Kallistos Ware: Memory Eternal

His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Oxford, fell asleep in the Lord.  

Timothy Richard Ware was born in 1934, in Bath, England, the son of a brigadier. He burst onto the literary and religious world when he published The Orthodox Church in 1963, which was his doctoral dissertation.  In 1966, he was ordained a priest monk and was assigned to the monastery of St John on the island of Patmos.  In 1982, he was ordained to the episcopate and in 2007 was made a titular metropolitan of the diocese of Diokleia in Phrygia, an eparchy within the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain.

A renowned speaker, writer, and theologian, he translated The Festal Menaion, The Philokalia,  and The Lenten Triodion.  He also wrote The Orthodox Way, The Inner Kingdom, and How Are We Saved? as well as many other books.

An English gentleman of the old school, he was actively sought out as a speaker.  I personally had the pleasure of meeting him when he spoke at St George’s Cathedral in Wichita, several years ago.  I found him a charming and delightful man.  (He actually met both C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien when he was a younger man.)

More recently, he raised alarm bells in traditionalist circles when he started commenting on contemporary issues, from a more liberal aspect.  Subsequent editions of The Orthodox Church  (for example) reflected an increasingly liberal trend.  That said, he was not reluctant to criticize the Ecumenical Patriarch, especially in regards to the latter’s disastrous meddling in Ukraine, which Ware correctly pointed out, was an archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.  (He also maintained that North America was the canonical territory of Moscow as well.)

In any event, his legacy will be (and should be) cherished by all Orthodox Christians.

Memory eternal.


  1. I heard Met. Kallistos speak on two separate occasions in the Chicago area some years ago. He was very insightful—and quite humorous! May his memory be eternal!

  2. It’s a shame we have to qualify those who are attempting to keep to the Orthodox teaching and ethos as “traditionalist.” I felt saddened by some of the things Metropolitan Kallistos was putting out there in recent years. I also remember Fr. Josiah commenting that in subsequent editions of The Orthodox Church the language regarding contraception became more and more liberal.

    However, all that being said I do owe him a debt of gratitude as The Orthodox Church was the book that introduced me to the Faith and started my journey. I never met him but I don’t doubt that he was, as you said, delightful man. May his memory be eternal.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Yes, it was perplexing. I was always a big fan of his, too.

      • Nothing perplexing, just an open mind, an open heart and humility. . .May his blessed memory be eternal, and may he rest among the saints.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I am perplexed, as are others, that someone who was instrumental in helping people understand the Orthodox Church chose (for it was a decision) to deviate from the Church’s teachings on certain matters.

          If the teachings of the Church were at the mercy of an an open mind and an open heart, the Church would be in a constant state of flux and subject to the passions.

          Orthodoxy means right teaching. – Right now is not the same as right, period.

          That some of our priests, bishops, archbishops, and metropolitans don’t teach this is astonishing.

          • The most “right” teachings and practices, as modeled by our Lord Jesus Christ over and over again, and which most of his ministry was devoted to, are love and mercy. He, more than anyone, saw the evils of the world and took them upon Himself, yet His public ministry primarily focused on love and mercy. What do these online “discussions” accomplish to build the body of Christ? And Orthodoxy, yes, means right teaching, but it also means right practice, and both begin and end with Jesus Christ, whose primary teaching was love. In today’s reading from Paul’s letter to Titus, we are reminded of something important, which constitutes Orthodoxy, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.”

            • Gail Sheppard says

              There is no “most right” teaching or practice in the Church, because they are all equally right. You don’t get to pick and choose and say, “Oh, I really like this one, so I’m going to teach people it is “most right”.

              • Tony Tangalos says


                I echo your well spoken words, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and always! This “open mind” posture, when incorrectly applied to church dogma and doctrine is TOTAL BS.

                It occurs to me the people advocating “open minds” are twisting the understanding that we are all sinners who are not to judge others and incorrectly applying it to our watering down our views on our holy church dogma and doctrine.

                Agreed we cannot judge sinners, lest we be judged; however twisting this to assert that because a lot of people sin in ANY form, Christ has relaxed the standard is pure, total BS!

                Christ NEVER changes, abortion is MURDER, Sodomy is a DEVIANT SEXUAL PERVERSION AND ABOMINATION, PERIOD, END OF STORY.

                Anyone posturing differently is going against Jesus’s clear and consistent teachings in the bible and is defying God’s will.

            • The Lord also said “go and sin no more,” something people on your end of the spectrum like to forget.

              Love without Truth is not love at all.

            • Giving people permission to sin is not “love” and not merciful. It is one of the most evil and pernicious things you can do, especially when disguised as “good.” Jesus was crystal clear on this: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” As Basil pointed out, “Go and sin no more.” He didn’t say it to be mean, He said it for our good. Why else do you think He died, other than to free us from sin so as to bring us into communion with God?

              Sin makes such communion impossible. It blocks divine life from our souls, cuts us off from God, keeps us in a fallen, darkened state and threatens our salvation. Anyone who does not understand this – and who implies that those of us who do are somehow hateful – does not understand the nature of Orthodox spirituality.

              Sadly there seem to be quite a few like that in today’s Orthodox world. They misquote the bible, sow confusion among the faithful, lead many astray – and they will be held accountable for it in the end, the bible and the Church Fathers are extremely clear on that. God is not kidding around in His love for souls and desire for our salvation, He underwent tremendous suffering to that end and will not look kindly on those entrusted with the care of souls who so carelessly put them back in the danger of hellfire.

          • An open mind and an open heart are good things to maintain, but it is essential that both are always disciplined by the commandments.

        • Being pro homo is not the open mindedness that Orthodoxy needs!

  3. Memory Eternal!

  4. He was the milk that many needed before they got to the meat. Despite his later problematic statements, his contribution to bringing people into the Church absolutely cannot be overlooked. His book is probably the most influential introduction to Orthodoxy in the past couple of centuries.

    Memory eternal.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “He was the milk that many needed before they got to the meat.”

      This is probably the best way to put it.

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      I concur, Brian, that Metropolitan Kallistos’ first edition of the landmark book, The Orthodox Church, was essential reading in the early 1970s when I read that edition. Alas, his equivocation on the question of the “ordination” of women in the subsequent revised editions rendered that book dubious and counterproductive.

      However, his subsequent short book titled, The Orthodox Way, was, in my estimation, the best, most readable introduction to Orthodox theology through the lens of spirituality ever written in the English language. I used it as one of four primary books for MDiv students when I taught Orthodox theology at Virginia Theological Seminary for eight years in the 1990s. Those students uniformly preferred its lucid insights and elegant writing to the other excellent introductions to Orthodox dogmatic theology that I assigned: Fr. John Meyendorff’s Byzantine Theology, Vladimir Lossky’s Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church , and Fr. Michael Pomazansky’s, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology.

      Meanwhile, the many catechumens at the local Orthodox church in Falls Church that I served as rector for seventeen years also found it both understandable and delightful.

      Metropolitan Kallistos had the rare gift as both a scholar and archpastor of presenting the theology, history, and spirituality of Orthodoxy to a vast audience of Orthodox faithful and prospective converts alike–as well as many Protestants and Roman Catholics–in a most engaging way.

      My matushka and I met Metropolitan Kallistos for the first time in Oxford (UK) some twenty-five years ago, when he served the Divine Liturgy in English on a summer Sunday for the Greek community of that combined Russian and Greek parish. His recitation of the Lord’s Prayer during that service with his deliberate, expressive English accent still echoes in my mind as the most uplifting, heavenly rendition I have ever heard.

      May his memory be eternal!

      • George Michalopulos says

        Thank you Father for this moving reminiscence. I too, highly recommend The Orthodox Way. Simply profound.

        I also highly recommend The Inner Kingdom.

  5. I agree on his mixed messaging. Did a lot of damage on birth control, so many Orthodox are accepting of it now. What’s the point of bringing converts in, if they just continue in sin and thus weaken the whole Body spiritually? And his article in the pro-gay Wheel appearing to support gay marriage. Very disappointing. I hope he repented of all that before he died, because as a bishop he is far more accountable for this sort of thing than anyone else.

  6. Memory Eternal. I was greatly influenced by Met. Kallistos during my early journey to Orthodoxy, especially in his talks about the Jesus Prayer and the Desert Fathers. May he rest in peace.

