July 26, 2014

Pat. Bartholomew: No to Homosexual Marriage

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed in unequivocal terms that the Orthodox Church cannot sanction same-sex marriage. This is bound to make some of the Orthodox Progressives squirm because there is no room for doubt, no artificial distinction between Church and society where the moral teaching applies to the former but not the latter, where there is a different ontology implied for those within the Church and those outside of her.

This statement was delivered at a homily in Estonia but also posted on the Patriarchal website so it carries the imprimatur of the Patriarchal office. Note Pat. Bartholomew’s reliance on the book of Romans where the Apostle Paul describes Roman culture at the time. Again, this is significant because the Patriarch’s reference to St. Paul’s admonition shows the teaching applies not only to the Church, but to society as well. The erroneous idea that the Orthodox Church has nothing to say to the larger culture about homosexual marriage has been repudiated Pat. Kyrill in the past and now by Pat. Bartholomew.

The condemnation, a strong word but borrowed from the text below is quite clear:

To our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed families through the Mystery of Marriage at Cana of Galilee and changed water into wine, that is, into joy and feasting, and to His Body, the Orthodox Church, the partnering of the same sex is unknown and condemned, and they condemn the contemporary invention of “mutual cohabitation”, which is the result of sin and not the law of joy

Note too the Ecumenical Patriarch’s implicit reasoning that homosexual marriage threatens the family:

The Church, my beloved parents and children, and subsequently the family, which consists lawfully and by the command of God of men and women, and the children acquired, is not a foundation or association or a simple organization, but a Body, as it is wonderfully depicted by the Apostle Paul. And this parallelism is accurate and true. Church and marriage. Husband and wife. Body and its members.

This community, signified in the Mysteries and in the obedience of Faith, both in the Church and in the family, is sanctified and mystagogued through the Mystery of Marriage, which, according to the Fathers, is a mystery of co-creation, and the ontological link of love with the Head of the Body, to ensure health and life, which is salvation and sanctification.

The language is a bit labored as is often the case with missives from Constantinople where too many ideas are packed into too few sentences. Nevertheless, the meaning is clear and the arguments that the Church has no interest in the broader health of the culture and should remain silent about the critical moral issues of the day should be put to rest.

American Source: Mystagogy

Greek (Original) Source: Ecumenical Patriarchate

Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

On September 7, 2013 His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Holy Cathedral of St. Symeon in Tallinn, Estonia. Early that afternoon, His All-Holiness presided over Vespers Service in the same church, at which time he delivered the Homily. Below is an excerpt of this Homily, in which he addressed the topic of the relationship between Church and Family, and in turn condemned Homosexual Marriage as an innovation foreign to the ecclesiological mindset and way of life.

The Church, my beloved parents and children, and subsequently the family, which consists lawfully and by the command of God of men and women, and the children acquired, is not a foundation or association or a simple organization, but a Body, as it is wonderfully depicted by the Apostle Paul. And this parallelism is accurate and true. Church and marriage. Husband and wife. Body and its members.

This community, signified in the Mysteries and in the obedience of Faith, both in the Church and in the family, is sanctified and mystagogued through the Mystery of Marriage, which, according to the Fathers, is a mystery of co-creation, and the ontological link of love with the Head of the Body, to ensure health and life, which is salvation and sanctification.

As in our Orthodox Church, where no member is forgiven to deal with things in a peculiar form and at one’s discretion and to prey on the proper operation and sincere communion of the love and unity of faith of the other members, or despise and ignore them, because they create cancerous disorders, agitations, dissensions, schisms, and heresies. This applies as well to the miniature church, the family, in which is required compassion, love and unity for the structure to be built, in which the father, the mother and the children have a place inter-embracing one another’s gifts, responsibilities and rights, and they are “individually members of it”.

God blesses our every effort towards the fulfillment of His will, and every struggle in life, according to one’s faithfulness in each and every talent. It suffices to realize in time our given talents and gifts and therefore our obligations for our every personal role, which God expects us to live out in the ecclesiastical and familial body as Orthodox Christians, activating its divine-human nature, within the framework of our God-given limits and conditions. For God created man “male and female”, that we might not imitate those who “exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised” (Romans 1:24-26).

