OCALaity Urges OCA to Adopt “Sanctity of Marriage Sunday”

From OCALaity:

“Parishioners from St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington DC has sent five resolutions to the OCA’s Resolution Committee for consideration at the upcoming 16th All American Council. The resolutions can be found at www.OCALaity.com. The resolutions deal with marriage, our OCA youth, monasteries, child sexual abuse, and a deaf outreach.

Of particular interest to most Orthodox Christians is the resolution calling for an annual Sanctity of Marriage Sunday. All are well aware of the continued assault on traditional marriage due to fornication, adultery, divorce, and same-sex unions. Presently six states and DC have passed same-sex marriage laws, and more states plan on taking up the issue. This resolution will hopefully encourage the Faithful to proclaim Holy Tradition’s teaching on sexuality and marriage, both in the church and in the public square.

We hope you view the site (www.OCALaity.com) so an early discussion on the merits of each resolutions can be made before the AAC. Please talk with your priest and parish council concerning your support for particular resolutions.”

The Resolutions

WHEREAS the Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of Church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of one man and one woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church; and Whereas neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions adultery, fornication, or a union between persons of the same sex;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Sixteenth All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America strongly commends the efforts of Orthodox bishops, clergy, and laity to bear witness to the sanctity of marriage in the public arena; commits the Orthodox Church in America to continued witness and defense of the authentic marriage of one man and one woman; strongly reaffirms the Orthodox Church’s opposition to same sex marriage, and that it does so on theological and moral grounds; and stresses God’s will that marriage be a lifelong commitment, monogamous, and heterosexual;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Sunday in September falling on or after the Feast of the Conception of St. John the Baptist will be called Sanctity of Marriage Sunday and on this Sunday: an annual letter from our Metropolitan will be read in all OCA Parishes during the Divine Liturgy affirming the Orthodox understanding of marriage; and each parish priest will declare his availability to counsel individuals or couples desiring to be married or already married; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Orthodox Church stresses that all persons tempted to act contrary to the Orthodox Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, and all those who succumb to such temptations, are to be offered pastoral guidance and cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all of humanity and that all persons are called by God to grow spiritually and morally toward holiness.

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  1. This is a beautiful thing. The parishioners of St. Nicholas Cathedral have done a great service to the Church here.

    The only thing I would want to add is an explicit rejection of surreptitious blessings of homosexual relationships, or receiving sexually-active and unrepentant homosexual couples at the chalice.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Helga, it’s even better than that. I was told by sources that Syosset bureacrats tried to get OCALaity to remove these resolutions. It seems like the heat has been turned up sufficiently. We’ll see what excuse they use to try to keep them off the floor of the AAC. (Wouldn’t you just love to be a bishop who speaks against the sanctity of marriage?}

      Also, Lefty Kishkovsky’s signature on Jim Wallis’ petition has drawn great criticism of Syosset as has the ham-handed treatment of Fr Zacchaeus Wood. I understand that a couple of these guys got a new one ripped from all the irate phone calls that these incidents caused.

      Yep, real OCAWonder here.

      • Lydia Paraskevas says

        George –

        I have not heard about what you referenced – with Fr. Kishkovsky and Fr. Zacchaeus. I saw that Fr. Zacchaeus was called back to the US. Can you tell me what happened?


      • Heracleides says

        Words do not adequately describe Stokoe (actually, some do come close). In Stokoe’s most recent catty swipe at Met. Jonah, he headlines his bit of spin as “Given Official Silence, Misinformation and Speculation Abounds” wherein he bemoans the above and then rather ham-handedly transitions to spouting nothing but “misinformation and speculation” against our Metropolitan by the end of his piece of fluff. The whole article struck me as Stokoe (rather ineptly) attempting to manufacture a crisis and reeked of desperation on his part. I couldn’t help but think that perhaps even Stokoe realizes that his days on the MC are numbered and that his reputation as a credible “reporter” on OCA happenings are kaput.

        • Stokoe smears:

          for what purpose would the Metropolitan be working against the OCA’s Synod, policies and his own administration?

          A similar question could be asked about Stokoe, although his purpose has become quite transparent. All that’s left is to hold Stokoe accountable. Your Grace?

          • Stokoe is jumping to the conclusion that makes Metropolitan Jonah look bad, however implausible it may be, even though it’s entirely possible that Bp. Melchisedek sent the draft letter by mistake (or on purpose, who knows?).

            I imagine the OCA chancery staff members, Bp. Melchisedek included, are able to sign letters with “+Jonah”. Any fool can type “+Jonah” at the bottom of a letter, or import an image of his signature.

            Also, where is Stokoe getting all these private emails between Berezansky, Metropolitan Jonah, and Bishop Melchisedek?

            On that subject, I can totally imagine how that email forwarding could have happened accidentally. I can’t tell you how often I’ve wound up with a long string of quoted emails tacked onto something: a long email conversation happens involving two or more people, an outside party is included in a later email, and the previous string of emails gets quoted at the bottom. Even fairly tech-savvy people can do this by mistake.