  7. Many years ago he was interviewed on GOARCH TV.
    The interviewer asked: “Your Grace, are you saved?”
    In response, he gave a very big smile and replied:
    “Well, I would hope I am being saved…”

    Memory Eternal!

  8. DayofReckoning says

    He used to be a decent theologian, but he lost his way in the end. He absorbed the un-Orthodox spirit of the age and godless academics who continually attack the Orthodox Church. His public approval and support of gay “marriage” was a horrible mistake. Unfortunately, he never repented of that heresy or reversed his support of such abominations.

    Met. Kallistos Ware Comes Out for Homosexual “Marriage”

    Met. Kallistos Ware on the Ordination of Women and Blessing of Same-Sex Marriages

    The Unbearable Essentializing of Being: Metropolitan Kallistos Ware’s Sorrowful Joy of Sex

    Orthodox Priests Challenge Met. Kallistos Ware’s Views of Monogamous Homosexual Relationships

    Metropolitan Kallistos and The Wheel

    Met. Kallistos Clearly Implies that the Church Should Bless Committed Same-Sex Relationships

    Anatomy of a Foreword: Metr. Kallistos on Sexual Morality

  9. Memory eternal!

    I am very grateful to His Eminence for the good that he accomplished in this world (far more than I ever shall). While we acknowledge his shortcomings in these latter days, it is important to keep the context of his life and age in mind. Almost all academics in the contemporary West have gone down the same path, most much, much farther than Met. Kallistos. Intellectuals in the nerve centers of our world appear among the most corrupted by the Zeitgeist, and H.E. taught at Oxford for decades . . . during the Anglophone world’s own Götterdämmerung. That’s not an excuse, but it does provide perspective. Please pray for his soul and for his brethren in the academy.

    • Respectfully disagree. Did St. John Chrysostom, during the Arian heresy when most of the bishops went astray, say “We just have to be understanding?” No. He died on a forced march in exile as punishment for proclaiming the truth and refusing to compromise with the Arians. And many, many others also were heavily persecuted and martyred for the same.

      I do agree with praying for Ware’s soul. And I sincerely hope he repented of his errors before he passed.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Some people get to the point where they cannot stop fighting for the truth. It becomes who they are.

      • St John Chrysostom’s banishment was not,
        I think, on the particular grounds you state.
        Here is the the OrthodoxWiki on the matter:

        ‘ In late October of 397, he was called (somewhat against his will) to be the bishop of Constantinople. He deplored the fact that Imperial court protocol would now assign to him access to privileges greater than the highest state officials. During his time as bishop he adamantly refused to host lavish entertainments. This meant he was popular with the common people, but unpopular with the wealthy and the clergy. In a sermon soon after his arrival he said, “people praise the predecessor to disparage the successor.” His reforms of the clergy were also unpopular with these groups. He told visiting regional preachers to return to the churches they were meant to be serving—without any pay out.

        His time there was to be far less at ease than in Antioch. Theophilus, the Pope of Alexandria, wanted to bring Constantinople under his sway and opposed John’s appointment to Constantinople. Being an opponent of Origen’s teachings, he accused John of being too partial to the teachings of that master. Theophilus had disciplined four Egyptian monks (known as “the Tall Brothers”) over their support of Origen’s teachings. They fled to and were welcomed by John. He made another enemy in Aelia Eudoxia, the wife of the eastern Emperor Arcadius, who assumed (perhaps with justification) that his denunciations of extravagance in feminine dress were aimed at herself.

        St. John was fearless when denouncing offences in high places. An alliance was soon formed against him by Eudoxia, Theophilus and other enemies of his. They held a synod in 403 to charge John, in which the accusation of Origenism was used against him. It resulted in his deposition and banishment. He was called back by Arcadius almost immediately, however, for the people of the city were very angry about his departure. There was also a “quaking” in the Imperial bedroom (thought to be either an actual earthquake or perhaps as a stillbirth or miscarriage for the empress) which was seen as a sign of God’s anger. Peace was shortlived. A silver statue of Eudoxia was erected near the cathedral of Hagia Sophia. John denounced the dedication ceremonies. He spoke against her in harsh terms: “Again Herodias rages; again she is confounded; again she demands the head of John on a charger” (an allusion to the events surrounding the death of John the Forerunner). Once again he was banished, this time to Caucasus in Georgia.

        The pope in Rome (Innocent I at this time) protested at this banishment, but to no avail. John wrote letters which still held great influence in Constantinople. As a result of this, he was further exiled to Pityus (on the eastern edge of the Black Sea). However, he never reached this destination, as he died during the journey. His final words were “Glory be to God for all things!” ‘

        • Thanks, I’ve read several accounts but don’t remember this one. Regardless, he was fearless in his teaching. We need more like him. Maybe the recent good OCA picks will bear fruit in that direction.

  10. Mersas Nomostylas says

    He was a phoney, I saw his pretense up close. There were precious few who really understood Orthodoxy in his early days, so he figured no one would check up on his assertions, and it was the key to an easy academic carreer. THis is the same with most of the IOTA/Demacopoulos crowd, where today, secular academia guages your knowledge and acceptance as a scholar of Orthodoxy by your articles appearing on Public Orthodoxy.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Some theologians stress certain teachings in an effort to suppress others.

      However, for something to be true, every statement must not only be true, it must be true across the board and not compete with other truths. All statements of truth have equal value. There can be no competition between truths.

      One cannot say, “This really proves my point,” ignoring that which doesn’t.

      Moreover, at its highest level the Gospel is profoundly simple on purpose. The teachings were meant to be experienced (understood) by everyone with the ears to hear in the same way, regardless of intellect, which is why Christ taught in parables using experiences that are universal.

      The profound perfection comes from the layers and layers of synchronized Truth. One usually perceives this relatively quickly, which is why people are so drawn to the Church, but it can take a lifetime to unwrap and experience it in all its fullness if that is indeed possible. I’m not sure it is.

      Theologians minimize truths that are out of sync with how they want it to be. But ultimately they’re unsuccessful. We innately know the teachings don’t compete, so when we’re confronted with something that stresses one teaching over another, we feel an uncomfortable disconnect.

      Plus, IMO, they don’t use simple language on purpose. They try to obfuscate and confuse the issue and prefer to not look at Scripture as a whole body as the Church teaches us to do. They’ll say things like, “Jesus did not say homosexuality is a sin in the Gospel,” and in flowery language, “so this could mean it only applies to the Old Testament.”

      But in John 12-38, “[Jesus] said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

      Half of the truth is not true; it’s a lie.

      • Very true.

        “…It can take a lifetime to unwrap and experience it in all its fullness if that is indeed possible. I’m not sure it is.”

        It’s not. I mean, we are talking about the infinite God here. Inexhaustible!

  11. There is something I’m wondering about here, hope it’s okay to ask a more extended question about it (I’ve mentioned it on a couple posts the past couple days, because related to the subjects under discussion). And btw, I’m a woman, Theo is short for Theodora, which matters as I have personal experience of these things as a woman. I’d really like to know what others think, so maybe some of you can enlighten me.

    It is this: I see many Orthodox pastors and people speaking out strongly and publicly against acceptance of gay marriage, even more so in the wake of the baptism of children of the gay couple that Abp. Elpi did. This is very good.

    What I do not see, have never seen in the years since I’ve become Orthodox, is the same people with the same frequency and urgency speaking out against artificial contraception, which is clearly against Orthodox Tradition, and is what has opened the door to all the other issues we’re struggling with, including gay marriage. Nor in any Orthodox parish I’ve been in have I heard natural family planning openly recommended alongside chastity and abstinence as the only acceptable practice. As a result of the silence on these matters, artificial contraception is now accepted by great numbers of Orthodox people and pastors, though thankfully not all. But in my area, I have yet to find a pastor who is clear and unequivocal on the matter, though I know laity who know and practice the tradition despite what their pastors say.

    Why is that? Do pastors not know the tradition? Are they afraid to bring it up? Or do they disagree with tradition, on the grounds that “we know better now?” If the latter, we might as well accept gay marriage, women priests, transsexualism etc, because “we know better now” about those things, too. Worldly wisdom replacing the Cross, emptying it of power to actually heal and transform souls, if we have to give people permission to sin instead of saving them from sin.

    I’d add as an aside, Ware himself greatly contributed to this problem by opening the door to contraception in subsequent versions of his book The Orthodox Church, despite clear and unequivocal teaching in the first edition. For those who’ve been Orthodox a long time, was there any outcry against his revisions at the time they came out? Does anyone know?