To our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed families through the Mystery of Marriage at Cana of Galilee and changed water into wine, that is, into joy and feasting, and to His Body, the Orthodox Church, the partnering of the same sex is unknown and condemned, and they condemn the contemporary invention of “mutual cohabitation”, which is the result of sin and not the law of joy, and by their actions the “females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:26-28). Let this not also be born in you, Orthodox Estonians, brethren and children.

Comments

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    Michael Bauman says:

    Constantinople, Moscow, Antioch and a host of others have made it clear. A few years ago when I faced my own personal conflict between a specific direction of my bishop and what I wanted to believe, I had to make a decision to repent and obey or separate myself from the Church even if I stayed in a titular fashion. By the grace of God, I humbled myself and obeyed which has born great fruit of love and thanksgiving in my life.

    The way of pride is the way of death. None of us knows better than the Church and the Holy Spirit.

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    Ali B. says:

    Good! Bravo, Black Bart! About time!

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    M. Stankovich says:

    Progressives… Orthodox Christians should now feel some inspiration that the Ecumenical Patriarch has assumed a role of moral leadership, and actually possesses a voice that attracts world attention. And imagine if, simply in the GOA in the US, where I suspect the yearly number of marriages conducted surpass the other jurisdictions combined, the Patriarch instructed every priest include in his homily a clear explanation of the “Mystery of Marriage at Cana of Galilee.” And when the priest prays in the Betrothal, “O God eternal, Who has brought together into unity the things which before had been separate, and in so doing impose on them an indissoluble bond of love (“ontological link of love with the Head of the Body”) – even in consideration of everything St. Paul says of love in 1 Cor. 13 – explains that all the love in this world cannot transform a same-gender relationship into a Christian Marriage. We are not bigots, homophobic, intolerant, or insane. This is our Faith & Tradition and we can – with love, charity, and tolerance – explain it, “joining with the Fathers before us.” Imagine! Each priest – times each marriage – times each Sunday in one jurisdiction. Perhaps others will become inspired to follow as well. I pray this does not become just another “statement” to be web-archived, looked back upon in twenty years, “Remember when…”

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    Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

    St. Paul says of love in 1 Cor. 13 – explains that all the love in this world cannot transform a same-gender relationship into a Christian Marriage…

    Marriage is within the order of creation. What you should say is that all the legal circumlocution in the world cannot transform a same-sex relationship into a natural marriage.

    Having said that, the Patriarch’s statement reaches even deeper. By referencing Romans 1, His Holiness affirms male-female biological binaries and declares homosexual behavior as unnatural (against nature).

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      M. Stankovich says:

      Actually, my point was not so much a “theological” point as it was a practical observation. I am an amateur photographer of sorts, and my wife & I happened to walking around downtown San Diego on a evening when there was a protest against a major hotel chain who heavily marketed travel packages to the gay community, while the owner of local franchise donated massively to support Prop 8. Quite frankly, it was a pitiful scene, poorly organized and attended, poorly lit, poor PA system. Drivers cruising the six-lane street manged to overpower the speakers with filth & obscenity, hardly drawing the attention of the three SD police assigned to “keep the peace.” It reminded me of Fr. Schmemann’s sad comment that, while all sexuality in this fallen world is lamentable & broken, for homosexuality there “is no door of possibility to pass through. Only the wall. ” Zola’s The Belly of Paris. Nevertheless, I took many photos of the signs being held – many honored Mr. Romney specifically, “If he could 6 wives, why can’t I have 1?” – many spoke of love, and many referred to 1 Cor. 13:13, “But the greatest of these is love.”

      I cannot assume your practical experience, and I do not mean to impose my own, but I have consistently heard the argument that the denial of the right to marital equality is our denial of their equal capacity to love, and to form equal loving relationships “analogous” to what is found in the Scripture. This was my point in stating we can explain why all the love in this world is not capable of providing a “door to pass through the wall.” It is not bigotry, homophobia, intolerance, or insanity, but neither was this intended by God “as it was in the beginning.”

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        James Bradshaw says:

        M Stankovich writes: ” all the love in this world is not capable of providing a “door to pass through the wall.”

        It’s fine to say that two men or two women does not a “marriage” make in the eyes of God. You seem to be implying, however, that one facet of a relationship necessarily negates all the good that comes from it … even renders any good impossible.

        If so, that’s too bad.