            Also, I’d just like to add that it’s pretty weird for Stokoe to get on Metropolitan Jonah’s case for forwarding some emails to Fr. Zacchaeus’s lawyer, when Stokoe himself is republishing a bunch of private emails for all the world to see in the very same article, not to mention Stokoe’s past publication of emails that were outright stolen!

  2. Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

    Point of clarification: These resolutions aren’t just submissions by a handful of parishioners. They were carefully prepared by a committee appointed by the parish council, based on drafts submitted by parishioners. They were then approved by the parish council for submission to the AAC Resolutions Committee. They are the parish’s resolutions.

  3. Janet Kirby says

    May it be blessed!

  4. All are well aware of the continued assault on traditional marriage due to fornication, adultery, divorce, and same-sex unions.

    I do like how you included “divorce”, but I note it is missing from the resolutions.

    • The relevant quotation from the resolution is, “Whereas neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions adultery, fornication, or a union between persons of the same sex”. Divorce isn’t included there because it *is* sanctioned, however reluctantly, in Scripture and Holy Tradition. Jesus explicitly permits divorce and remarriage for people who were married to unchaste spouses, and does not call that adultery.

      However, the problem reflected by divorce is clearly addressed in the resolution, where it says it “stresses God’s will that marriage be a lifelong commitment”.

      • Yes, I think so too, but I think anything about the “sanctity of marriage” should at least mention the word “divorce” at some point, as it’s a very big problem in modern society. Not as big a problem as heterosexual fornication, but certainly a bigger problem than homosexual marriage. George was able to at least include the word in his intro to the resolutions, so why shouldn’t the resolutions at least mention the word?

        • Orthodox tradition holds that divorce is a necessary concession to human weakness when a legitimate marriage has failed due to human sinfulness. Notice that the resolution also expects priests to offer counseling to already-married couples. Having covered the issues relating to divorce, there was no need to mention the d-word to address the topic.

          Homosexual marriage, on the other hand, is an attempt to remove the foundation of marriage itself, and is therefore far more dangerous than divorce.

          • “Necessary”?

            • Necessary, in the sense that some people need it in order to move on with their lives. There’s no need to put couples through an obstacle course after a marriage has decayed beyond repair. Remarriage is another issue entirely.

              • Then perhaps I need to amend my earlier reply, as neither George nor the resolutions mention remarriage after divorce, which I agree is a slightly different issue and which I think is the real sticky point with divorce. I suppose we will just have to agree to disagree, but I think any discussion of the “sanctity of marriage” must address this issue – at least have the word divorce in there somewhere! I also believe that current popular attitudes about homosexual sex and homosexual marriage are direct consequences of popular attitudes about heterosexual sex and heterosexual marriage (and divorce) several decades ago, so one must first explicitly address the root of the tree rather than the fruit.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Necessary for healing and to allow further growth in God. I know an man who was married for over 20 years and his wife died. He struggled with the directive of the Church to remain single and it was his intent to do so, however, he was not strong enough to do so.

              He began to pray to Mary for relief and for a God-loving woman. It so happened that the woman who came into his life was a non-Orthodox, God-loving woman who had traveled through a lot of different Christian appaoaches plus she had already been married three times. Her first two husband’s were highly unfaithful, the third died not long after they were married.

              By Orthodox standards, she was not a fitting woman to marry. Yet they did marry. The man accepted his penance of time away from the cup and the woman, despite her initial anger came into the Church and the man was restored to the cup on the same day she was Christmated.

              In looking at both of them now, they have been reclaimed and are far more joyful in their lives and in their approach to God knowing so well the extent of His mercy and grace because they realize the extent to which their union is at odds with the reality of the way it is supposed to be. Yet God blesses them and the Church blesses them to the extent She is able by allowing them to participte fully in the life of the Church save Holy Orders for the man.

              God is honored in their lives, in their home and in their service to others.

              Knowing the track they were both on prior to meeting, it is difficult to imagine as positive an outcome without the unusual and less than kosher marriage.

              Perhaps ‘necessary’

          • It is remarkable to me that some of you are so morally dualistic and casuistic when it comes to divorce and re-marriage. Of all that Jesus said about anything, about the sanctity of marriage and the forbidding of divorce except for adultery, he could not have been more clear. Yet you are able to use the same logic and reasoning to justify re-marriage as LGBT people do about marriage. When it suits you as a heterosexual, such arguments are just fine.

            Lets use the example of the man in the post above whose wife dies and he ‘tried’ to live without re-marriage as that IS the rule of the church. He ought to follow along with the requirement for LGBT people to live a celibate life. Why are you so lax with him? The allowance for re-marriage is for oikonomia reasons. Faced with wealthy patrons who were eager to re-marry after divorce or death, one could have the perspective that the church capitulated to human needs leaving the gospel teaching to the side,

            Mikchael Bauman, you are certainly overly kind to these fornicators you have befriended whose disobedience to the church’s doctrine on divorce was done without the priests blessing. He preferred living without communion to fornicate with this woman. Think that through.

