own work. No need to waste time on things that can be done from home, the office, or even from a cell phone. Our priority is to ensure more time for interpersonal communication, for this is the need of modern man, as a word of comfort, of spiritual support,” Fr. Symeon stated.

A “help desk” has also been developed for the website, where believers can learn what documents they need for Marriage and Baptism, for example, and other such practical questions.

The possibility of pastoral work through digital technology was emphasized at the seminar. Archimandrite Seraphim Demetriou of St. Marina’s Church in Heliopolis noted, “It’s good to help priests understand that you can use the internet for pastoral care for his parishioners… This program solves many issues. The Church as an administrative institution never refused progress and technology.”

Likewise, Fr. Anthimos Iliopoulos of St. Zoe’s Church in Kypseli emphasized, “There is a pastoral need for us to familiarize ourselves with technology. When you need to communicate with people, basically to deliver a message, the traditional way is too difficult today. We must therefore use new media. There is no other way.”