1st INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
ON DIGITAL MEDIA AND ORTHODOX PASTORAL CARE
DMOPC15 LIVING WATER
Athens 7, 8, 9 May 2015
In the last two decades, we as people have witnessed an unprecedented explosion as regards the evolution of electronic means of communication and provision of information. Local Orthodox Churches and Orthodox believers the world over have not been slow to make their presence felt in this novel scene, using the media as best they can in order to spread the word of God, the patristic tradition and Orthodox Theology.
The ‘Saint Maximos the Greek’ Institute for the Research, Preservation and Promotion of Spiritual and Cultural Traditions, which has been active for a number of years in this field, in particular through the spiritually-orientated ‘Pemptousia’ website (www.pemptousia.com), decided to convene an international conference, in co-operation with the Web portals ‘Orthodox Christian Network’ (www.myocn.net), an Agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America, and ‘Bogoslov’ (www.bogoslov.ru), of the Department of Religious Education of the Patriarchate of Moscow. At this conference, an evaluation will be made of the work done by the Orthodox in the field of pastoral care through digital media, while reflections will also be presented about the dynamics of the Orthodox presence in this particular area, with the further prospect of discussion regarding the evolution of Orthodox Christian discourse in cyberspace.
The Conference is the first of its kind in this particular field and will be held on 7-8-9 May 2015, at the Hotel Divani Apollon Palace in Vouliagmeni, Athens.
Apart from bringing together those responsible for Orthodox Digital Media, the further aim of the Conference is the coordination of efforts towards a more effective way of delivering the Gospel word to users of the Internet, to the glory of God. It will also aim to be the point of departure for a well-constructed and common effort to propagate the values of the Orthodox Christian tradition among all people of good will.
There will be 75 experts speaking at the conference on this theme, Orthodox clergy and laity from 21 countries, representing all the jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church.
The conference is organised under the High Auspices of His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew
- His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, Ecumenical Patriarchate
- His Eminence, Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa, Abbot of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of the Holy Trinity of Chalki, Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarchate
- His Eminence, Metropolitan Constantinos of Singapore, Ecumenical Patriarchate
- His Grace Makarios of Lampsakos, Ecumenical Patriarchate
- His Grace Meletios, Bishop of Naukratis, Patriarchate of Alexandria
- His Eminence, Metropolitan Damaskinos of Sao Paolo, Patriarchate of Antioch
- His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Patriarchate of Russia
- His Eminence Antoniy, Metropolitan of Borispol and Brovary, Rector of the Kiev Theological Academy & Seminary
- His Grace Veniamin, Bishop of Borisov and Mariigorsk, Patriarchate of Russia
- His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa
- His Grace Vissarion, Bishop of Tulcea, Patriarchate of Romania
- His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasime of Zugdidi and Tsaishi, Patriarchate of Georgia
- His Eminence, Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesos, Church of Cyprus
- Most Rev. Ioannis, Metropolitan of Thermopylae, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Penteli, Athens, Church of Greece
- His Beatitude Sawa (Hrycuniak), Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland, Church of Poland
- His Grace Andon, Bishop of Krujë, the Church of Albania
The honorary committee is still in progress ..
