Every morning before dawn Father Zakaria Baghumyan joins his brothers at the Mother See of the Holy Etchmiadzin, the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church, for prayers and contemplation. Then he logs onto his computer. The bearded archimandrite in a long, black cassock juggles his studies about the Christian dogma he is the supreme doctor of and a daily virtual connection with the world at large.
He is known as the “cyber priest.”
There is no conflict between technology and spirituality, believes the 39-year-old senior archimandrite who has covered various positions in the communication and information service of the Armenian Apostolic Church. On the contrary, the Internet provides with the opportunity to spread the Gospel beyond the high walls of churches and cloisters. Father Zakaria communicates daily with scores of his 5,000 Facebook followers, and, thanks to programs like Skype, he maintains direct contact with believers seeking his advice.
“My aim is to bring people close to the church through social media,” he maintains.