The Orthodox Christian Network has established the Digital Disciple Scholars Program on the campus of Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology. The purpose is to begin training our ministry leaders to use multi-media resources to spread the Gospel. Students will be trained to promote current issues related to the Orthodox Faith, Christian Persecution, cover Orthodox News, and events on campus. Our long-term plan is to bring Orthodox media ministry classes and field placement internships to campus.
An Interview with Fr. Ilya Gotlinsky, Founder of orthodoxtours.com
Being a priest is a full-time job and then some, but Fr. Ilya Gotlinsky somehow also manages to lead several very popular pilgrimages per year to some of the most important locations in the history of Orthodox Christianity. Although he was born in Latvia and is of Russian descent, his tours are not limited only to the famous sites of Russian Orthodoxy. Since founding Orthodox Tours in 2001, Fr. Ilya has led myriad pilgrimages throughout the world. Some very enthusiastic recent participants informed us of the work Fr. Ilya is doing, and we have the opportunity to learn more about this important ministry directly from its founder.
OCN: Are these tours only for your parishioners or direct acquaintances?
Fr. Ilya: Not necessarily. There are some for sure, but people come from all over the US, Canada, many European countries, and even from Australia or Argentina. In January a full group of pilgrims is going to Italy on a pilgrimage that I’m arranging for them.
OCN: It seems that Orthodox Tours is a fantastic resource for Orthodox Christians who desire to enhance their faith by going on a pilgrimage.
Fr. Ilya: Yes. That was the initial idea, but many of my pilgrims are non-Orthodox and even non-Christians. Thus, I see my ministry as an outreach. I don’t just accompany or lead trips. I do the research while I’m preparing my itineraries and do presentations on the trips. I’m an accredited religious tour presenter (different name for a non-commercial travel guide) in Israel.
OCN: To which countries do you lead pilgrimages?
Fr. Ilya: I have 40+ itineraries that cover most of Europe and the Middle East. Quite literally from Ireland to Egypt.
Stay tuned for more interviews with Fr. Ilya and some of his former pilgrims. More information about these amazing pilgrimages can be found here.
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