        Were my partner to end up castrated in some bizarre accident, it would not terminate the depth, relevance or nature of our relationship. Both of us have sacrificed a great deal of our own comfort and wants for each other. Isn’t this the essence of the Christian life? We’re not just “friends”. I don’t put my assets and good name on the line for friends (or even for very many family members).

        Please spare us the analogy to pedophilia or some other fundamentally abusive sexual relationship. Abuse entails humiliation, selfishness … it’s ultimately derived from hatred of a sort. I just don’t see that as being an intrinsic and necessary element of gay relationships (although I’m not questioning that it can exist).

        Here are the options for gay men and women:
        a) marry someone of the opposite sex. This will work if you can find a member of the opposite sex who knows that you’re incapable of having even some rudimentary attraction to them on the physical level. I’m not aware of too many heterosexuals getting in line for such a life, however.
        b) remain celibate for life. This is also fine if you think you have some special capacity for it that is not given to 99.95% of the rest of the population and don’t mind the idea of living many decades with absolutely no deep human connection with another person (not to mention capable of repeated half-hearted “confessions” after the inevitable “lapses”).
        c) commit to one person with whom you have some chemistry and genuine love for, and be willing to accept all the joys and sacrifices such a commitment entails

        I still don’t see how (c) is such a horrific offense against a supposed God of “love”.

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          M. Stankovich says:

          You seem to be implying, however, that one facet of a relationship necessarily negates all the good that comes from it … even renders any good impossible.

          Mr. Bradshaw,

          I made no such implication. And heaven only knows why you would admonish me to spare you the analogy of a Freudian interpretation of paraphilia I’ll bet you don’t fully comprehend. I am not a psychologist. I was attempting to emphatically, adamantly, and specifically make a distinction between the ravaging of intimacy, and what the Ecumenical Patriarch has marvelously described as the “ontological link of love with the Head of the Body” that characterizes Christian Marriage.

          My contention is that, while homosexuality is a direct consequence of the fall of our humanity, so is the fall of our male gender and what we perversely term our “masculinity.” It seems the predominant theory is that “boys” necessarily must be “masculinized” over a course of developmental actualization, modeled by “masculine men” (e.g. father, siblings, male friends) who awaken innate, but otherwise dormant appropriate gender roles. Deficits in this modeling could predict “weak­ness in male con­fi­dence” and is dan­ger­ous to our “devel­op­ing” male chil­dren – inca­pable of dis­cern­ment – leaving them some­how “vul­ner­a­ble” to per­sua­sion, all of which “are major uncon­scious fac­tors in the devel­op­ment of same-sex attrac­tions.” Now, is this some “psycho-babble” from the fringe? No. This comes from the August 2011 edition of a prominent Roman Catholic medical journal The Linacre Quarterly [Kle­po­nis, PC and Fitzgib­bons, RP. ”The dis­tinc­tion between deep-seated homo­sex­ual ten­den­cies and tran­si­tory same-sex attrac­tions in can­di­dates for sem­i­nary and reli­gious life.” Linacre Quar­terly. Vol­ume 78, Num­ber 3. August, 2011. pp. 355–362.]

          So, you have to think, according to the last census, more than 50% of all first marriages in the US end in divorce, nearly 50% of all “new” marriages in the US are the 2nd or greater marriage, and less than 50% of custodial mothers receive the court-ordered child supported to which they are entitled. Single-female head of household families among African American and Hispanic are widely described and we need not go there. I mention all these things for one reason: the likely absence of the father’s phys­i­cal pres­ence. Certainly, some boys are role-modeled by “proxies,” but there is no evidence whatsoever that a “paucity” of gender role-modeling affects gender or sexuality. If it were the case, we would inundated with homosexuality, yet the prevalence remains virtually unchanged. And you want to be stunned by “role-modeling,” I recommend Prof. George Barriois, friend of Fr. Florovsky, and author of Jesus Christ in the Temple from SVS Press, who wrote with such delight of “He Who was God before the ages,” seated as a child (Ἰησοῦς ὁ παῖς) in the Temple at the feet of elders, “listening to them and asking them questions” (Lk. 2:4 ff) of the very words He had spoken to them in the Scripture! Imagine!