    1963 first edition: “Artificial methods of contraception are forbidden in the Orthodox Church.”

    1984 edition: “The use of contraceptives and other devices for birth control is on the whole strongly discouraged in the Orthodox Church. Some bishops and theologians altogether condemn the employment of such methods. Others, however, have recently begun to adopt a less strict position, and urge that the question is best left to the discretion of each individual couple, in consultation with the spiritual father.”

    1993 Edition: “Concerning contraceptives and other forms of birth control, differing opinions exist within the Orthodox Church. In the past birth control was in general strongly condemned, but today a less strict view is coming to prevail, not only in the west but in traditional Orthodox countries. Many Orthodox theologians and spiritual fathers consider that the responsible use of contraception within marriage is not in itself sinful. In their view, the question of how many children a couple should have, and at what intervals, is best decided by the partners themselves, according to the guidance of their own consciences.”

    I mean seriously, since when are serious moral teachings in Orthodoxy simply a matter of changing opinion or the personal views of individuals? If this is acceptable, then everything is up for grabs. Anyway, if anyone can help me out here, please chime in.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Good question.

    • Dear Theo, I admire the lucid way that you express yourself. I must admit that I chuckled when I read how forcefully you contended against artificial birth control.

      It was Mother’s Day, 2010, which happened to fall precisely on the fiftieth anniversary of the legalization of The Pill. What a coincidence – in its unnoticed irony! At the time, I was the interim rector of a “conservative” Anglican congregation which had recently left the Episcopal Church, primarily over the homosexual issue. On that Sunday, I stood in the pulpit and, noting how the stars had aligned, argued against artificial birth control. Little did I know how many middle-aged, upper middle-class feathers I had ruffled. Guilty consciences, perhaps? Later that week, I received a letter from the vestry (parish council) that my services were no longer required in the parish.

      Lines may be drawn in the sand, but retreating armies never cross them. They just draw new lines as they withdraw from the battle field. The Devil had his way with the Episcopal Church, and those who resisted him, resisted for ever-retreating theological positions. The first generation didn’t agree with the ordination of women. A few years later, the next cohort accepted the ordination of women, but rejected the ordination of homosexuals. And so on. As you have demonstrated from the ever-mollified positions of the late Met. Kallistos regarding birth control, even the morals and ethics of renowned Orthodox teachers can change over time. Perhaps if the good metropolitan had been associated with the Russian Church, that may not have happened.

      • Well, given it was the Anglican Church that opened the door to contraception in the Christian world at the 1930 Lambeth conference, it’s not surprising your “conservative” congregation reacted that way. And under the influence of Margaret Sanger no less, who was unsuccessful in getting Evangelical pastors to accept it, but then found success with the Anglican bishops. And the rest is history, rapidly spreading through the Protestant world, and first entering the Orthodox world in the late 60’s/early 70’s. To the best of my knowledge, an article published in 1974 is the first recorded instance of acceptance in the Orthodox world. All Orthodox people should be absolutely galled to learn acceptance of contraception came from the Nazi-admiring racist eugenicist Sanger – and renounce and deeply repent of the practice.

        Natural family planning is so much better anyway, a very developed science today, not the old calendar rhythm, and helps support the development of true interior chastity, which is a source of deep interior peace. And none of the manifold physical issues artificial stuff can do to women’s bodies. Pastors are nuts not to promote it as part of a healthy spiritual and ascetical approach marriage.

  12. Heard a podcast by Bishop Ware on Same-Sex-Attraction (SSA) some time ago. Bishop Ware mentions that those who are SSA and in a relationship of care and mutual love need to be celibate. As a pastor, he needs to find a bridge to have those who are in a SSA relationship to come for spiritual treatment. Rather than sweeping statements that those who are SSA and monogamous be lumped in with the promiscuous SSA, is it not better for dialogue’s sake, to see a distinction here? Is it not better, in our wording, to be more inviting as much as possible?
    Too much is made on the word homosexual. Too much emotion. Homosexual and Sodomy become one with the mere mention of the name. What if homosexual means monogamous or monogamous and celibate or single? What if we just say Same-Sex-Attracted (SSA). Certainly, many heterosexuals (married or unmarried) hide behind their title as being sexually clean when, in-fact, they are engaging in sodomy themselves. They have missed the mark and need to go to confession with their spiritual father before being in good standing with Christ and His church and receiving eucharist.
    As Priests and spiritual mentors, do we see the difference? And as Priests, how do we spiritually welcome SSA people into the church for confession and communion. How do we treat them? Certainly, as spiritually sick people like the rest of us, affirmative, we should do this. So yes, there is a difference between monogamy and promiscuity. However, both are missing the mark if they are sexually active (oral & anal).
    It is my hope that Bishop Ware saw this as a chance for dialogue rather than ad hominem attacks and exclusion. We surely cannot accept dialogue of any kind that accepts sodomy, whether it is male-male married or male-female married, married or non-married, it is the same. These miss the mark! As a bishop, the goal is to bring people in for the sacraments, for liturgy, to fast, to pray, to repent again and again, and to confess and then receive communion (The Eucharist). How do priests and bishops bring people who are SSA into the hospital that is the church? How do they assist in the salvation of another human being? We must be very careful in our wording and the potential to scandalize someone away from Christ’s church. It is my hope that Bishop Ware was not headed in the direction of accepting sodomy for monogamous SSA couples, but rather recognizing distinctions in the SSA community and seeing the fallen humanity and need for spiritual nourishment and healing. If he erred, let it be an error out of compassion. May his memory be eternal! δόξα τω θεώ!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I think he is right. We can avoid labels all together. Let’s stick with we’re all sinners and talk about “sex outside of marriage” as being a sin across the board.

      • We need these labels; the Church has used them in its moral and ethical tradition since forever. There is a difference between sodomy and fornication, this is found in the Scriptures and the Canons of the Church. Sodomy is not “sex outside of marriage,” it’s an unnatural and bestial act.

    • Ware might be well-meant, but the presence of attraction is a temptation that puts the souls in danger as they have to constantly resist it. “Do not put a stumbling block in front of your brother.” (Rom 14:13) We don’t approve of heterosexual couples living together before marriage for the same reason, and I believe it is even more difficult for people with SSA due to other underlying emotional issues.

      I am truly sorry to see here in the US legislation that bans treatment for SSA in many states, as there were breakthroughs beginning to happen in that field. I remember two studies that came out several years ago, one by Dr. Robert Spitzer who was instrumental in removing SSA from the APA’s handbook of mental disorders, who since has worked largely with a gay male clientele, the other from a female psychotherapist in Canada who works primarily with a female Lesbian clientele and is gay affirming, though not gay herself.

      Both found the same thing. In both cases their clients were happy in their orientation and not trying to change, but working on other issues, relationship issues, early childhood issues, etc. Both found, to their shock, that after appropriate therapy resolving early childhood tensions having nothing to do with sexuality, fully 70% of their clients spontaneously began to lose their attraction to the same sex, and begin to feel attracted to and start dating the opposite sex. That is a huge number for people not even trying to change.

      The female psychotherapist concluded that SSA is not inborn, though does not rise to the level of a mental illness. Rather she concluded it is a form of delayed emotional maturation caused by unresolved childhood tensions. Makes sense if you think about it, little boys and little girls tend to dislike each other prior to adolescence.

      There are other helpful insights in the literature, too, and I think most compelling is the testimony of ex-gays who do not appreciate the accommodation many Christians, though well-intended, are trying to make for people with SSA. What they want is recovery and healing, not temptation and opportunity to sin again. Some of them spoke out very strongly against Ware’s article in The Wheel, they found it far more offensive than helpful, as if people with SSA are weaklings who need to be babied, not men and women capable of real holiness.

      I have talked far too much today. Sorry for all the hot air, I’m going to stop now. Have a good night everyone and God bless you! And thank you, George and Gail!

      • Emotional retardation would seem (in most cases)
        to better explain homosexuality than most anything else.
        It accounts for the ‘dominant mother/weak father” effect.

        It also explains the concentration on children and schools…

      • This was a superb comment. Thank you, Theo.