            Him and the other heterosexuals’ need for sexual relief is so great that they would even put Jesus in second place to having a sexual relationship. Why aren’t you after bishops and priests for having allowed divorce in the past? If you are believers in the word…I mean, the Evangelists–Gospel writers–have no quotes from Jesus about homosexuality. Paul may have ranted about his own peculiar feelings about this, but not Jesus.

            Perhaps the church could allow homosexuals who are living in committed relationships not to be ostracized and able to receive communion based on the priest’s determination in oikonomia? You can’t be so hypocritical not to see how these issues overlap. It is because of human weakness, therefore that the church could allow committed LGBT people a break as well. (Notice I am not talking marriage here. Long way away if it will ever happen.)

            • There is an essential difference in that divorce and remarriage are explicitly permitted by Jesus, and homosexual behavior is not. Every passage in the Bible that deals with homosexual behavior condemns it in strong and explicit language.

              Oikonomia is for relaxing disciplinary rules for the salvation of particular individuals whose circumstances warrant it. Using oikonomia as an excuse to “bless” sexual activity that is innately sinful is an abuse of the principle.

              Even if Jesus had said words that were recorded about homosexuality, I’m sure you would try to explain that away as a peculiarity as well, or denied that he even said it, using the Jesus Seminar “exegetical” method of throwing away anything that not enough people find to be sufficiently plausible!

            • Michael Bauman says

              Stephen, second marriages even when adultery broke the first one are not the same as first marriages. They can never be as pure; they can never be as deep. There is even a different wedding service. Nevertheless they are marriages and the Church extends the grace of God to them — to a point. The Grace is allowed because of the ontological and soeteriological reality of marriage that homosexuality does not share.

              It is far better not to divorce. Divorce is a horrible example of human sinfulness at work. It is far better not to remarry when your spouse dies. Originally re-marriage was allowed only when children were involved or to provide for the continuity of the families involved. Oh, and of course for emperors–although the canonical limit of three marriages was codified because an emperor wanted to be married a 4th time.

              The travesty of fornication, adultery, abortion, divorce and serial monogomy is not confronted with the rigor necessary which weakens our witness to the world and weakens the ability of all of us to attain the purity of Christ.

              Your criticism on that point is valid and needs to be heard.

              However, while homosexuals and heterosexuals share the struggle to remain both celibate and chaste; there is no moral or spiritual parity between marriage and homosexual relationships. Marriage is a transformative gift from God; homosexual acts are inheritantly sinful. The Church cannot condone sin in one area just because of sinfulness in another similar area.

              It would be much easier for everyone if we were better able to adhere to the Church’s teaching on marriage and the bishops would pastorally guide, support and discipline us when we are not able. It saddens me that we do not live up to our calling.

              Forgive me for adding to your burdens but if we would learn to stuggle together, in Christ, against the world’s temptations to licentiousness and the ‘free expression’ of our sexual passions all of our burdens would be lighter.

              • “the Church extends the grace of God to them — to a point”

                This strikes me as blasphemy. Is the grace of God something the Church dispenses or doles out? “To a point”?

            • Prospective Nomad says

              Stephen is correct about the obvious double standard in contemporary American Orthodox praxis between homosexual couplings on the one hand and heterosexual couplings that do not meet any scripturally or canonically defensible standard on the other. Once one advances the argument that an act declared sinful by the Scriptures and the canons can be rendered blameless by the declaration of a particular generation of hierarchs, or by common practice, or by anecdotes in which things turned out well, the question is no longer who or what is right, but rather who shall have the power. One might still make a distinction between homosexual conduct and forbidden heterosexual conduct based on nature, but one will have surrendered the ability to make a non-arbitrary argument from Holy Tradition.

              We face these pastorally difficult situations in such large numbers because of our spiritual immaturity. If American Orthodoxy had a comprehensively Orthodox phronema, there would be a lot fewer Orthodox divorces, because we would not accept without question the modern notion that the decision to marry should be made exclusively by a young couple lacking life experience and probably in the throes of infatuation, based on a vetting process that consists primarily of recreation. In cultures with very low divorce rates, the sentence, “Mom and Dad, I’d like you to meet my fiance,” would be regarded as a great scandal. Ideally, the Church, through parents with intact marriages when possible, should be in the match-making business. At the very least, a pre-marital counseling program should have as its highest priority identifying and breaking up before the wedding the 20 percent of marriages that fail in the first five years. When failures slip through that net, why shouldn’t it be normative for a divorcee to enter a monastery, assuming that he or she does not have custody of, or financial responsibility for, minor children? The monastic life, not a single life in the world, is the normative manner in which Orthodox, other than relatively elderly widows and widowers, historically have struggled for celibacy. Celibacy has usually been understood as being more attainable under close spiritual direction, within a community of fellow strugglers, and with rigorous ascesis. Attempting to wage this particular form of spiritual warfare in this culture without the weapons that are most useful is generally a foolhardy departure from Holy Tradition.

