Toward an Understanding of the Role of Digital Technology in Orthodox Life and Practice


  • Chad Houk Baylor University, USA


Authority, COVID-19, Digital technology, Mediation, Religious life


Digital technology has come to play a vital role in contemporary religious life, both in the real world and in virtual worlds.  Regardless of their comfort with it, whether for facilitating worship or for communicating religious values, all religious traditions have had to face the ubiquity of digital technology and find a place for it in their worldview.  While some traditions lean one way or another on the use of digital technology, the majority find themselves somewhere in the middle.  This may mean that they are dedicated to a neutral view, but in many cases, it simply means that they have not wrestled adequately with the issues involved.  In the case of Orthodoxy, there seems to be a disconnect between private and public use of digital technology.  While individuals in the Orthodox community use it in the same way that their non-Orthodox neighbors do, institutional use of digital technology is fraught with contradiction and ambivalence.  On the one hand, digital technology is embraced as a way to make Orthodoxy more visible, viable, and more accessible, particularly to its adherents.  On the other hand, it is regarded with some suspicion, having limited use for mediating core beliefs, practices, and aesthetics of the Orthodox faith, and potentially serving to disconnect Orthodox faithful from their true community.  In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the uncertainly that Orthodox feel about the appropriateness of digital technology for mediating religious life has become particularly acute, and many issues have arisen which call out for resolution.

Non-refereed Articles



How to Cite

Houk, Chad. 2022. “Toward an Understanding of the Role of Digital Technology in Orthodox Life and Practice”. Journal of the International Society for Orthodox Music 6 (1):167-76.