Those active in Orthodox Christian “corners” of Facebook have likely heard of or interacted with His Grace Bishop Christodoulos of Theoupolis, who joined the site as soon as it became open to the public in 2006 (in fact, I joined Facebook when he invited me). Bishop Christodoulos, a vicar bishop in the GOC, quickly reached the Facebook limit of 5000 friends, and while he primarily used it to interact with his spiritual children and promote videos on the YouTube Channel Greek Orthodox Christian Television, he also used it to become one of the most accessible Orthodox Christian bishops online, fielding questions about the Orthodox faith, and directing people to the nearest Orthodox Christian parish.
This week, however, his Facebook page was suddenly deactivated by Facebook, because of its recent decision to more strictly enforce its policy requiring users to use their real names in Facebook profiles. This has always technically been a Facebook policy, but was largely ignored by Facebook staff until recently. Interestingly, the most vocal opponents of this stricter enforcement have been drag queens, who are generally only known in public by their alter ego. It is unknown how many clergy are presently being affected by this change in enforcement.