              We have a lot of work to do. Stephen rightly points out a double standard, but wrongly suggests that we resolve it by making another compromise with the spirit of the age, when in fact we should be striving to make it feasible to renounce the compromise that we have already made. The road that leads to life is hard, regardless of the form of one’s sexual temptations.

              • I have much to learn about Orthodox, so forgive me for being puzzled concerning this discussion concerning marriage, re-marriage, and celibacy. If I die before my wife, she shouldn’t re-marry if she falls in love with someone else? That makes no sense to me. It is natural for a man and woman to be together (in marriage)–isn’t that the created order? Celibacy then would seem to be unnatural?

                • Prospective Nomad says


                  I am sorry if I created confusion. The Scriptures and the Church have long permitted second marriages that follow either the death of the first spouse or a divorce occasioned by porneia. There would not be a requirement for celibacy in such cases.

                • Prospective Nomad says


                  A quick amplification to my earlier reply. There is a category of conduct that might be described as “less than ideal but not sinful.” Second marriages that follow either the death of the first spouse or a divorce occasioned by porneia fall into this category. The gentleman in Mr. Bauman’s post above was attempting for a time to attain the ideal. His inability to do so was not, in itself, sinful. Although it’s a stretch, one could even argue that the second wife’s marital history fell into this category, inasmuch as all of her previous marriages were broken either by death or her husbands’ infidelity. Please understand that I am not passing judgment on him, her or their priest. She still has fewer former husbands than St. Photini, who is far greater in the Kingdom of Heaven than I’ll ever be.

            • Stephen.

              I am a recently received person so I hope I get this right.

              1. The Church is not a democratic club. It is run by a king who makes the rules. If we want to reside in this kingdom we have to learn what the king expects of us. Way back in Jeremiah, among other places, we find this line. “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’” Jeremiah 7:23 This theme runs all through the Bible. God is always giving us a choice: to walk with Him or apart from Him. The past century has seen multitudes of persons ready to share the good news of salvation to the point of death. Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that to lay down one’s live for his friends.” John 15:12-13
              How much of your life will you lay down for God? Whose kingdom do you want to live in?

              2. When we are baptized we die unto sin and are united with Christ. Basically this means that we give up our rights to our life in order to live according to the call that God has put upon us. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to give us a cushy life. Instead we are expected to “fight the good fight.”, “run the race.” , repent, Etc. Christians need to train just as people do in almost any career. And training is often not easy. And training involves sacrifice. Yes, it is difficult to follow Jesus, but life is more difficult following Satan. Take your pick.

              3. Whining. Reading Exodus, we find that God led the Israelites out of slavery and into the promised land. However we read that they started whining because the trip was too difficult and they had had to give up lots of stuff that they liked back in Egypt. And so they spent forty years until they finally got their act together. We too can spend 40 or more years in the desert whining about what we don’t have instead of being grateful for what God is doing in our lives. PS. I learned this lesson the hard way, by the way.

              Psalm 37: 1-4 Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
              For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
              Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
              Delight yourself also in the Lord , and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

              • CodeNameYvette says

                How perfectly stated, Jeff. And how perfectly applicable to each of us, no matter what our circumstances.

                All that God promises us in this life, is the opportunity to save our souls. He owes us nothing.

      • Yes, thank you Helga. That is exactly how we thought about the resolution. Divorce would be covered under “life-long commitment”. We could have added line after line, such as marriage between “unrelated” people, no polygamy, etc–we opted for a shorter version. But this can be changed at the AAC once it passes the OCA’s Resolution Committee.

  5. HappilyAnon says

    While I know plenty of marriages that were torn asunder directly by adultery and divorce and indirectly by fornication, I can’t say I’ve heard of any marriage or marriage in general being assaulted by same-sex marriage. It’s also quite fascinating that while adultery, divorce, and fornication are very common problems that have been with us for a long time, as well as the problem of Orthodox marrying non-Christians and opting for civil marriages outside the Church, it is only when certain states approved same-sex marriage that the need for “Sanctity of Marriage Sunday” apparently became apparent.

    I realize that opposition to gay marriage is what all the “cool, hip” conservatives are into, these days, and this is the sort of thing you have to do to prove yourself to be “really” Christian to your golf buddies from the local Republican club, but, honestly, if someone told you to join the pro-jumping-off-a-bridge movement because everyone else at the Rotary Club was doing it, would you do that, too? This “sanctity of marriage Sunday” resolution sounds a lot like the result of a certain social immaturity.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Actually, it’s called the prophetic voice of the Church. It’s not immaturity, but an obligation. It is the Christian thing to do NOT the conservative thing to do. Homosexuality is a stated and explicit sin. So is divorce, but because their is an exception for Pornia take it up with God, not His Church.


