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ATHENS (RNS) — Two factors have defined Greek life for at least the past century: religion and emigration.
Now, a new startup, Do My Tama, is helping ex-pats stay connected to their faith and families by offering to perform religious devotions, virtual pilgrimages and other religious services.
Countries - Percentage - Digits - Greeks - Orthodox
Unlike many Western European countries, where the percentage of the pious is down to single digits, Greeks have held fast to the Greek Orthodox Church, with some 55% saying religion is very important to their lives in an October 2018 report from the Pew Research Center.
That attachment has stuck with the more than 1.7 million Greeks who have left since the early 1900s — including half a million who have sought opportunities overseas since the global economic crisis nearly forced Greece to crash out of the European Union in 2014.
People - Services - Members - Greek - Diaspora
“Most people asking for our services are members of the Greek diaspora,” said Maria Psiridi, Do My Tama’s founder. “(One) Greek who’s now working in China asked us to light a candle and leave flowers on his mother’s grave in Athens because he hadn’t visited for three years.”
Part of being a pious Greek Orthodox is doing tama, or oblation: a promise one gives to God in exchange for help with a difficult task. It often involves making an offering of a golden plate at the icon of a saint. If someone is undergoing eye surgery, for example, the plate would be stamped with a pair of eyes.
Greece - Do - My - Tama - Oblation
For those can’t get to Greece, for $40 to $200, Do My Tama will take an oblation to the customer’s preferred church, monastery or saint, light a candle or take a traditional Orthodox offering of bread. An additional $70 gets a customer a video of the act.
Psiridi said she got the idea for the service last year, when a friend...
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