Orthodox Priest Seeks Virtual Saint
Source: Unknown, Saturday, 11 December, 2004
Clergy in the Russian Orthodox Church are engaged in an intense
The Church has enjoyed something of a revival among ordinary Russians
who, in Soviet times, were discouraged from openly practising the faith.
Now, the Orthodox clergy says, with the increasing use of computers in
daily life, the time has come to designate an Orthodox Church saint to serve as spiritual
guide to internet users.
A few years ago, the Roman Catholic Church nominated a patron saint
for the internet - St Isidore, the Bishop of Seville.
However, the Vatican's decisions hold no sway for Russian Orthodox
believers, and the choice for them has been narrowed down to two contenders: Saint John
Chrysostom, and Saint Feofan the Hermit.
While some of the more traditional clergy may see the world wide web
as a tool of Satan, Deacon Andrey Kurayev, a Russian Orthodox missionary who lectures at
Moscow State University, is a big fan, Ren TV reported.
"What is the internet?" Father Andrey asked. "It is a typically
monastic pursuit. I am totally hidden from the public, it is quite impersonal - but at
the same time I can take part in various discussion forums."
He believes the thousands of Russian Orthodox internet users could
only benefit from a patron saint dedicated to them.
Surfers can already browse hundreds of Orthodox Church web sites -
some of with streaming audio carrying the Orthodox mass online, and weighty liturgical
texts can also be found at the click of a mouse.
The Church's future plans include the creation of the world's largest
virtual library of Christian literature.
"If we get a patron saint for the internet," said Father Andrey, "the
next logical step will be to formulate a prayer to deal with viruses."