        I am old enough to remember when SSA was thought of as a form of “arrested development.” That term has been canceled. But it captured a keen insight. People with SSA often seem “stuck” in an early point in their emotional maturation. Pop culture revels in the trope of the gay man-child. But what is this campy caricature, except the depiction of someone who hasn’t quite grown up and moved away from puerile fantasies and fascinations?

        In my experience with LGTB people, that “stuckness” originated from some childhood trauma: abuse, molestation, or perhaps simply profound neglect or parental indifference. When you see someone waving a rainbow flag, you are generally looking at a deeply wounded individual.

        I would be grateful if you could share the name of the female Canadian psychotherapist.

        • I wish I could share her name, but it was so long ago, I don’t remember. I also thought I had saved the article (being a teacher, being able to cite my sources really matters), but have searched my computer many times and to my chagrin cannot find it. But I will swear on a stack of bibles what I say is true, and if it were possible to x-ray my brain to verify the memory I would gladly submit.

          I also have searched online, but cannot find it. Which brings up a related issue: When Dr. Spitzer, the darling of the gay community, came out with his study showing his own gay clientele can indeed change, he came under such heavy attack he tried to have the study withdrawn, and it is difficult to find now. Given the political situation in Canada, which may be even worse than here, I would not be surprised if the therapist there were forced to withdraw her study.

          But I stand by my words nevertheless.

    • Zoey Metaxas says

      please tell us where is podcast of
      Kalistos Ware saying gay partners should be
      CELIBATE ?
      Good for him if it’s true &
      that should get the Fordhamites as well as
      John Chryssavgis apoplectic!

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      “D-Max,” your heart may be in the right place, but your vocabulary and thinking are, I regret to say, misguided. Homosexuals are not capable of a “monogamous” relation, because they cannot in a sane, moral world be “married” in any real, meaningful, Jewish or Christian sense. The Greek etymology of the English word “monogamous” means “one” “marriage.” Never in the entire history of Western Civilization did any society or formal government consent to the marriage of homosexuals until the Netherlands set the precedent on April 1 (appropriately enough), 2001.

      Whatever your personal empathy for such folks, neither you nor any serious Christian ought to yield to the contemporary Zeitgeist and the insistence of the radical social and political left that all of us use such sanitized terms as “same sex attraction” (SSA) in lieu of traditional, neutral terms that they despise (such as homosexual) or use the term “marriage” to normalize homosexual couples whose personal relationship–whether specifically sexual or “celibate”–is in no way equivalent or analogous to the divinely ordered institution of marriage between one man and one woman for the primary purpose of conceiving and raising children.

      For the last six decades, we have witnessed the gradual, but relentless, fall of one domino after another in the engineered social and moral collapse of Western Civilization. What you are advocating here is, in effect if not intention, another falling domino in the public battle over proper language and terminology. From the advent of the feminist movement in the mid 1960s, the USA and the modern world have yielded one traditional term after another to appease the radical revolutionaries as the latter attempt to deconstruct our cultures (and Western Civilization as a whole) with the now obvious aim of eradicating every trace of religious and moral truth pertaining to the divine order of creation, the meaning of male and female, the traditional family, the innocence of children, respect for the integrity of our human bodies and minds, distinctions between good and evil as well as virtues vs. vices, justice vs. injustice, rights vs. privileges, genuine science vs. faux science, etc. And each time people of good conscience, faith, and moral vision have conceded the battlefield over terminology for the sake of social harmony or some other chimera.

      We, all of us, know that words have power and that our choice of words often has profound meaning for our lives and those of others. In the present existential crisis, we dare not concede the religious and moral truths in which we believe by faith and the grace of God the Holy Trinity. I urge all of us to halt the pattern of preemptive surrender, resist the guilt-tripping of the radicals who would shame and cancel us for our proper use of words and refusal to adopt their faux terms, and profess fully our holy Orthodox faith and life with both courage and sensitivity to others. We ought not to hate sinners (including ourselves), but our Christian love for them requires that we speak and write the truth at all times, as it has been revealed to us, with compassion but without foolish and unholy compromise.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Bravo father! Bravo!

      • Indeed Fr Alexander. My particular bugbear,
        when it comes to language distortion, is the ‘singular’ they.

        If people cannot properly distinguish between one and more-than-one,
        how can their ‘reasoning’ be trusted on anything else at all?

        Pronouns matter!

      • Chris Banescu says

        Amen Father Alexander, AMEN!

      • I agree with you Father, Alexander F. C. Webster. We have caved-in, in Western culture, to too many changings of the meanings of words. Words like “marriage” now can mean anything, plural marriage, incestual marriage, etc. We have stepped out of the world of tradition and the Word of God and into the void. Now whatever itches and how much it itches is what becomes our way. In other words, our passions (appetitive) dictate to our minds (intellect) how we should live our lives. And when our desires are not met outrage begins (incensive) to further cloud the intellect.
        It was unwise and reckless that 5 Lawyers in the Supreme Court legalized Same-Sex marriage for 300,000,000 people. These lawyers put people’s spiritual lives and our culture and it’s teaching institutions in great jeopardy. How can teenage SSA males not have multiple sexual partners? I don’t see how it is possible either. How can they stay celibate in this age of the sexual passions? Yet, that is the reality today due to the misguided views of many in our current government. SSA people may decide to settle with one person one day. So spiritually, how do we minister to them to lead a life together in celibacy or apart in celibacy? The only answer is through the sacraments of the Eastern Church. I don’t think we can do this with identity labels, but as human beings suffering from passions and delusions like the rest of us. Their relationships transformed from Gay-marriage to brotherly love like the icon of St. Peter and St. Paul.
        Father Thomas Hopko used the term SSA. labels like homosexual may already poison the well before a relationship can be formed, because a human being is much more than what their sexual sin may be nor any sin for that matter. Should we title people as the fornicator, the liar, the gossip? These titles do not make a place for the spiritual healing of anyone but may cause them to fortify their defenses (inoculate them). There will come a time in all our lives when hard times come and we have to look at ourselves, all alone, anxious, pitiful, and in this involuntary pain, we can see our helplessness and call out to God; however, if we have been labeled and treated as a sin or a thing, it will sadly not be the Eastern Church, with its beautiful and healing sacraments that can heal us. But rather back to the darkness we were engaged in and to the people that spur us on to continue our folly. How do we meet them where they are?
        We’re in a bad place, Father Alexander! Many folks are not looking to the church for healing these days. They choose hospitals for their cathedrals, doctors as their priests, drugs as their sacraments and entertainment as their prayer rope. Woe to us!!! δόξα τω θεώ!

        • Their relationships transformed from Gay-marriage to brotherly love like the icon of St. Peter and St. Paul.
          This is the thin edge of the wedge. This is the true power of language and imagery, to link the image of an icon of St. Paul and St. Peter to the image of two admittedly sexually disordered men living together as brothers.
          Do you want to meet people where they are? Tell them about Our Saviour, the Immortal God Who submitted Himself to death and destroyed its power over us. Tell them that a few years of self-denial will lead to an eternity in glory. Tell them what they undoubtedly know already; that their perversions only bring more and more suffering and sorrow. You want to strew breadcrumbs up to The Church’s door, hoping the well-fed will find the way inside? Why should they? Take the cross to them and preach Christ and Him crucified.

          To suggest that two men who lust after each should live together is not charity, but cruelty.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Well said, Katherine. And are we in the business of saving people or putting them in harms way?

            • Speaking of saving people, I read that Oklahoma has just banned all abortions. That’s your state is it not? I pray everyday that America will lead the world back to God. Maybe one step at a time. I’m in Canada and I might just as well learn mandarin…

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I was thrilled until I heard that they don’t know how to define “abortion.”

                An abortion is the removal of a live child from the mother’s womb, in layman terms. But that’s not how they worded the legislation in the beginning.

                They said a doctor could not remove anything post feralization, period. This would include (outside the uterus) where the baby cannot grow. By the time a woman even knows something is wrong, her life is usually in danger.

                Women have come into our OK emergency rooms and have been refused treatment because doctors have been threaten by the state that if they remove a deceased fetus, or a live fetus growing outside the womb which is not viable, they will have their license revoked.

                Some women have died; these are women who want their babies.

                Other women have been on the phone with their lawyer, as they’re bleeding out in the ER, because no physician will perform the necessary surgery.

                Still others are too afraid to take the risk of becoming pregnant.

                For months legislation prohibited removing anything post fertilization, period, without any regard for the circumstances. That would include the vast majority of cases where the child’s life has ended. By the time the mother knows there is a problem, it’s already too late. The life within her was taken by God.

