Same-Sex Marriage and the Revolt Against Metropolitan Jonah

By Nicholas Chancey

After doing this research, some things have become clear. There is a movement within the Orthodox Church in America to mainstream homosexuality. There are priests, bishops, and academics that are sympathetic to this movement. Some are providing quiet assistance.

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Note: All links open in new window.

The reasons for the deliberate attacks on Metropolitan Jonah have been analyzed online on such sites as OCA Truth and others with varying conclusions. Some observers see it as a fight between the “old guard” wanting to hang onto power and the “new guard” wanting to change things around. Other writers have painted it in terms of personality conflicts. But one of the most interesting ideas put forward has been that the fight against Metropolitan Jonah is itself a manifestation of the so-called, “Culture Wars.”

This is how Muzhik, one of the contributors to OCA Truth, characterized the situation:

What is it about Jonah’s vision that they find so objectionable that they want to throw HB out? People I’ve talked to who are in much better position to read the OCA insider tea leaves than I am hold the opinion that Stokoe and his crowd cannot stand the public stances HB has taken on “culture war” issues. They hate that he has spoken out publicly against gay marriage and related subjects. They resent his pro-life activism. In short, they want the OCA to be Episcopalian, even if it means continuing to follow a path to irrelevancy and decline.

But is that really possible? It is true that the online base of support for those opposing Metropolitan Jonah is OCA News. It is also true that the site is run by Mark Stokoe, a partnered homosexual.  But, coming from the Diocese of the South, it just seemed too far-fetched to me that Metropolitan Jonah’s stridency on same-sex marriage could have been a major factor in bringing on this crisis. After all, could Metropolitan Jonah’s conventional Orthodox moral position on such a subject really provoke such animosity among Orthodox Christians?

I assumed that this was clearly impossible, and that there had to be other, more important factors at work. I held that opinion until the day I crossed paths with Inga Leonova on Facebook.

Bishop Savas of the Greek Archdiocese had posted an article on his wall by a Catholic writer on the topic of same-sex marriage. Inga and I got into a heated debate over the subject.  Given the nature of her answers, I asked if she and another individual with whom I was debating were Orthodox Christians. This is how the conversation developed from that point:

Inga: Yes, we are both Orthodox, and I may shock you even further by admitting to holding a position within the Church governance structure. Sexuality is an inherent part of a person’s biological makeup same as race. The early Church did not know that, and moreover, the early Church has dealt with matters of behavior, not identity. Much work needs to be done to actually learn the context of Pauline pronouncements, for example, or St. John Chrysostom’s exegesis on them – which most people who are happily quoting them are unwilling to do, much to the detriment of our Tradition and theology.

Nicholas: The official teaching of the Orthodox Church is that any sexual expression other than heterosexual marriage is inherently disordered and sinful. You can try to apply exegesis to this if you choose, but that will never change. Exegesis is only going so far in Orthodoxy. There is also the marriage ceremony itself. It is clearly written for male and female. Who will re-write it? Who has the authority to?

Inga: Your first paragraph, translated into plain English, states that the Holy Spirit has ceased to act in the Church and we are now but a museum of the venerable, dust-covered collection of “stuff”. Scary! This is simply inaccurate, too, from the canonical perspective. The Church has the authority to change most things except the key Trinitarian and Christological doctrine if it is pleasing to the Spirit. The Liturgy has been revised many times over the centuries; the canons of the Church are getting revised; things change! I refuse to acknowledge that we are dead because then we are worshipping Christ in the Tomb, not the resurrected Christ, and I do not worship a dead and buried God, nor do I worship the Law.

I did not for a second hope to change your deeply-held homophobic convictions, just pointing out the glaring parallels with the racist rhetoric, more to the benefit of the other readers of this thread than yours.

My curiosity was piqued by such an exchange in which a professed Orthodox Christian called me a “homophobe” for articulating the clear teaching of the Church. So I went in search of who Inga Leonova was. Where that led made me think I had fallen down a rabbit hole into an alternative reality.

Inga Leonova attends church at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Boston.  She is, from all appearances, a very active member. Several of her articles are on the parish websiteThis is a link to one of her articles. Inga has served in various “official” capacities in the past. She has also contributed to OCA News, which indicates a link to Mark Stokoe going back several years at least. Here is a link to one of her articles about the Metropolitan Herman-era scandals.

Inga Leonova, during our exchange, invited me to visit her Facebook Group called Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church.  I visited the group and started reading the posts and the documents. While the group bills itself as a discussion forum on topics of sexuality in the Orthodox Church, it is quite clear from extensive reading that only those with opinions affirming same-sex relationships are permitted to hang around.

A friend of mine joined the group in order to defend traditional Orthodox teaching on the subject of sexuality. He was banned by Inga in less than 20 minutes, although she did kindly refrain from deleting his posts. So, to be fair, there is some room for open discussion — but not for very long.

Quite obviously, the Facebook Group is dedicated to spreading a message that same-sex relationships are compatible with Orthodox Christianity. One rhetorical method used by the posters in the group is to denigrate those who disagree with them. One of their favorite targets is Metropolitan Jonah.

In fact, one of the group’s co-founders, Juli Lundell Tarsney, stated the following when discussing the subject of homosexuals in the military and the impact on Orthodox Chaplains, “One impetus for us to start this group was the letter Met Jonah wrote on this subject, which gained some notoriety after being published on the internet.” The letter Juli was referring to was Metropolitan Jonah’s letter to the Armed Forces Chaplains Board (.pdf) concerning the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy which appeared in May, 2010. It struck me as interesting that Metropolitan Jonah’s restatement of conventional Orthodox morality would be so offensive to Juli and Inga that they would go out and found a Facebook Group to combat it.

This is an excerpt of a document written by Inga and published on the Facebook Group which is less than complimentary to Metropolitan Jonah:

Moreover, in the course of this political thrust His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah has been very consistent in employing the rhetoric which is divisive, derisive, and threatening to a large body of individuals – not just the homosexuals in the Church and in the rest of the world, but also those who happen to espouse views more compassionate than those articulated by him. It is more than disappointing – it is endangering the message of the Church to the world. It is worth noting that His Beatitude is not alone in the Orthodox world in his quest, but is perhaps most closely allied with the similar momentum in the Russian Orthodox Church. In the context of this aspect there is a bigger issue of the Church’s engagement of its contemporary culture, especially of the diverging matters in that culture and its contemporary multi-confessional plurality.

This criticism of Metropolitan Jonah was posted February 4th, 2011 not long before the Synod took action against him.

It seems that criticism of Metropolitan Jonah is almost a daily occurrence on this Facebook Group.  One poster added a link to an article from the Greek Archdiocese titled Pan-Orthodox Consensus on Same-Sex Unions — Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Inga had this to say in response, “It is extremely unfortunate that various jurisdictions are playing the media game and trying to jump on this train wreck instead of keeping restraint and dealing with the many question that have arisen in the last years internally and pastorally. . .Unfortunately, we can expect to see +MJ’s letter shortly as well.” (emphasis added).

These are just some examples. Clearly Inga, Juli, and the other members who post on this Facebook Group have serious issues with Metropolitan Jonah and his “homophobic” language.

After reading the site extensively, I then turned my attention to the membership of Inga’s Facebook Group. You can find the list here.

One member immediately caught my attention – Bishop Nikon of Boston. He is Inga’s bishop. Seeing his name on the membership role answered a burning question in my mind as to whether or not he knew what Inga was up to. Clearly he does, as he not only belongs to the group, but according to several posters he reads the Facebook Group’s pages regularly.

Bishop Nikon has been an opponent of Metropolitan Jonah and an ally of Mark Stokoe. I had known that before I saw that he was a member of a Facebook Group dedicated to mainstreaming same-sex relationships within Orthodoxy. But putting these two facts together made me curious to know more.

Digging deeper, I discovered that Bishop Nikon is very close to Bishop Mark, his predecessor in Boston who is currently retired in Miami. Bishop Mark lives with a man named Archdeacon Gregory Burke who was suspended in 2007 after he left Miami to go to California to marry a man.  Archdeacon Burke and Bishop Mark built the home they share together in 2003. Bishop Mark apparently bought his housemate out in 2007 when the Archdeacon made his matrimonial journey to California. The deacon has been living with Bishop Mark since his return to Florida. He has spent most of that time on suspension from his liturgical duties, but is currently back serving at the altar. Bishop Nikon is said to stay with Bishop Mark in his home when he goes on vacation to Florida. That fact indicates that Bishop Nikon must be fully aware of the unusual domestic situation.

All of this is rather odd for an Orthodox Bishop, and may indicate a clear motivation for getting rid of a traditionalist Metropolitan who is clearly opposed to same-sex relationships.

Another notable member of Inga’s group is Father John Behr, the Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary. I plan to look into him more in the future, but at the time I decided to look into Inga’s priest – Father Robert Arida of Holy Trinity in Boston. Father Robert Arida was a teacher at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Seminary. Father Robert Arida is a relatively well-known individual within Orthodoxy, even giving the commencement address at St. Herman’s in 2010.

Not surprisingly, he has also contributed to Orthodox News. When we debated online, Inga was really enthusiastic about Father Robert. In our dialog, she recommended listening to Father Robert’s sermon for the commemoration of the Saints of North America. You can listen to it here: xIn the sermon, Father Robert, essentially, counsels the Orthodox Church to stay out of the public sphere. His sermon didn’t really surprise me, since it is not at all unusual, or even undesirable, for a pastor to not want to see the Church abused as a prop in various political contests.

So I found myself wondering where Father Robert Arida stood on these issues. He wasn’t a member of the Facebook Group, unlike Bishop Nikon. Was he on board with all this? In an online article recently published on Inga’s Facebook Group, Father Robert Arida removed all doubt of where his sympathies lie.

Father Arida’s article was entitled, “Response to Myself.” In this response, Father Robert Arida seems to re-iterate the point he made in his sermon, mentioned earlier, that the Orthodox Church should steer clear of political debates like those concerning same-sex marriage. He then goes on to meditate on what he considers the confused nature of marriage within Orthodox Tradition.

His essential point is summarized in the first sentence of the quotation below (emphasis added):

Given our Church’s biblical, patristic, liturgical and canonical sources one eventually detects that there is no universally consistent and accepted teaching on marriage as to its origin, purpose and goal. Is it prelapsarian or postlapsarian? Is it eternal or temporal? Is it dissoluble or indissoluble? Is it a legal contract between free persons? Is it an accommodation to human passion – a form of legalized fornication – and therefore subordinate to monastic puritanism or is it a sacrament of the Kingdom which leads to the salvation of spouses? Each question has been answered in two ways, yes and no.

If the Church is going to respond to the legalization of same-sex marriage/union it seems that it should begin by considering how to minister to those same-sex couples who being legally married come with their children and knock on the doors of our parishes seeking Christ. Do we ignore them? Do we, prima facie, turn them away? Do we, under the rubric of repentance, encourage them to divorce and dismantle their family? Or, do we offer them, as we offer anyone desiring Christ, pastoral care, love and a spiritual home?

Indeed, the Church has never sailed these uncharted waters. But our history teaches us that what is new need not compromise Christ who is the “same yesterday, today and forever.”

This sentence, “Or, do we offer them, as we offer anyone desiring Christ, pastoral care, love and a spiritual home?” seems to sum up the thinking of Father Robert Arida on this topic. When “married” homosexuals come knocking on the door of the Orthodox Church, the correct pastoral response according to Father Arida, is one of acceptance of their same-sex relationships. Does that acceptance also extend to creating a form of “same-sex” marriage within Orthodoxy? I think from the tone of Father Robert’s letter that this possibility is definitely open in his mind.

What is even more interesting is that a few days after this article appeared on Inga’s Facebook Group, it suddenly made its appearance on Mark Stokoe’s Orthodox News site under the title, “A Pastor’s Thoughts On Same-sex Marriage.” This fact tends to reinforce the impression that there is a good level of cooperation occurring among like-minded people.

I also noticed some other academics who were members of Inga’s Facebook Group. Some of them are non-OCA, like Valerie Karras. Valerie teaches at SMU and is on the editorial board for the “Orthodox” Website the St. Nina Quarterly. While she uses that site to lay the theoretical groundwork for women priests, she appears to confine her favorable comments concerning same-sex marriage to Inga’s Facebook Group.

After doing this research, some things have become clear. There is a movement within the Orthodox Church in America to mainstream homosexuality. There are priests, bishops, and academics that are sympathetic to this movement. Some are providing quiet assistance. Some, such as Father Robert Arida, are publicly promoting a change in Orthodox teaching concerning same-sex marriage.

Quite a few of the members of this same-sex lobby within the OCA have ties to St. Vladimir’s Seminary, two of whose current faculty members (Al Rossi PhD and Fr John Behr) are members of the pro-homosexual rights Facebook Group run by Inga Leonova. Many of the people who are publicly working to change Orthodox Tradition concerning homosexuality have collaborated in the past with Mark Stokoe, who is the online voice of the anti-Metropolitan Jonah wing of the OCA.

I have looked at the official “charges” leveled at Metropolitan Jonah, and they appear to be much ado about nothing. There is no way these overblown allegations could account for such as storm as we are currently enduring. For a long time, I have suspected that the real crux of the problem is a difference in vision for what the OCA should be. After having researched Inga Leonova and her links to others such as Bishop Nikon, I have now come to the conclusion that this is really the case.

As a young, traditional, and energetic Metropolitan, His Beatitude Jonah represents a direct threat to the desire of one faction within the OCA to turn the Orthodox Church into an institution which accepts homosexual relations as godly.  What these people are trying to do must be widely exposed and then rejected. Members of the OCA must back our Metropolitan, and support him as he tries to restore order to a church that is dangerously adrift.

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Nicholas Chancy is a member of the OCA in the Diocese of the South. He has been an Orthodox Christian for over 10 years, and has served the Orthodox Church in a variety of roles.


  1. Excellent analysis and investigative reporting Nicholas. Thank you for exposing these truths and standing up for the Moral Tradition and proper teachings of the Orthodox Christian faith.

    Have you seen this?

    A Pastor’s Thoughts On Same Sex Marriage

    Why is this Orthodox priest providing legitimacy for corruption using the Gospel and defending the indefensible? What an abomination! Not good, not good at all….

    • Heracleides says

      If this ‘priest’ is providing the legitimacy for this evil, then it is Mrs. Stokoe-Brown whom is providing the platform from which to spread the filth within the OCA. Hope you’ve seen the light Chris and will now have the courage to proclaim it on Mark’s rag (it’ll be interesting to see if your comments get past Mark and his anonymous editor’s censorship or if you are also silenced like so many of us who oppose his homosexual agenda).

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Many thoughtful counter-Arida arguments have been made on OCA News, by respected posters such as Harry Coin, Gail Sheppard, Fr. John Dresko, Protodeacon Michael Myers, Fr. Mark Hodges, Dn. Marty Watt, Archpriest Lawrence R. Farley, and “Ps-Iosifson” who rightly pointed out main problem with Fr. Arida’s essay:

        “It seems we are all often talking about two distinct issues.

        1) Pastoral approaches addressing issues surrounding homosexuality and gay marriage.

        2) The Orthodox Christian teachings on sexuality, sexual activity and marriage.

        In many conversations, questions about #1 are used to obscure the clear, universal consensus of Tradition of #2.”

        As a signer of the Manhattan Declaration, I also stand in opposition to the implication that gay ‘married’ couples should be treated differently than other sinners. At least that is what I get from Father Arida’s climactic juxtaposition of “Do we ignore them? Do we, prima facie, turn them away? Do we, under the rubric of repentance, encourage them to divorce and dismantle their family?” to “Or, do we offer them, as we offer anyone desiring Christ, pastoral care, love and a spiritual home?”

        I also have problems with Father Arida’s reasoning, something that Father Farley addresses very well. I do not have an issue, however, with the raising of this very real and legitimate question: “How will Orthodox priests deal with ‘married’ gay couples?” Father Arida is to be commended for broaching the subject and all of the other clergy and laity that I cited above should be commended for having thoughtfully putting forth persuasive arguments against Father Arida’s implied solution.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Karl, if so, then Stokoe is to be commended. Perhaps correspondents to this site who have been excluded in the past will now feel free to post their responses.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            One has to be polite and not insult the host right off the bat; do not be like Herakleides’ posts. Also, I know he either rejects entire posts or edits sections of them if they contain allegations that are known to him to be untrue a libelous. So, it is indeed not a free-for-all type of a blog, never has been. Given these limitations and caveats, I have seen him publish most posts.

            • Heracleides says

              And just exactly how would you know Carl that you “…have seen him publish most posts” ??? Are you perhaps one of Mrs. Stokoe-Brown’s anonymous editors? You have access to comments submitted before they are vetted, censored and/or deleted by Mark? I doubt it, but then that’s the only explanation which would reasonably allow you to make such an otherwise absurd statement.

            • Jane Rachel says

              Let’s stand up for Mark and commend him because he posted comments! YAY!!! He is married to another man!!! YAY!!! Let’s attack Heracleides and discredit him instead!!! He stands against what you say you stand against, only he does it not mildly, but with some chutzpah. Good one, Carl! Way to smear the mirror. It’s been a long, hot day.

              • Jane Rachel says

                Talk about smearing the mirror. By the way, not to get off on a meaningless tangent when the discussion on whether gay marriage should be accepted in the “Orthodox” (meaning, “right thinking,” “right glory”, “straight worship”, etc.) Church or not, but Stokoe’s site, which includes by default not only Stokoe but a whole heckava lot of other “Orthodox” people, also destroys lives, gets innocent people condemned and guilty people (practically) sainted. On a regular basis. For years and years.I would rather be gay than have to stand before the Judge with ****that**** on my conscience.

                • What the heck…..let’s do as the Episcopal church has done. Let’s not offend anyone who is in sin…as defined by Doctrine, Tradition, Scripture or the Holy Fathers. Let’s turn our church into a social club not a church of God fearing people working towards theosis.

                  Balderdash….Jane, you are being judged by your lukewarm attitude towards our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Rev 3:13-22)

                  Do you not have compassion on those that are suffering prelest? Each of us is in sin. The key to change is escaping delusion. That and the transforming spirit of Christ within our lives. Are you committed to saying that Christ cannot transform those who engage in homoerotic behavior.

