Tag Archives: Richard Barrett

Internet Orthodoxy: Opportunities and Pastoral Challenges

by Richard Barrett 

The second International Conference on Digital Media and Orthodox Pastoral Care (DMOPC) took place at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolymbari from 18-21 June of this year. The event’s principal sponsors were Pemptousia and Vatopedi Monastery, and it was attended by Orthodox Christians from Greece, Lebanon, Russia, Ukraine, the United States, Canada, Australia, the Czech Republic, Kenya, and more. Over four days, one hundred and three presenters discussed theoretical, theological, and practical impacts of technology on the Church of today.

As an American participant, what I saw very quickly was that the questions and concerns the presenters were talking about were deeply informed by vastly different cultural contexts. There were two basic categories of presentations on the Greek side; the first was academic, represented by the panel discussion “The Progress of AI as a Challenge for Theology” and the paper “Paul and the Ethics of the ‘Internet’ in the Globalized World of the 1st Century and the Post-Modern 21st Century.” The other category expressed anxieties about technology threatening the Church’s status as a majority religion. These concerns tended to emphasize the Internet as a medium by which people were exposed to other religions, perhaps even deciding to change religions as a result; in addition, the problem of webcasts of services becoming a substitute for in-person attendance was frequently referenced. Continue Reading…

American Orthodoxy

by Richard Barrett  |  ελληνικά  |  ру́сский

Who gets to decide what it means to be Orthodox in America? Greeks? Russians? Converts? Foreign bishops?

How do “cradle” and convert identities come together – or not? How do “diaspora” narratives that tie Orthodoxy to nationalism translate in an American context? What does Orthodoxy mean in the American religious marketplace of ideas? Is it really the fastest growing religious group in America, as some have claimed, or is it a solution looking for a problem?

Perhaps the most important–and difficult–question is, “Will there ever be an American Orthodoxy?”

Many Orthodox in America, of course, long for a jurisdictionally unified Church. A word of caution, however: be careful what you wish for. An American Orthodox Church isn’t likely to resolve the things that most divide us, because our divisions reflect American society more broadly. Continue Reading…