                A child growing outside the womb has about a 7% chance of survival depending on where it is attached. In an ectopic pregnancy, the mother’s fallopian tube will burst and any life that was there will end, and so will the mother’s.

                The whole point of abortion is to stop the needless loss of life. Killing mothers when a preganacy can’t be sustained is not what I thought I signed up for.

                • Thanks for this post Gail. I was in this situation once; lost a pregnancy at 18 weeks. The baby had no heartbeat. After waiting 72 hrs, labor was induced at our local military hospital. I can’t imagine being in a situation where no physician would have treated me & this medical situation.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Yet, that’s what they’re doing. Ever heard of the expression: Throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Now it’s throw the mother out with the bathwater. Politicians should seek medical help with signing medical bills! If God takes the baby, who are we to treat it as alive simply because it’s post fertilization? – I’m sorry you had to go through that, Saunca.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Saunca, as I understand it, physicians in OK (OB/GYNS) are allowed to induce labor in situations such as yours. This is important because decades ago, when I was a pathology tech/diener (the guy who does autopsies), the pathologist and I would come across uteri (taken from hysterectomies) and every now and then find “products of conception” from years ago. Usually, the women in question didn’t know that they had miscarried.

                    Perhaps a little TMI, if so, please forgive me.

                    That said, I am sorry that you miscarried. Even as a man, I can tell you that I felt much grief when a close female relative of mine miscarried.

                • Wow, I had no idea! Thanks for sharing.

      • Thank you so much for truth.

      • Father, while I agree with your sentiments, your response relies on the “etymological fallacy,” assuming that the meaning of a word is the sum of its parts. Zoologists speak of “monogamy” in animals … even though animals cannot undergo the rites of matrimony. Dictionaries recognize a meaning of “monogamy” as the condition of having only a single mate.
        D-max’s usage of “monogamous” is not a solecism as such. Just a minor nit.

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          Etymologically speaking, you are, of course, correct. But let us not allow “monogamy” to become, as it has for zoologists and dictionaries, a generalized term for the pairing of one male and one female in the animal world. We Orthodox Christians can and ought to rise above such a facile misapplication of words. The intended social effect of the radical left’s choice of “monogamous” to describe the unnatural and ungodly pairing of two men or two women is to elevate it to social, political, and moral equivalence to monogamy in its original meaning.

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          M. Ross, you are, of course, correct about the “etymological fallacy” as a rule. But let us not allow “monogamy” to become, as it has for zoologists and dictionaries, a generalized term for the pairing of one male and one female in the animal world. We Orthodox Christians can and ought to rise above such a facile misapplication of words. The intended social effect of the radical left’s choice of “monogamous” to describe the unnatural and ungodly pairing of two men or two women is to elevate it to social, political, and moral equivalence to monogamy in its original meaning.

          • Father, like the sands on the shoreline, language is ever-shifting. I have no idea how Orthodox Christians could manage to reverse a semantic shift in English.
            And—to be honest—in the case of “monogamy”—semantics is not necessarily on our side. The Greek verb γαμώ shifted over time from meaning “marry” to “mate with.” (In modern Greek, it is the equivalent of the F-word.)
            As a neologism in English from around 1612 AD, it is not clear that the zoologists’ usage is unfaithful to the Greek roots at the time of coinage. So what would be the basis for our resistance, except the etymological fallacy?
            There are better ramparts to defend than the definition of “monogamy.”

        • Here is an interesting blog post on monogamy
          which sheds some scientific light on the value of monogamy
          and might suggest why artificial contraception is not a good idea.

          Higamus, Hogamus

          ‘ You may have heard the bit of doggerel that goes:

          Hogamous, higamous
          Man is polygamous
          Higamous, hogamous
          Woman [is] monogamous.

          Well, there’s an element of truth to the contrast it makes between the genders, but only an element. The drive for monogamy is weaker in men than it is in women, but despite this human beings are still a monogamous species. I’ll look at male monogamy in the next post, but here I’d like to note a bit of recent scientific evidence that can be added to the case for female monogamy.

          You may not have been aware of it, but recent evidence has shown that the exchange of biological material between husband and wife is more complex than is commonly thought. It isn’t just that the husband’s nucleic DNA is used to contribute to the genetic code of a baby. More is going on than that. It turns out that as a result of the marital act, genetic material from the husband is permanently absorbed by the wife’s body and becomes part of her–a dimension of the “one flesh” union between husband and wife that previous generations have been unaware of.

          This material plays an important role in subsequent maternal health. Though all of the ways it contributes to the wife’s health are not known, it is known to serve as a preventative against several serious problems during pregnancy, including high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia, and miscarriage. When a woman has not received sufficient amounts of this genetic material from the father of her child, the chance of the previous problems are increased, but if she has absorbed this material through regular marital congress with her husband, the chance of these problems is reduced.

          One of the ways these problems are reduced is that having absorbed sufficient quantities of the husband’s genetic material better enables the mother to perform the immune modulation needed to allow her child–with its foreign genetic code–to exist in her body without her immune system trying to eliminate it.

          Here is a fairly accessible article dealing with the topic. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1803978.stm

          I want to take issue with something it says, though:

          Gustaaf Dekker, one of the Adelaide researchers, said: “If there’s repeated exposure to that signal [from transforming growth factor beta] then eventually when the woman conceives, her [immune] cells will say, ‘we know that guy, he’s been around a long time, we’ll allow the pregnancy to continue.’”

          I think this is the wrong way to look at the matter and would propose this way instead: It is hard enough for the mother’s body to undergo immune modulation and accept the child’s presence within her. Having the genetic material of her regular sexual partner–her husband–on hand makes it easier to recognize the child as a non-threat and thus increases the chances of carrying it to term. It is not that the mother’s body tries to kill the child of another man because his father wasn’t her regular partner. It is that having a regular partner makes it easier for her body to do its job of protecting a child, and her body goes to extra efforts to protect the child if it is recognized as a non-threat because it shares genetic elements of her husband.

          In any event–since the above effect only takes place when the mother has a single partner whose genetic material her body has absorbed over time–it serves to reinforce female monogamy. We already knew that female monogamy is rooted in human nature on the psychological level. We now know it is also rooted in human nature on the level of immunology and direct reproductive success. ‘

          It seems the Church’s teaching is not so unscientific after all…

          • Here is the sequel:

            Hogamous, Higamous: Man, Too, Ain’t Polygamous

            It’s worth a read

          • Matthew 5:32
            But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

            There are other passages in Matthew and Luke which appear to simply state that divorcing a wife and marrying another constitutes adultery. This has always puzzled me because it flies in the face of the Old Testament witness regarding a man marrying more than one wife. The Law of Moses assumes polygamy:

            Exodus 21:10: “If he take another wife for himself; her food, her clothing, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish”
            Deut 21:15–17, states that a man must award the inheritance due to a first-born son to the son who was actually born first, even if he hates that son’s mother and likes another wife more;
            Deut 17:17 states that the king shall not have too many wives.

            So it would appear that there is no inherent offense against God incurred by having multiple wives or concubines (see Esau (Gen 26:34; 28:6-9),[7] Jacob (Gen 29:15-28),[7] Elkanah (1 Samuel 1:1-8),[7] David (1 Samuel 25:39-44; 2 Samuel 3:2-5; 5:13-16),[7] and Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-3).

            So how does one square this circle?

            Well, two things. First, Christ explained his reasoning in considering a man who divorces his wife and marries another as being an adulterer in the first quote above. It is not because he cannot have two wives without committing adultery (biblical adultery always involved a married woman with a man other than her husband), but rather because in doing so, the husband forces his wife into adultery with another man inasmuch as it is her nature to be dependent and conceive children.

            Second, it is nonetheless clear that the Church, under the rubric of the bishops having the power to bind and loose, has effectively prohibited polygyny. There are exceptions, I’m told, for converts who come to the Church as a polygamous family but the husband may not replace any wives that predecease him.

            The saying that marriage is between one man and one woman has always nonetheless been true. It is just that earlier in history, a man was allowed several such marriages, i.e., he did not marry, for example, three women as a group so that they all had duties to each other, but rather he married each one individually and each relationship constituted one single marriage.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              That God the Church has economia. No one can live up to the law, Misha. No one.