          But in my mind, the greatest tragedy is the loss of fraternity among men. Essential, loving, non-sexualized fraternity. We need and we desire affection, warmth, love, support, and fraternity from same-gender relationships. But somehow in this corrupted, twisted brokenness of our fallen world, the action of Ham (Gen 9:22) has played out as a “psychodynamic” abhorrence for the intimacy that we desire; that Metropolitan Anthony Bloom described as, “we can no longer imagine a state of innocence growing into a state of holiness… and rather than want­ing to under­stand and to know the world from within [our] com­mu­nion with God,” we attempt to “under­stand and to know the world and [our­selves] by our own means.” While I presume this does not apply to you, Mr. Bradshaw, but the “cringe,” the discomfort, the fear of “being observed” as affectionate, the display and sharing of emotions, that Middle Eastern and Slavic men kiss one another on the mouth, that David would say over the dead Johnathan, “your love to me was won­der­ful, pass­ing the love of women.” (2 Sam. 1:26); or that Jonathan would be described as “bind­ing” with David because he “loved him as his own soul (ψυχὴν ἀγαπῶντος αὐτόν).” (1 Sam. 18:1) is so terrifying as to be “miscast” as homosexuality. But in either case, your presumption that a non-sexualized same-gender relationship like David & Jonathan is a “special capacity that is not given to 99.95% of the rest” is wrong for you as it is for me, as Met. Anthony noted, because of our lack of faith; because of our resistance and reliance on “our own means.” I believe that we, as men, neither admit, nor do we mourn “absolutely no deep human connection with another person” when we perceive no other mechanism of “connection” but sexuality. And when sexuality is not the “ontological link of love with the Head of the Body,” it ultimately results in isolation and darkness.

          All of us are called to the same path, Mr. Bradshaw, with no exceptions nor distinctions: a life of chastity. And unfortunately, this word sophrosyne [σωφροσύνη]has been reduced to infer “sexual abstinence” thereby missing the richness of its greater meaning which is “singleminded,” or “balanced.” I mentioned to you previously that I take great exception to the cynical “not to mention capable of repeated half-hearted “confessions” after the inevitable “lapses,” rather than the victory is in the struggle. And I leave you with the same advice: you will never figure this out alone or by reading on the internet. I recommend you contact Fr. Hans privately for a referral to a priest you can discuss these matters with at length.

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            James Bradshaw says:

            I do agree with you on this: an over-sexualized culture renders deep and abiding friendships (of the same or opposite gender) somewhat challenging to acquire and retain. If the only options that are seen to be available are sexual infatuation, indifference or the type of friendships that really involve acquaintances with whom you are simply passing the time and engaging in small talk, then yes … any true devotion is going to, by default, considered by observers to be of the sexual kind.

            It is said that Cardinal Newman had such a close and lengthy kinship with Fr Ambrose St John that he wished to be buried alongside him. To me, it is unfortunate that some will insist that such a friendship could only have been sexual. I don’t believe it need be the case.

            Similar to this is the regrettable inability for adults to be innocently affectionate with young children without an eye of suspicion cast on them.

            As such, I hope it does not seem I am over-emphasizing the role and need for sexual contact in one’s life. Quite the contrary: sex without the requisite values of commitment and charity leads precisely to the isolation and darkness that you refer to. It’s why I avoid pornography and do not allow it in the home. I think the proliferation of this form of “entertainment” has very much played a role in the degradation of both marriage and friendship … and it has nothing to do with prudishness to say that it has.

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            Michael Bauman says:

            MS, you are correct that one of the greatest losses with the hypersexuality of our culture is the loss of fraternity and genuine manhood.

            Your observation on the degradation chastity is also apt.

            Chastity is purity of heart and soul out of love for God not just a moralistic abstinence from sex.

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          Rostislav says:

          I don’t understand how celibacy and monasticism would not suit you if it has suited legions of Saints. It is a path to holiness. Sin and persevering in it is not. The angelic life is the Life that saves and it is grounded upon a fundamental moral precept of Christianity, of the entire dynamic of “purification” in the process of theosis (vis a vis “overcoming sins of the flesh” where here the specifically grave sin of sodomy is involved), it becomes clear that you are posed with a choice: LIFE in CHRIST or a life in the world where you act to enjoy the fruits of your sin.