                  • What are you all doing? As an inquirer to Orthodoxy- you can’t be serious ! Who is rightly dividing the word of truth here? Are you communing homosexuals or not? Are you just like the Episcopal church? Guess I should wait before I leave—or follow Bishop jonah out the door- no St Mark of Ephesus showing up here ! It will never even meet your council- it looks like itis totally corrupt.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Chris, thank yoiu for highlighting this priest’s essay. I hope that everyone reads this, not merely to understand how “tolerance” and liberalism are making dangerous inroads in our Faith but to see the inherent illogic of this position. In Fr Robert’s first sentence, the illogic is laid bare.

    • Jane Rachel says

      Fr. Arida’s reflection sure explains a lot. The Orthodox Church cannot write acceptance of homosexuality into its “books”. If it does, it’s not Orthodox. This is not an opinion but a fact. I’m not conservative, not republican, not against people who are homosexuals. Repeat. They can’t change Orthodoxy into something that it isn’t or it will not be Orthodox. If you don’t like it, leave.

      Fr Arida’s final statement, oh-so-compassionate, that we must not turn away ‘married” homosexuals with children is so lame I laughed when I read it.

      • Katherine says

        I agree totally with what you say. We conform to the Church’s beliefs and teachings, not the Church to ours. I also think that those who want the Church’s beliefs/teachings on this issue to change should leave and go to a church that teaches what they want to believe. The Church is never going to change it’s beliefs and teachings in this matter. Personally, I don’t believe the Holy Spirit is going to allow it.

  2. Inga doesn’t seem to know that race has no biological grounding pretty much since the discovery of DNA. Race is a social construction. The same goes for gender, which is a psychological construction, since it is what people THINK they are, as distinguished from sex, which is biological. It would really help is these self appointed (im)moral crusaders would get up to speed on reality.

    And you are right about the Karras position, more than you know I suspect.

  3. Fr. Arida sounds like Grima Wormtongue.

    • Jane Rachel says

      I know. It’s like, Fr. Arida goes, “Are we going to deny them the Eucharist?” Who talks like that? It’s a twisty turny way to talk. If I were unmarried, actively homosexual (or heterosexual for that matter) and wanted to take Communion, I would first stop my sexual activity and then go to Confession. If I were gay and not sexually active but living with a partner, I would stop allowing even the appearance that I was in an actively gay relationship. If I even took one step towards the Chalice in order to partake of it, I would be denying the Church and therefore eating and drinking judgment to myself. If I could not control myself, I would go to Church and seek counsel from the priest, but no way would I partake of the Body and Blood of Christ without changing. I know God is merciful and slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness. I know the Eucharist is not candy. I know He will help me and give me strength in whatever circumstance or struggle. If I were Father Arida, I would not allow actively and openly gay people to take Communion.

      Is that a kind of false Orthodoxy?

      Don’t you get it? Mark and Steve, whether they are active or not, are living together, and they made a public statement within the past year, for all to read, that Mark Stokoe and Steve Brown are “married” in the sense that Steve was Mark’s mother’s son-in-law. That’s why it’s so wrong. This is on purpose! Yipes I hope they aren’t using Mark’s mother’s death to further their agenda. That would be really bad.

      I don’t care what “Mark and Steve” do, except that Mark and Steve are running the Orthodox Church in America!

      I thought Fr. Arida read the Fathers. He needs to address the teaching of the Church.

  4. Brian Jackson says

    I took the plunge and read through several postings and comments on the FB site. In spite of all the declarations that the site’s moderator was only interested in an open discussion, it was quite clear that “openness” was defined as assuming that the Church’s teaching is mutable on such a foundational issue of anthropology. It was also clear that at least one frequent commenter viewed his sexuality as more fundamental to his identity than his commitment to the Church and the new birth She bequeathed to him, regardless of what sacrifice it might entail on his part. I know of many who have repented of homosexuality, some discovering the ability to enter into marriage (unfortunately, I now need to clarify that I refer to heterosexual marriage) and others finding that they are called to a life of celibacy. Either way, thank God they were able to discover godly pastors able both to love them and direct them to a faithful fulfillment of the requirements of chastity. Had they discovered this nest of vipers, I can only imagine the confusion that would have resulted.

  5. Well, I don’t know about a lot of people in that group, but I’m pretty confident that Fr. John Behr is no lavender mafioso. He just delivered this lecture at SVS, and his theological anthropology doesn’t really sound like it could translate to a homosexual context. I’d be open to correction on that front, though.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      I agree with Helga’s caution. I listened to the lecture once but will need to listen about two more times in order to grasp everything he is saying. My initial impression is that Dr. Behr’s lecture will prove valuable.

      • Fr. Hans, there was a quotation sheet distributed at the lecture that makes things a bit easier to take apart. If you like, I’m sure you could ask Fr. John for an email copy.

  6. Thank you for the article, very timely…

    I have attended Holy Trinity Cathedral where Fr Arida is a priest and where Inga attends as well since 1995. Have seen the decline ….now days openly gay people are allowed to approach the Chalice, it would not have happened just a few years ago. Some of the church members have left our church (and OCA) unable to endure this continuous display ..Pray for us..

    • In which jurisdictions is this sort of thing still unlikely to happen? Where can we go in the short term?

      • Michael Bauman says

        I doubt that any jurisdiction as a whole will be unaffected. However, there are certain bishops who are likely to remain strong, like his Grace Bishop Basil here in Wichita.

      • Don’t run from this as if there were a place to run. Wherever this happens, it is an attack on the entire Church.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Helga, you’re absolutely right. As far as I’m concerned, the fight within the Anglican Communion is our fight as well.

          • Well, I was speaking more to the abuse of the sacraments within the Orthodox Church. We cannot just run to another jurisdiction. If it happens anywhere, it happens everywhere.

            I love this quote from one of the Star Trek movies, “We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, and no further!”

            I don’t know if we’ll ever know how close they came to getting rid of Metropolitan Jonah in February. But thanks to that attack on His Beatitude, we now know that we have compromised priests and bishops in addition to laity. This has been revealed not just as a breakdown of pastoral discipline, but a full-blown heresy. I’m not sure what to call it, but this strange idea presumes to overthrow two thousand years of Christian wisdom on human sexuality, in favor of endorsing sexual practices explicitly condemned in Scripture.

            As hard as it might be, we must find a way to lovingly show them the true faith and lead them back. And we have to let Metropolitan Jonah know we stand behind him as he tries to do that!

      • Heracleides says

        In North America, ROCOR is likely the safest haven. As Helga says – fight the good fight – but if the battle in the OCA is lost (and I think this one is close to it – we’ll know at the end of the next AAC), them get the hell out for the sake of the spiritual well being of yourself and any family you might have.

        As for there being a few good bishops here and there – true – but then that sounds much like the response of many Anglicans/Episcopalians. Sticking around under the oversight of a morally bankrupt ‘Holy’ Synod where the few decent bishops tolerate the presence of other ‘bishops’ who openly flout or turn a blind eye to such wickedness amongst their own ranks or those of their clergy & laity is fruitless – we all know what our Lord has taught us about lukewarmness.

        • Ps-Iosifson says

          Retired Bp Tikhon of the West (OCA) shared an anecdote pertinent to discussions of a “safest haven” from sin of any kind, but of homosexuality, in particular, in this case:

          I was told how once, at a gathering at Holy Trinity Monastery, there was a meeting of many important leaders of ROCOR. One of the older seminarians was quietly telling a freshman who the various personages were as they arrived; “That’s ‘Berlin and Germany;’ that’s ‘Vienna and Austria,’ that’s ‘London and Great Britain;’ that’s Geneva and Switzerland,” and so on. One klobuked figure, however, passed by and the older seminarian was silent. The freshman asked ‘But who’s that?” The older seminarian replied, “Oh, that’s Sodom and Gomorrah.”

  7. I would respectfully disagree with Helga. Father Behr has a podcast up at AFR right now (“Women Disciples of the Lord: Part One”) in which he is gradually setting up a case for accepting sexual deviation in the church. To be fair, the podcast, boring to the point of stupification, doesn’t explicitly make that point—yet—but one can see that that is precisely where he is headed. I’ll have to wait until Part II comes out to be confirmed in my suspicions.

    I estimate my chances of being wrong to be less than zero.

    Apparently, according to Father Behr, a new sensibility has arisen in modern man, and we have discovered that there is more to the identity of the “human person” (Lord, I hate that) than the mere two sexes mentioned in Genesis. He spends most of the talk discussing interpretations created from whole cloth in his mind, which have absolutely no basis in fact in the Bible and run counter to the main stream of Orthodox theology. That is the primary reason the talk is so boring: because it does not deal with concrete examples from the Bible. (For that matter, it doesn’t even really deal with women.) Obviously, it can’t because it is the antithesis of what’s actually stated in the Bible. Most Christians would agree that there are only two sexes, case closed.

    I was going to write John Maddex and ask him if he is aware that he is promoting relativist junk theology, but I am waiting until I hear the second part. Then I get out my pen.

    • qwfwq, I don’t know what podcast you listened to, but that was precisely the lecture I linked to above. I guess you didn’t listen to it very carefully, because that link is the entire lecture. The Part 2 is going to be one of the other lectures.

      • I didn’t mention this earlier because I spent all morning looking for a quote of Inga Leonova’s from that abominable Facebook group. (I have now read all of their conversations back to January. :barf:)

        Anyway, it turned out the quote I was looking for was in the OCAT article: “I refuse to acknowledge that we are dead because then we are worshipping Christ in the Tomb, not the resurrected Christ, and I do not worship a dead and buried God, nor do I worship the Law.”

        I find it really amusing and interesting to juxtapose this silly remark of Inga’s, with Fr. Behr’s answer to one of the questions at the end of his lecture, where he reminds the audience that Christ defeated death by dying. If a Christ in the Tomb is unworthy of worship, I guess we can stop bothering having the Matins of Holy Saturday.

        Never mind the silly conclusion she draws from this, that since there are things about the Church that do change, like the minor alterations to the Liturgy and the abrogation of certain canons, we can certainly change this backwards, crazy proscription against homosexual relations. All that can’t change are the “core Trinitarian and Christological teachings”. :facepalm:

        • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

          Helga, it’s more than silly. It’s incoherent.

        • “I refuse to acknowledge that we are dead”

          Colossians 3:3: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

        • One benefit of having read the past several months of that FB group, though, was finding this comment by Leonova herself on February 16th:

          I’ve been trying to broach the subject [of acceptance of homosexuality] – to no avail whatsoever – with many of my Russian Orthodox friends among whom are some of the most progressive and forward-thinking clergy, theologians and church journalists and writers. It is a complete and absolute non-starter. At the very best, my “delusions” are attributed to the influence of the Western liberal environmnent.

          No kidding! ^_^

      • As I said, it was stupefying. By the end, I was ready to chew off my paw.

  8. Mark from the DOS says

    What a scary salvo this article from Fr. Robert and OCASpews is. I’ll admit to not being so sure of the conspiracy when all this stuff first came out, but it seems with every step there is more and more of a scheme to normalize gay marriage within the church.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      It’s not a conspiracy Mark. It’s capitulation to the dominant culture. Like-minded people seek out other like-minded people.

      Did you notice though that criticism about Met. Jonah’s involvement in the “culture wars” comes from the same people who bring that war into the Church?

      • Jesse Cone says

        Perhaps it would behoove us to make a distinction between “Culture Wars” and “Culture Crusades”. Standing firm on Orthodox teaching is not a crusade.

        • Jane Rachel says

          Yes, and we should also make no distinction between “gay” and “gay marriage.” “Gay Marriage” in the Orthodox Church is an oxymoron. It self-destructs. Let’s just use “gay” or “homosexual.” I believe they are indeed “scheming” as we can see by their subtlety in the use of the word “marriage.”

          Plain and simple. They want the Church to change into something that it, by its own definition, can’t be. All sexual activity outside of marriage – that is, marriage between a man and a woman (the definition within the Church, no matter what the government says) – is not acceptable if you want to take Communion in the Orthodox Church.

          If Father Robert Arida could have thought his way through to a convincing and valid argument in favor of the Church accepting homosexuality (if such an argument existed), he would have. He has shot himself in the foot with his own “illogic.” He couldn’t find any way around the teachings of the Church on homosexuality, so instead, he says the Church must not turn away homosexuals. That’s not the point. The True Church will not “turn away” anyone who wants to live out their life in peace and repentance.

          • There is reference in the piece to an OCA archdeacon who allegedly entered into
            a same sex civil union in California. The name of the archdeacon is Gregory

            While I can not say with certainty that Burke entered into a civil union with
            another man in California, did hear rumors to that effect at the
            time. I do know that Burke was suspended from the priesthood on October 19,

            None of the materials that I have indicate that this suspension was ever lifted,
            and, at least as of today, Burke is not on the OCA clergy list. He **is** listed
            as clergy on the website of the OCA’s Miami Cathedral:


   was told that Burke was again serving in the summer of 2009.
            Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen was not only the metropolitan at that point in
            time, he was also the Locum tenens of the Diocese of the South. It seems to me
            that responsibility for the “unofficial” lifting of Burke’s suspension lies with
            the metropolitan. In any event, the metropolitan certainly had the power, until
            recently, to suspend the archdeacon if if his reinstatement was offensive.

            • Yes, OCAT covered this awhile back:

              My information indicates that Archbishop Dmitri subsequently lifted the suspension, with conditions, under thuggish pressure from the retired Bishop Mark [(Forsberg)] (of Boston, who retired to south Florida). No written record of this can be found, as of this writing. I am told that +Mark and Archpriest Philip Reese of the Miami cathedral flew to Dallas and showed up unannounced at the DOS chancery, and browbeat the elderly archbishop into lifting Burke’s suspension. Much later, His Beatitude, as locum tenens of the Diocese of the South, later, in some way, confirmed +Dmitri’s decision.

              This was wrong. Period. It pains me to confront the fact that HB did this. But he did.

              A later story says this:

              Our sources indicate that over the weekend, Metropolitan Jonah sent a letter to Bishop Nikon, the locum tenens of the Diocese of the South, requesting that he reinstate the suspension of the gay Miami Archdeacon Gregory Burke, and forbid him from serving at the Miami cathedral…. The ball is now in +Nikon’s court.

              So it would seem Metropolitan Jonah made a mistake, and has tried to correct it. This puts a new spin on the Synod blocking him from taking back the position of locum tenens over the Diocese of the South.

              • Now it is up to Archbishop Nikon to deal with this problem but it was up to Met.Jonah and he dropped the ball..why? If Archbishop Nikon doesn’t do anything all hell will break lose but Met.Jonah doesn’t and you make up excuses….
                Why did Met.Jonah concelebrate with Isidore Brittain? he was Achbishop Nicholai’s partner in Alaska..
                The problem with Jesse Cone and Rod Dreher is they refused to look under their own noses…St.Seraphim Cathedral has its gay clergy too..

                • Now it is up to Archbishop Nikon to deal with this problem but it was up to Met.Jonah and he dropped the ball..why? If Archbishop Nikon doesn’t do anything all hell will break lose but Met.Jonah doesn’t and you make up excuses….

                  I am not making excuses for Metropolitan Jonah. This is a plain and obvious mistake on his part. OCAT said so and so do I.

                  There are a number of possibilities that could mitigate Metropolitan Jonah’s personal culpability in the matter, but I don’t know any of those as fact. It’s up to Metropolitan Jonah to explain himself on that front.

                  However, I think it’s essential to note that Metropolitan Jonah did try to do something about the situation in March. Whatever mistake he made, he has tried to fix it.

                  Why did Met.Jonah concelebrate with Isidore Brittain? he was Achbishop Nicholai’s partner in Alaska..

                  Fr. Isidore Brittain’s suspension was lifted. He is permitted to serve, and was permitted at the time that Metropolitan Jonah and Bishop Benjamin concelebrated with him. Nothing wrong transpired there. As far as I know, Fr. Isidore has continued to comply with the terms of the lifting of his suspension by undergoing counseling for his alcoholism, and as far as I know, since his suspension was lifted, no further issues have emerged with respect to his personal integrity or his ministry.

                  May God keep Fr. Isidore on the path of righteousness and remember him in his Kingdom.

                  The problem with Jesse Cone and Rod Dreher is they refused to look under their own noses…St.Seraphim Cathedral has its gay clergy too..

                  The problem Jesse Cone and Rod Dreher had with Mark Stokoe was that he was trying to overthrow the OCA’s duly-elected Metropolitan under false pretenses. Stokoe’s sexuality was only brought up because it was, and remains, a clear motive for undermining Metropolitan Jonah.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Stephen, your animus to HB is appalling. And your facts are wrong. Brittain’s bishop (for the time being at least) is +Benjamin. If HG feels that he is on the road to recovery, then HB should respect that. Clearly he has in this regard. As to your assertion that St Seraphim’s in Dallas has gay clergy, I’ve asked you once before, now I’ll ask you again: who are these supposedly gay clergy?

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Jane Rachel, thanks for pointing out what should be obvious: homosexuality is illogical in its intellectual definition as it is in its physical manifestation. It cannot help but lead to gnosticism, which is the repudiation of creation and dualism, which repudiates monotheism.

            • Hi Geo: I think you are responding rhetorically. However, if not, I think you are being somewhat excessive. How does LGBT sexual expression not help but lead to gnosticism, etc? What will happen to orthodoxy if it continues on the path of fundamentalism which is contrary to its past approach to morality and eclesiology. Logically, one cannot assign to one group of people the requirement for lifelong celibacy as we know biblically is a voluntary choice. Thereby the church is imposing a requirement contrary to its purpose in the church, completely eliminates any intimacy between two persons. One of the underlying assumptions which needs to be developed further is the idea that lgbt individuals choose to be so. We know from he experience of LGBT individuals as well as from developing scientific and therapeutic study that LGBT people experience this sexual attraction as normal and a priori–there is no other consideration for them in their biological or psycho-sexual make-up. The involuntary requirement of celibacy for LGBT people seems contrary to the much more understanding approach given to heterosexuals who divorce and re-marry. There’s nothing clearer in the gospels about Jesus’ teachings about marriage and divorce. Yet, the church has compromised that very openly. As Fr. Arida’s articles exposes, slaves were considered property and allowed to have sex but not to marry. How long has it been since orthodoxy changed its views on slavery? The orthodox church blessed innumerable marriages that had nothing to do with concern about the couple’s salvation, but with the unity of the Byzantine Empire. All of this presents a condition of marriage that is not seamless coming from the Father’s without change or without inconsistency. Yes I am an LGBT person. I hope you will welcome openly LGBT individuals into your discussion so that more light can be shone on all the perspectives that exist. I find it unhelpful for all of us to speak only with those who we agree with about controversial issues.