              • I wasn’t criticizing you or anyone living or dead. I was addressing, indirectly, Brendan’s post (under which I commented) regarding monogamy and polygamy and what comes “naturally” to mankind.

  13. Moses speaking to the Israelites prior to entering the promised land. DT 8:20
    If you shall forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods and serve them and worship them, I warn you this day that you shall perish.

    Paul Galatians 5:7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth.

    James 1: 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

    Matt 24:13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

    Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

    2 Timothy 4:7 Paul summing up his life.
    I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.

  14. Theo,

    What you have written is correct, albeit unpopular and rarely discussed. The idea that that sexual matters are exclusively a private matter between a couple (and perhaps their confessor) is modern in the extreme.

    Some of the pushback is a severe overreaction to Roman Catholic teaching that went too far by asserting that having children is the only “purpose” of marital union, whereas Orthodoxy views the union as good (and even fecund) in itself whether or not its fruit is children. However, as the liturgy of Matrimony makes clear, children are anticipated with hope, though not guaranteed, as an expectation that is integral to marriage. To put it another way, if one was not ready/willing/anticipating the responsibility of children one did not marry, for while marriage has its joys, it also comes with a Cross. Thus the martyers hymn in the service.

    I am fully aware that there are those who will vigorously dispute this. Those who do so generally (and somewhat understandably) have no idea just how recent their assumptions about marriage have come to be accepted as normal and how influenced they are by modernity, as we all, to varying degrees, are.

    I find it particularly…I’m not sure of the word…humerous (?) when those who – somewhat, though not entirely – correctly state that sexual love between a man and wife is not ‘utilitarian,’ meaning that it’s ‘purpose’ is not exclusively reproductive and that it is free of necessity, almost always refer to the command to “be fruitful and multiply” and then proceed to make a utilitarian argument that this command is no longer ‘necessary’ because, so they say, there are more than enough humans on the earth.

    You are absolutely and insightfully correct to say that the moment we separated marriage and sex from its natural outcome we conceded, whether knowingly or not, all other perversions, including selfish lust between lawfully married couples. We have allowed sex to be perceived as a right of every person rather than the act of self-giving that God made it to be, which is the only way it can properly be a Sacrament (or Mystery), a means of participation in the Eternal Life of the Holy Trinity.

    Our friends who will not acknowledge the truth and/or are unwilling to bear the Cross of Matrimony in its fullness are only depriving themselves of the beauty and glory that always comes through taking up one’s Cross. There is no need to judge them, although it is very sad that they have not received better guidance. And no matter how well taught, we all fall short.

    One last thing that our friends who don’t grasp the fullness of Matrimony have clearly failed to ponder:

    If we accept artificial contraception (There are, after all, natural means that require some degree of asceticism and are perfectly acceptable), Matrimony then becomes the only Sacrament/Mystery into which we have invited technology for the expressed purpose of maximizing pleasure, minimizing the need to restrain the passions, and thereby shunning the very Cross inherent in the Mystery that God intends for our salvation.

  15. David Bradshaw says

    Someone asked where Met. Kallistos said that same-sex partners should be celibate. He was absolutely clear about this in his recorded statement for the Bridging Voices conference in 2019, included at the beginning of this video. I believe this represents his considered view on the subject. I hope he’ll be remembered for it rather than for the meandering and confused statements he made elsewhere.

    • Brian Jackson says

      Although some of his statements perturbed me as well, I confess I love my memories of him. Long ago, soon after my conversion, I attended a series of talks he gave on the Jesus Prayer and the heart. My wife and I were challenged and inspired by his beautiful words and his insight. I recall one attendee asked a cartoonishly ludicrous (truly embarrassing) question, and, without missing a beat, HE Kallistos answered it in a way which changed both the substance and direction of the question, giving a response which taught me much without explicitly critiquing the question or him who asked it. I was touched by his graciousness. I was similarly affected when I was privileged to listen to his words again at a conference in Riverside, CA. May his memory be eternal!

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I think this is how most people remember him.

      • I sometimes wonder if some of Met. KALLISTOS’s later statements about women’s ordination and homosexuality might have been aimed primarily at his Anglican countryman. That is to say, “Slow down and consider that you (the Anglicans) will permanently isolate yourseleves from all of Christondom, making any future attempt at reunion impossible.”

        The net effect, however, was to leave the impression among Anglicans and Orthodox that although the Orthodox Church moves “glacially slow” (his words, as I recall), such changes were possible if there was consensus, thus giving ‘theological’ fodder to those intent on perverting the Truth.

        Hopefully, this will be “the wood, hay, and stubble” in which he “suffers loss” but he himself is saved.

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      Thank you, David, for reminding us of Metropolitan Kallistos’ ultimate position on the question of sex outside Holy Matrimony in complete harmony with the ancient, unchanging Orthodox Tradition.

      • Dear Father,
        Perhaps it would be useful if some sort of protocol be developed to administer to these modern homosexuals that have a desire to repent and come back to the Church. It’s real easy to fall back on the polemics – I mean we all know what the truth is, and they can read it too – but I think what Bishop Kallistos was trying to get at is some sort of real life step by step action that can be taken to help these people repent and come to Christ. What do you do first? Make them live alone? Force them to marry a woman? WHAT DO YOU DO? WHAT DO WE DO? This has to be looked at practically – so that they can come to us and say – we have a plan to help you be released of your passions and eventually be received in the Church. Is being alone cold turkey the most successful way of doing this? Outside of simply judging them as awful sinners and sodomites, don’t you think there should be some established process of dealing with them. that we can understand since it is becoming so mainstream and accepted? And believe me, with the current young generation, it is going to be 100x worse, we better develop some sort of way to reach out that does not immediately turn them off Christianity forever.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          The thing is, I was single a very long time, even throughout most of my first marriage, to be honest. I’m a very normal person and these were in my younger years but I was able to do it and expected to have to do it the rest of my life. Yes, it’s a struggle.

          Explain to me why the passions of a homosexual person are so different?

          And explain to me why they think they can change the Church?

          The Church is full of struggle. Rather than change something that millions of Orthodox Christians have lived by, and will continue to live by, just so you can feel less guilty about what you’re doing is incredibly selfish, IMO. Think about it. They’re expecting to change 2000 of history just so they can comfortably live within the Church and not follow the teachings.

          The teachings are what they are regardless. They’re not subject to change. If you don’t accept the teachings, then what’s the point of being Orthodox? This is lunacy. The LGBQXYZ have full rights when they come into the Church: They are free to struggle right along with the rest of it. No one is withholding anything from them.

          I’m not homophobic. I think those who love the Church, should attend the Church. They are welcome. It’s none of my business what other people do and we’re all sinners.

          But don’t try to mold the Church into your own image. The point is to mold yourself into the image of Christ. If you can’t support that, you’re in the wrong place. You don’t really want to be Orthodox.

        • Gail is right. I too lived a continent lifestyle for a very long time, it is entirely possible if you USE the help the Church gives, including confession when we fall, frequently if necessary. And I would do so happily for the rest of my life if necessary, due to my love for Christ and desire to be with Him in the end.

          As for what you say about “judging them as awful sinners and sodomites,” who said anything about that? They are the same as anyone else, called to repentance and faith, welcome to come to church to listen and learn, and hopefully have a true conversion.

          As I said in a different comment, people with SSA are not weaklings who need to be babied. They are men and women just as capable of holiness as anyone else. To treat them as anything less is an offense against their dignity and destiny in God.

          • On the flip side, my experience is that marriage is not “enough” to eliminate all need to struggle against lust, either (ask my confessor). It seems to me that any married couple who makes sexual pleasure a goal in itself is essentially falling prey to the same destructive lies as those seeking to legitimize “even” long-term committed same-sex relationships.

            Sacramentally, as means of communion with Christ, these things can be life-giving, but when they become ends in themselves, they are empty idols, and lead to death and destruction. Sex, food, sleep, wealth… anything. I have experienced it myself.

        • I think you misunderstood my comment, or I did not write it clearly. Homosexual activity is a very severe sin that is difficult to root out, as father Athanasios Mitilinaios stated in his cassettes, it is a three fold sin – not just against chastity but against nature and against God’s will for your life. It is very difficult to repent from such sin, very hard to root out – and it is impossible to be made right in itself. What I was trying to get across is that there needs to be some process through the Church to bring these people in – there has been successful conversion therapies available in the secular world, for example. The seriousness of the sin, and the difficulty in repentance, needs more. I *think* what Bishop Kallistos was getting at was some sort of step such a person could take in their life under guidance of their spiritual father. I in no way meant any teachings or traditions of the church should be updated or modified, but perhaps pastoral guidance / experience be codified as a reference work, so that people that suffer from this sin could be helped, and at least know there is a path for them to come to God.