          CHRIST died to save humanity from sin, not to unite HIMSELF with it. If you refuse to even entertain the notion of the LIFE in CHRIST, then you have made your choice. You are loved by the Church and by CHRIST as a special being made in HIS Image and Likeness, and HE died to overcome the sins and corruption assaulting you. But you are given the free choice of whether or not you choose to live in HIM. Part of making that choice means putting off the old man, the false self, to live reborn as your true self in CHRIST JESUS. CHRIST will receive you and forgive your sins, but HE will never condone nor find a place for such a lifestyle of sinfulness. It estranges one from CHRIST.

          Thus, you are posed with what you intend to prioritize. A clear dichotomy is presented for you in your life where your free will is honored.

          Now mind you, if you wish to feel that homosexuality and Christianity can be reconciled and prefer a “more modern paradigm,” there are indeed ecclesiastical bodies that exist to foster these views. The Episcopal church does still function in the USA and you can indeed pursue a very personal “Orthodoxy” of your own making there. But from the standpoint of Orthodox morality, such an “accommodation” of homosexuality is nothing more than living a lie and ignoring the necessity of struggle with sin and overcoming it in CHRIST JESUS.

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            James Bradshaw says:

            Rostislav writes: ” Sin and persevering in it is not.”

            There is no record of any of the Biblical patriarchs having repented of having multiple wives. There’s no record of John Calvin having repented of having been responsible for the torture and deaths of a number of other Christians. There’s no reason to believe that the thousands of pastors and Christians of the Southern Baptist Convention who participated in the American slave trade ever felt the need to repent of their chosen behavior. There’s also no reason to conclude that Martin Luther felt compunction over his injunctions to burn the synagogues of the Jews to the ground. The anti-Semitism of Nicholas II and Chrysostom are well-known as well.

            Yet, no one ever questions the salvation or sanctity of these folks.

            Can you explain a system of ethics where such actions can be overlooked by Christ due to the depth of faith of the believers in question while homosexuality does not? It’s somewhat incoherent to me.

            I look at it this way: good intentions count. I can’t imagine that most people enter death in a state of sinless perfection. Odds are we’ve done something to offend God whether we know it or not. If you refrain from that which you believe is evil and your conscience is clean, we won’t have a problem accepting the truth once our consciences are fully enlightened.

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              Geo Michalopulos says:

              Whether the men you mentioned “repented” of their sins is immaterial. It is up to God to judge them. We do know that King David and King Manasses II did repent of their sins and they are held up as exemplars for Christians to this day.

              As for your mention of SBC preachers and practicioners participating in the slave trade, why do you stop there? Were not Catholics, Orthodox, Jews and Muslims also participants? Were not black Africans active participants? How about Episcopalians? Is it because you are bigoted towards Southerners and Baptists?

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              Rostislav says:

              As far as the Orthodox individuals involved and their lives are concerned, there is a difference between being obstinate in a sin which estranges one from CHRIST and sinning then repenting. When one mentions the Martyrs, their blood in martyrdom washed away their sins. As far as the Saints are concerned, they struggled lives of repentance to see GOD and became Partakers of Divine Nature. Whether one considers Saints or Martyrs, it becomes clear that they affirmed the LIFE in CHRIST and strove to acquire the grace of the HOLY SPIRIT in life, witness and repentance.

              That is far different than engaging in a lifestyle which clearly is estrangement from GOD and expecting HIM to bless one for it. Saints and Martyrs were never sinless, but they were repentant.

              The implied moral equivalence between an active homosexual lifestyle and sanctity is astounding.

              Thus, the point returns to – for one to live in CHRIST means his choosing to be repentant of his sins and pursue that LIFE in CHRIST. That LIFE and active homosexuality are mutually exclusive. CHRIST receives repenting homosexuals with love and forgives their sins, but by no means is that to be taken for a condoning of this lifestyle.

              The Holy Apostle Paul is clear when he writes in Romans that homosexuality is both unnatural and a result of estrangement from GOD, with the added burden of further estranging one from GOD in a lifestyle which leads to spiritual death. While the slag of the cities of Sodom and Gamorah exists to this day as a testament of GOD’s rejection of homosexuality.

              Addressing anti Semitism, the history of Christian states and their Jewish populations is complex and often very sad, but by no means are homosexuals persecuted Jews, but rather sexual minorities who choose their deviancy lifestyle and then seek special rights and recognitions for it.

