The Spirit of the Age: Met. Isaiah Defends Stand Against Homosexual Marriage to Parishioners

Met. Isaiah of Denver (GOA)

In 2009, Met. Isaiah of Denver (GOA) sent out this encyclical defending his stand against homosexual marriage to some irate parishioners. Highlight:

Thirty years ago, no Greek Orthodox Christian would have argued against or dared to be critical of his priest or his bishop in this manner in order to support the “gay” lifestyle. Yet, I believe our people will continue to love our family members, our relatives and our friends who may be living abnormal lifestyles. Why? Because they recognize they are all members of the human family, under God, as we all are. And I believe that our prayers will continue on their behalf, so that they may come to themselves, and to know that they, and we, are all in the active state of becoming, rather than that of being.

+ + + + + + + + + +

Source: AOI

Protocol 09–12
September 24, 2009
The Reverend Clergy, and
The Pious Faithful of the Holy Metropolis of Denver
Beloved in the Lord,

Met. Isaiah of Denver (GOA)

Earlier this year I attended the 25th Anniversary Banquet of one of our parishes, and was invited to offer a few remarks before the final prayer, which I did. As I do at all anniversary celebrations of parishes, I express the hope and the prayer that the parish will continue to exist even to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In mentioning the glorious return of the Lord, I also allude to the final day events in the world which the Lord states will be like the final days of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:29,30) and that the people of the Church must try to live according to the teachings of Christ for their salvation.

At this particular parish I did the same thing, using two examples to stress the fact that we are living in the last days before violent events take place. I mentioned the legality of abortion in this country, which has killed tens of millions of unborn infants. I also mentioned the idea of making “same sex marriage” legal in our country. I neither condemned nor did I criticize anyone, because I could not do this.

Unfortunately, one or two persons took offense at my mentioning the legality of “same sex marriage”, and one of them verbally accosted me as I sat down. Since that day I have received two letters condemning me for what I said in regard to “same sex marriage”.

As God is my witness, I have neither criticized nor have I condemned anyone because of their lifestyle. As a clergyman, and especially as a Christian, I have no right to condemn anyone. I have criticized the act, but never the person. In attempting to serve God as faithfully as I can, I have no right to condemn anyone. If God does not condemn a sinner, neither do I have the right to do so.

It is clear from Holy Scripture that, if God were to condemn any person, He would be condemning Himself, as every human being is made in the image of God. However, God does condemn wrongful behavior and sinful lifestyles. We are born into this life to change and not remain the same. Only God remains the same because He is perfect. If we are to say that a particular person is “born” homosexual, then we can also say that a person is born an adulterer or a robber or even a murderer. Moreover, if it were true that we come into the world with certain unchanging tendencies, such as homosexuality, then why would God give to every person intellect and a free will, when one is born into the world, only for a person to remain the same?

Unfortunately, we tend to forget that Satan exists here in this world, with all the fallen angels. They are ever active, attempting to convince us that we are normal, even if our behavior goes contrary to the teachings of the Church. Sadly, many parents and teachers convince children that they are more important and better than they actually are. This false philosophy is called self-esteem. In other words, we esteem ourselves above other people.

In Holy Scripture, we read that we tend to seek our own ways rather than the Lord’s (Phillipians 2:21). In extreme cases, there are some people today who believe that they are female in male bodies, or male in female bodies. These are tricks of Satan in order to confuse their true identity. Satan did the same with Adam and Eve, making them believe that they were something else than what they were.

I write this letter to the parishioners of this Metropolis as a clarification that I neither criticize nor condemn anyone as an individual. Unfortunately, some took my remarks personally at that banquet. The fact that this happened, as well as the two letters written to me, convinces me even more that we are living in the last days. Thirty years ago, no Greek Orthodox Christian would have argued against or dared to be critical of his priest or his bishop in this manner in order to support the “gay” lifestyle.
Yet, I believe our people will continue to love our family members, our relatives and our friends who may be living abnormal lifestyles. Why? Because they recognize they are all members of the human family, under God, as we all are. And I believe that our prayers will continue on their behalf, so that they may come to themselves, and to know that they, and we, are all in the active state of becoming, rather than that of being. This is why the Church, first and foremost, has periods of introspection and repentance and fasting, so that we can change and become more Christlike in our walk through this temporary life. For our one and only purpose is to become heirs of God’s coming Kingdom.

With Paternal Blessings,

Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver



  1. Ambrose Stapleton says

    I really appreciated this posting.

  2. Michael Bauman says

    I’ve seen this before. Met. Isiah’s humility is striking in face of such obsence arrogance as demonstrated by those parishoners. Lord forgive me, I could not have done it. The spirit of the age indeed, people turning on one another to defend our descent into beastial living of all kinds.

  3. George Michalopulos says

    Michael, my sentiments exactly. Just consider: this harridan never uttered a peep to His Eminence regarding the outrage she should have felt about the Katinas or Barrow affairs (both of which were ongoing), or perhaps the silence of the GOA on the Terry Schiavo atrocity. Instead, she unleashed her fury on him for teaching the normal tradition of the Church. This is what I mean when I say, look at how far the laity have fallen.

  4. Axios, axios, axios!

  5. Chris Plourde says

    The Metropolitan’s letter is awesome. I think especially this

    And I believe that our prayers will continue on their behalf, so that they may come to themselves, and to know that they, and we, are all in the active state of becoming, rather than that of being.

    My only other thought on this is that there must have been more than just a few people at the banquet, and so one or two would represent the outliers, not the main of “the laity.”

    • Michael Bauman says

      Either that or the ones that spoke represent the majority that is mostly silent.