          • Gene,

            You are absolutely correct, in my opinion. Problem is, there is currently no systematic, structural mechanism in our Churches that I’m aware of to help SSA attracted people heal from their addiction (and yes, homosexuality very much is an addiction, a learned behavior pattern that is typically miserable for those stuck in it, despite all public societal claims that their misery is “everyone else’s fault for not celebrating them.” To be honest, at this point, we really couldn’t celebrate them anymore than society already does. Yet they are still miserable.)

            Most “Christian” therapists are fearful of touching this issue with a 10-foot pole, lest their licenses be withdrawn due to “not affirming homosexuality.” I imagine this is also why most American Orthodox Bishops are fearful of touching this issue with a 10-foot pole — fear of the wrath of the secular culture beating them down, I guess? (Contrast this with Russian and Ukrainian priests, who, after “LBGT parades” (financially sponsored by western secularists, usually) in their towns, go out to then bless the area with holy water, to cast out those demons. Perhaps this is what our American priests and bishops should do in our land? I think many Americans would love to see this.)

            The only hope, as I see it, for those in this secular wasteland suffering from SSA is to work with a trusted Orthodox Christian friend, priest, etc., who knows enough not to shame them for their addiction — sadly, even many of our priests (often protestant converts who haven’t fully shed their judgmental protestantism yet…. sorry, just being honest!) are so terrified of this issue that they simply resort to shaming (“you’re such a bad person!”, Jerry Falwell style; come on), probably because that’s the environment that they were formed in. And the SSA person needs to work with this trusted person toward healing in Christ.

            At the root of it, SSA (for men at least) is a misdirected desire for Christ. Their soul longs for connection with He Who Is, the only Man who matters — Christ — but this desire is sexually misdirected to other men. A disordered, sexualized emotional longing, as it used to be put, accurately. Sadly, many of these books that held such wisdom about the roots of SSA are now being burned by the modern “Puritans” who now run our public culture.

            Healing is certainly possible, but it requires, I think, a complete disregard of all of the false “wisdom” of the world, and a complete trust in Christ and in the sacramental life of the Church. Addiction recovery programs are important too, because there are a lot of learned behavior patterns in SSA that must be “unlearned.”

            Most addiction recovery programs work for SSA, as they also work for porn addiction, or any kind of sex addiction. Homosexuality is a form of sex addiction. Our Church even has a fellowship that helps Christians in their addiction recovery and also in recovery from dysfunctional upbringings and codependency — many think that codependency is the “mother of all addictions,” including the sex addictions (I agree with this). Just google it: the Fellowship of the Inexhaustible Cup. Wonderful organization. Modern Americans — we are the most “addicted” people who ever existed, and it ain’t getting any better — desperately need it.

            Blessed Feast of the Dormition to All — May Her prayers guide and protect us in this spiritual desert!

            “Rejoice, O Theotokos, the Inexhaustible Cup that quenches our spiritual thirst!” (a refrain from the Akathist of the Inexhaustible Cup)

          • Gene B, that is well said. What is the process? As SSA people living in a relationship get older and their sex drives wane… will they be open to turning their lives around into the Eastern Orthodox Church? Perhaps they have been struggling all along, little-by-little? How does a Spiritual Father work with them? The conversion therapy is to move closer to Christ via Liturgies, prayer and fasting, confessions and communion. Without these what chance do any of us have? We must also remember that many people are not baptized these days so their temptations come both internally and externally as opposed to those who are baptized who are tempted only externally. How do we dialogue with them and pave the road towards this? This lands on the Spiritual Father, Priest. But also lay people who have the universal priesthood.

            • You don’t dialogue with them. You rebuke them, with love, for the sins they commit. You insist that they stop mocking the marriage sacrament by living as a married couple. For decades, I have watched them pave their rainbow roads over all that is holy and decent. It doesn’t work. Tolerance of sin is not love, but hate.

              • Please see FTS’s reply above. I think you also misunderstand where this is coming from. There can be no dialog with them, as you state, this is true. BUT there must be a pathway made FOR THOSE WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO CONTEMPLATE THE TRUTH. They know in their hearts something is dreadfully wrong, and we need to help them sort it out. Just throwing rebukes at them is not going to turn things around for those poking their heads in the door.

                • Gene

                  I agree, but what would you suggest?

                  This is a pastoral matter, and I must say that I find it disturbing when pastoral matters are discussed in public internet forums. Aren’t these matters between persons and priests or bishops?

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Unfortunately the board, the bishops and the priests made it fodder for discussion when they gave distributed the letter to presumably all of us bloggers, one of whom plastered it all on the Internet. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

                    It’s worth mentioning, that the letter was not dated or signed. The recording could be anyone (also not dated). The woman said her husband had previously reported it but it was never investigated. Metropolitan Joseph has thus far denied it.

                • Isn’t the pathway the same one that has been open to all of us since the beginning? I said that ALL must be rebuked with love. That includes me. My concern is that there is an evil cadre of people who want to twist The Church into a perverted place where they will feel comfortable in their same-sex relationships. This is what is happening all over the world. Don’t you love the Church enough to defend her?

              • I want to ask a question. The two “fathers” of the children Elpi baptized; are they choosing to contemplate the truth or are they glorying in their triumph? They have not just poked their heads in the door, they have been welcomed to the table. They are comfortable as they are, grinning like cheshire cats. They NEED to be uncomfortable and ashamed if their souls are to be saved.

        • The polemics are (and should be) aimed only at those who want us to do what is oxymoronic.
          The purpose of the Church is to save sinners (all sinners) from sin. This is not possible if sin (any sin) is ‘normalized’ and/or the false ‘hope’ of any sin being ‘normalized’ is held out as a possibility.

          Homosexuality, along with all types of fornication and every other sin imaginable, have been with us since man’s original corruption, and the pathway (repentance) has always been the same for all. “…and such were some of you,” says the Apostle when listing some of the sins which, if one persists in them as opposed to struggling against them, will prevent one from inheriting the Kingdom of God. There is, and never has been, anything unique about having enslaved one’s self to any sin that prevents one from entering the Church. It’s been done for centuries and continues today. The acknowledgement of sin (of all kinds without exception) has always been the beginning of repentance. Moreover, this was always known – even to those who chose to refuse the Church’s call to repentance. This call was and remains a call to turn to Christ for deliverance from sin. The turning is primarily a turning toward Christ, but it is not possible to turn toward Life while clinging to death.

          And this, tragically, is precisely the impossibility that these ‘theologians’ (or so their delusion leads them to call themselves) hold out as a possibility.

          The polemics are all aimed at them (and rightly so), not at those enslaved to sin. It is, in fact, they (and not the language or practice of Church) who are responsible for the difficulties you describe. It is they who have magnified this particular sin out of all proportion, and it is they who are placing a stumbling block before the very people they supposedly “care about.”

        • Gene B, “the plan” is super clear. In a nutshell, here it is.

          If you are addicted to drugs, don’t continue keeping packets of drugs and syringes in your home.
          If you are addicted to porn, don’t continue visiting porn sites and instead install anti-porn blocking technology on your computer and phone.
          If you are addicted to alcohol, don’t continue buying it and stocking your pantry with it.
          If you are gluttonous during the fasts, don’t continue stocking your fridge with meat and dairy.
          If your anger gets out of control and gets to a volatile level against someone, physically remove yourself from the situation.
          If you are tempted to steal money from the till, don’t continue to take the collection at church.
          If you are attracted to a person of a different sex, don’t continue living with them.
          If you are attracted to a person of the same sex, don’t continue living with them.

          Christ taught us to repent, to sin no more, and that if our eye offends, to pluck it out. It’s a simple plan but wholly effective. It’s repentance, confession, and prayer in action. I have zero idea why the Church’s teachings get bent and are deemed non applicable for homosexual passions only.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Addictions lead to other addictions but the Church is a GREAT place to work all that out: Come one come all.

          • . . . Most addictions are becoming more clear as attachment disorders and those which are processing disorders such as pornography physically rewire the brain in response to stimuli.

