Department of Internet Ministries
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Report to the Archdiocesan Council
The mission of Internet Ministries is to follow the commandment
of our Lord Jesus Christ who said: “Go into all the world and
proclaim the good news to the whole creation” (Mark 16.15). Internet
Ministries is dedicated to utilizing the medium of computers and
the Internet for the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel
and for the advancement of Orthodox Christian ministry.
Clergy-Laity, 2002, Internet Ministries launched a new web site for the Archdiocese. This new web site, made possible by a grant from Leadership 100, offers new and revolutionary tools for Archdiocesan communications and parish ministry. The new site will contain dozens of new features including: a completely new site design, a new calendar of saints lives, an online chapel with the daily Gospel and Epistle readings, a searchable national calendar of events, weekly video programs, and a new online parish directory.
The new Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website offers a vast selection of inspirational, educational, multimedia, and interactive content on the Orthodox Christian faith and life. The site has been completely redesigned and rebuilt with over 80% of the content being either new or updated.
This new site is intended to be the premiere resource for Orthodox Christians who wish to learn more about their faith, fundamental for non-Orthodox who desires to learn more about Orthodox Christianity, and an indispensable resource for those involved in ministry at any level. Most importantly, however, it serves as an essential ministry to our faithful and a vital evangelistic medium for spreading the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are proud that this site both reflects and continues the department's mission and tradition of using technology, the Internet, and multimedia to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world.
The Archdiocese web site is one of the most active Orthodox Christian web sites on the Internet. Since its launch this past Clergy-Laity Congress, July, 2002, the website has received
The most popular sections after the Home Page include:
1. Our Faith Section: A virtual library of articles and resources, which teach the faith to the online user.
2. Online Chapel: The heart and soul of this website, this section offers the daily Bible Readings, daily saints and feasts commemorated, the ability to search for any saint or feast and receive the apolytikion, kontakion, and life or description, when available, a weekly reflection by an Orthodox priest, virtual reality tours, liturgical service texts, a Learn to Chant section, an Orthodox Calendar, with the ability to receive in order of rank are as follows:
The new Archdiocese site is the first of three forthcoming releases, which are being made possible with a grant from the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund.
Responding to the tragic events of September 11th, last year, the Department of Internet Ministries established a web site for the clergy, laity and news media. This web site features extensive resources including: psalms, special prayers, and services of intercession; an extensive photo gallery of the Church’s response; sermons; youth ministry sessions and Sunday School lesson plans on these tragic events; guides for parents.
The Website contained the following sections
In an effort to assist Orthodox parishes, organizations, and institutions create a presence on the Internet; the Department of Internet Ministries is offering a variety of free and discounted services. Free services include
Additional services include
Below is a more detailed report of the services offered:
Since 1996, Internet Ministries has provided free web site hosting for all parishes, institutions, and organizations in the Archdiocese. Through this program, dozens of parishes have been able to build and develop their web sites and also take advantage of many current and new Internet technologies used by the Archdiocese, such as dynamic news generation; live and archived Internet broadcasting; interactive chat rooms; e-mail listservers; 3-D site map generation; and multiple e-mail accounts.
Internet Ministries has licensed web-based calendar software for all parishes and organizations in the Archdiocese. This software is being made available free of charge through the Department of Internet Ministries. The software provides an interactive calendar of events to keep parishioners and organizational members abreast of upcoming events.
Internet Ministries provides live audio and video broadcasting services over the Internet in Real Audio and Real Video format. Each week, the Archdiocese broadcasts the liturgical services of the Orthodox Church via the Internet live. Since beginning this free service for parishes in 1997, the department has broadcast hundreds of liturgical services and dozens of educational classes.
His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos made us acutely aware of the very real and tangible benefits of this ministry, when he asked us to set up a connection from his home so that he could participate in the Holy Week services via the Internet. Not allowed by his physicians to leave his home, His Eminence reflected to us with thanksgiving to God and tears in his eyes, how he was still able to pray with the community because of this new technology.
This ministry provides an opportunity for the elderly and ailing that are home bound to continue to have a sense of liturgical worship and community. This is a ministry, which reaches out to the Orthodox who do not have a Church because of distance or travel, to continue to hear the Word of God and remain connected to their faith. This is a ministry which is growing and needs to continue to grow, so that we may have a church in every time zone broadcasting its services for the faithful, and as a witness to the un-Churched.
A full listing of live broadcasts is available online at:
Currently we have live liturgical services broadcast every week from the following parishes. It is our hope to expand to even more Churches, covering every time zone and diocese:
In addition to the live broadcasts of the Divine Liturgy, the Department of Internet Ministries facilitates numerous Internet broadcasts such as lectures and symposia from parishes, and the Religious Education Internet School of Orthodox studies. The Internet School of Orthodox Studies is a weekly live audio web cast of a class taught at Holy Cross School of Theology.
September 18, 2002, marks the third anniversary of the Enthronement of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios as the sixth Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.
A section was created on the website to remember this day and its significance for our Archdiocese.
Pages were created for people to view
To witness to Christ and fulfill His divine commission is the touchstone of Archbishop Demetrios' archpastoral ministry. His ministry is a teaching ministry, a preaching ministry, a ministry of concern and compassion, an apostolic ministry devoted to transforming the Word of God into a living reality for the precious flock entrusted to his care.
