Speaking at the Second international conference on the impact of digital technologies on Orthodox pastoral care, which runs from 18 to 21 June 2018 at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolymbari (Greece), priest zivko Panev, cleric of Macedonian origin who serve in Paris, talked about the current situation of Orthodoxy in France, reports the Week
According to zivko Panev, the Orthodox presence in France is mainly due to several waves of emigration from traditionally Orthodox countries such as Russia, Greece, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and countries in the Middle East. Today, according to various estimates, the number of Orthodox Christians in France ranges from 500 000 to 700 000 people.
Orthodoxy in France is organized in the following way:
— 273 ward
— 27 monasteries
— 3 schools of theology,
Orthodox in France have:
— 7 magazines
— 6 publishers
— 2 television programmes: France 2, and the KTO,
— 8 biweekly and monthly radio program, produced in cooperation with the state, Catholic or Protestant radio stations,
— 7 information and news sites,
— 23 movement and charitable organizations.
Orthodox parishes in France are grouped in 9 jurisdictions: the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Patriarchate of Antioch, the Georgian Orthodox Church, Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Russian Exarchate of the Constantinople Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
In addition, all the canonical Orthodox bishops in the self-organized structure called the Assembly of French Orthodox bishops (AEOF), established in 1967 to coordinate and cooperative action, it is also the body that represents the interests of the Orthodox before the French civil authorities.
The Orthodox clergy has in France, about 330 priests and deacons, most of whom are married. In addition, most clergy “have separate professional careers,” i.e., in addition to his Ministry, exercised a secular profession.
“We can say that Orthodox parishes are trying to preserve the traditions of their countries, but also offer a place for new believers”, — said zivko Panev. In the framework of the national Diaspora jurisdictions created by the French parishes, but they currently exist in slaveholding limited resources and only thanks to donations of the faithful. However, the French language is increasingly used in the liturgical practice of the traditional parishes. Furthermore, no Orthodox parishes do not receive subsidies from the state or regional and municipal authorities, by virtue of too strict adherence to the principle of separation of Church and state in accordance with the law of 1905.
Speaking about the situation in the French Orthodox the Internet as of 2017, the priest zivko Panev noted that the presence of Orthodox France on the Internet is clearly insufficient.
According to him, have their own Internet sites:
Only 38% of the parishes (103 of 273)
Only 40% of the monasteries (11 of 27)
Only 28% of journals (2 of 7)
67% of publishers (4 of 6)
61% of the movements and charitable organizations (14 of 23).
The web sites are mainly created with the voluntary contributions of the parishioners by themselves, based on free or shared platforms and are composed mainly of obsolete and old technology and content, including static pages without any multimedia or interactive content, without audio or video podcast without accounts in social networks, web pages that do not support mobility. Content sites are mostly limited to General information such as address, hours of operation, and the like. Usually they have no editorial policies, and their updates are infrequent and rare. “We can justifiably say that Orthodox sites in France is still stuck in the twentieth century!”, says zivko Panev.
“In order to improve the situation, we must not only raise awareness in the circles of the responsible bishops and parishes, but also to their willingness to actually invest resources (human and financial) to implement Orthodox Internet of the XXI century. Unfortunately, we still don’t see a strong signal in this direction”, — concluded the priest.
“But now we have an effective growth plan, which will help us to reach the point where we can meet with our Orthodox vision of the Internet as a whole. Performance to which we aspire, is the introduction of an early Christian methodology based on three levels of inclusion:
— to attract and to broadcast that corresponds to the early Christian concept of Kerygma (???????),
— to educate and train, which corresponds to the early Christian Didache or Didaskalia (?????? ?????????),
— To create a community through further involvement, which corresponds to the Church (ecclesiation) and build a real community in the Church.