    • So then, by that resonsing we should have had a Sanctity of Life Sunday, BEFORE they allowed abortions to be legal in the US??? Abortions still occurred before they were legal and the Church always spoke out against them.

      As sins/threats become more common and acceptable, they must be addressed by an equally larger response.
      The practice of only issuing statements each time a state allows same sex marriage is a reactive approach and only targets those who read it on the internet. A Proactive, annual announcement in each Parish will inform ALL parishioners of the teachings of the Church.

      Finally, it can not be helped if no one thought of this before.

    • Prospective Nomad says


      The country-club Republicans that you know are evidently of a different sort from the ones that I know. Most country-club types hate the social issues. Nothing would elate them more than to be able to win elections without having to consort with social conservatives. Statistically, opposition to gay marriage is stronger among working-class whites and minorities than among higher-income whites. Proposition 8 passed in California largely because Obama’s candidacy raised turnout among blacks, whose pastors had instructed them to support the initiative.

      Although almost none of them realize it, the “ownership society” that higher-income Republicans so fervently support is one of the pillars of the homosexual ascendancy, because the direct-contribution retirement system pays people, especially women, hundreds of thousands of dollars per head not to have children, an incentive of which homosexuals are better adapted to take full advantage. Opposition to gay marriage is therefore anything but a genuflection toward establishment Republicanism. The resolution against gay marriage recently adopted by the Antiochian Archdiocesan Convention, available at antiochian.org/more_features, asserts directly that children are ideally the fruit of marriage. People with five kids generally can’t afford country-club dues.

    • While I know plenty of marriages that were torn asunder directly by adultery and divorce and indirectly by fornication, I can’t say I’ve heard of any marriage or marriage in general being assaulted by same-sex marriage.

      I have. I know of several marriages interupted by a persons same sex partners . . . and later “marriage”.

      it is only when certain states approved same-sex marriage that the need for “Sanctity of Marriage Sunday” apparently became apparent.

      I’m glad you get it.

      I realize that opposition to gay marriage is what all the “cool, hip” conservatives are into, these days, and this is the sort of thing you have to do to prove yourself to be “really” Christian to your golf buddies from the local Republican club, but, honestly, if someone told you to join the pro-jumping-off-a-bridge movement because everyone else at the Rotary Club was doing it, would you do that, too? This “sanctity of marriage Sunday” resolution sounds a lot like the result of a certain social immaturity.

      I’m not Republican.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Yes, she’s not Republican. I am, and we get along just fine!

        P.S. I don’t look like a “typical” Republican.

        • I am not, nor have I ever been, a Republican, an Episcopalian, or a country club member. My party preference is “toga”!

  6. Pretty insightful. Thanks!

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  7. So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows–it is better to say unmarried, just as I am. But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust. 1Cor 7:8-9

    I don’t know about you readers but I find these lines from scripture especially interesting in discussing the sanctity of marriage. In this description of why one should get married, Paul says it is better to marry than to burn with lust, or in some translations, passion. No crowns mentioned. No being together as an icon of the church’s relationship with Christ. No discussions about sacrament. Just if your can’t hack being celibate: get married. Obviously, marriage here is seen as the opposite of celibacy. The expectation of the marital relationship is to allow the person to relieve their lust, not just to procreate.

    Did those of you reading this really give adequate time and effort to remain celibate? Paul says it is the preferred way to live.

    But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife. 1Cor 7: 10-11

    That’s pretty clear. Like that is as Paul says a command that comes from the Lord. No seven reasons for divorce; no oikonomia. Just follow the command.

    I am quite open to an understanding concerning this passage. In the time of Paul’s writing of this the kingdom of God and return of Christ was considered quite imminent. The basic point in his writing this is–from a lay person’s perspective, is something to the affect that this is the least of your worries. Christ is coming again and you need to act to save yourselves and your people.

    But that is a very liberal and not literal translation or explanation of these passages. So…which is it?

    Now, I am as theologically fair as the next person. Exceptions to these ideals have been made and lots of words used in rationalizing what was basically giving in to rich people who wanted to get married again.

    Someone earlier says in response to my previous post that the church should not compound error by allowing openly gay people to have communion in church if they are in a committed relationship. Nah, nah, rules don’t get changed in midstream. What is good for the goose (heterosexual) is good for the other goose, (homosexuals).What LGBT people feel is fair is for the church to allow a situation just like other people unable to remain celibate because of reasons stated by Paul in vs 9 above. Such an accommodation can be made because the church does change. See: remarriage after divorce.

    So, either roll back the time machine to AD100 regarding remarriage after divorce, or lets have a serious discussion about LGBT acceptance in the Orthodox Church.