With the creation of a new section of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website devoted exclusively to chronicling the pastoral ministry of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, it is now possible to share more fully in the rich witness of the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. It will foster greater unity and spiritual growth as we draw closer to him and every Church community he visits, through his pastoral ministry, online.
With the Journey of Faith website, one can travel with the Archbishop as he sojourns across the land spreading the salvific message of Christ to the faithful. One can listen to his sermons and share in his testimony of faith and his words of pastoral guidance.
Journey of Faith, as it grows and expands online, will allow the entire Archdiocesan community and world, via the Internet to:
UPCOMING NEW FEATURES AND TOOLS
The new web site will provide a number of new features and enhancements including:
With the help of Leadership 100, the Department of Internet Ministries is nearing the completion of its office in Brookline on the campus of Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology. The office has been staffed since February 2001. These past few months, seminarians have been working in the office, gathering and editing new Orthodox content--books, articles, sermons, liturgical services, liturgical readings, and retreats--to be utilized for the new modules and tools of the new website, as well as the library of information and resources which will be provided about our faith. We are continuing in the process of making it once again a center for Internet publishing and production for the Orthodox world.
The office provides seminarians the opportunity to work in the department and contribute in a concrete and tangible way to the work and mission of the Archdiocese. At the same time, the students will take the knowledge learned back to their parishes. This program was begun in the 1993-1994 academic year with Hellenic College and Holy Cross.
The office also provides an opportunity for the professors of
Hellenic College/Holy Cross to submit their academic writings
and pastoral reflections for the website, allowing the parishes
to be continually nourished with new Orthodox materials.
The Orthodox Actionline Online ministry was begun in 1996. The vision of this program was to take the model of the Orthodox Actionline’s 800 number ministry and bring it to the Internet. This program continues to be an integral part of the Field Education Program of Holy Cross School of Theology, facilitating in the development of future priests and lay leaders.
Internet Ministries continues to offer free web site hosting
to all canonical parishes and organizations of the Archdiocese.
Through this program, parishes are able to build a presence on
the Internet and reach out to not only their local members, but
to Internet users from around the world. In addition to the parishes,
the department hosts Archdiocese organizational and institutional
web sites as well.
Internet Ministries continues to offer free email to the entire Archdiocese organizations, institutions and parishes. The department currently provides email to all of Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology, OCMC, various dioceses and parishes in the Archdiocese.
Over the 18 months, the Technology Committee has been exploring an affinity partnership with national online service providers such as AOL and Earthlink, among others. Unfortunately, the Archdiocese is too small to qualify for these partnerships. The Department will, however, revisit this issue should these program guidelines change.
The Department of Internet Ministries is seeking to bring the Internet as a more integral tool into the day-to-day operations of the Archdiocese and its parishes in order to streamline workflow and reduce costs. The Department of Internet Ministries is currently putting together a proposal to digitize the Archdiocesan registry system via the Internet.
The Department of Internet Ministries is currently exploring the possibilities of broadcasting the liturgical services at Hellenic College and Holy Cross as well as the symposia, conferences, and educational seminars hosted at the Maliotis Center of Hellenic College and Holy Cross. The limiting factor in these projects consists in the lack of necessary infrastructure to broadcast from the Chapel, the Maliotis Center, and the Administration Building of the Hellenic College/Holy Cross.
In a number of industry Internet publications, surveys have been conducted to evaluate whether the “.com” crash has impacted business spending for Internet service. The answer has been “no.” In fact, companies are estimating that their spending on Internet technologies will increase. Since the Internet is becoming a more integral and will continue to become a more integral part of lives (as witnessed especially with the tragic events of September 11, 2001) and the way in which we conduct business, it is imperative that the Department of Internet Ministries’ budget and staffing be adjusted accordingly. Until 1998, the department had three full time staff members with as many as 5 part-time students assisting in the department. The current staff of the department consists of two full time staff members, only.
The Internet Ministries Department, located at Holy Cross School of Theology is also just one of many Archdiocesan departments present on campus. The Department of Religious Education, a Resource Center of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, and a main office of the Department of Greek Language and Culture all reside at Holy Cross, and work intricately with the Department of Internet Ministries. The Internet Ministries staff must be expanded to three-four full time employees over the next 12 months and 5 full time employees over the next 24 months in order to meet the growing demands and needs of the Archdiocese. Likewise, the Internet Ministries budget must be adjusted accordingly.
The Department is also looking at other ways for providing its services. It is imperative that the various departmental and institutional ministries of the Archdiocese not be hindered or slowed because of a lack of resources.
Currently the computer network at Holy Cross School of Theology does not connect to the Holy Cross Chapel, or the Maliotis Center. This hinders the capability to provide online programming of Holy Cross worship services, the online webcasting of seminars and conferences, the online webcasting of future classes from the Maliotis Center.
It should be noted that the Internet service provided to Hellenic College/Holy Cross is unstable, going down many times for days, even up to a week. As such, the department is recommending that the appropriate steps and backup lines be installed to rectify this situation.
Bill T. Flegas