              • First off, Stephen, the only emperors who had multiple marriages were those whose spouses had died. The only exception is that of Constantine VI, whose second marriage produced the moechian crisis, and was repudiated by the church, the offending priest who performed it banished. Leo VI had an uncanonical fourth marriage which was allowed only when an appeal was made to Rome (the Latins had no scruples about multiple marriages, as long as all spouses were deceased), so please, check your facts and dial again.

                As to the basis of sexual deviancy, you best begin by not question begging, which is exactly what your appeal to “developing scientific (whatever that means) and therapeutic study” entails: if one does not have such appetites innately (a priori deals with categories of thought, not affective dispositions), then they are not LGBT. But no scientific study has ever shown that people are “born” with any sexual disposition, and the Church has always taught that there is no one who cannot descend into the most depraved of sexual proclivities, for disordered sexual passions are simply an expression, as is covetousness, of idolatry. That there are physiological changes in the brains of some self-confessed homosexuals is true. But there are changes in NY city taxi drivers too, noted from the time that they begin their jobs as drivers, and generally measured over a five year period. Thus, the learning of the ways of NYC altered their brains physiology. This is true across a number of vocations.

                As for your argument abusus tollit usum that the “involuntary requirement of celibacy for LGBT people seems contrary to the much more understanding approach given to heterosexuals who divorce and re-marry,” actually gives your game away. So what if the Church has acted inconsistently (for argument’s sake) in this practice? Does this give license for pedophilia? necrophilia? incest? polygamy? This all smells of a yea-hath-God-said argument. If the Church is inconsistent then why not reform it, instead of asking it in the name of inconsistency to allow your own pet sin?

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says


                I have argued and debated your heretical kind and heard all this nonsense for most of my adult life. Alcoholics and drug addicts are not born this way. It’s habitual. It fills a need, an unnatural need. We tell them to go cold turkey and to be transformed by the renewal of their minds. We can and must ask the same of the homosexual. To do otherwise destroys the redemptive power of Christ and His Holy Gospel.

                Sorry Stephen the Cross and Gospel trump all. We are either to submit to the Cross and renew our minds or deny it. Romans Chapter 1 and 1Corinthians 6:9 has settled this issue a very long time ago.

                I, as always, will pray for the salvation of the lost, which you definitely are. I bid you peace.

                Peter a. Papoutsis

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says


                It is not I George or anyone else you need to convince to accept you sinful lifestyle, but God. I do not believe He will accept a lifestyle He has declared an abomination! First and foremost you have to want to have a relationship with The Living Christ. He and He alone can convince you of the error of your lifestyle, not me, not anyone. You have to love Christ more than your lifestyle. If you do not then this whole discussion is futile.

                Take care brother, I will pray for you I honestly will.

                Peter A. Papoutsis

              • Jane Rachel says

                Stephen, what are the requirements for becoming an Orthodox Christian?

                If you and others are at peace within yourselves about not only who you are but also about being Christian, there are other non-Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches who would welcome you.

                Over the course of sad human Christian history, the words written in the Bible have been turned and interpreted sixty ways from Sunday to justify every human action, good or bad. But regardless of what men do to reinterpret Scripture, the original intent of the writers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, does not change. Orthodoxy is different. The Orthodox Church is not man-made, she is “God-made.” She is the Bride of Christ. Within the Orthodox Church, we not only have the Scriptures, we have correct interpretation of the Scriptures. Holy Tradition is our safeguard against false interpretation of Scripture. Holy Tradition has kept Orthodoxy strong and unassailable. On issues like homosexuality, or sexual activity outside of marriage, it is unchangeable. If you call it “dead” that is your interpretation only. It’s not dead. It’s organic, alive, and true.

                What is “natural” to you and millions of other non-heterosexuals is simply the course of humanity through the ages taking itself down whatever path it chooses. Even science is not the final authority on what is “natural.”

                After all, what right does the Orthodox Church have to deny you? To you, it cannot be that you could be denied sexual intimacy with a same-sex partner within the Orthodox Church. But why do you want to be Orthodox? Why do you ask the Church to change into something that she is not in order to accommodate you? I have more respect for the Church and all that she is, than to do that.

                Where do we start, with God or man? Do we start with God who made us, or with humans who remake themselves? You start with humanity and look up toward God, saying, “God, I have to be this way, I can’t be any other way!” Then you decide that God has no gender, and homosexuality is natural, and therefore acceptable to God.

                But what is this really about? Is it the Orthodox God you are seeking, or is it that you want the Orthodox Church to accept your homosexuality? See? What is your motive? What is the desire of your heart? Do you want the Body and Blood of Christ to deify you, or do you want the Orthodox Church to accept homosexuality? Do you want your lifestyle accepted in the Eastern Orthodox Church, or do you want deification? Now we are talking about choices. If you want deification, then at what price? How much do you want God? Or is this even about God?

                The core teaching of Orthodoxy is found in the words of St. Athanasius: “God became man that man might become God.”

                I would give up everything for this. Don’t say I don’t understand, that I don’t know how hard it is for you. I’m not a homosexual, but I know what real pain is, and I know what it is to give up everything for the sake of knowing God. It is not easy. It’s not supposed to be easy. Christians love an easy life, but an easy life is not what’s required, demanded, asked of us by God.

                Would you like to see the OCA accept homosexuality even if the other worldwide Orthodox Churches don’t? It might happen, but it will cause a schism. Do you expect the other Eastern Orthodox Church to accept homosexuality? I’m not asking if you want this; I know you do. But do you expect it to happen? Are the homosexual leaders within the Orthodox Churches working from behind the scenes to make homosexuality acceptable by simply adding themselves into the leadership so that eventually it will become the norm everywhere, without a real rising up from the so-called “traditionalists”? I’m asking.

              • There are now two Stephens here..I am now StephenD

              • Welcome to the conversation!

                God never said slavery was “good”. He did say man for woman was good and St. Paul went on about marriage being good. You are comparing apples and oranges. Further more, Science has made no such proofs of people being “born that way”. It is all still a mystery, unanswered.

              • Stephen said:

                The involuntary requirement of celibacy for LGBT people seems contrary to the much more understanding approach given to heterosexuals who divorce and re-marry. There’s nothing clearer in the gospels about Jesus’ teachings about marriage and divorce. Yet, the church has compromised that very openly.

                Can someone explain the apparent contradiction?

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Logan46. There is only an apparent contradition if one assumes a moral, physical and spiritual equivalence between homosexual and hetrosexual sex. There isn’t one.

                  The Church has never declare good the sins that lead to divorce. She allows remarriage because of the hardness of our hearts. With repentance, it is still possible for two such people to enter into a blessed state in marriage. Even there the souls are at risk without continual struggle not to allow the old sins to overtake them once again. Don’t know if it is widely used, but I understand there is a difference marriage service for those being remarried that references the justification of Rahab the harlot in the service. The Church has never said that there is anything good in divorce, only that God can restore goodness to what He has created because marriage is a fundamental good designed into His creation as a life-giving union between a man and a woman.

                  There is a limit beyond which the Church is unable to go and will not sanction any more attempts.

                  Such is simply impossible with homosexuals.

                  But, if one has a different anthropological vision in which homosexuality is a positive good and wishes to abandon the struggle for redemption and theosis, there are plenty of folks who have a similar vision with whom you can be comfortable.

                  The Orthodox Church requires of me that I confront my own sins and live a life of repentance. If I am un-willing to do that, I have no business in the Church. I have even less business attempting to conform the Church to my own will and desires.

                  • Thanks Michael for the response. I’m not advocating that Orthodoxy change its position on homosexuality. I understand your distinction that homosexual sex can never be acceptable, while heterosexual sex can be– within marriage. However, the church’s flexibility in allowing re-marriage after divorce constitutes a direct conflict with scripture? How can there be true repentance as long as the re-married couple remain married–in a state of adultery? Forgive my lack of knowledge, which is why I ask.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Many years ago I wrote a high school paper on divorce. My conclusion was that if God has joined the couple together, there will be no divorce, and therefore “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder” will stand. But if people, meaning, if a man and a woman join in marriage unwisely and should not be together in the first place, they married on their own and God did not “join” them together. A splitting apart is going to happen in these cases, and in this day and age, where people take whatever path is convenient or pretty at any given moment, free to act in a “free” world, divorce is completely acceptable. I’m not sure on the teachings of the Orthodox Church concerning divorce, but I am quite sure there is economia (if that’s the right term) when it comes to two people wrongly joined together.

                      Logan, why are you asking? Is this in some way related to the Church’s teaching on homosexuality?

                    • I never thought the Orthodox teaching on marriage conflicted with Scripture at all. There is a clear exception for adultery, and there are certainly ways of being adulterous without involving another human being. For example, I would expect to be able to divorce a spouse who left me for a bottle, who betrayed me by beating the snot out of me every night, or who converted to a heterodox religion.

                    • Jane Rachel said:

                      I’m not sure on the teachings of the Orthodox Church concerning divorce, but I am quite sure there is economia (if that’s the right term) when it comes to two people wrongly joined together.

                      Logan, why are you asking? Is this in some way related to the Church’s teaching on homosexuality?

                      An earlier poster pointed out an alleged incongruity between the Church’s position on homosexuality and its position on divorced persons who re-marry. Apparently, both are contrary to scripture. Yet, the Church has used its “discretion” to accept the re-marriage of divorced persons and not characterize it as ongoing adultery, when scripture seems to clearly indicate that it is. However, on the issue of committed same-sex couples, most everybody here feels the Church has no basis even to explore the issue.

                      One of the other responses to my query seemed to indicate that both instances were wrong, but homosexuality was more wrong because it was against our intended nature? Thus, what would normally be considered adultery, scripturally, can be accepted by the Church because it is in accord with our intended nature?

                      I have no hidden agenda and am only seeking a better understanding. (Not that it matters, but I’ve been married to the same most wonderful woman for the last 35 years.)

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      The Church does not grant divorce, but it does recognize divorce committed by its members, so members who remarry after divorce are not committing adultery.

                      Now about this:

                      One of the other responses to my query seemed to indicate that both instances were wrong, but homosexuality was more wrong because it was against our intended nature?

                      As I explained to my college-age daughter a while ago, between a man who fornicates with a woman and a man who fornicates with a man, there is one thing wrong with the former and two things wrong with the latter.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      The comment editor doesn’t seem to be working, so I’m having to post again to amplify my example.

                      Both the man who fornicates with a woman and the man who fornicates with a man are slaves to sexual desire, but one is also seriously deluded as to the proper object of sexual desire.

                    • Prospective Nomad says

                      It is necessary to distinguish between Orthodox teaching on divorce and remarriage and contemporary American Orthodox practice on the subject, because the two are in tension if not irreconcilable. Stephen and Logon46 are to be commended for pointing out a serious failure of moral and sacramental vision in modern American Orthodoxy, a failure born of a failure to distinguish between marriage as an institution revealed by nature and marriage as a mysterion that reveals heaven.

                      Marriage as a natural human institution evolved in every tribe on earth for a straightforward reason: In order for a tribe to survive, men must be prevented from killing each other over women. Making sexual access to a particular woman the exclusive privilege of a particular man accomplished this necessary goal and rechanneled male energy into more useful pursuits, like killing mastodons for food. During the agrarian ages, marriage became even more indispensable by establishing the rightful descent of property (thereby preventing conflict over it) and civilizing young males to uphold the honor of their father’s name. In this context, a society’s laws and mores regarding the ease or difficulty of divorce and remarriage could be strictly utilitarian: Make divorce too difficult, and you maximize domestic discord by making it impossible to end marriages, no matter how bad. Make divorce too easy, and you maximize social chaos. In seeking the right balance, the Jews ended up with the Mosaic “certificate of divorce” system that Jesus categorically condemned.

                      When industrialization came on the scene, the equilibrium point between domestic harmony and social order shifted radically. Inheritance of real property became a lot less important to most people. Old-age maintenance ceased to be a family responsibility and came to be accomplished through corporate and government pensions, which provided incomes but no inheritable assets. Geographic dispersion of families and the effective anonymity that comes with living in large cities diminished the importance of keeping up the family’s good name. Combined with a totally irrational system of spousal selection that produced a lot of bad marriages, these factors argued compellingly for much looser divorce laws, which swept 49 states in only a few years.

                      All of the foregoing social considerations are irrelevant to the sacramental vision of marriage as an icon of the relationship between Christ and the Church and as a means of theosis, a kenotic communion of the spouses with each other and, through each other, with God–hence St. Peter’s warning about marital discord inhibiting prayers (I Peter 3:7). Fr. Dn. Mitchell’s point about “the proper object of sexual desire” is correct in the natural vision of marriage. In the sacramental vision, however, it is sub-Christian to reduce anyone bearing the image of God to an object of desire. (Metropolitan JONAH’s Acton Institute speech on consumption vs. communion is applicable here.)

                      Embodying the sacramental vision rather than the natural one, the New Testament takes a hard line against divorce and remarriage because second marriages are false icons: Christ has no bride other than the Church, and we have no Bridegroom other than Christ. When we take a spouse other than the spouse of our youth, we incarnate a false eschatology. I’m not saying that such marriages can’t conduce to virtue and spiritual healing: God can bring light out of darkness. But from a sacramental perspective, such marriages are nonetheless lies about the nature of the Divine Bridal Chamber.

                      To be clear, the New Testament countenances divorce only in the case of abandonment by an unbelieving spouse (I Corinthians 7:15-16) and, perhaps, in case of adultery (depending on whether the word porneia in Matthew 5:32 is understood to include adultery (moixeia). The Church quickly affirmed that porneia includes forced prostitution. (It’s not an anachronism: I know a woman to whom it happened.) I am surprised to find myself disagreeing with Helga: St. Paul explicitly forbids a Christian to abandon an unbelieving spouse (I Corinthians 7:12-16).

                      I am also forced to disagree with Jane Rachel. As far as I know, the idea that the validity of a sacrament can be known only in retrospect, based on how it turns out, is wholly alien to Orthodox theology. What if we viewed Confession that way? Is your absolution retroactively nullified if you repeat a sin that you confessed? Are your intervening receptions of the Eucharist rendered retroactively unworthy? Of course not. Marriage is no different. If the sacrament is celebrated, then what has been bound on earth has been bound in heaven.

                      Helga rightly raises the point of abuse and other serious misbehavior, and this leads to a fact almost universally overlooked: In the New Testament scheme, divorce–even if justified–does not automatically entitle one to remarriage. In 1 Corinthians 7:11, St. Paul anticipates what the modern divorce laws call “irreconcilable differences.” He lays down a firm choice: Be reconciled or remain celibate. In fact, the New Testament countenances remarriage in only two circumstances: widowhood, preferably early in life (I Timothy 5:9-14) and abandonment by an unbelieving spouse (I Corinthinans 7:15).

                      Against this clear and high standard, informed by a sacramental vision of transfigured life, we have capitulations to the spirit of the age like the Orthodox Study Bible’s study note on Matthew 5:32–ironically the most categorical condemnation of divorce and remarriage in the entire Bible. The study note reads, in part: “While recognizing divorce as a serious sin, the Orthodox Church allows divorce and a second marriage as a concession to human weakness and as a corrective measure of compassion when a marriage has been broken.” This note appears in the 2008 edition. Compare it to the study note on the same verse from the 1993 edition: “The Orthodox Church thus allows divorce as a corrective measure of compassion when a marriage has unfortunately been broken.” The 1993 note made some sense: The Church does not insist on calling something alive when it is in fact dead. But note the complete absence of any reference to second marriages in the earlier edition. Apparently, in the 15 years between 1993 and 2008, the Unchanging Faith decided that everyone is newly entitled to a marital mulligan.

                      If an official Church study Bible can twist the plain language of the Gospel, effectively arguing that it means precisely the opposite of what it says, should we be surprised that others with ecclesiastical credentials do the same with passages relating to homosexuality? Stephen and Logon46 are right about this much: We can’t successfully plant our flag in the middle of the slippery slope, and it is unworthy of Orthodoxy to try.

                    • I am surprised to find myself disagreeing with Helga: St. Paul explicitly forbids a Christian to abandon an unbelieving spouse (I Corinthians 7:12-16).

                      If I converted to Orthodoxy after marrying a non-Orthodox person, I think 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 would apply in that instance. However, I’m already Orthodox, and the specific kind of case I was talking about is where my hypothetical spouse was Orthodox, and then left the Church after we were married.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Prospective Nomad, YES on so many levels. I don’t even “agree” (that word “agree” is in quotes because I don’t feel I can agree or disagree on these matters. I think more in terms of a) True Teaching; and b) human behavior, which are all-too-often at odds with each other) … anyways, I don’t “agree” with the idea of using economia wherever needed to make wrong actions acceptable, or in other words, that because humans are so pig-headed and stupid, the Church “allows” for this or that Scriptural teaching to be wiggled with. Not at all! The teachings must not be changed. They are very good just as they are. Words to live by: good, wise, moral and true.

                      In experience, it happens, on a one-to-one basis, with good shepherds of the flocks trying to find a way for their sheep to live. If the sheep are humble and trying to work out a way to get through their problems, sins, wrongdoings, hurt, and so forth, then the spiritual leader exercises leadership with understanding, making sure the sheep knows the Moral Road and gently moving him or her in that direction. This doesn’t mean the teachings can be changed to make it more convenient. Divorce is a tragedy. God says, “I hate divorce.” The Orthodox Study Bible note writer in the Matthew passage wants to wiggle out of Christ’s Words. No.

                      In my paper, I concluded that divorce results when God isn’t in the marriage, or ceases to be in the marriage. This is, I think, true. But that doesn’t make it right. It’s still wrong, it’s still tragic and destructive. But it happens. The Church is more organic than legalistic, and to me, this is where “economia” can sometimes be used to soften a situation and make it possible for people to live their lives. Sometimes. Carefully.

              • Stephen,

                How is it truthful to say that the Church’s prescription for sexual behavior “completely eliminates any intimacy between two persons” for those who experience same sex attraction and have not found any change? This is an exaggeration meant to ascribe to the Church an action foreign to her. Your statement is only applicable to sexual intimacy, which is hardly the only form of intimacy between two persons. The idea that experiencing sexual intercourse is necessary to human fulfillment is, and has always been, foreign to the Gospel.