              Deviancy in and of itself embodies a rejection of the norm, a subversion of it. Redefining the norm to include deviancy embodies overthrowing it and making deviancy the norm. One can choose to live the homosexual lifestyle, but one has no right to force acceptance of that lifestyle on society or anyone else, for in doing so one forces society and others into that lifestyle by acquiescence and by proxy. If you argue I can’t force you to be straight, by no means can you force me or society or my Church to be gay. In that regard, Jews are not deviants but religious minorities sharing a common morality and ethos with Christians. Homosexuality is immoral. Professing Judaism and practicing homosexuality are not morally equivalent propositions, and it is offensive to insinuate they are.

              It is also rather anachronistic to insert the judgement of modernity into Patristic times or even into the Russian empire when the standards and mores and full story where much different than the circumstances we live under today. Under no means do I condone anti Semitism, but I am not flip to hurl accusations to defame what others hold to be holy for a selfish political agenda. That being said I think a Holocaust survivor hearing that his persecution was being compared to homosexuals not being accorded special rights in our society would find that to be as offensive an anti Semitism as denial of the Holocaust.

              Others who were mentioned who were not Orthodox, it is not for me either to speculate about their lives nor about their sins. This is an Orthodox board which is specifically concerned with Orthodoxy in North America.

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                James Bradshaw says:

                Rostislav, do you suppose that devout Christians can sin and offend God in thought, word or deed without knowing they’ve done so and to therefore enter into death without having repented of those actions?

                Or … do you believe Scripture is so clear and unambiguous on every moral issue that Christians are without excuse from knowing right from wrong in every possible human circumstance and scenario?

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                  Rostislav says:

                  Evidently, you know nothing about Orthodox Christianity. Every morning and night we pray and ask to be forgiven of the sins we have either forgotten or are ignorant of, and part of the burial service calls upon the Church’s forgiveness of these sins. Every year we have a service of Anointing with Chrism which acts to forgive just these sins, not to mention the Unction of the ailing which beseeches forgiveness for them as well. All of these rites confer grace, forgiveness, holiness, sanctity.

                  But if someone consciously rejects this grace and continues in sin consciously, they make a moral choice to live away from grace.

                  Nor are sins that we could forget even comparable to homosexuality. Absurd.

                  Scripture is not the sole basis of Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy relies on Tradition and Scripture expressed by the Mind of CHRIST in the HOLY SPIRIT. It isn’t a matter of man made conventions or ideas or interpretations. It is objective, LIVING Truth.

                  Finally, homosexuals KNOW their lifestyle is sinful. That truth is not obscure to them. (Although, these days some people wish to remove this language from Christian morality.) Therefore, the entire point is moot.

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      geo michalopulos says:

      I say Axios! to His Holiness!

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    Artur says:

    I think it`s political statement.
    Now, at times when orthodox patriarch Bartholomew don’t have real power, because all power in Kirill`s hand, he don`t have any other choice as support Kirill. And play on his field.
    All orthodox money comes from russian orthodox church, so Kirill have a big influence on Ecumenical Patriarch.
    But, in the world still a lot of churches, and each day its more and more – which support LGBT and blessing same sex marriage.
    And there is millions LGBT people in all over the world, what they should do?

    Each day or one or another priest makes political statements about this issue, but nobody wants to talk!
    It would be wise get together a big “round table” and find an answers for all gay questions together, not in the way of hate and intolerance, but in the way of love. Because we all creations of God .

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      Michael Bauman says:

      The way of love is the gentle but insistent call to repentance, mercy and chastity. It is not the way of love to leave people in their sins. Beyond that work will need to be done to salve the deep wounds. Living humbly in the sacramental life will do much but more will be needed for some. Strengthening our communities so single people don’t face loneliness. Restoring a sense of fraternity and healthy comradeship. All of that.

      First though is the recognition of the distorted nature of sex in this world and the commitment to extract God’s gift from the muck and more in which we have buried it.

      Fornication, adultery, sodomy, abortion are all grave sins. None of them should be winked at.

      Chastity and celibacy before marriage; chastity and faithfulness after marriage with a commitment to children we often lack.

