Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

On the Closure of Churches–3

Posted in Reflections, Uncategorized by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 10 May 2020

Well, we have finally succumbed to the pandemic and held our first video discussion. I am still not live-streaming services (although I have done so, many years ago, for reasons completely unrelated to the current pandemic). The topic of our virtual discussion was the Eucharistic presence during the lock-downs, and what it means, or whether it is possible, to be present at the Eucharist via video chat. The participants in our discussion shared many interesting ideas and perspectives, and here are a few of my own afterthoughts.

A word of caution

First and foremost, we all seemed to agree that just because technology exists, that does not mean that it is good or appropriate by default. It seems that almost universally, almost without questioning, Orthodox churches began to live-stream services as soon as the various procurators and governors told us to do so. The situation was developing very rapidly, the technology was immediately available, and we dove in without an opportunity to question the very nature of what we were doing. Essentially, Facebook Liturgies caught us by surprise. On the one hand, some, like me, had already experimented with live-streaming for years–though never as an alternate way to “attend” services. On the other hand, we have all become very used to enjoying various audio and video recordings of everything church-related–from Liturgies to church choir concerts, and from Orthodox fiction to daily prayers. So, when we were told to log on for the Eucharist, we did not find this too objectionable. Yet the theological work of examining the spiritual safety and implications of these practices has not yet been done. (more…)

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