    • Michael Bauman says

      BTW Stephen, folks who struggle with same sex attraction are and always have been welcome in the Orthdox Church as repentant sinners. If you don’t wish or don’t need repentance, you don’t need the Church. Jesus came to heal the broken, the maimed, the halt and the lame. I know I qualify, that’s why I’m in the Church.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      All people are accepted and acceptable in the Orthodox Church, but Not all lifestyles. Homosexuality is one of those lifestyles that are not acceptable to the Orthodox. Stephen I again strongly suggest you read 4th Maccabees as a starting point to control you unnatural passions. However, first you have to except Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. After that you need to pray to Him and ask Him to see if He accepts your lifestyle. I am sorry to say that you will not get the answer you are looking for. I bid you peace.


    • It’s interesting to see how animated posters get when someone questions the inconsistencies when it comes to homosexuality and heterosexuality.

      Let’s say I’m guilty of pre-marital sex (heterosexual relations). I’m publicly humiliated by my church. I’m told not to come back until I can assure everyone publicly that I’ve stopped doing that. I’ve had to stop dating because everybody assumes I’m having pre-marital sex. I’m fired from my job because I’m having pre-marital sex. I can’t live in the neighborhood I want, or get a mortgage loan because of my pre-marital sex perversion. My parents have disowned me. I was beat up by some hooligans because I looked like one of those who have pre-marital sex.

      A silly, exaggerated analogy, right? Most Christians have had pre-marital sex. And most Christians continue to have pre-marital sex. Should then only married people be accepted in the Church? Why should homosexuals be held to a higher or different standard?

      And as far as the students, what I got was that the Church’s position on homosexuality is clear and unequivocal; therefore, it is unnecessary to resort to unproven, homophobic allegations to support the Church’s position.

      • Michael Bauman says


        Not only is your analogy silly, it is utterly false.

        Just because the Church has often given into the sinful culture in regards to pre-marital sex it does not follow that it should continue giving in. You also continue to make the false assumption that hetrosexual relations and homosexual relations are morally and spiritual equivalent. THEY ARE NOT!.

        As long as you or anyone continues to hold to the belief ion the moral and spiritual equivalency of homoerotic activity and hetrosexual relations (even sinful ones), they are not in acord with the teaching of the Church.

        I am a member of the jurisidiction that is often considered the most wordly Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States, but here are the facts in my parish: Sexual sins are addressed privately, pastorally and in acord with the canons. If a co-habitating couple comes requesting marriage, they are asked to set up separate residences and to repent of their sin as well as engage in extensive pre-marital counseling prior to having the marriage blessed.

        Those who marry outside the Church must submit to a period of penance which can be indefinite if the circumstances warrant.

        If someone divorces even in the case of adultery by their spouse, they are not allowed to receive of communion for at least a year. The offending spouse is exluded from communion until there is full and complete repentance.

        If someone supports, even in mind, abortion they are not to approach the cup.
        People who are struggling with same sex attraction are dealt with privately, pastorally and are welcome as members of the congregation–treated with love and respect. There is no humiliation of anyone. While many sins are generally known because it is impossible to keep such things entirely secret, no on gossips at least not that I have ever heard.

        If you want to live in your own little world of pre-determined animus to the Church and all she represents desiring to foist your own will on the Church so that you are not challenged with the sinfulness of anything. The Episcopelians would be happy to receive you I am sure.

        The Orthodox Church is not, nor has she ever been a democracy. It is a hierachy nested in the reality of the Incarnation of the God and the authority given to the Apostles.

        I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to claim any Apostolic authority. Don’t have it, never will. Those who wish to change the Church’s moral teachings are arrogating Apostolic authority to themselves however. They are demanding that the rest of us acquiese in the same sins they celebrate. Those who acquiese in the depravity of the world’s sexual attitudes (whatever they may be) are selling their birth right for pottage and endagering the salvation of many.

        People who want to parade sin, celebrate sin and change sin into virtue while condemining those who hold to the moral teachings of the Church are the ones who drag it and everyone into the public eye, subject people to ridicule and humiliation, try to force them from their positions in the Church, etc, etc.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          You also continue to make the false assumption that hetrosexual relations and homosexual relations are morally and spiritual equivalent. THEY ARE NOT!.

          I don’t claim or think that. My thought was how one sin (homosexuality) is treated differently than another sin (pre-marital sex). You’re saying in your experience that’s not the case, so if I had the wrong impression, apologies.

          If you want to live in your own little world of pre-determined animus to the Church and all she represents desiring to foist your own will on the Church so that you are not challenged with the sinfulness of anything. The Episcopelians would be happy to receive you I am sure.

          Ouch! I’ll cop to living in my little world and possessing a little mind, but I don’t hate the Church. I’m trying to find my way and I have questions.

  8. Michael Bauman says

    Stephen, your whole argument rests on a false premise: that heterosexual and homosexual realtions are morally and spritually equivalent. They are not so the rest of your argument is null. Relationships, even celibate ones, founded upon same sex attraction are sinful. Hetrosexual sexual relationships outside marriage are sinful. Even within marriage, the relationship can become distorted and sinful. The real point is do we love God more than our sexual satisfaction? The mercy of God is sufficient in order for us to live full and complete lives. It is also sufficient to allow men and women in marriage to reflect God’s life and abundance. It is also sufficient to heal any transgressions we may make when we repent.