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      Rostislav says:

      I don’t believe that sexual minorities engaging in propaganda to demonize religious teachings and overturn, undermine, debase morality is in any way “tolerant.” It is quite intolerant actually, bigotry, hate. Homosexual insistence on making a mockery of marriage, a sacred institution in most of the world’s religions, is outright sacrilege. Moreover, their accosting of religious institutions with political protests and vandalism because these institutions hold to their moral teachings is outright persecution, klan-worthy activity. I am at loss in appreciating such a cavalier smear.

      It was Dostoevsky who once said, “To profane what another holds to be holy is the greatest inhumanity.”

      Thus to insist on doing so is nothing short of religious persecution. In the name of denouncing “intolerance and hate” of the homosexual agenda no less.

      I am no fan of the EP, and I would be the first to
      speak out against the ecclesiological presumptions and theological deviations of the Phanar: “presveia” has a historical context and application which has to reflect reality, for it arises out of historical circumstances. But to politically belittle +Bartholomew and shout crude catcalls at the Ecumenical Throne because it upholds Christian morality is simply offensive. It is the lumpen methodology of the Pioneers and Komsomoltsy.

      I am encouraged that Constantinople can still shepherd its flock with guidance in Orthodox morality. For this it should be praised.

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    Nikos says:

    I am saddened at the tone of the debate especially from Moscow. Ignorance and hate to further a political nationalist agenda to bolster Putin and the church which is sad because in longer term it will lose out badly. And also at the lack of knowledge Shown in Lack of understanding modern knowledge on the subject and the inability to debate HOW we might live in our complex world and not condemn for WHO people are. By the way homosexuals went in the ovens with Jews too!!

    No where do I hear or feel the love of Christ. The concept of marriage will not be overthrown by a small minority which remains consistent across time and culture and also in animal world by the way and who are looking for a basis to build their lives on, but marriage will fall and is by the life style of heterosexuals.

    Nobody becomes hetero or homo by infection or enticement but are born as such. The knowledge base let alone each person’s self knowledge is clear. Paedophilia is across the sexual orientation board and nothing to do with homosexual orientation per se, most sadly are married men within family. Causes are arrested emotional NOT sexual development. And look how hard that is to change!! And in the clergy and perhaps we have a time bomb there ticking away so let us not be too arrogant re the catholic church

    All environment can do is shape the type of person we will be. The knowledge base of 2000 years ago is not adequate for now nor fixation on temple prostitution that. St. Paul refers to!!! I do not have any answers nor do I wish endless arguments because argument by referral to systems of thought already giving the answers is self defeating and not worthy of much. One does not have to agree the whole secular agenda and I do not and would agree that the concept of marriage across society is a male and female thing and a civil partnership better but in end for people involved same thing. We should be supporting and helping people in their identity to live moral lives by such unions.

    Fr Alexander at least was a humane person who wrote with love but many marriages are sterile so what can one say there ? Sex in marriage is not just for procreation let me tell you guys !!!!

    I think the reason to deny any in uterus sexual orientation formation (well researched and known) is because such an understanding analogous with concept of evolution (was Adam and Eve Neanderthal or Cro magnon or earlier ?!). Would open up difficult areas would it not! Perhaps the zealots would put forward abortion of gay foetuses which seems to be a logical extension of their hate (what do they fear in themselves one wonders?).

    I just feel so much despair because here in UK the majority of british people as with race etc have long moved on and this is a irrelevant discussion. Fallen world? Perhaps. But fallen church, possibly!! I am Orthodox but after understanding the barrage of bigotry and hate I cannot wish to attend an Orthodox Church until this changes. Such bigotry and ignorance is not Christian what ever view we take but makes of he church an ideology.

    And above all in this complex world of ours with its manifold changes and challenges and dehumanisation of people to economic entities , the voice of the church is not heard but even if is, is discounted for the above reasons.

    How sone gay people live hedonistically is irrelevant as that is separate subject just as the fact that many many heterosexuals live equally hedonistic life styles and equally need to hear what the church says. This is my point that where the church should be it is not or discounted as irrelevant. The church should be addressing heterosexuals and married couples who chose not to have even one child out of economic choice.

    I am just asking for some Christian compassion even in disagreement and some up to date scientific biological knowledge. No wonder Richard Dawkins has a field day. I do not expect any rational debate here but only a repetition of sterile dogmatic argument. By the way the way Jews were treated in past does bear analogy to the gay debate actually and they certainly had equality of hate in the concentration camps.

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