- Protopresbyter Vasileios Kalliakmanis, Professor of the School of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
- Protopresbyter Christopher Metropulos, Head of the Orthodox Internet portal ‘myocn.net’,
- Protopresbyter Pavel Velikanov, Professor of the Theological Academy of Moscow, editor-in-chief of the theological portal ‘bogoslov.ru’
- Protopresbyter Jivko Panev, Associate Professor of the Saint Serge Theological Institute in Paris, Head of the French-language Orthodox internet portal ‘orthodoxie.com’
- Protopresbyter Constantin Coman, Professor of the Theological School of the University of Bucharest
- Nikos Gouraros – PEMPTOUSIA
- Protopresbyter Pavel Velikanov – BOGOSLOV
- Protopresbyter Christopher Metropulos – OCN
- Nick Mavrick – OCN
- Charles Lelon – OCN
- Legoyda Vladimr Romanovich- BOGOSLOV
- Khoruzhi Sergey Sergeevich – BOGOSLOV
- Grimov Youriy Vjacheslavovich – BOGOSLOV
- Dr. Petros Panayiotopolus – PEMPTOUSIA
- Nikos Loupakis – PEMPTOUSIA
- Vasilis Hados – PEMPTOUSIA
- Dimitris Iliopoulos – PEMPTOUSIA
DMOPC15 and THE LIVING WATER
Water is one of the most basic material elements for human life. It’s a requisite for its inception, its support and its development. But if water is of great importance on the biological level, on the spiritual its significance depends also on other factors. Specifically, it depends on the degree of ingraftment in the eternity’s perspective.
Christ Himself interprets this very clearly in the dialogue He had with the Samaritan woman. When she was nonplussed regarding the water He could give, Jesus told her about living water, water which, if you drank, you would never thirst again, the water of eternal life (Jn. 4, 10-14).
The woman from Samaria had every reason to wonder at the stranger’s curious words. But since the truth of the plan of Divine Dispensation and the love of God for His creation have been revealed to humankind, we are in a better position to understand the profundity of the divine words.
The word of God is the word of life, it’s the word that can give meaning to human existence. It can ‘quench’ people’s needs, bring relief from the toil of corruption, solace for the hollowness of the idols of this world. Those who receive it, that is those who agree to allow its truth to guide their steps in life, bear incontrovertible witness to this. Examples of this are the saints, the friends of God, those who’ve experienced the ‘turn for the better’ which opens up their existence to eternity and, like a lighthouse, sheds light on the lives of the other members of the Church, picking out the traps of temptations and showing the way that leads to the Kingdom.
The whole of the Patristic tradition is in agreement that the ‘living water’ is to be taken as the Holy Spirit. This is the Spirit of God, Who has accompanied the creation throughout its entire history. It’s that which ‘moved’ on the first waters, when the earth was still ‘invisible and unformed’ (Gen. 1, 2). He it is Who has put together the Body of Christ, the Church. He’s the Comforter Who has given rebirth to the faithful throughout the centuries and has consoled them when their Lord is no longer on the earth. And in the last times, it is He Who will flow abundantly from the throne of God and of the Lamb as a crystalline ‘river of living water’, which will be given freely to the inheritors of the Kingdom and will slake their thirst for evermore (Rev. 22, 1; 17).
All the faithful taste the water of life at their entry into the Church. At the sacrament of Baptism, the new member is buried with Christ and rises with Him and is laved with the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12, 13). The gifts we receive from the largesse of God on the day of our rebirth need to be activated, however, and kept honed throughout the whole of our lives. But this is not at all easy and it is this that constitutes the struggle, the cross which each of us believers has to take up.
But in His infinite love for humankind, the Lord does not stand idly by, unmoved. Yes, He’s behind the whole struggle, but He also labours with us, He’s our companion on our ascent. Provided we truly desire Him and really follow Him by observing His commandments, the rivers of grace will flow through our lives. They water the soul that’s tormented by the drought of the passions and make human existence an evergreen, fruitful tree, suited to the cool climes of Paradise.
But if we really want to call ourselves His disciples, we have to transmit the freshness of this living water to every person who asks for it and with any possible and available means. In our own time, which is characterized by the prevalence of electronic means of information and communication, the life-giving message of the Resurrection must be present in the language used by our contemporaries. Today, when expression and communication between people is undergoing a seismic shift, with web pages, social networks, e-mail, the abolition of distances of time and geography, distance learning and digital identities, the need for an authentic spiritual validation of human life is even more imperative. At the same time, the urgent question arises of the way to pass on the witness of ‘the hope within us’. We see the answer summed up in the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman: with a willingness to transcend the divisions of this age and with total respect for the human person.