Monday, 21 August 2017

Electric Candle Is Fine, Online Blessing - Not   
Sound blasters and electric candles, that are switched on by dropping a coin, have long infested Christian churches around the world. Yet virtual prayers and blessings remain controversial practice to religious communities. Lately the dispute surfaced in the Balkans.
The Romanian Orthodox Church recently criticised a private company, which managed to lure four churches in its efforts to provide what it calls “courier services” between believers and priests. For one euro a day or 24 per month, the religious package offers believers an on-line service that enables them to have services held for the forgiveness of their sins. Marian Chiriac tells the story of their dispute with the official church authorities in a news piece, first published by Balkan Insight.

"Please God, help me to stay healthy and have good luck in life”, reads a prayer which has been sent online to a priest who will read it during a church service.

For one euro a day or 24 per month, a Romanian company is offering belivers an online service that enables them to have services held for the forgiveness of their sins.

“We only do a courier service, sending prayers to selected monasteries where they will be read and heard by God,” the company says on its site. Currently, just four churches are enlisted on the site.

But the Romanian Orthodox Church, to which most Romanians belong, says it is not in favour of the move.

“This is just a private initiative, speculating on the laziness of some people. Furthermore, it is not clear if the churches are really receiving the money for these services, so we will not encourage our believers to use this service”, Constantin Stoica, a church spokesperson, said.

Romanian Orthodox Christians traditionally write down prayers in church, which are then given to priests to read for a small fee. The prayers are traditionally for health, good exam results or happy marriages.

More than 85 per cent of Romania's 21.5 million people belong to the Orthodox Church. The Church, which has enjoyed a revival since Communism fell in 1989, remains the most trusted public institution in Romania, according to polls.

In recent years, the Orthodox Church has started to use new media in order to stay close to believers, running a website, TV and radio stations and its own daily newspaper.




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