If you have ever sat through a service of Father Dino Pappademos’ at Saint Katherine’s in Elk Grove, CA, surely you left with your heart filled and your faith inspired. Upon meeting his son, Christo Pappademos, at the Folk Dance & Choral Festival (FDF) this past February, one could instantly see that each had the same warm spirit about them. Christo is a third-year seminarian at Holy Cross Seminary in Boston, MA and has spent much of his time working in the SF Metropolis with the youth. Growing up in the Elk Grove parish, Christo served as an acolyte and danced at the St. Katherine’s Greek festivals. Christo became a part of the FDF family by announcing groups in competition. At this year’s FDF, Christo taught a workshop for the high school students called “Social Media and Spirituality.” The description of the class read: “Snapchat and Instagram are awesome ways to build strong relationships with our friends, so can they be used to build a strong relationship with God? Come find out!” The room was filled – we are talking standing room only. Kids were pouring out of it, even standing in the doorway to hear Christo’s message! When it was over, they rushed to Christo giving him high-fives and hugs, they definitely approved.
After the workshop, attendees had a chance to speak with Christo, the Father Pappademos of the future. In describing the premise of the workshop, Christo wanted to get the general point across that although social media gets a “bad wrap” from the older generations, “You can use it in a way that is pleasing to God,” he said. Christo gave a great example of how to use social media in this way. Take the popular page on Instagram for instance; he explained that the more you view positive, good, and motivational content, the more it will appear on your popular page, instead of material that isn’t pleasing to God. He also gave other positive pointers for how to use social media, build others up, leaving nice comments for your friends, and of course, avoid cyber bullying and its perpetuation. Christo also made a valid point that when one is posting on their social media accounts, they should do it for the feeling of inspiring someone else, don’t do it for “the likes.” Bearing this in mind, he made a great comparison to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, how he posts his philanthropic works with Make-A-Wish Foundation, and this can inspire others to contribute too.
When asked about his own use of social media platforms, Christo explained that it is nice to have so that he can keep in touch with the many Greek American friends he has met across the country (he was a counselor of Ionian Village and St. Nicholas Ranch programs, so his parea is far reaching). Christo explained, “Instagram is like a journal, you’re documenting things as you go. It’s like all of your friends are always with you.” Having the constant connection to your friends, he believes that this can help in strengthening your bonds. Christo also enjoys sharing posts from the Seminary, to give an inside look and help to inspire the youth, the future of the Greek Orthodox faith. Another way of keeping God present in an ever growing world of social media and tech: Christo made a great suggestion of downloading the app “Daily Readings” which is produced by the Archdiocese (there is a free lite version and a full version for $0.99, both are available in the App Store on mobile devices). This app helps to remind us of feast/saint days, prayers, fasting guidelines, and more. To connect with Christo, follow him on Instagram @cpappa65
Email the author: Giuliana Harris