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Orthodox Church calls for cyber fast on Good Friday

Faithful belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Church will have an ‘unorthodox way’ of observing lent this Easter. The church has urged its members to observe cyber fast on Good Friday. On the day, they should abstain from using cellphone, internet etc as part of lent.

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According to the church authorities, it is an effort to dissuade its members from negative use of cell phone and internet. “Though cyber world ensures effective communication, excessive and uncontrolled use of the media can have its negative impact. Our effort is to discourage the faithful from becoming addict,” Orthodox Church public relations officer Prof.P C Elias said. “We normally observe lent skipping non-vegetarian food and fasting during the Easter. On the day, members of the church should stay away from watching TV or using internet, cell phone and social media like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.”

The church has launched a year-long programme called ‘Nervazhi’, (The Right Path) to dissuade its members from the negative use of media, especially social networking sites.

The church is in the process of selecting 50 resource persons from each diocese. Training will be given to the resources persons, who will be given the responsibility to organize family meets and seminars at parish level to spread the message. Programmes will be organized at diocese, regional and church-levels as well. “There are umpteen positive aspects of social media and mobile phone. Unfortunately it is used for spreading pornography and anti-social messages. Extremist elements use social networking sites for their propaganda,” said Rev. Fr P A Philip, director, ministry of human empowerment and joint secretary of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

The church also plans to use the social networking sites and cellphone to form a new forum. “The plan is to constitute Orthodox Medical Forum, a joint platform of doctors, nurses and those employed in paramedical sectors in order to share information and tips. The forum may provide free medicines for the poor and needy,” Fr Philip said. Meanwhile, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan His Holiness Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose II, head of the Orthodox Church, warned against excessive love of money and pleasure-seeking.