(BBC) - The Russian Orthodox Church is to launch a new messaging app in order to help priests to keep in touch with believers.
It's being made by the same designers behind the Church's dedicated social network, Elitsy, which was launched in 2014. The app, which is currently in development, will "satisfy the needs of the faithful for interaction and continuous contact between parishioners and the Church", according to Elitsy's press service, cited by Tass news agency. It adds that the app has the blessing of the Church's leader, Patriarch Kirill.
As well as standard tools such as sending text, audio and video messages between users, the app will also allow priests to contact a whole parish, diocese or even the entire Church. It's come about due to requests from Elitsy users, Tass says.
The number of registered users of the Elitsy network now tops 100,000, according to the report, including more than 1,000 priests. Among the features available to those who set up an account is a service called "Ask a priest", with some priests posting video replies to queries on everything from whether hunting is a suitable pastime for an Orthodox Christian, to how to choose a husband.