                Your statement, “Logically, one cannot assign to one group of people the requirement for lifelong celibacy as we know biblically is a voluntary choice,” is simply false. The Church has always been clear that celibacy is prescribed for a large group of people—those who are not joined in heterosexual marriage. Of course, there’s another bit of confusion in your statement, that prescriptions by the Church for our salvation contravene free choice. The choice remains yours whether you submit yourself to the healing prescriptions or not. The pursuit of salvation is solidly and always your choice, and the choice is particularly difficult when it comes to areas that have been habitually reinforced passions for years—whether one is speaking of homosexual attraction, other aberrant sexual attractions, addiction to substances, sinful pride, envy, resentments, etc. It is never easy to war with the passions, as passions have often been reinforced in various ways as one has practiced them. The same goes with disordered sexual attractions reinforced for many years by pleasant sensual experiences.

                Yes, many simplistic individuals choose to view same sex attraction as a simple “choice,” but many on the “LGBTQ” side of things seem to engage in an equally simplistic presumption (at least for public consumption) that this is all somehow determined (in your choice of phrase, “a priori”), genetically, before any choice is operative. This is in spite of a rich history of LGBTQ literature which extols the mutability of sexual attraction itself and exhorts readers to all kinds of experimentation. Not to mention that it is strange, at least, to imagine sexual attraction as immutable while the same ideological forces argue that gender itself is whatever one makes of it. I guess whatever transgresses Tradition, not to mention common sense, is to be allowed no matter the self-contradicting ideological pretzel one creates. Recent data has strongly supported an inherited factor in regard to alcohol addiction. Does this therefore entail that we treat this simply as an “a priori” characteristic against which we can do nothing? Of course not. We understand that genetics is a small piece of the puzzle which leads to the man. In the case of addiction, a genetic predisposition coupled with familial traumas, examples of addiction, reinforced personal behaviors supporting addiction, and a series of choices made over a great deal of time in response to a wide variety of provocations builds the habits of the man, and takes a great deal of time and effort to redo. The recidivism rate for those fighting addiction to substances is quite high; does this mean we give up on trying? Similarly, I presume there is a genetic piece to same sex attraction (though one can hardly point to this as established), but to act as if a series of relational choices made in response to all the persons with which one comes into contact during development has nothing to do with shaping one’s adult sexual attraction is simplistic. A new kink has also been brought into this debate with the newer knowledge we are gaining of the plastic nature of even the adult brain, that new circuits can be formed not only in response to medications, but also in response to traumatic experiences and, somewhat surprisingly, by psychotherapy. And far more than a kink is introduced when one considers the miraculous uncreated Grace of our Lord which can raise the dead! Are you arguing that we continue to believe God raises the dead, while also harboring the belief that He is powerless against healing disordered sexual attractions?

                BTW, prior to experiencing change during repeated confessions, participation—with tearful prayers—in the Eucharist, and counseling from a loving Father—my priest, I was same sex attracted. I also experienced this as if it were “a priori.” From my earliest memories I knew I felt and perceived differently than other boys, and, when puberty hit me and I experienced erotic attraction, I was attracted to other boys and men. At first, like many, I simply denied this, until my own behaviors and my constant reinforcement of this attraction in different ways made it undeniable. Thankfully, prior to Orthodoxy, I had a modicum of Christian faith which kept me from some extremes in my experience which I might otherwise have enjoyed. By ending my denial, but instead choosing to repent honestly, and getting up after many, many falls, I began to be reshaped by the Potter. Praise God! That life is now years behind me, but still, the concept of same sex attraction, while I see it as disordered, certainly does not repel me in the same way as it might someone who cannot relate. That is, it still seems a very understandable behavior for one to engage in. But this whole focus on “a priori” is another issue…what deep-seated passion does not seem to be present in our fallen state from our very roots? While all the passions are unnatural, they certainly seem to start out quite early and seem intertwined with who we are from the beginning, almost as if they are natural. But we know that is a lie, a lie which, if embraced, can damn. Thank God that mercy triumphs over judgment!

                Last, your statement about how you find it “unhelpful for all of us to speak only with those who we agree with about controversial issues,” makes me hope that perhaps you will listen to me. My mere experience does not guarantee truth, but its consonance with what the Church teaches about the power of the sacraments to change persons is striking to me. Striking in a way which makes me believe that my experience is true because it conforms to the practice of the Church, and we know that Tradition is the Truth. In regard to “controversial issues,” while I trust you are sincere in phrasing things in this particular manner, it appears disingenuous to many who are not in agreement with you. In what way has this subject been controversial in the Church until you and other “LGBTQ” people told us it was? And what prescription of the Church would remain uncontroverted by someone if the Church were to act as if dialogue could change its mind on this?

              • Stephen, the dichotomy is not beteen “fundamentalilsm” and gnositicism per se. Fundamentalism is a word that has surplus meaning (as Fr Hans has pointed out). It can mean anything. If however we take it to mean something that is fundamental to the faith, i.e. foundational, then yes, it is the opposite pole of gnosticism and those sins and teachings that lead to it (i.e. homosexuality).

              • Thereby the church is imposing a requirement contrary to its purpose in the church, completely eliminates any intimacy between two persons.

                Stephen, incorrect. The Church affirms deep intimacy between men and men, and women and women. In fact, this intimacy is necessary for a person to remain spiritually sound. It’s a way that the Great Commandment to love God and neighbor is fulfilled. It is affirmed all through scripture, especially the ones that refer to friend as brother. It is replicated all through human experience, men going hunting, men getting together for a beer and conversation, men helping men build homes, fix cars, talk politics, play golf, go to hockey games — all the stuff that guys like to do.

                What the Church teaches is that these relationships are not to become eroticized. Sexual eros is not to enter them. Why? Because it destroys healthy intimacy.

                Your notion that without sexual contact no intimacy is possible is tainted by assumptions operating the dominant culture. It’s because real intimacy has been so cheapened that people believe that the only way to experience real human contact is through the body. That’s what hooking up is all about.

                Men need fellowship — real intimacy — with other men. Women need fellowship — real intimacy — with other women. If a man has a friend or two where this intimacy takes place, where the friendship is deep and the commitment is such that they are brothers to each other, then he is fortunate and also more whole. It is the way God made us. If eroticism enters this relationship however, then the intimacy is destroyed because it cannot bear the weight of that sin.

                From the other direction, the healing of homosexual desire deals with learning how to have the kinds of relationships with other men that are not eroticized. The man struggling with same-sex desire has to deal with the internal blockages that drive this longing for healthy intimacy into sexual desire for the same sex.

                That’s why I argue that the traditionalist (one who holds to the moral tradition but still loves the neighbor — and the homosexual is my neighbor) can have a more authentic encounter with a homosexual than the person who pretends that homosexuality is morally equivalent to heterosexuality.

                • Many responses and I am grateful to all who have spent time and effort to bring to the discussion their own point of view as well as what is definitely the traditional Orthodox position. It is known with sufficient certainty that those writing the sacred literature were unaware of a concept of homosexuality within the framework of eros. There were two histroric accidents which brought to the Church a misunderstanding pf the entirety of same sex attraction. One is the issues of the Jews concerning the Law and how one is to live the within the context of the Talmud.

                  The second had to do with the abuse of slaves by forcing them to have same sex relations with their owners. This St. Paul deals with in Romans.

                  But first, we see a rich tradition of interpretation of the Talmud, much as we have the Orthodox Tradition/traditions of today. Let us look at some specific rules which are part of the Talmud. Deuteronomy 15 12-18

                  “If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, sells himself to you, he is to serve you for six years, but in the seventh year you shall dismiss him from your service, a free man.

                  When you do so, you shall not send him away empty-handed,

                  but shall weight him down with gifts from your flock and threshing floor and wine press, in proportion to the blessing the LORD, your God, has bestowed on you.
                  For remember that you too were once slaves in the land of Egypt, and the LORD, your God, ransomed you. That is why I am giving you this command today.

                  If, however, he tells you that he does not wish to leave you, because he is devoted to you and your household, since he fares well with you,

                  you shall take an awl and thrust it through his ear into the door, and he shall then be your slave forever. Your female slave, also, you shall treat in the same way.

                  You must not be reluctant to let your slave go free, since the service he has given you for six years was worth twice a hired man’s salary; then also the LORD, your God, will bless you in everything you do.

                  This is no longer done by Jews or Christians? Why not? Is there a release from this tradition been made in Sacred Scripture?

                  “It is in the following case that a homicide may take refuge in such a place to save his life: when someone unwittingly kills his neighbor to whom he had previously borne no malice.

                  For example, if he goes with his neighbor to a forest to cut wood, and as he swings his ax to fell a tree, its head flies off the handle and hits his neighbor a mortal blow, he may take refuge in one of these cities to save his life.

                  Should the distance be too great, the avenger of blood may in the heat of his anger pursue the homicide and overtake him and strike him dead, even though he does not merit death since he had previously borne the slain man no malice.
                  DE 19: 4-6

                  First, if you feel you can, explain the sense of this. Obviously this requirement no longer applies to even the Jews much less to Christians. Who decided this? When was this disallowed?

                  “If a man has a stubborn and unruly son who will not listen to his father or mother, and will not obey them even though they chastise him,
                  6 his father and mother shall have him apprehended and brought out to the elders at the gate of his home city,
                  where they shall say to those city elders, ‘This son of ours is a stubborn and unruly fellow who will not listen to us; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’
                  Then all his fellow citizens shall stone him to death. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel, on hearing of it, shall fear.
                  7 “If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his corpse hung on a tree,
                  8 it shall not remain on the tree overnight. You shall bury it the same day; otherwise, since God’s curse rests on him who hangs on a tree, you will defile the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you as an inheritance. DE 21: 18-23

                  All of these are no longer in vogue today. When were Christians prohibited from this action? Why are these statutes no longer in effect?

                  You shall not wear cloth of two different kinds of thread, wool and linen, woven together.

                  This is a personal favorite–same questions.

                  This whole chapter has lots of requirements for stonings which no longer are required–but why?

                  Yet, with all the changes that have been agreed to over time, the obominations that are allowed nowadays and there is this insistence on continuing to express that LGBT people as obominations. OK; you heterosexuals can divorce AND re-marry for causes such as “cruelty” or” incompatibility,” yet LGBT people in a monogamous relationship cannot have physical intimacy?

                  It is late; I do have some other points to make. And don’t be saying that the Episcopalians got to these first as a way to dismiss their validity. I wasn’t involved in that matter.

                  Peace amid holiness.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says


                    Let’s begin! In regards to the Old Testament/Torah regulations of morality I give you the following statements of two Orthodox Jewish Rabbis:

                    Orthodox Rabbi Yosef Edelstein writes:

                    So, at least theoretically, the Torah can be said to be pro-capital punishment. It is not morally wrong, in absolute terms, to put a murderer to death… However, things look rather different when we turn our attention to the practical realization of this seemingly harsh legislation. You may be aware that it was exceedingly difficult, in practice, to carry out the death penalty in Jewish society… I think it’s clear that with regard to Jewish jurisprudence, the capital punishment outlined by the Written and Oral Torah, and as carried out by the greatest Sages from among our people (who were paragons of humility and humanity and not just scholarship, needless to say), did not remotely resemble the death penalty in modern America (or Texas). In theory, capital punishment is kosher; it’s morally right, in the Torah’s eyes. But we have seen that there was great concern—expressed both in the legislation of the Torah, and in the sentiments of some of our great Sages — regarding its practical implementation. It was carried out in ancient Israel, but only with great difficulty. Once in seven years; not 135 in five and a half.

                    —Rabbi Yosef Edelstein, Director of the Savannah Kollel

                    Orthodox Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan writes:

                    In practice, however, these punishments were almost never invoked, and existed mainly as a deterrent and to indicate the seriousness of the sins for which they were prescribed. The rules of evidence and other safeguards that the Torah provides to protect the accused made it all but impossible to actually invoke these penalties… the system of judicial punishments could become brutal and barbaric unless administered in an atmosphere of the highest morality and piety. When these standards declined among the Jewish people, the Sanhedrin… voluntarily abolished this system of penalties.

                    —(Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Handbook of Jewish Thought, Volume II, pp. 170-71

                    This is not to say that stonings did not occur, but Jewish law, like modern law, requires due process, a trial, competent evidence, two to more witnesses, and before a capital punishment be issues other more lenient sentences would be carried out.

                    For example, in modern American State Criminal Law there is First Degree Pre-Meditated Murder that may or may not carry the death penalty, but always carries time in jail. How often is this law carried out to the Full (i.e. to death)? in the overall grand sceme of things rarely? Why? Because the law codified society’s disapproval of certain activities, and really drove the point home by attaching an extreme form of punishment to it. This is EXACTLY what is occuring in the Torah/Mosaic Law.

                    Now why was Homosexual sex stated as an abomination by God? Several reasons: First, it completely destroys and denies the creation of a naturally balanced and blessed family that is the bedrock of all socities. No families no societies. Simple as that. Second, the practice of Homosexual sex carried with it, and STILL carries with it, the very high risk of sexually transmitted disease, which in a small tribal community or in a modern global society the spread of a deadly STD would decimate and devastate that tribal community, just like the Pandemic of AIDS is decimating whole scores of Humans around the world. Third, there is NO procreation at law! None! Now the old canarde of Straight couples not being able to conceive is just as bad, but it is NOT!

                    A man and Woman that cannot concieve can still adopt and properly nuture that child(ren) in a sexually dymorphic setting, where a same-sex couple cannot. A child needs a Mother AND a Father for proper grown and development.

                    Thus, these moral codes embody God’s revealed wish and intentions that certain behaviors must remain off limits as they are destructive of community, family and individual. The Capital Punishment aspect of it is the express emphasis of how seriously God takes and society views such behavior. The so-called exclamation point. It WOULD occur, but repentance came first. Mercy came first. Reconciliation came first. Love came first. Only when the person was completely unrepentent, and the rish and danger to society so great would extreme puinishment then occur, and even then you would have banishment and shunning before death. Death was the last of all solutions. Rabbinic scholas and the Talmad itself make this very clear.

                    As for the New Testament, the words of Jesus Christ are clear and do not need further explanation. Jesus talked about the ruin and fall of Sodom and Gomorriah, but stated that vengence was now the Lord’s and the Lord’s alone. In fact, many of the punishments, even the capital punishments, according to Christ, were because of the hardness of men’s hearts during the time of Moses and the Old Testament dispensation. But this was NEVER God’s idea or wish.

                    The declaration of what is a sin and abomination is of God and has been from the very beginning, but it was due to the hardness of men’s hearts that Punishments, and bills of Divorce, and so on were added. But Christ returned us to the original intent of God’s law – Sin is still sin, an Abomination is still and Abomination, but its not man that punishes, BUT God.

                    We see in the story of Sodom and Gomorriah that it was God that Punished the Homosexuals, NOT man! In the Torah we were are given the law of God pure and simple, but due to the hardness of men’s hearts (Stubborn insistence on that which they were doning was right and not wrong), extreme measures were needed to protect the People of God from this depravity.

                    By the Time of Christ Jesus swept away the harshness of the Punishment and replaced it with the love and mercy of the Gospel, which I would submit was always there in acient Israel and traditional Judaism. Otherwise, none of the Jews of Jesus’ time would have listened and understood his Gospel of Mercy love and forgivness.

                    Yet, just because the punishment of the Law was replaced by the Love and Mercy of God it did NOT mean that sin stopped being sin. On the contrary, it remained sin and it remained wrong, but not the Holy Spirit would convict men’s hearts and souls, and sinners would spiritually punish themselves becuase by their actions they separated themselves from the life and love of Christ. By their own actions they darkened their own souls.

                    Only through submission to Christ and His Holy Gospel will you ever be freed of your Homosexuality. CHRIST TAKES AWAY THE GAY AND THEN PRAYER AND FASTING KEEPS IT AWAY!

                    In the Love of Christ Jesus

                    Peter A. Papoutsis

                • With regard to not eroticizing all the men I may have a personal relationship with–of course not. I have many of those man-man type intimacy that do not become sexualized. So do almost all the gay males I know.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says


                    You lack of complete knowledgeof the biblical text and law is truly amazing. I really do not know where to begin with this out and out ridiculous rant of yours. This requires a full length rebuttal to each one of your points. I must seriously sit down and draft a full length response to each and everyone of your points. I also believe that you are well aware of the traditional and Orthodox answers and are playing coy so as to illcit an emotional response.

                    I bid you peace for now.

              • Really? Stephen. This is your arguement: I am gay. You can’t insist that I should not be. Being gay is natural. Therefore the true church must support it. Here is my thesis. You are doing something opposed to this church- I hope.- and you are going to shove it down this churches council to change their belief and accept your view.
                I look at the Australians view: We are a christian country. If you don’t like it- get out.

  9. I really appreciated this article it sure does help fill in some of the missing pieces. Thank you for the research.

  10. Fr. Arida has a very personal interest in the topic of same-sex marriages because his daughter is a civily partnered lesbian. I don’t share this to dismiss his poInt of view but to put it in more context. It would appear that Father has made his peace with such a reality with his daughter and I have no reason to doubt that she is a fine person, but personal agendas are just that, personal and a priest has no right to change Church teachings to support his own way of thinking when it runs counter to what the Church teaches.

    I feel for Fr. Arida but his attempts to chip away at Orthodoxy and those like Igna and Stokoe and several OCA bishops with their stunning silence on the topic give open and tacit support for same-sex marriages.

    Muzik had it right and that is why one big reason StOkoe went after him so hard.

    Time to wake up folks. There a lavender mafia in the OCA and it is well entrenched in every level of church life and administration.

    • Michael Bauman says

      So, Fr.Arida wishes to join his daughter in damnation, OK, but leave the rest of us out please.

      Failing to repent of any sin, especially besetting ones, leads to damnation BTW,not just homosexuality. I wonder if I started a movement for the normalization of anger if it would get the same traction?

      • Well, in that case, I’d say he has the mark of someone painfully trying to keep his daughter close while remaining Orthodox. Sometimes, it’s easier to cling to arguments that appear to allow you to have it both ways, than to realize you have to choose one way or the other.

        Sadly, what he doesn’t realize is that his present course will accomplish neither. Continuing to adhere to these teachings will not only alienate him from the Church, he’s also driving his daughter (and all homosexuals who come to him) further away from Christ with these lies.

      • O Hamartolos says

        Your reply is too harsh, brother. Even St. Paul wished he was accursed if it meant the salvation of the Jew’s. But, like Paul, being accursed himself would not save the Jews. Fr. Robert’s intentions are guineley compassionate, but in the end, condoning sin doesn not take away the need to repent from the sinner.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Genuine compassion would entail Fr. Arida making a statement, similar to St. Paul’s to his daughter and to others: I would that I could give my own soul to save you from the damnation you are prusuing. Repent. He is not doing that, he is compounding the sin by acquiescing to it. On top of that, he is essentially demanding that the rest of us also acquiesce in the sin and condeminig us if we do not.