    To address the theological point #1 however, Paul is talking about widows. Those who have already been married.

    #2 Divorce is wrong because marriage is an icon of Christ and His Church, a concrete example of the Incarnation, however, Jesus Christ himself allowed for divorce in the case of adultery because the marriage had been polluted and it was no longer a marriage.

    It is dangerous to take single statements from Paul or any part of the Bible and establish a legalistic position on that statement. Paul is constantly making statements of the absolute nature of God’s laws and the requirement to live up to them. He also makes statements on the primacy of God’s grace and mercy. The life of the Church and Holy Tradition are living exegesis of the Bible and a continuing experience of the life-giving Holy Spirit. We seem to prefer the life of the stiff-necked and the rebellious however.

    Lord have mercy on us all.

  9. Michael Bauman says

    Since you prefer toga parties that must mean you are a libertatian right?

  10. I am glad http://www.OCALaity.com is not the official Website of the St. Nicholas Cathedral.
    I see so many things are changing and it’s not Orhodoxy. So much judgement and worry over
    others’ sins. Focus on forgiveness and helping the elderly, sick, and poor. Born Orthodox
    and Christian.

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      Anna, when those sins were private, the faithful at St. Nicholas didn’t worry over them. But when those sins (sodomy, gay marriage) came to be freely and frequently touted during coffee hour as blessings, a few of the faithful judged that something was wrong and privately told a deacon, who tried privately for six months to get the rest of the clergy do something privately about the evangelizing sinners — to no avail. So that deacon finally went public, and only then did the rest of the clergy — slowly, timidly, and resentfully toward the deacon — begin to talk about doing something.

      • Thanks, Deacon. (BTW, do you go by Deacon Brian, Deacon Patrick, or Deacon Brian Patrick?) One of the problems in American Orthodoxy, as I see it, is that Orthodox see other Orthodox do and say things that are not reconcilable with Orthodoxy, but don’t know what, if anything, to do about it. Everybody I’ve ever seen speak up about what someone else is doing gets slapped down as “judgmental” and a “troublemaker”. Maybe someone will piously quote the prayer of St. Ephraim at them. Nothing happens unless the situation becomes catastrophically obvious to someone willing to do something about it.

        We all know the danger of covering up child sexual abuse now, but what about other things that don’t have a legal enforcement behind them, like liturgical abuse, or a parishioner who performs abortions? There should be a way of transmitting this kind of information to church authorities, without worrying about being branded a tattletale.

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Deacon Patrick informally. I still use Brian formally because I have books and articles published with that name. Here’s an example.

    • Anna, please explain–why are you “so glad” its not the official Website.
      Is there something on the website you dont agree with or that is Not Orthodox? be specific.

  11. The quotation a I read it says to “those who aren’t married and widows…”

    What is better to say is that both heterosexual sex and homosexual sex are morally neutral. It is the way in which these behaviors are experienced that determines their moral nature. If, as St. Paul states, homosexual sex tied in with pagan rituals is an “abomination” is true, when it is directed toward love for another person it is not an abomination. St. Paul is right to make such a condemnation of the lifestyle of pagan rituals and homosexuality as it is against the center of Christian morality which is belief in Jesus as one person in the three of the Holy Trinity. Such attachment to pagan beliefs can only lead to homosexual and heterosexual fornication, which is also condemned by St. Paul and others.

    When Jesus spoke of marriage and the absolute unacceptability of divorce except in the case of adultery or death–and this we know was made an exception mostly to care for the widow and her children and to allow men and women to have a loving sexual relationship–he never said that civil divorce was a new reality in the person’s life that now has to be dealt with in the most loving way possible. That is an expression of humanity’s need for sexual relations which are expressed in marriage. . In the time of Christ, it would be unheard of the speak of homosexual marriage. It is an evolutionary concept socially and culturally which has allowed for this open expression of committed love between people of the same sex. But, neither would you have considered of marriage for serfs in the Byzantine Empire, who’s marriages went without blessing. It was their overseers and owners who “blessed” their marriages to allow for more workers in their farms.

    Michael: I agree that it is not good to to take Paul/scripture out of context. I only use quotations from any part of the Bible to respond when others are “quoting to” me. This must drive you crazy as well, when sometimes perfect strangers come up to you and hear that you are Orthodox and quote Romans, and Corinthians and best of all the book of Revelations–the whore, usually associated with the Pope. I find many evangelical types confuse Orthodoxy with RC…the robes and incense just turn them off. This is when the battle of the quotes usually gets started, and i find from there on the whole discussion goes downhill.

    It is as if you have this “weapon” called the Bible. In it is ammunition to ward of the “same sexers, the women priesters, the fornnicators”, and what-all. The Bible is a useless weapon when used in that manner. When it is used to demonstrate the incredible love which Jesus, the Father and the Holy spirit, have for us, which comes forth from them, then we are worthily sharing the Word which Jesus urged his disciples to preach to all nations.