            The spiritual aspect of these addictions is that one is oriented toward something or someone other than Christ and reinforces their experience over and over again. From an Orthodox perspective, we would also suggest that evil thoughts come to us perpetuating the cycles of sin and shame.

            The path forward for persons wanting to grow in the Orthodox Faith is the same as anyone else perhaps with an additional emphasis on frequent confession and accountability with a trusted priest or spiritual father or mother. This removes the secrecy/shame aspect greatly. Addiction only thrives in secrecy. When appropriate, a trusted Orthodox counselor could be involved as well.

            Slowly the sinful thoughts, behaviors, beliefs and harmful cycles can be replaced with Christ honoring thoughts, lifestyle, beliefs and most importantly community.

            Fr Stephen de Young pointed out in a recent episode of the Lord of Spirits podcast the reality that we have never before in history had an entire generation of people whose first and sometimes only sexual exposure be virtual in some way. He reminded us that for most young people now, their first sexual exposure is disembodied – and we don’t know what the long term effects of that are, though we are starting to see some of the bad fruit.

            One of the ways to engage those people who are genuinely interested in the Orthodox Way is to invite them into community and allow the embodied life of Christ in His Church begin to heal their wounds.

            • Actually the precursor to most addictions appears to be trauma. There is a professor at Harvard named John Kelly,Ph.D who is doing some excellent work on addictions. He has some great You Tube videos.

            • George Michalopulos says

              You’ve offered some profound insights here Tanya. Some things I hadn’t considered, especially the “disembodied” nature of the first sexual encounter (so to speak).

              If I reason this out, it’s possible that this is part of the plan to take humanity further down the road of “disembodiment,” which is a whole other can of worms. Gnosticism perhaps?

  16. Matrimony then becomes the only Sacrament/Mystery into which we have invited technology for the expressed purpose of maximizing pleasure . . .

    What a chilling thought.

    I agree with over-reaction against all things Catholic, we do have things in common. But I have to say, I was Catholic for over two decades, was a teacher of Catholicism and have a degree in theology, but honestly, I never encountered a Catholic teaching that sex is only for procreation, though I’ve seen it asserted by many Orthodox people (I do think the Puritans were guilty of that). Maybe there was a period in history when that was true, but I have not encountered it in my studies, and it is not true in the Catholic Church today.

    But there is another issue that I do believe has affected things. In both Catholic and Orthodox worlds, there is teaching that marriage has several functions, procreative, unitive, comfort and companionship, mutual support, etc. The early church fathers debated all these things quite a bit, and in the end, under the influence of Chrysostom, settled into a balanced view that sex is first of all for procreation (rather obvious, given we are talking about, you know, reproductive organs), and then also for all the other goods of marriage, including into old age or in the case of infertility for younger couples.

    In the 20th century, under the influence of modernist Catholic theologians especially in Paris, which also influenced certain Orthodox theologians at St. Sergius in Paris who were dialoging with Catholics, the order of the purpose and goods of marriage was revised. Procreation was no longer the first purpose, unitive and other things came first. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church published in the latter half of the 20th century, procreation is now stated last in a list of goods, not first. I’ve seen the same in certain modern Orthodox texts, procreation also listed as the last purpose of marriage, not the first.

    That is a troubling change, as being listed last it can also come across as less important than other goods. Which can logically follow to today’s mentality, “So long as it’s loving, it’s okay!” Because love, romance, companionship, union in pleasure is more important than procreation. So gay marriage must be okay, since loving union is more important than having children. You can’t expect people to give up a more important good for a lesser, right?

    On a related note, at the same time in Paris the liturgical renewal movement was also happening. Thankfully the Orthodox were able to resist and repel that, while the Catholic Church went along with it. Isn’t it interesting there was a two-pronged simultaneous attempt to revise both the sacrament of marriage and the liturgy, the wedding feast of the Lamb?

    • Deno Zervas says

      One out of ten women have stuffed breasts, why are you surprised transgender was next? CSI had an episode where someone injected wolf hormones to become a werewolf. A quarter century ago, woman married dolphin, much to rabbinical horror; Dolphin heeded rabbis and promptly expired. Transgalactic is next.

  17. You’re right, Theodora. That was an inaccurate characature of Roman teaching. My apologies. Open to procreation is probably more accurate(?).

    • Yes, every sexual act must be open to procreation, open to and accepting of a new life that might emerge, which means putting nothing artificial in the way, though not every sexual act must be for the purpose of creating a baby. And since God gave us natural cycles of fertility, following those cycles in order to plan and space the birth of children is okay.

      And really, it’s God who creates life, right? We’re really being open to Him, His creative action. There was a saying I heard often in the Catholic world, that using contraception to avoid conception is “putting a condom on the Holy Spirit.” Not a very pretty saying, but about sums it up.

      A little bit of a gray area is with respect to using contraceptive hormones for health reasons not related to avoiding pregnancy, that’s an area I don’t know much about and may be a matter to be handled between a couple and their pastor. But for healthy normal couples the teaching is clear.

      That said, natural family planning has gotten so accurate, I know of one couple who decided to stop using it, they felt it was interfering with their ability to discern God’s will for children. They decided rather to prayerfully discern when to come together in marital relations, which I think is beautiful.

      As an aside, acceptance of artificial contraceptives is what led to legalized abortion, for there is no perfect method of contraception. It led to the contraceptive mentality: “I didn’t mean to get pregnant, so I shouldn’t be forced to have a baby!” Sex was utterly divorced from reproduction – and now guess what, you can even change your sex! Yep, it’s a logical progression from artificial conception to transsexualism and all the horrors being visited on us and our children today.

  18. Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

    M. Ross, you are, of course, correct, about the “etymological fallacy” as a rule. But let us not allow “monogamy” to become, as it has for zoologists and dictionaries, a generalized term for the pairing of one male and one female in the animal world. We Orthodox Christians can and ought to rise above such a facile misapplication of words. The intended social effect of the radical left’s choice of “monogamous” to describe the unnatural and ungodly pairing of two men or two women is to elevate it to social, political, and moral equivalence to monogamy in its original meaning.

  19. Anybody who draws a paycheck from and proudly associates with Oxford/Fordham/Harvard/etc or another institution of worldly, demonic indoctrination should never be treated as a spiritual father. Silver tongued devils tolerate imparting some nourishment if it enables them to inoculate their sheep with mortal poison.

    • Deno Zervas says

      There is precedent, as lawyers, bankers and politicians are barred from priesthood by ancient canon law, not jus EOC, but RC and others. Fr Drinan and Gleb Yakunin had to resign their legislative positions. However, we are not talking about clergy, but professors, who have invested much in their academic reputation. SHould they fall out with their hierarchs, their standing with secular academia is their highest authority, and IOTA-web.org is the gatekeeper. For one to teach about Orthodoxy in secular academia today, they need to first publish on publicorthodoxy.org. Demacopoulos has succeeded Deno John Geanakoplos of Yale as the EP Archon entitled “Didakto tou Gennous” (Didactor of the Generation), and as such is officially the EP’s prime arbiter of such issues.

  20. Here I interviewed +Kallistos on his interactions with Tolkien and Lewis.

  21. Memory eternal to Metropolitan Kallistos!

    His original “The Orthodox Church” book written in the early/mid 1960s was key during my early life in the 1980s to realize that this church we went to a few times per year was not a cultural relic, was not merely a cultural anomaly in the otherwise protestant/post-protestant American landscape that I grew up in.

    But rather, this Church was vastly more: a sacramental way toward Christ Himself. And also this book was reassurance that well-intentioned Protestants and Catholics we were surrounded with had the wrong approach to Christ and to Christian ecclesiology.

    Without his book, I may have gone the path of so many of us who were born into the faith (or “Orthodox by inertia,” as Metropolitan Kallitos put it with his lovable English wit): completely disregard Orthodox Christianity and allow ourselves to be subsumed into American secularism. This has been the fate of virtually all of my family of origin. May they all someday reclaim their baptism. So sad.

    Despite whatever he may have written or said in his later years, Met. Kallistos was key to me growing toward Christ in our faith.

    Very important to recall that in the 1970s-1980s, very little was written about Orthodox Christianity in the English language: it was Met. Kallistos’s book, and some things out of SVS in New York. Other than that, not much, and no internet back then.

    May his memory be eternal – Aιώνια η μνήμη