          That is not compassion, that is not empathy, it is a denial of the Church, the salvation of his daugther’s soul and, IMO, is narcissistic cowardice.

          I am saddened that he chooses to give up the gifts of the Church and hope he repents and his daughter as well, but if he does not, I’d just as soon he not keep asking the rest of us to go with him. Perhaps if someone he knows and respects were to speak to him the truth without faux understanding, it would bring him back. Certainly it is the only thing that has ever brought me back from my own sinfulness.

    • “He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37)

  11. Fr. Robert’s talk has already been translated into Russian and posted on “Pravmir.Ru”:

    As an outsider (non-Orthodox) looking in, it seems to me that the Russians are not fully aware of what is happening in Orthodox circles in the USA. Hopefully more warnings can be sent to Moscow.

  12. Fr. Johannes Jacobse should try out for the olympics as a long jumper, what with the huge leaps of logic he makes in his article.

    Can you believe it?–there is a facebook group dedicated to promoting the homosexual agenda within the Orthodox Church. If it’s on facebook, it must be a big deal! And it has all of 124 members. Just slightly fewer than the 639 members of the group “Can Heidi the Cross eyed Opossum Get More Fans than Justin Bieber?”

    O dear me, Bishop Nikon is facebook friends with Inga Leonova. That must mean he holds the exact same opinions she does on every issue in the world! Give me a break! Being facebook friends indicates no such thing. It neither proves that Bishop Nikon is aware of Inga’s views or approves of them.

    And finally there’s that gay-lover Fr. Robert Arida who–can you believe it?–suggests an approach to same sex couples that falls short of Westboro Baptist’s “God Hates Fags” campaign. He expects us to love people? Really?!? What a bleeding heart liberal!

    Yep, the signs are unmistakable–there would be gay marriages in the cathedrals by spring if it weren’t for that pesky Metropolitan Jonah. I’m sure of it. (whatever)

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Kirk, your obeisance at the Altar of Tolerance inevitably leads to the demolition of standards. I prefer the words of John Adams: Be not wheedled out your liberties by those who urge tolerance. (A paraphrase.)

      • Michael Bauman says

        In engineering too much tolerance leads to a machine not functioning properly or blowing apart. By, ‘tolerance’ people too often mean apathy in the face of sin and heresy. Mercy is not tolerance, Mercy is applied in full recognition of the straight and narrow road to salvation and a desire to adhere to it.

        BTW, if such wrong headedness is coming from the altar, why sit there and accept it: Silence means consent. Walk out or publically refute it (simply and with grace) and then depart. Come back again next Sunday, but walk out each time the sermon veres in the wrong direction.

  13. N. Spassky says

    I am leaving the OCA. I don’t know if I’m going to go to ROCOR, or go to the Antiochian jurisdiction parish in my city, but I have concluded that this is not a fight we orthodox Orthodox (to coin a phrase) can win. The rot is much further along than I realized until this disaster with Metr. Jonah came up. Did you see on the Inga Leonova FB page that the other St. Vlad’s faculty members who are “friends” of that page are Meyendorff and Bouteneff? An Orthodox academic friend said to me earlier this year that after a visit to the seminary this spring, he was shocked and discouraged to conclude that “most of the faculty” were fellow travelers of Stokoe (he did not name names). I found that hard to believe, but then when I saw the names of those men, including Fr. Behr, on the Inga site, I had to think again.

    It is possible that they simply responded to friend invitations without thinking about it, as many FB people do. I was not able to find any contribution by any of those men to the so-called “dialogue” on that site (which is, as someone has pointed out, in truth a one-way monologue). Maybe they didn’t know what they were getting into. On the other hand, the name of that FB page lays its agenda out clearly. I’m trying to understand why they would have joined it if they didn’t have at least some sympathy with it. Are these wise men so naive as to not have learned from the Episcopalian example that to put dogmatic moral teaching of the church up for “discussion” and “dialogue,” especially when it comes to progressives, is to begin a process that ends with the defeat of the orthodox position. Father Richard John Neuhaus called this “Neuhaus’ Law”: Whereover orthodoxy is optional, it is eventually proscribed. Whether the St. Vladimir’s faculty crowd are being useful idiots for the pro-gay crowd, or are actual agents of their agenda, is something I don’t know, but I do know that they have no business on that Leonova site, and until they withdraw from it, I feel that I have no choice but to consider them compromised. I hope that one of George’s readers will have information to the contrary, because I don’t want to judge them wrongly. I have always respected the faculty of the seminary, but this is a very serious issue, homosexuality in the Church. We have seen it breaking other churches in our country, and now it is doing the same thing to us. I will not be part of a jurisdiction that has compromised on this issue, but if the top leadership in the episcopate and in the seminaries has capitulated, then I believe that the battle has more or less been lost.

    That is actually what I believe. Jonah’s authority has been broken by the Synod. I wish I believed his was a cause worth defending, but I no longer do. When he appointed [DELETED], a gay priest who lives with a gay Georgetown professor, allegedly his longtime companion, to oversee the cathedral until a new dean is chosen, I knew that all was lost. His Beatitude well knows what the story is with [DELETED]. He either doesn’t care, or is too weak to stop it. I am convinced that His Beatitude believes the right things with regard to homosexuality, but I am now equally convinced that he is a weak man, and cannot stand up to the problem in his own cathedral. If he can’t make a stand there, why do we who have supported him for so long think he will be a strong and effective leader going forward to the AAC? I have reached this painful conclusion reluctantly, but I don’t see any alternative. I need to believe that “our side” has a leader, but I no longer believe we do. [DELETED] gave a sermon recently in which he chastised people for “intolerance.” It won’t be long before the congregation is subject to sermons on homophobia. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan sits there, passively. Why?

    That is why I have decided that I have no future in the OCA. It truly is going to become the Episcopal Church. This crisis with Jonah only shows how far the corruption of OCA elites has gotten. Over the years, I have spoken to people who have been interested in leaving the EC for Orthodoxy because they believed that Orthodoxy was solid on sexual issues, whereas the EC was totally compromised. I have pointed out to them that unlike Roman Catholicism, where the official teaching on homosexuality is seriously compromised by the bishops and in daily parish life, Orthodoxy is not a place where we have those kinds of fights, because the doctrine is settled, and that’s that. I now see that I was wrong, and that we are no better than the Catholics.

    I am welcoming of correction on any of this. In truth, I hope I’m wrong. I don’t think I am.

    • Jane Rachel says

      No, you’re not “wrong” because you are simply stating facts. Thanks for your thoughts, you have spoken the truth.

      • Father Denis was picked for many reasons and it is not because Met.Jonah is weak…what is Dreher going to say about this? a partnered Dean at St.Nicholas? This is where the hypocriscy begins to become sickening

        • Jane Rachel says

          Okay, I take it back. I don’t know whether Metropolitan Jonah is weak.

        • I thought Fr. Valery Shemchuk was taking over duties as dean until a new one could be found.

          • Priest Valery Shemchuk – Acting Dean

            Address: 3500 Massachusetts Ave NW

            Yes…Father Valery is the acting Dean….Father [DELETED] is there though so there is a “partnered” priest at St.Nicholas…is Met,Jonah going to suspend him?
            Isn’t this just like the “partnered” Deacon at St.Seraphim in Dallas?
            Maybe Met.Jonah isn’t as against this issue as you want him to be

            • Well, Fr. Denis is attached to that altar.

              So are Fr. Ray Velencia and Fr. Alexander Garklavs, neither of whom I would call rock stars of the Orthodox priesthood.

              The St. Nicholas cathedral altar is a common place to put priests with nowhere else to go. A priest must be attached to an altar and bishop somewhere and cathedrals can sometimes be catch-alls for that purpose.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Garklavs “attachment” is just as troubling, considering he’s a notorious back-stabber and underminer. If I were +Jonah, I’d “unattach” all these problematic priests, whether they’re homosexual or just plain unscrupulous.

                • It’s not troubling to me, as it’s a canonical requirement to have Fr. Garklavs attached to an altar. I don’t think Fr. Garklavs actually serves at St. Nicholas at all, since he still lives in New York and works in Syosset. The primary purpose of changing where he was attached was likely to make it so Fr. Garklavs would no longer be serving at St. Sergius chapel.

                  Truth be told, Fr. Garklavs probably deserves to be defrocked for what he did to Metropolitan Jonah. But as his bishop, it’s Metropolitan Jonah’s prerogative to either do that or not.

            • Stephen

              Your accusation against Deacon Norris is baseless and cowardly. The man is 81 years old. Get a life and stop your feeble attempt diversion.

              • nicole troon says

                Hello, I am Nicole from St Seraphim’s/St Sava’s in Dallas but did NOT write this post. Whoever did named someone at the Cathedral and I am surprised Mr. Michalopolus did not delete the name of that deacon. I do personally like this deacon very much and have no idea or comment about his personal life. I again wonder why all bloggers and commenters do not go through the church process of reporting anyone about whom they have concerns with evidence to the spiritual court. May God help all of us refrain from acting on our particular sins whatever they may be. I agree with all that the Orthodox Church is firm and true in its beliefs which should not be changed ever. However it is easy to forget the nonsexual sins to which we are tempted When commenting on the internet. Whoever the other “Nicole” is, I hope she will identify and distinguish herself hereafter. Mr M can easily do so if he will since my email address identifies me to him.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Nicole, please forgive the oversight. I simply don’t have any time to screen all posts. My post entitled “caution” is my caveat out there and helpful reminder to all my correspondents (and to let me off the hook). It’s important to remember that Monomakhos is committed to free and open debate. I’ve even accepted criticism directed towards me, some of it quite vituperative. I’ve proven that time and time again.

                  This will be my last plea: I don’t want any clergyman named or his living arrangements mentioned as this is not my concern. HOWEVER, if a clergyman makes a statement publicly (i.e. sermon, essay, blog-posting) which is arguable, debatable, controversial, or even heretical, then his words and his identity are fair game.

        • What will Dreher say?

          I submit that the issue is not whether Rod Dreher, or even Metropolitan Jonah, is a good guy or a bad guy. The real issue is the apparent widespread indifference at the highest levels of the OCA to core tenets of the moral teaching of the Orthodox Church. I had hoped Metropolitan Jonah was part of the solution to that problem; perhaps I was wrong. If I was wrong, if Met. Jonah is as compromised as anyone else in the leadership on this issue, what is the way forward?

    • If you go to the Antiochians make sure you ask them how those open transparent audits are going…

      • Michael Bauman says

        The money situation in the AOA is quite open: Met Philip says I’ve got the money and I’ll do with it what I want. You’ll find out what that is when I die and you get it. With the backing of the Synod in Syria, there is no way to do anything else. That being said, I rather doubt that he would tolerate any of the gay agenda in his archdiocese. Bishop Basil signed the Manhattan Declaration, Bishop Thomas came out in public support of it. Bishop Antoun is in line with Met. Philip. That leaves Bishop Joseph out in LA. He is the heir apparent to the office of the Metropolitan and an old country bishop. Don’t know the man at all, but seems unlikely that he would fall in with the gay agenda either.

        Given Bp Mark’s performance in the OCA, having Met Philip as our Metropolitan could be a lot worse. It’s going to be a mess when he dies, but we will cross that brigde when we come to it.

    • Dear N. Spassky,

      Yes I heard the appalling sermon from Fr. Dennis. And I knew exactly what he was referring to. One of our deacons turned away a married (to a muslim) gay woman from the chalice, who is very vocal at St. Nicholas Cathedral, DC. The sermon was given the following week when the deacon and Met Jonah were gone and would not have been so bad except for the tone and only half of the Gospel being spoken. Instead of Pointing out how the Samaritan woman turned from her sin, Fr. Dennis elaborated that we should not judge people and left it at that. Fr. Dennis is gone/removed now. Fr. Valery is acting Dean until the right fit is found. Met. Jonah only wants seasoned Priests. So it’s hard to pull priests who are comfortable in their posts and one who has the balls to face our congregation, with your boss right around the corner. I have to say, it’s one of the most interesting parishes I’ve ever been in.
      Also, I have heard recently (but not read-though my hubby has) of a letter that was sent by Met. J. on this issue to all priests and deacons in the OCA. I have heard it champions the Tradition appropriately and is very loving. So I believe this issue is being addressed, although not loudly, but pastorally.

      • Colette, did that happen when Met. Jonah went to California a few weeks ago to attend a friend’s funeral?

        Also, Stokoe reported something about the possibility of Met. Jonah taking the position as dean. Can I ask you what your thoughts are on that?

      • Heracleides says

        Seeking to learn more, I came across a blog called “The Homodox Confessions” containing material by Victor de Villa Lapidisan, an ‘out’ parishioner of St. Nicholas Cathedral in DC. I found the anti-Jonah stance of Victor (see below) typical of the breed; of more interest to me was the fact that the blogger writes (admittedly, in passing) of speaking with a certain homosexual priest attached to St. Nicholas Cathedral whom has been the topic of much conversation in this thread. In any event, this portion of the drivel is what jumped out at me:

        “For my part I have tried to argue in this place, and will continue to argue, that homosexuality does not contravene natural law, and need not contravene canon law; that it is forbidden neither by the Christian scriptures nor by the Church’s dogmatic authority: so many words. But words clearly will not persuade His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonas, primate of the Orthodox Church in America, who in his most current statement on the topic at my own home cathedral, on the occasion of the National Right-to-Life March, repeatedly associated homosexuality with abortion (without explanation) and repeatedly asserted their incompatibility with the “gospel of Jesus Christ” (again without explanation).

        The metropolitan gives the impression of a man whose mind is made up…”

        To the last of which I can only say THANK GOD!

        For those interested in reading more, take a look at:

        • Met. Jonah isn’t the only person leaving the impression that his mind is made up. Victor seems just as resolute albeit from the other direction.

          Further, is it really true that scripture, dogma, canon law don’t prohibit homosexual behavior? Of course not. The only way to justify an assertion like this is by arguing that words don’t really mean what they say.

          Met. Jonah is on the right side of this question. Some questions are closed and this is one of them. Victor has to decide if he wants to live according to the moral tradition or continue in his homosexual lifestyle.

          The third option, that Orthodoxy will sanction homosexual behavior in the same ways that, say, the Episcopalians have, is a non-starter. Sorry to break the news to you Victor, but that’s not going to happen.

          Victor has a public website and is quite open about his disagreements with Orthodox moral teaching, by the way. Calling him out on it is entirely appropriate.

      • I stand corrected-he sent it out to his diocese only. I have read it and we have a champion for the Holy Apostolic Church-rest assured.

      • N. Spassky says

        I had not heard that Fr. Denis was sent away. Is he still on staff at the cathedral, or has he been dismissed? Is he not in ministry there? If not, that is great news, encouraging news! I have never doubted that Met. Jonah is on the right side, the Orthodox side, of the question of homosexuality. I only have concerns about his ability to do anything about it … both his willingness to make the hard calls, and the extent that this Synod is allowing him to make them. For example, Bishop Nikon is allowing Fr. Arida to say such nonsense at his own cathedral. That tells us all we need to know about where he stands on the matter … but also his refusal as locum tenens of the DOS to correct Jonah’s error in restoring that archdeacon to the altar in the Miami cathedral.

        • Fr Denis is on holiday in Canada for the summer. He and his partner own a home in Nova Scotia. His partner is a well-known doctor and a former Carhedral parishioner until he retuned to the Roman Church. Whether Fr. Denis will return to St. Nicholas is up to Met. Jonah. It is time that this “open secret” is confronted at St. Nicholas Cathedral. The question is will he face up to this in his own backyard?

          • N. Spassky says

            Yes, exactly right. If His Beatitude is too weak morally, or too weak in terms of his administrative position within a church governed by a Synod that hates him, to deal with this problem in his own cathedral, then that sends a clear signal to the rest of the OCA. We will see later this summer what happens.

            What do the parishioners at the cathedral think? Are they happy to have a partnered gay man as a priest at the cathedral? Has the community stuck together because of an unspoken agreement to overlook what is obvious? Is it possible that this issue could cause it to split?

            • Is it possible that Metropolitan Jonah has been trying to help Fr. Denis repent, before resorting to defrocking him? After all, it was this sort of alleged attitude towards sexual misconduct that reportedly got Met. Jonah in trouble with the SMC, and led to the SMPAC memorandum. And keeping him at the DC cathedral is a great way for Met. Jonah to keep an eye on him.

              I’m not saying that this is a brilliant move on Met. Jonah’s part, but let’s not forget that Met. Jonah is nothing if not an abbot and a spiritual father at heart, and it really wouldn’t shock me to see him trying to treat such a sin like an illness rather than a legal infraction.

              • A cathedral parish is not a monastery. If the metropolitan is taking the pastoral approach you suggest, he ought to change tactics. Otherwise, in his effort to help the priest (does he really want to be helped?), the metropolitan will further scandalize those inside and outside the OCA.

                • I’m just saying that it might not be what it looks like. Then again, it might well be exactly what it looks like. So I’d really encourage the DC cathedral community members to gather the evidence they have with respect to this priest, and take it to Metropolitan Jonah himself.

            • Do we want a partnered priest at our parish??!! NO! Fr. Denis has been at the parish for years. I’ve been there for 10 years and I just found out he was partnered. Although I suspected he was warm to the idea.

              The church may be split on the issue. But not down the middle. I know of some who are pro same-sex marriage, but way more very vocal people who are against it. Anyone with children or working with children feel very strongly against it as do the slavs. I think if people understand that to follow the Churches teachings means to minister to same-sex attraction and not to reject the person or wish them to leave, those few who are for same-sex partners in my parish would warm up to enforcing church teachings.

              • I need to clarify my post, when I mentioned ‘I just found out” that Fr. Denis was partnered, I meant from this blog. I have no idea otherwise and would hate to have him disciplined if it’s not true, although a lot of people seem to think so. Why? I have been told through a second-hand source that Fr. Denis denies this. I lived with females before I was married and we talked about buying property together, this does not make one gay, or practising. Yes he is living with a man as a celibate priest and not in a monastery or alone and true his sermon wouldn’t help convince me otherwise, but if he is not partnered and even if he has tendencies, but is not practicing, he should not be accused falsely. So, unless we have facts . . .. The fact I do have is that he gave a sermon he needs to apologise for. If your going to accuse our parish of something-get it right. Judgemental, casting stones, doesn’t fit.