    On a totally different tract–and one which is meant to be an observation, not to finger point. In my search among the world’s religions, I have been among Buddhists, Hindus, Sufis and others. I’ve been in their monasteries, in their ashrams and in their homes. Never did I hear such mean spirited discussions of people in their own religion/communities than I have read in this blog. I have worked with the elderly, disabled, homeless families and rarely heard the kind of disdain held for people different than they. None of them saints, I assure you.

    Helga delights not in the truth, but in attacking anyone with a good word to say about anything. I’ve read all the same quotes she did in the Letter to the Holy Synod by the OCA Youth, and of course the statements are disparaging to LGBT people Then of course another post reviled them as having been professional students, lazy–disparaging the messengers in order to diminish the impact of what their words may say. Whether or not there has been an Orthodox youth who has committed suicide, is it just Orthodox Youth that matter?

    The superiority and self-righteousness that permeates this group–for the most part–is a major disappointment for people who are to be spreading the joy of salvation throughout the world.

    • Helga delights not in the truth, but in attacking anyone with a good word to say about anything. I’ve read all the same quotes she did in the Letter to the Holy Synod by the OCA Youth, and of course the statements are disparaging to LGBT people Then of course another post reviled them as having been professional students, lazy–disparaging the messengers in order to diminish the impact of what their words may say. Whether or not there has been an Orthodox youth who has committed suicide, is it just Orthodox Youth that matter?

      I never participated in the part of the conversation about whether or not these letter signers were professional students. I did call them worldly-minded and poorly catechized, because I was trying to be compassionate and attribute their remarks to ignorance, rather than conscious hatred of Orthodox teaching.

      Thank you for demonstrating your failure at reading comprehension, Stephen, since it does much to undermine your self-serving argument about homosexual sex in Scripture.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Stephen, the joy of salvation begins with Jesus astounding statement: “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”

      From the moment I first started becoming Christian, I have studied, prayed, listened and observed the role of gender in soteriology. I have always wanted to know what God expects of me as a Christian man. Most of the time I fail.

      However, along the way, it became quite simple and clear: God created us male and female. It is integral to the creation, our stewardship of it and our salvation. There is an incredible overflowing of virtue and blessing for those who enter into real marriage. The male-female synergy is an incredible gift from God.

      Fornicators, adulterers, those who divorce and remarry do so because of a departure from the manner in which God makes us for “it was not so from the foundation of the world”. Fortunately, repentance and healing is possible in all cases as long as there is no self-justification for the sins. Still, it were better if it were not so.

      There is much about the mystery of gender and what God does with marriage that I do not understand, but it is abundantly clear that same sex attraction and all of the universe of ideas and actions that surround, reinforce and sustain it in our culture is profoundly sinful. It is not integral to creation and, in fact, violates the essential nature of our being.

      It is a violation of my Chrisitan duty to you, my brother, if I do not, with all of the love I can muster, point out to you that you are living in profound sin that threatens your salvation. If you find that mean-spirited, please forgive me as my intention is only to convey the truth and, by the grace of God, point you toward the truth.

      The healing of the pain that leads to suicide and other self-destructive acts cannot be found in denying that homosexual behavior is sinful. The healing of the pain and self-destruction lies in going boldly before the throne of grace and offering oneself without reservation to the God who creates us, sustains us and loves us so much that he took on our nature. There in the most intimate of places, in the heart of our own soul, cry out: “Lord forgive me, transform and transfigure me so that I am as you originally made me. Do not leave me in my darkness and disfigurement.”

      Since everything we do partakes of sin to some degree, nothing in our lives can be withheld or is out of bounds. The more we admit the depth of the darkness in which we live, the less we seek to justify ourselves and our actions, the more we are able to partake of God’s grace and mercy.

      That is the Gospel, my brother. It is the same Gospel for all of us no matter what our sins, our pain and our self-destructive desires. It is the Gospel of life over death.

      God Bless you.

  12. Robert, It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. Resolutions seem easier than communication. If someone does not want to do something you just point to a resolution. I don’t think they respresent the entire parish. But, if I suspect any child being abused by anyone I will report it to the authorities immediately. I don’t need a resolution. We all know it’s a crime. Youth Day is a wonderful thing. Do you need a resolution? Just do it and lead by example every Sunday everyday.As I read about the incidents and reactions to Metropolitan Jonah’s remarks …where is the compassion and forgiveness? Keep the doors open and leave the judging to God. It’s not easy to be a Christian.

    • Then lets get rid of the Sanctity of Life Sunday–why inform people about the Churchs stance.
      Why go to confession, lets just leave the judging to God. Why even go to Church?

      And of course the resolutions do not represent the entire parish–as has been discussed, St. Nicholas has openly practicing same sex couples.

      Do we need a resolutions for youth day? YES. They have yet to do this. If the church wants money to build big projects or do big projects, it will need to collect money.