Nicholas J. Furris directs host Staci Spanos for Orthodox and Other Faith Traditions with Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, seared left background, and Rev. Dr. Demetrios Tonias, seated, left foreground, and special consultant for the series, Dr. Anton Vrame, standing.
Discovering Orthodox Christianity, the 26-part series of talk shows and Bible Studies produced by Greek Orthodox Telecommunications, (GOTelecom) and designed to educate viewers about the basic teachings of Orthodox Christianity, has exceeded 100,000 views, an average of 12,500 online views per month, in just eight months since its debut in November of 2013.
The series, which was made possible with a $270,000 grant from Leadership 100, was highlighted at the 23rd Annual Leadership 100 Conference in February of 2014 by Nicholas J. Furris, the Emmy Award winning senior producer and director of GOTelecom. He was presented with the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence on behalf of GOTelecom, along with its Managing Director, Marissa Papageorge Costidis.
Furris had predicted the growing popularity of the series in his talk, stating then that the reaction to the series had already been outstanding. Now, with exceeding 100,000, he exclaimed: “This is the most successful online program that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has ever implemented, demonstrating that there is an interest and thirst to learn about Orthodoxy.” He pointed out that the figure did not include the various venues of television viewing by individuals, shared with others or in group settings.
The series, which debuted on http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/discovering and on www.YouTube.com/greekorthodoxchurch also encompasses social media such as Facebook and Twitter, traditional DVD distribution, the use of the world-wide web and new media outlets such as Wherever TV. Wherever TV is an over the top internet television platform focused on delivering linear television programming to SmartTV’s, digital media receivers such as GoogleTV, AppleTV, Roku, iPhones, and iPads using the internet.
Five of the programs are presented by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and were videotaped at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese headquarters in New York City, while the remaining twenty-one were videotaped with a variety of presenters at Holy Cross Chapel on the grounds of Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
All of the programs were developed by GOTelecom Senior Producer/Director Nicholas J. Furris and Managing Director of GOTelecom, Marissa P. Costidis, with input from Stavroula Savelidis. The production team worked closely with the Director of the Department of Religious Education, Dr. Anton Vrame, to identify show topics and experts in those fields. Staci Spanos, a Greek Orthodox newscaster from Jacksonville, Florida, served as the host, engaging the guests and inspiring thoughtful and educational discussions.
“We are extremely grateful to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and Leadership 100 for recognizing the opportunity to use video and subsequent dissemination in multiple platforms to educate and inform our faithful and all people who are interested in the Orthodox Faith. Leadership 100 has always supported the work of GOTelecom, and in this day and age we have so many more ways of getting our message of Christ’s love out to an international audience,” said Furris.