        • “I had not heard that Fr. Denis was sent away.”

          He wasn’t sent away, he had plans to leave, but left 2 weeks early as acting dean for some reason.

      • Mark Pietrzykoski says

        I am appalled at the unnatural sexual obsessions you people have. You are nothing but a bunch of gossips, a clutch of tittering hens. You spread lies and embellish the lies of others. IT IS YOU who are the sinners her knocking the Christ off his judgment set and judging the world without admitting that you are so EVIL.

        • Mark,

          This must be difficult, but what lies? There is only one thing that’s in print that is misleading in what I wrote (I corrected any others in latter posts, you should have seen them here) and that is , “Fr. Dennis is gone/removed now.” That sentence should have ended in a question mark because I wasn’t sure what happened. But everything else is true. As to why it (the ?) didn’t show . . . I’m writing on a little cheap computer that keeps shutting off as it did then, so it went to post unfixed.

          If you have a correction to anything written above, I would like to hear it.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Mark, that’s what I love about you liberals: you’re so non-judgmental.

          Irony aside, nobody here wants to be talking about this nonsense. Don’t you think we know how foolish our Church looks to others because we’re too busy fighting for self-evident truths? Speaking for myself, I’d much rather we unite the jurisdictions administratively, harmonize the liturgical texts, and start evangelizing this nation. It’s much easier (and rewarding) to build a church than it is to have to read the bilge put out by a bunch of logically inept priests who have Frank Schaeffer-envy and hope to get invited on MSNBC.

          • George,

            From your finger tips to God’s ears! Isn’t it interesting that because we are having to wage this war that it does act as a major distraction from what we are called to do as the Church in this land? It would be too harsh to even suggest that this is exactly the game plan of the gay agenda advocates who want us to wallow in this mess so that our witness becomes weaker and weaker. No, that would be much too cynical to ever consider.

            • Mark Pietrzykoski says

              First of all George, I am not a liberal. Your point that the gay marriage discussion is a distraction to the vital mission of OUR Church is so true.
              Amos, the Gay agenda force is not starting this discussion. It is the so called strait people bringing this up. We however know the phenomenon that when clergy are so viciously homophobic, they cry and ask forgiveness when they are caught doing another dude.
              Collette, “This must be difficult” What do you mean by this? Is this just a new epiphany of the results of your actions? Or, was this just a calculated collateral damage of your hysteria. In either case you caused unnecessary hurt and division on our community.
              I spend a great proportion of my time, talents and money trying to build up the Cathedral community at St. Nicholas. I don’t appreciate being taken as a second class citizen in the Parish
              Really this is just about one group trying to exercise power over another. I never thought of being an “activist” or “agenda advocate”. I love God and the Church and I serve both. I have never thought this would be an issue and resent it being brought up as it is “self-evident “.
              Straight civil marriage is NOT recognized by the church, which is why we have “Church” weddings. If we recognized them; we would be allowing civil authorities to perform our Sacraments. In the same logic the church would not recognize gay CIVIL marriage. Gay marriage is strictly to give equal protection under CIVIL law.

              • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                Mark, who has denied you anything at St. Nicholas? Who has treated you like a second-class parishioner? In the ten years I have known you, I have always given you the benefit of every doubt, trusting that you were sincerely confessing your sins and repenting of them, trusting also that your father-confessors were truthful with you about the teachings of the Church and caring enough of you to ensure that you were truly repentant before blessing you to commune. All that I have seen tells me that everyone else at St. Nicholas was likewise trusting, tolerant, and even indulgent toward you.

                Now it appears our trust has been betrayed. You call us “evil.” You rail against us for telling people the truth as if you don’t believe or accept it. Have your father-confessors never told you the truth? Have they not urged you to repent? Have they not cautioned you against partaking of the Eucharist until you do? Have you honestly confessed your sins to them and repented? The Body and Blood can do you no good until you do. In fact, the opposite is true: You do yourself great harm by continuing to partake unrepentantly.

                Healing is possible through the Eucharist, but not when we refuse to attempt it.

              • Straight civil marriage is NOT recognized by the church, which is why we have “Church” weddings. If we recognized them; we would be allowing civil authorities to perform our Sacraments.

                Invalid argument. There was no “sacramental wedding” ceremony for hundreds of years. Even now, married converts do not necessarily have to have an Orthodox crowning to be considered married.

              • Mark, you well know (or at least should know) that the mere recognition of homosexual couplings by the civil society is not what is the end game. Instead, the entire Arida/Vinogradov/Bobosh dialectic is to normalize and liturgically sanction such unions within the Church.

                Otherwise, if they do not believe this then why spill so much ink about what is ultimately a private affair?

                • Oh yes, check the “Listening” group today, they’re having a grand discussion on the baptism of children with coupled homosexual parents. They call this a tacit “recognition” of the same-sex couple-headed “family”.

                  Sacraments are not magic spells, and it would be abusive to allow vows to be made on a child’s behalf that no one intends to teach that child how to keep. A same-sex couple lives and copulates in a state of open and deliberate rebellion against the Church, and such a couple clearly would not intend to raise the child Orthodox in anything but name.

                  • Oh dear, ‘anchor babies.’

                    • “Anchor babies,” I like it. Yeah, that’s why we gotta repeal the Fourteenth Amendment, or at least uphold its original intent.

                      Seriously, I hadn’t thought about that. Having not been to New England for at least 20 years, I’m woefully ignorant of the level of Orthopraxy. It seems to me that this entire move to redefine marriage within the Church is progressing on several fronts. What we’ve brought out here on this blog is the theoretical assault. But what do we know about praxis? Have there been moliebens (even in secret) in which same sex couples have stood before and plighted their troth to each other? Or has the more subtle tactic of getting an adopted baby been used to normalize the “family” which brought it to the font?

                      I’m sorry, but I just can’t help but shake the feeling that the entire Arida/Bobosh/Vinogradov (henceforth in my shorthand “ABV”) dialect is content to stop at mere theory. Why do I say this? Because nothing in Orthodoxy is theoretical. As Timothy Ware wrote in The Orthodox Church, there’s a service for everything, even for removing rodents from the house (paraphrase). That’s why I think this is far more than a mere accepting people who have been civilly united outside the Church. These liberals will not be content to merely winking at these unions by communing them. I fervently believe that they want more.

                      In re-reading the letter from the deans of NY/NJ, a particular sentence came to my attention, the one regarding “moliebens” and “services.” Either such services have been attempted (or actually served) or there is a genuine underground push to perform them. If so, then my hunch that the ABV dialectic is laying the groundwork for these rites would be correct.

                      Any knowledge in this matter from correspondents in the New England would be greatly appreciated.

                    • I should clarify that I would not judge a priest for baptizing such a child, so long as the couple was explicitly informed that this was for the child’s sake, not as a way of tacitly recognizing their illicit relationship. He must also be able to trust in good faith that the couple will keep bringing the child to church, because the couple has to be barred from the chalice as long as they refuse to live in chastity. Also, if the couple resorted to in vitro fertilization or surrogacy, that should also be penanced accordingly.

                      I think it is appalling that a priest who chose not to baptize that child would be accused of “siding with Lucifer”, and my intention was to explain that that would not be the case. If you’ve ever watched an ordination to the priesthood, the priest is handed the Lamb and told to preserve it, for he will be accountable for it at the Second Coming. Handing out sacraments willy-nilly is sacrilege. If someone is unprepared to come into the Church and work towards crucifying their entire earthly life, they are usually considered to be better off remaining outside until they can do that. That’s what the catechumenate is for. So it is with children whose parents do not intend to raise them Orthodox. A same-sex couple is going to have a difficult time explaining to their child why they persist in life choices they know that the Church teaches are sin without teaching that child something contrary to the faith.

                  • Another theological ‘gem’ from Leonova:

                    Evangelization does not equate culture war, “joining forces with the religious right” (or left), and any such rhetoric. Otherwise, we are not preaching Christ crucified, we are preaching the Messiah of the Old Testament, victorious in battle – precisely what got our Lord crucified.

                    Oh yes, because Jesus always did say that if you take up your cross and follow him, you’re an idiot. Preaching that feel-bad stuff about resisting sin is just going to get you crucified. Instead, keep preaching this cheesy theology in your hippie love grotto, so no one will bother coming after you. I mean, they already got Jesus, shouldn’t that be enough?

                    This is at least as bad as anything Vassula Ryden has come up with. Let’s see how long it takes for Bishop Nikon to take action… I won’t hold my breath.

                  • You “wouldn’t judge” a priest?

                    Interesting choice of words.

                    • Well, I tried to explain why a priest who refuses to baptize a child being raised by a gay couple is not “siding with Lucifer”. Then I clarified that that didn’t mean I necessarily thought it was wrong to baptize such a child, if the priest was doing it out of mercy for the child and not in order to secretly affirm the immoral relationship in the household.

                      I guess there’s no pleasing some people.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Mark, you say you’re not a Liberal. OK, I’ll take you at your word. But your actions and agitation for for us to give in to the culture are doing the work of liberalism. So what’s the effective difference. If our “unnatural…obsession” is so troubling to you, then why don’t you just tell the liberal priests to just drop the subject and leave the culture war outside? Personally, I think one reason they’re bringing all this stuff up is to be culturally relevant. It’s possible that it’s all a pose and they don’t give a rip about real homosexuals.

                Anyway, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Mark, most jurisdictions recognize marriage contracted under civil law prior to coming to the Church even if they are otherwise quite irregular. The civil law recoginizes our marriages as legal too.

                Further, no one is a second class citizen in the Church who lives a life of repentance in an effort to be transformed by the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ. Any other motive for being in the Church or serving the Church is not adequate and can even be harmful to one’s salvation.

              • Mark,
                Returned from a week of kids camp in another jurisdiction. Interesting to note how what has been going on in the OCA is watched and just as disturbing for those outside our jurisdiction as it is for us.
                I have never treated or thought of you any differently than any other parishoner at St. Nicholas and you know it. To deny this is just plain dishonest.
                I am angry with Fr. Denis’s sermon because he called our parish- our children, our teens (our teens who have brought up same-sex over and over in Sunday school, because they are taught the Church teaching and then they see something quite different in church, so they come back with the same questions over and over), our old ladies, our middle aged persons who didn’t know what was going on –judgemental stone throwers. My children are made to feel guilty? For what? If Fr. Denis had something like that to say to someone, or several persons, he should have spoken to them in person, instead of shouting at everyone!! As you have read here, I am not the only person disturbed about this sermon. Fr. D was given supervision for a short while over a very hurt church, what kind of paster says that stuff- in such a situation? Yes I think he should apologise. And I stand by it. You want to make this about you and me? Great-when have I ever said anything wrong, evil, negative about you? If you don’t like that I stand by Church teachings and practises, than your argument is not with me but with the Fathers, the Canons, the Scriptures, and the Traditions. And do not recite to me our scriptures through deconstuctionist theologians, use Orthodox theology . . . .

        • Harry Coin says


          What church leadership is seen to do, that is, appearances, has specific church requirements to avoid generating scandal in the weak. Leaders have to leave office if unwilling to stop broadcasting circumstantial evidence there is a big gap between what appears and what is.

          “all see + won’t tell = high office + growth” just doesn’t work over time.

          For example, US judges and most state judges have extensive ethics codes regarding appearances of impropriety. Conservative Jewish Rabbis don’t go for a coke in a pork BBQ place.

    • @N Spassky: I think an honest assessment of the status of sexuality in the church is that it appeared to you to be a settled doctrine. Perhaps the expectations you had that you would find a place where reality would not interfere with your personal views about homosexuality was incorrect. If it is settled doctrine, then why are so many people talking about it now? If there’s anxiety about revisiting this policy, I would look to your own garden and that of others who want to drag Holy Orthodoxy into the mud of the culture wars on the side of fundamentalism and ultra-right wing cant. These are not the Orthodox Church’s positions. For the sake of codifying important Orthodox nuance, you have brought up the re-visiting of the issue. I cannot and won’t judge you personally. You came to Orthodoxy to work out your salvation. Thus I hope and pray you have joyfully begun the Way to deification.

      Holy Orthodoxy here is not and cannot be exactly like Orthodoxy in Russia, Greece, Serbia et al. Those are national churches provided with funding and protection by the state. It is proof to many that Orthodoxy cannot exist outside these state sanctioned conditions. Eventually someone says or does something to upset the apple cart and among the faithful in America one hears: “This would not happen in Russia;, Greece; if there were an Orthodox monarchy.” This is surrender. This is abdication of the church’s obligation to bring Orthodoxy to every nation. Not only to nations where the state protects it. God in Christ and with the Holy Spirit can “make it” in America. The effort to do so is in the hands of the Orthodox faithful. So you quit OCA; shop hard before you think you’ve found the perfect church.

      Just for a discussion point: The Orthodox incl. monks in Russia engage in beating up LGBT from Russia who want to speak out about the denial of rights and place in society. Do you personally approve this method of denying people’s rights? Should monks be allowed to participate? What are the morals you will live by to have purity in the Church?

      • Michael Bauman says

        Stephen: First the issues of which you speak are not doctrine, they are moral teaching founded upon the reality of the incarnation and the Holy Scriptures.

        Orthodox positions on prominent moral issues in the culture wars:

        1. Abortion–murder
        2. Homosexuality-practice is a sin that excludes the practioner from Holy Communion if unrepentent. Same sex attraction is a temptation that needs to be fought as part of one’s work toward salvation. Therefore there is no such thing as homosexual marriage, nor should there be.
        3. Sexual license: wrong and sinful
        4. Stem cells; to the extent it involves the intentiall killing of a fertilized egg, it is murder

        Economic issues are more complex, but the moral issues are pretty clear. However clearly the Church has condemned acquiesing to the state simply because it is the state. Sergianism is a heresy. Democracy is not an easy fit for the Church and certainly has no place within the Church polity

        The homosexual issue is coming to the forefront because the people who want it change the moral teaching of the Church are bringing it up. They are bringing the culture war into the Church

        When the Church takes up her task of being a leaven of the culture here in the U.S. We will have to stand firm on the traditional moral teachings and engage in a prophetic witness against the evils of our time, not adopt them as you seem to be suggesting we do

        • Help me with this issue about same sex attractions. Am I correct to say that same sex attraction is like say the temptation to shoplift, but on a higher moral order? I recall being a teenager and being tempted, and succumbing, to stealing some small items from stores. Mea culpa! Many friends had this temptation, some fell, some didn’t.

          Does same sex attractions function in the same way? For example–have you been tempted to have sex with a man/men? Or to eroticize them in some way? To want to see them naked? Now, I will give you a vast benefit of the doubt and say you weren’t so tempted. Or, were you tempted and then overcame it after confessing and receiving the mysteries? I am sure you are going to get my drift pretty easily here. Unless heterosexual men on a vast level–look at how many are not Orthodox–are admitting to be tempted to have sex with another man but aren’t, doesn’t the absence of that invalidate such a claim? Give me a percentage: 50% of men are tempted; 30%; 70%; The argument is invalid if the regular status of a large percentage of heterosexual men report NEVER having been tempted to have sex with another man. (Notice I am using the word Man not adolescent experimenting.) The temptation cannot = the total number of gay men as that would allow no ability for the mysteries to be an effective means to lead us out of temptation, correct? There must be big discussions about this in the Men’s locker rooms.

          By silence I am to assume you will be joining the mobs beating up LGBT people who are massing for a small demonstration?Seems like there’s a time a comin’ when we all had wished we’d not been a sinnin’

          Perhaps you are an “cradler”; perhaps you are a convert. In your experience would you say converts come to Orthodoxy because of its teachings on homosexuality or do they happen upon them quite surprised and perhaps delighted? Or very sad and leave?

          • Michael Bauman says

            Same sex attraction as a temptation is exactly like any other temptation to sin. Romans 1 gives a good description of the cause, and consquences as well as other similiar sins. The number of people so tempted is irrelevant. For anything in greater depth, you need to visit with a well qualified and experienced confessor who upholds the moral tradition of the Church.

            I did not reply to the beating question because it is a stupid straw man. I am more than capable of recognizing and affirming unconditionally the sinful nature of homosexual activity without falling prey to the even greater sin of lustful anger at people who suffer from the problem. That is un-Scriptural and un-Christian in every way. Surely you realize the infitesimal likelihood that anyone on this blog would even consider such actions. Such accusations are just pot stirrers designed, IMO, to derail real communication. However, if the folks who commit such activities can be identified, their bishop should apply strict penance under the canons. Any priest acting in such a manner would be, as I understand the canons, subject to suspension at least and possible laicization as well as a period of time away from the cup.

            BTW when I was young I spent about a decade heavily involved in low-level professional and educational theater and my mother had her own dance company. I acted with, crewed with and was working friends with many folks who were homosexual. I neither fear, loath or hate homosexuals. Since becoming Christian I’ve had a number of ad hoc converstations with homosexuals about the Christian approach and response to the sin. Those conversations have always been amicable but I never once apologized for or watered down the Chrisitan teaching on the subject. My intent, by God’s grace, is to help folks become aware of the nature of the sin and the antidote to it so that it does not block their salvation. To acquiese in another’s sin and join them in denying the reality is not love, it is actually hatred or perhaps apathy for salvation altogether. If one does not care about one’s own and other’s salvation, there is simply no need to be in the Church at all.

            What I will not stand for is the attempt to overturn the clear moral and anthropological foundation of the Church. If taken far enough, as some do, such attempts strike at the nature of the divine/human hypostatis of our incarnate Lord and Savior, i.e., become heretical.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Like Michael said that is a non-sense argument about the beatings of Gay people. Orthodox Christian Doctrine is clear on Homosexual activity that it is a sinful aberation of normal human sexual expression which is heterosexuality within the confins of marriage as ordained and blessed by the Church. This has never and will never change! Romans Ch.1 is very, VERY clear about this.

            Peter A. Papoutsis

            • I will provide you with links of legitimate reports of monks and other Russian Orthodox mobs beating LGBT people in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia. and address the issue of temptation statistics; @Michael I thought from the last para of your first response that you were preparing ‘us’ for the beginning of the end times and that “we will stand firm …prophetic..” I am sorry to have misunderstood.

              • Michael Bauman says

                I have no doubt about the beatings. The links are superfluous. As I said, the folks involved should face both criminal and Church sanctions.

                We are always in the end times and the Church is always called to prophetic witness. The usual consequence of such witness is persecution and marytrdom.

                It seems the the primary challege with which we are faced in these end times is the attempt of the hedonistic, nihilist culture to destroy what it means to be a human person. Unfortunately, the homosexual agenda is a part of that. That makes it much more difficult for those faced with the tempations to meet them successfully. That saddens me deeply.

  14. Kirk,

    If you are going to argue with me, you need to read what I wrote. First you assert:

    O dear me, Bishop Nikon is facebook friends with Inga Leonova. That must mean he holds the exact same opinions she does on every issue in the world! Give me a break! Being facebook friends indicates no such thing. It neither proves that Bishop Nikon is aware of Inga’s views or approves of them.

    Not true. In a conversation with Fr. Andrew, Fr. Andrew writes:

    A technical note: Membership in a Facebook group does not necessarily equal support for its activities. People can be added to a group without their active consent and will remain members until such time as they take the step to remove themselves.

    …and I respond:

    Fr. Andrew, thanks for making your point. It’s important.

    Then you assert:

    And finally there’s that gay-lover Fr. Robert Arida who–can you believe it?–suggests an approach to same sex couples that falls short of Westboro Baptist’s “God Hates Fags” campaign. He expects us to love people? Really?!? What a bleeding heart liberal!

    …when in fact I said in one place:

    This is not saying that a proper pastoral response to homosexuals needs to be formulated. It does.

    …and in another:

    There has to be a proper pastoral response formulated concerning homosexuality and it has to come from the bishops. Lacking that, every priest becomes his own bishop and we will end up with nonsense like we see in Fr. Arida’s piece…

    Kirk, read what people wrote before you respond to them.

    One more note: I am not the author of the article. Read it closer.

  15. Fr. Arida, Inga et al are heretics. Plain and simple. They want to bless what God condemns and they’re spouting the same drivel we hear time and time again from the gaystapo. Not only has the Smoke of Satan entered the Roman Church, but our own.

  16. This is what the supporters of same-sex marriage want to see in an Orthodox Church near you:

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Lord have mercy. I wonder what Inga’s brain trust at HT in Boston thinks about such juvenile liturgies.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Hi George:

        Has anyone contacted Bishop Nikon for a response? I would be interested to hear his answer to Fr. Aidas recent article as well as his thoughts on Ingas postings? I mean being pastoral and diplomatic is one thing, but NOT on this issue.



      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        What was that? I just watched this, and I wish I did not!

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Good grief. *facepalms*

    • Robert Arida (can’t call him Father now can I?) and Inga (and alike) are killing the church, They will turn this Body of Christ into wacky entertainment center!

  17. Pravoslavnie says

    I thought this was just some wacky Christic cult, but a URL in the YouTube pages let me trace these bizarre videos back to an Episcopal church in San Francisco which appears to have turned into some wacky Christic cult. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

    • Actually, it’s St Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, CA . They are a parish church of the Episcopal Diocese of California. They are no small church, having about five or six people on staff and a yearly budget of $460,000. They are well known for their eclectic liturgies, especially for using Orthodox-style hymnography and iconography.

      The point being, this church, in some of its aspects, is held up by progressives as an example of what the OCA “can be.”

  18. Pravmir has now published an article taking Fr. Arida to task for his approach, which said article denounces (as far as I can understand it) as characteristic of liberal Protestantism:

  19. BRAVO!!! I found this to be well thought out, and clear, and excellent. May His Beatitude +JONAH read and be shored up completely – although, I don’t think he “needs” such. May all read, understand, and confiscate such articulate rebuttals to the lunacy attacking our society and our church in these days.

    I personally know very well two other Orthodox priests who have adult children who are living in a homosexual life – these priests have not swayed from the Orthodox position the Church has held for 2000 years. Shame on anyone who cannot stand with the teachings of our Church, but bends to physiological pressure and social pain. It is painful to stand in the gap – and it is necessary.

    Please excuse my mixed metaphors and my illogical path, and may the meaning come through in spite of my spirited and quick response.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Anon, Leonidas and the 300 stood in the gap as well. They were slaughtered to a man. Yet all today remember Leonidas. It was because he stood in the gap that Western Civilization –our civilization–exists at all today.

      I don’t wish martyrdom for myself or my friends, but when the history of the Church is written sometime in the future (unless the Lord returns before) I definately don’t want my name to be among the list of collaborators with the new social order which is not any less demonic than the Bolshevist Terror that ruled Russia for 70 years.

      • This is worse than bolsheviks, they just prosecuted the Church and its flock and what does not kill you – makes you stronger. This is rot from the inside out, this WILL kill the church.

  20. Heracleides says

    Excellent comment posted by Fr. Lawrence Farley on OCAN responding to Fr. Robert Arida’s homosexual propaganda hit piece. Liked it so much thought I’d repost it here:

    I would like to respond to the thoughtful reflection of my brother, Fr. Robert Arida. My main disagreement with Fr. Robert is that I do not think that in Scripture’s teaching about marriage there is any real “inconsistency” (to use Fr. Robert’s word) as he seems to find there. In what follows, I do not intend to reflect upon what the Church should do in every possible pastoral situation regarding marriage breakdown, nor upon all the possible causes of homosexuality. Rather I am simply taking issue with Fr. Robert’s exegesis and understanding of the New Testament’s teaching.

    Our Lord categorically forbids His married disciples to divorce each other, as was allowed in the Judaism of His time. The “except for cause of porneia” clause, present only in Matthew’s Gospel, I would suggest, refers to the situation of discovery of sexual immorality during the betrothal period, so that our Lord says that if such a discovery is made during this time, one is not obliged to go through with the marriage. It seems clear enough that Christ forbids His disciples to divorce a believing partner, so that one is guilty in some measure if this is done.

    Our Lord, of course, was talking about marriage between His disciples. There was no “command from the Lord” (compare 1 Cor. 7:25) about what to do if a Christian disciple was married to an unbeliever, because Christ had not spoken about such a possibility. Thus St. Paul gives his own (authoritative) apostolic directive—namely, that divorce was allowable if the unbeliever was determined to depart. There was no “inconsistency of the missionary’s message”—St. Paul was simply speaking about a situation about which his Lord had not given direction. In examining the teaching of Christ and St. Paul, Fr. Robert is making heavier weather than he needs to and is muddying the waters. The teaching is clear enough, and quite consistent.

    It is the same with St. Paul’s teaching on slavery. St. Paul did not assert that “slavery was a social phenomenon established by God”. He did not suggest that “slavery as an institution was not to be tampered with”. Rather, he acknowledged implicitly that slavery in his day was an established fact of life along with other sociological facts. He was not answering the question, “What do you think of slavery?” He was answering the question, “Given the existence of slavery, how should Christian slaves act?” It is bad exegesis to take his answers to this question as his justification of slavery. Onesimus was not sent back to Philemon because St. Paul thought slavery was “established by God”. He was sent back because Philemon and Onesimus needed to be reconciled, since they were both now Christians. In fact, many commentators suggest that St. Paul in Philemon 21 is hinting that Philemon grant Onesimus his freedom.

    My quarrel with Fr. Robert is not simply that we have differing Biblical exegesis. It is that we seem not to share the same understanding of the authority of Scripture and of patristic Tradition generally. Fr. Arida wants to suggest that Scripture is inconsistent in its witness, and therefore is not a sure guide. I disagree. It think its witness is entirely consistent and clear, both about marriage and other things. By asserting that Scripture’s answers to crucial and timely questions have “been answered in two ways, yes and no”, Fr. Arida seeks to undermine our confidence in its voice. I think such an undermining would be disastrous.

    As a former Anglican, I have seen such undermining at work before, and it began in the same way as with Fr. Arida—by asking questions. There is nothing wrong with asking questions—if the issue at hand truly is an open question. But it is not acceptable for Orthodox to “ask questions” about matters about which our Tradition is clear. For example, if one asked, “Can we really say that Jesus of Nazareth is God?”, this would not be a legitimate question for an Orthodox to ask, and to respond to criticism by saying, “But I was just asking a question!” would be disingenuous. One would not then be asking a real question, but issuing a covert challenge. Challenges are fine, but they should present themselves as challenges, and not cover themselves with the cloak of being simple questions. Regarding marriage and homosexuality, the voice of Scripture, interpreted by the Fathers, gives us clear guidelines about how to proceed. The waters are not “uncharted”; they are just turbulent, being stirred up by the ever-shifting mores of secularized society.

    Same sex couples who come to the Orthodox Church are not to be ignored, nor turned away. Like everyone else coming to us, they are to be urged to repent—which at very least involves for them the cessation of sexual activity and repentance for such things in the past. Pastoral care, like everything else in Orthodoxy, needs to be grounded in the Church’s commitment that its children “be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of the mind” (Rom. 12:2). The question is whether or not Orthodox today will have the courage to challenge society to resist such conformity to the world or whether it will refuse the challenge under the cloak of compassion and pastoral care.

    Archpriest Lawrence R. Farley

    • Jane Rachel says

      Thanks, Heracleides, for posting it here. Now I don’t have to go “over there” to read it. First thing I thought was that Fr. Lawrence wrote it and clicked on “reply,” but he didn’t post it. Mark posted it. He always has a reason. Probably so he can keep up appearances. Fair and balanced, open and accountable and all that.

      If Scripture is robbed of its moorings, there will be no point in even having Divine Liturgy. We could skip the reading of the Epistles and the Holy Gospels, I suppose. “Wisdom, let us attend! Let us listen to the Holy Gospel” … oh… never mind. “The reading is from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Romans!” … oh, never mind.

      • Jane Rachel says

        I can almost hear the Holy Apostle Paul writing to the Orthodox Church in America: “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles – that your bishops and priests are homosexuals, and that your men are married to other men, and women are married to other women! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that they who have done this deed might be taken away from among you.” 🙁

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Fr Lawrence, an excellent response! I pray that it is not censored from OCAN. If I may: your reference to “questions” merely “being asked” reminds me of the first time that we encounter questioning in the Bible. That would be Satan’s dialogue with Eve.

  21. cynthia curran says

    True, George but at least the persians allow the conquered to keep their culture think of the Jews. Anyway, what I find interesting about the Persians they disappear as a power after Alexander and are replaced by the Parthians and then again are a power again in the late Roman and early eastern Roman Period. I think the Pearls on the early Eastern Roman emperors-dialems was influence by the Persians. Sorry for misspelling.

  22. The English Translation of the response to Fr. Robert Arrida is now up:

    • Re: Fr. Arrida’s “essay” I have the advantage of hearing this stuff for the last 30 years in TEC. Nothing original. Been there, done that and don’t want to hear it again. and don’t fall for it!

    • Jane Rachel says

      It was excellent just using google translation, but this is better.

  23. Matt Gates says

    As a member of and occasional contributor to the much-maligned facebook group, I would like to make a few points. We’re allowed to have a conversation. Any conversation we want. You’re free to disagree with point we make, and to find our views heretical. If clergy wish to read or contribute to our conversion, they’re allowed to do that to.

    The tone of both the exposé and comments on this site and on OCAT has been “How dare they think that? How dare they write that? They have no right to even discuss that. Here’s a list of everyone’s names. Google them and draw inferences about their personal lives.” Last I checked, Christ, not J. Edgar Hoover, was the head of the Church.

    Unlike OCAT, everything that has ever been said on this group been by people writing publicly under their own names. If the idea of free people engaging in a public conversation about religious issues and actually expressing contrary opinions is abhorrent to you, then, by all means, purchase a one-way ticket to 16th-century Spain.

    Although you may see the existence of this group as evidence of your vast gay conspiracy, despite the nominal membership of a few clergy, we don’t have a direct line to Syosset. We’re just a bunch of fringy people who realize that real people with sincere faith a real spiritual struggles are not always well treated in the church. The only opinion we don’t tolerate in the group is the opinion that “there’s nothing to discuss here and you guys really shouldn’t be having this conversation.”

    There is, it should be said, a kind of speech that is intolerable to the Body of Christ. That is the anonymous public outing of one’s political opponents on the internet. You will recall that a very prominent priest lost his job recently for being a knowing associate and counselor to people who did just that. It was my shock and disgust at this witch hunt that initially lead me to join a facebook group devoted to a subject I hadn’t really given much thought to before.

    Just has OCAT ultimately hurt Metropolitan Jonah, the kind of puerile demonization I read on this site will ultimately harm the cause of traditional marriage.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Matt, traditional marriage is not a ’cause’; a movement’ or anything else like that. Traditional marriage is an expression of the onological reality of man and woman within the created order. It is designed to be both supporting and productive of God’s will for us in the earth, salvific if practiced in accord rightly.

      Homosexuality is a perversion of that–a disordered desire that when followed (as all disordered desires such as anger) lead to damnation, not salvation. Only repentance can heal such disordered desires. It is a pagan idea that such desires should be embraced and satiated (leading to such things as temple prostitutes).

      The Church must remain true to her task– being the ark of salvation. She must therefore consistently reject anything that leads away from salvation and be true to our Lord by continually reminding us to “repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”

    • O Hamartolos says

      I agree with you on some points.
      1. traditionalist should stop demonizng people they disagree with
      2. We should have open dialogue.

      I disagree with you on others
      1. Traditionalist don’t want to have a dialogue about contreversial issues: not true. On this site you are free to argue your point. You will no doubt draw the ire of those who disagree, but a traditionalist trying argue her point on a pro-gray site would draw the same ire and demonizing. So, you know the way the game works and it goes both ways.

      So, in the spirit of dialogue, may I ask you your opinion on some issues related to the “homosexuality” issue.
      What about bixesuality? If we are to accept homosexuality as …well…acceptable should we offer the same acceptance to people with a prefference to both sexes? Do we abrogate the norm of monogomy (hetero or homo) to allow bisexuals to ….live out…their bisexuality? If so, does the same “aeconomeia” extended to homo and hetero sexual marriages? In other words, are married people allowed sexual relations outside of marriage? If not, why not?

      It seems to me that a big premise behind the, for a lack of a better word, pro-gay stace within Orthodxy is that
      a. the heterosexual, or traditional, norm for marriage in the Church is arbitrary, and therefore subject to change.
      b. we should include homosexuality within that norm.

      If the premise is true, wouldn’t limiting acceptance to homosexuality be “arbitrary” also? Why not include bisexualilty, polygamy, transgenderderism? You’ll probably whoop and holler, but why not even pedophilia? If the the basis for traditional orthodox sexual norms is arbitrary, any other limit would also be arbitrary.

      This is scary for many folks. It might not be for you, but you must appreciate at least, how frightening it is for most.

      I eagerly awaite your opinion on these matters.

      p.s. I promise not to demonize you, but I can’t vouche for anybody else.

      p.p.s. If my anonimaty bothers you, I will gladdly send you my name in a private email.

  24. cynthia curran says

    Well, I’m not surprised since in the modern world anything does. And Orthodox just like Roman Catholics and Protestants are always going to have problems on the moral issues as well. I remember reading a book about a Roman Catholic being shocked about the Orthodox in the Middle East collecting money from the brothels as taxes to support the Byzantine empire which shows that comprise is something old here,granted the gay issue on same-sex marriage is only a 30 year development compared to comprises on other sexual moral issues.

  25. I’ve been picking through the mixed-up files of Ms. Inga Leonova on Facebook for the past few days, and found Fr. Juvenaly Repass made several comments supporting Orthodox understanding of sexuality. The Synod has also refused to accept him as a candidate for Bishop of Alaska, despite the overwhelming amount of support he has from the diocese. Hmm…

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      “Hmmmm…” indeed!

      You know, before we go off and pat OCAN on the back for their recent forays into allowing dissenting viewpoints, we might consider Helga’s point here and contrast it with the urgency and concern that OCAN and others expressed about the supposed delays in electing a bishop for the South. By my estimation, Alaska has been without a bishop for about as long as the South (and without a good bishop for a great deal longer) and they’ve had some excellent candidates, Frs Juvenaly and Gerasim being just two. Why not one of them for Alaska? Maybe because they’re traditionalists?

      We could kill two birds with one stone: the Diocese of the South is presently “hosting” Bp Mark Maymon until he finds another position. Why not Alaska?

      • Michael Bauman says

        But George, Met. Philip offered him the same solution,i.e., a move to Alaska which Bp Mark refused due to health reasons. Of course you know that.

      • Since Bishop Mark left the Antiochian Archdiocese rather than accept Met. Phillip’s plan to transfer him to Alaska, if he ended up as the OCA Bishop of Alaska, that would be a supreme irony!

  26. There is now a new web site dedicated to providing the words of Scripture and Holy Tradition on topics that are under attack by modernism. The goal is to provide the theological basis for the Orthodox position on these topics using only the words of Scripture and the Holy Fathers. The first post is on the topic of this article – same sex sexual activity.

    The site is:
    It is also on Facebook under the name “Orthodox For Scripture and Holy Tradition”

    Let’s not forget that the there is power in the holy words of Scripture and of the ancient fathers. To win this battle to restore Orthodoxy requires education. We need to study and encourage others to study so that we are equipped to counter the “spirit of our age” which is at war with Orthodoxy in some critical areas.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Having reviewed the site I have three comments: 1. Nice to have the attempt; 2. Who are the editors (in matters of Scripture and Holy Tradition it is important to know; 3. Hope it doesn’t trod the path of proof texting.

  27. Maymon is not morally fit to serve in any diocese of any Orthodox jurisdiction. He is a thief and he continues to rob the DOS by taking a salary for doing nothIng.

    As for Alaska, the real question is why Benjamin and Oleksa are so against Juvenally and Gerasim? You answer that question and you will know why there will be no election in AK.

  28. Fr. Gerasim is the Spiritual son of The Metropolitan of the OCA – (as his first convert while both were still in college, and one of the first to join his starting monastery in California). Being so long with Fr. Seraphim Rose doesn’t hurt his CV either. Do these facts ring any bells about why there would be resistance? May God bless his acceptance into the DOS as their Bishop – they need him!

  29. jacksson says

    Regarding Fr. Gerasim. You are right to some degree except that after Metropolitan Jonah introduced the Orthodox study group at UC Santa Cruz to Fr. Seraphim Rose, most of those who became Orthodox did so through ROCOR and then, later, the splinter group that Platina fell under until Fr Herman stepped down as abbot. Meanwhile, the then James Paffhausen, was attending the OCA church in Saratoga. He was choir director and then became a monk and then a priest under Bishop Tikhon of the OCA. Fr. Gerasim and Fr. Jonah remained friends and Fr. Jonah would occasionally visit Platina. When Fr. Jonah left his first assignment as the parish priest in Merced, CA to start the monastery of St John of San Francisco in Pt Reyes Station, CA, he was still under the OCA. The Platina group then decided to become mainstream Orthodox under the Serbian Church rather than ROCOR or the OCA. It is good to see Fr. Gerasim being considered as bishop of the DOS, let God’s Will be done.

  30. I had heard that Fr. Gerasim does not have a theological education, meaning he did not go to seminary. Is this true? If it is the case, then is he really cut out to be a bishop? I would appreciate someone knowledgeable clearing this up. Thank you.

    • Fr Gerasim has just finished his second full year at SVS. He is planning on graduating from SVS next year. He has been an outstanding student and part of the SVS community. He is highly regarded for his pastoral presence on campus. If Alaska won’t take him there are other Orthodox jurisdictions who would love to have him.

  31. There are now two Stephens here..I am now StephenD…for some odd reason all of the posts by both Stephens are combined..very odd..I am now StephenD

  32. Very interesting points you have observed , appreciate it for posting .

  33. test

  34. George-can’t respond to Prospective-nomad-no reply button

    Anyway, funny he said nothing about children in his marriage history . . . .

    • Prospective Nomad says


      I did refer to children, albeit implicitly, in the portion of the post related to marriage as a natural institution. They’re the ones who benefited from the orderly descent of property and from the civilizing imperative of family honor in the agrarian system. They also benefited psychologically from knowing who their fathers were, but you’re correct that I did not initially make that point, and I should have. I did not refer to children in the portion of the post related to marriage as mysterion, because I am not aware of any New Testament passage on divorce or remarriage that introduces children as a doctrinal consideration. In a particular case, children may well constitute a pastoral consideration, but that’s beside my point. I don’t object to the application of oeconomia in a given case. I object to Church authorities falsely asserting in an official publication that oeconomia is the standard. It’s not. The Scriptures and the canons are the standard, and they most certainly do not teach that second marriages are normative or to be routinely granted.

      • Prospective nomad,

        I agree with you about oeconomia becoming the standard in this country. It was over used here initially for a good reason-communism. But now we need to be more normative in respect to the canons of the Church.
        The reason I brought up children was not necessarily in relation to the Church, but rather the state. In the Roman Empire for example, marriage had laws to protect the family-ie. children. Why? It wanted more people! As is the reasoning with most governments and laws pertaining to it. Perhaps that’s why the Roman Empire would not even entertain the idea of a man marrying a younger man ( I believe here is one such case on record . . . but was thrown out) when clearly they were pacticing pedophilia –and then those kids grew up . . . . Still older to younger man . . ..
        Children are assumed in the Church in regard to Mysterium. It’s part of the blessing. I thought the arguement of children belonged in your post in light of the larger current picture, especially because the political gay groups find this argument ridiculous. . . or so they say.
        There are reasons given in the Church and the Scriptures that do allow and bless remarriage– abandonment and possibly adultery. It may be the case that we just have a lot of that going on in this country and that’s why Christians are remarrying within Orthodoxy, breaking no Canons. Just saying . . . .

        • Prospective Nomad says


          I am gratified to learn that we agree completely (I think), and I very much appreciate your identification of points to which I gave too scant attention. You’re correct that, in agrarian societies, the laws and social mores favored fecundity. Children were necessary for survival back then: Parents needed their children’s labor to help work the farm while the children were minors, and parents needed children to take them in when the parents were too old or infirm to work. Not only that, but half or more of children typically died before their tenth birthday, so it was necessary to bear lots of them to compensate. Industrialization changed all of that: Increased productivity made child labor economically unnecessary. The increased danger associated with mechanized work made it socially undesirable. Medical advancements (which would have been impossible without industrialization) cut child mortality drastically. Corporate and government pensions relieved the elderly of dependence upon their children. The result: The economically optimal number of children for a woman to bear dropped by 80 percent or so. It’s no wonder that contraception became ubiquitous.

          Of course, the post-industrial era has only exacerbated the trend toward functional sterility, because now people are expected to provide for their old-age needs out of their working-life income. In this model, children are an extravagance, because the money that “should” be going into the 401(k) gets diverted to bicycles, braces, and ballet lessons. This model, which effectively pays people (especially women) hundreds of thousands of dollars per head not to have children, cannot survive in the long run. But it’s prevalent now, and that’s why we’re having this battle now: Only an economic system that rewards sterility could give rise to a social movement as contrary to nature as gay-marriage advocacy. Thank you for giving me a second chance to make this important point.

          I agree wholeheartedly that children are part of the blessing of the mysterion of marriage, and I’m sorry if I implied otherwise. I don’t think they’re doctrinally relevant to the specific question of divorce and remarriage, but I’m willing to be proven wrong about that.

          I wish I could believe that every second marriage in the Orthodox Church arose out of widowhood, abandonment, or adultery. Many do, but I’m personally acquainted with too many that don’t. The harder truth, I suspect, is that most Orthodox parishes are not willing to live out the precepts of the Gospel with sufficient vigor to make a canonical approach feasible. Take the case of a woman with children whose husband abandons the family or whom she must divorce for one of the serious reasons cited by Helga. According to the Scriptures, the bereft woman’s care is, first, the responsibility of her extended family (in many cases a functional casualty of geographical dispersion or their own dysfunctionalities) and, second, the responsibility of the parish. In how many parishes would an empty-nester couple with two or three extra bedrooms volunteer to take in this broken family–with the parish kicking in a few bucks to help with expenses? It never occurs to people to do anything like this. I’m not saying the divorcee shouldn’t get a job. But the vast majority of child poverty in this country occurs in households headed by single women. If we weren’t so spiritually dense, none of them would be Orthodox.

          • Perspective Nomad,

            Thanks for the elaboration. You make very good points in all 4 paragraphs. I agree with them all. Just for the record I do know many Orthodox who live very closely to your statements. But it’s true, we need as a culture within Orthodoxy to make the Gospel our solution and not our broken culture. Again for the record, I don’t know about you but I’m counting on my kids taking us in when were old. I remind them of it every day just in case they forget. . . .

  35. Prospective Nomad says


    I’m honestly curious about the distinction that you draw between marrying an unbelieving spouse and then converting vs. having a believing spouse apostasize. Why do you believe, hypothetically, that the latter case would automatically entitle you to a divorce? Is it because your spouse would have defrauded you by his apostasy, or is there another reason? (I can be dense about these things.) If fraud is the issue, what if your spouse brought $100,000 of debt into the marriage that he hadn’t told you about? Would that entitle you to a divorce? Based upon what scriptural, patristic, or canonical standard? Alternatively, is spiritual fraud categorically different from other forms of fraud as it pertains to divorce? If so, why? Do you believe that a divorce on these grounds would canonically entitle you to remarriage? Why?

    Please understand: I’m not trying to be a smart-aleck here, but sincerely trying to learn from you.

    • Well, this opinion of mine is a bit more grounded in emotion than I usually like. But think of all that goes into an Orthodox marriage: Christ bringing the two together, two becoming one flesh, the two dying for one another, and being martyred to one another. If I were married, and my husband committed apostasy, he would be tearing our marriage apart. If he refused to repent after being counseled, I would divorce him.

      If he polluted the house by using it to run a pornography business and refused to repent, I hardly think anyone would blame me for kicking him out. Why should I treat spiritual pollution as anything less?

      Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. – Matthew 10:34-39

      The issue of remarriage is more complicated, of course, but if that opportunity presented itself after such an experience, I’d leave that up to my spiritual father and my bishop.

      • Prospective Nomad says


        Thank you for your reply. I really did learn something from it. I’m not sure whether I agree, but you have given me something to think about, and for that I thank you.

  36. cynthia curran says

    That’s true about a lot of the Byzantine Emperors, not as sexually active in extra marital affairs given their power position and access to women they had. There are some who became attached to a mistress and were by the family forced to marry for political reasons, kind of sympathic adultery not that I’m saying its morally right. In fact, I think from Constantine until Maurice no extra-marital affair once married. Couple of Empress were excused of this, maybe Zeno wife, I may be wrong and some make the charge of Eudoxia wife of Arcadius for extra-marital affairs. Now in the west, Vallentinian iii was known for ex-martial affairs.

  37. Jane Rachel says

    Oh. This is funny. You can no longer find the minutes for the 2008 15th All American Council OCA meeting on the web site. You can still find the minutes here here on the holy site, but no longer on the oca web site. Of course, it’s completely innocent. I did manage to compare the two in an earlier post where I noted the glaring differences between what people “said” and what people ****really* ****said, and I noted that it looks like the minutes on the oca site had been altered to reflect a kinder, gentler SIC and a “more” “criminal” Fr. Robert Kondratick. Of course, that has nothing to do with it. Of course. I’m making it all up. Silly me.

  38. In his recent article, “Response to Myself,” Fr. Robert Arida raises substantial questions regarding the recent NY State legislation legalizing same-sex marriage and how we Orthodox should consider and relate to it. Perhaps, judging by the title, Fr. Robert himself did receive the answers to these questions in the process of writing; many readers of the article, including myself, have received only ambiguity, and subsequent perplexity and alarm. Whether from political correctness, or for other reasons, Fr. Robert did not directly and unequivocally confirm that for him personally, the same way as for the whole of the Orthodox Church in all times and to the Old Testament Church, same-sex relationships were, and remain, a vice, a sin; that in order to be received into the Church, it is necessary that the people subject to this vice recognize the sinfulness of their unisex liaison, repent, confess this liaison as sin, and promise to abstain, with God’s help. This is so obvious, that it may be that Fr. Robert believes this to be simply granted, but the text of the article raises doubts on this account. A single, clearly expressed, essential bit of information is needed: yes, a sin. Otherwise the priest, parish or a diocese cease to be Orthodox and it is necessary to run away from them.

    Let us nevertheless consider that, on this given issue, Fr. Robert remains within the framework of Orthodoxy. There is no question of whether or not to accept — certainly to accept! — that in fact the Lord has come for these sinners as well. “Those who are healthy have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Matthew 9:12), those who are desirous of and searching for healing. However, purely ethical problems arise, different for parishioners and for the priest. The problem is that, to varying degrees depending on environment and upbringing, “normal” people feel instinctive aversion and fastidious dislike toward people engaged in same-sex activity. This is understandable, but by no means commendable: in fact, it is also a sin. However, it can be turned to spiritual advantage: it could be for people of normal sexual orientation a good exercise in Christian love and self-control, and for those of abnormal orientation, in humility. A confessor should take all of this into consideration; and while burning with love for newly acquired abnormal parishioners, should not expect the rest of his parishioners, all immediately, to have the same level of understanding toward this, or express the same degree of love for them. Spiritual work on both is necessary. And it is absolutely improper to ostracize the old and faithful parishioners, who love the parish and church services, and who had dared, appropriately or not, to express their concerns on the issue. It can cause, and already causes, only to further the split among parishioners.

    Besides, there must be trust. Every single parishioner either trusts his or her confessor — in which case all doubts and murmurings should be put away — or does not trust, in which case they will be looking for another one.

    Do Thou help us, O Lord; Glory to Thee for all things,
    Lev Pokrovsky

    • This grievous situation has been very troubling for the faithful at Holy Trinity for several years, and now they are homeless “runaways” by necessity, in Lev’s terminology. Not much is said about the suffering of “the old and faithful parishioners, who love the parish and church services” when there is no clarity about sin.

    • Amen Lev. My prayers go out to your church and family. You have all been on my mind . . . . .

    • Alice Carter says

      I am truly sorry that you have left the Church, Lev. Orthodox life in America includes the freedom to speak about uncomfortable issues. We have a vigorous tradition of free speech in this country. Of course, homosexuality can be as sinful as heterosexuality in my mind. But if I had a choice I would never “choose” to be homosexual as the aversion and distaste of others would drive me, a weak and sinful person, to suicide. In any case this issue is not doctrinal, has not an iota of impact on our Creed, changes nothing in the Liturgy, or in our ecclesiology, it goes against nothing in the Gospels. Those who have entered the Orthodox Church to find safety from this issue, to flee the Episcopal or whatever Protestant tradition, came in for the wrong reason. Hunger for Christ and for an experience of God is what drew me. The level of fear and hostility on this blog and many others clearly reveals that many are in our Orthodox Church for the wrong reason. Christ be with you, He who said “Be not afraid.”

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Of course, homosexuality can be as sinful as heterosexuality in my mind.

        Huh? Homosexuality IS sinful no matter what. That IS the Gospel! That IS the Creed! That IS THE ENTIRE ORTHODOX FAITH wether it is in your mind or not. Of course we need a pastoral response, and our Priests are our first responders to this, but first and formost the teaching of the Church cannot be changed, again, no matter what!

        I am sorry that I am being forceful but I do not think you understand that a full frontal assualt is occuring on our Church on this issue that must be pushed back and pushed back hard. If that ruffles feathers so be it. I’ll take up my sin of rudeness with God and my priest. But until then…Game on!


      • Michael Bauman says

        Alice, what fear have you seen here?

        If you are referring to those who stand without fear for the Holy Tradition of the Church it seems to be yet another example of Orwellian double-think.

        Rolling over into a Barney, the dinosur fetal position before the anti-Christian nihlism of the secular culture is not strength.

        Love does not mean acquiesing in another’s sin or one’s own.

        Christianity is a radical, martial faith. See here as an example: General Patton and Spiritual Warfare

        • Alice Carter says

          Dear Peter and Michael, when we meet at the Last Judgement let us continue the dialogue, for now any peaceful dialogue is impossible. But then….yes.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Alice, I am truly sorry you feel that way. At the last judgement, there will be no dialogue and Jesus Sword will cut far more deeply than anything either Peter or I could say. Do we not pray “…for a good defense before the dread judgement seat of Christ.”?

            The history of the Church is replete with vigorous, hard-nosed debates (as opposed to dialogues) on issues critical to the faith. The truth has to be tested. My words have to be tested. My beliefs have to be tested. We all have to be tested. The truth is often revealed through fire and contest. Christianity is not a faith of the passive pietist. Real peace is not the absence of conflict but the truthful resolution of conflict. That is what the Last Judgement will bring by the Word of God.

            If it were not for the fact that there are those who are seeking to overturn the moral and spiritual tradition of the Church, I would be more than happy to leave sexual conduct as a strictly pastoral matter. That is where it should be as a sin to be be fought and conquered by God’s grace.

            However, once the gauntlet has been thrown down, as it has by those who wish to overturn moral and spiritual reality, I’m in the fight. Spiritual warfare brings spiritual peace. We cannot yield to untruth and evil-first in our own hearts.

            I condemn no man, but I will contend for the truth and the souls of those who want me to acquiese to their sins so that they can remain in them with greater comfort. And, Alice, just leaving one field of the battle will not make the go away.

            BTW, the word dialogue is not even appropriate because it tacitly assumes a moral and spiritual equivalence exists between Holy Tradition and the way of the world.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Dear Alice:

            If you want dialog The Last Judgment is the last place to do it. Further, what dialog can we have on a settled matter?


            • M. Stankovich says

              I will, again, attempt to be emphatic: homosexuality is defined as same-sex attraction. It is not synonymous with sexual activity between members of the same gender, which the Church unquestionably teaches is sinful. Same-sex attraction is podvig, a struggle and Cross for those who must bear it. These are the ones to whom the Master runs (Matt. 18:12), and those whom you so thoughtlessly continue to disparage by your insistence on blurring this fundamental distiction:

              You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. (Ez. 34:4)

              Fr. Alexander Schmemman taught that the “voice” of this world is continuous and pointless dialog and discussion, “feedback,” argument, clarifications, “positions,” lectures, papers, programs, interpretations, assumptions, presumptions, summaries, all which is ultimately, “glory in hearing your own words.” Whereas the “voice of the Kingdom of God will be blessed silence.”

              • A podvig sure, but also a disorder than we cannot ignore or treat as normal and no different from heterosexual attraction. Perhaps you missed this post by me from another thread:

                We need to be clear about what we’re dealing with, which is three problems and not just one:

                1. There is same-sex attraction, which is a psychological disorder, a sickness caused by a combination of factors that are largely experiential. (There is no gay gene.)

                2. There is homosexual sex, which is a grave sin, a deliberate, wrongful choice of the will that very easily becomes an addiction.

                3. There is the gay self-identity, often based on the self-justifying lie that “God made me that way,” which is a heresy and as a heresy, a rebellion against God and good sense.

                Now, one can suffer from 1, resist 2, reject 3, and be an Orthodox Christian — but a Christian who is greatly weakened by a serious disorder that should disqualify him or her from some roles in the Church, especially in this day when there is so much pressure on people to believe that same-sex attraction is perfectly normal.

                Or one can suffer from 1, commit 2 on occasion, reject 3, and be an Orthodox Christian, but a Christian whose weakness is so extreme that even greater limitations must be place on them.

                But one cannot suffer from 1, commit 2 regularly, embrace 3, and still be an Orthodox Christian. That is outright rebellion, and there is plenty of evidence to show that people who reach that point fall off the deep end into extreme irreason and dishonesty. We have seen evidence of it on this thread.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Fr. Deacon,

                  I did not miss your post. I have made absolutely no comment or insinuation suggesting that homosexuality is anything other than disorder and in opposition to the creation “as it was in the beginning.” Neither have I made any argument, in any shape or fashion, that would suggest I believe homosexuality or same-sex attraction to be “normal” or, for that matter, to be “normalized.” I will insist, however, that there is a fundamental distinction between same-sex attraction and same-gender sexual acts. I remain confident that I have exhaustively (click on Read all comments) addressed each point you have made in regard to what might “cause” same-sex attraction, and relying on the available data, I must conclude that your position is conjecture.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Ok so where are we in disagreement? For one to struggle is one thing, but to change the church’s teaching is another. Strict guiedlines for Pastoral response and care must be put forward by our leaders in ALL Orthodox Jurisdictions for us to properly response to the gay Agenda coming at us. I think we are saying the same thing but from different prospectives each one worried that no ground is given towards acceptance of the sinful behavior.

                    Acceptance of the individual sinner always. This has always been our faith. But we do not and must not engage in the heresy of Moralism or to have people abide by a set of rules. People must abide in Christ Jesus and in him only. maybe this is the distinction overall you are trying to make. At least I hope so.


  39. The bank robber said to the teller: “I would like to have a dialogue with you about the ownership of the money in your till.”

  40. Valerie Karras of SMU is said in the article above to be ‘non-OCA’…but she attends at the same OCA church that I attend and has since before I even knew it existed. Maybe she is just a frequent visitor?