      • Chris Plourde says

        There’s a community where the Orthodox Christian laity is mostly silent? LOL! Who knew?!?

        [ Sorry, couldn’t resist. 😉 ]

        But seriously, taken as a whole I’d expect the Orthodox Christian laity to be more in step with the teachings of the Church than not. Even if the cradle population tracked exactly with America’s secular population, as the convert population would tend to be more in step with the teachings of the Church.

        Frank Schaeffer notwithstanding….

        • I want to put this out there, about Frankie Schaeffer. I traveled to L’Abri, Switzerland as a young hippie in the early seventies, read a lot of his dad’s books (not that I agreed with them, but I read ’em), and heard his lovely mother, Edith, speak. I have had some thoughts about Frankie Schaeffer for many years. So, after reading your comment, I asked my husband, Jacob, what he thinks about Frank Schaeffer, and he says to me this: “Frank Schaeffer seems to me the kind of guy who substitutes knowledge and connections for understanding. He seems to live off what others have done more than having any essential consideration/substance himself. I don’t think that he has been involved, really, at a deep level of creative substance. He has marketed himself with image; the image he inherited from his dad, and the genuine intellectuals his dad had longs talks with. In other words, I think he’s living off other people’s coattails. I think it’s the difference between a creator and an assembler. He’s an assembler, and he makes money off it. I can’t say this as gospel truth but it seems to me if you took away his dad and the genuine stream of intellectuals his dad was with and had in his home, I think someone like Frankie Schaeffer would be seen as an effective wannabe. That doesn’t meant that he doesn’t have intelligence, but that he’s gone to the bank on his dad’s fame, not on his own. It’s a family business, he didn’t create the business. So what if he reads this? He gets to go to the bank, so he doesn’t care what people think.”

  6. Harry Coin says

    Nothing like a strong statement for quieting the critics. But when it comes time to make personnel decisions on these same matters– well, we see where the tire meets the street.

    The modern meaning of the word ‘Byzantine’ comes from daily choices of this sort only other people write about after the fact. Because, if the actors did press releases about these themselves– critics would not be so quiet.

    • Ted Logan says

      Yep, Harry. Isaiah and Demetrios both fought the defrocking of Katinis, the child molester priest in Dallas. Bart had to do it himself.

  7. Fr. Jim Rosselli says

    A shameful thing when Orthodox Christians, communicants in an Orthodox Church, support a Biblically-condemned perversion,–and then challenge a Bishop for making a clear statement of Orthodox faith! This is the sort of thing people expect to leave behind when they come into Orthodoxy,
    and His Beatitude is to be commended for his efforts to protect his flock. Axios!

  8. Fred C. Dobb says

    How did these people ever get into the church?

    • George Michalopulos says


      my guess is that they were born into it. Nominalist tribal Christians who have imbued the spirit of the age. This is one stream of corruption that flows into culturally corrup priesthoods. My guess is that the harridan in question who confronted His Eminence is moneyed and well-connected. Which of course makes her special and able to contramand the accepted teaching of the Church, because, you know, the Fathers were not as smart as Dr Phil.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Frankly, it could be almost anyone new or old. There are a number of converts who hold to the same line (Frank Schaeffer is not alone).

  9. AXIOS, AXIOS, AXIOS! Metropolitan Isaiah is a true and faithful shepherd. So reassuring to see his wisdom, love, and discernment in an age that desperately needs more Christian hierarchs to speak boldly on the eternal truths of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ, our Lord and only Savior.

    • Michael Bauman says

      As Harry’s link points out, Met. Isaiah was neither so courageous or forthcoming with the Bithos situation.

  10. George Michalopulos says

    Harry, Michael, et al. The reason I put this post up was because I wanted to remind myself as well as others how predominant the spirit of the age is. I forgot about +Isaiah’s mishandling of certain cases within his diocese. In retrospect I guess it could be seen as an excuse on my part to try and cut +Jonah some slack. It’s not. If anything, it shows how entrenched the problem is/was and how far we are going to have to go in order to fix it.

    My ideas?

    1. No unmarried man can enter seminary. He and his wife have to be scholarshiped so that when he graduates he has no debt.

    2. No unmarried man can be ordained as a priest in a parish setting. (Widowers excepted.)

    3. Parishes need to pay a living wage to their priest (median income + >10%).

    4. All candidates for seminary must undergo extensiver psychological evaluation (even those who want to become monks).

    Now we come to the sticky part: what to do with those who are heterosexually challenged?

    1. If they are old or approaching retirement age, give them the gold watch.

    2. If they are truly struggling to remain chaste, send them to a monastery, where their immediate needs are taken care of and they can be watched.

    3. If they are not near retirement age, but have been caught in a compromising situation, get rid of them.

    • Harry Coin says

      George wrote, in part “In retrospect I guess it could be seen as an excuse on my part to try and cut +Jonah some slack. It’s not. If anything, it shows how entrenched the problem is/was and how far we are going to have to go in order to fix it.”

      Over the many years, I’ve become accustomed to strong leadership statements that rally people, only to be followed or preceded by actions 100% to the contrary. The subject matter has varied but the pattern is well established. In the present case we see many who like Met. Jonah’s statement in the Washington Post, and (not popular to OCATruth-niks) the OCA synod’s later statement saying the same thing to the Washington post as well.

      There prevails among those who support ‘ocatruth’ (who themselves hide…) and Met. Jonah that he’s the ‘last hope’ for doing the right thing relative to personnel matters involving ongoing living in ways contrary to the preaching. It worries me that these same do not examine therefore why when he had the direct authority in various places to do that, he didn’t. The spaces between the statements that gain supporters and the actions that don’t generate press releases… aye, thar’s the rub.

      • Ted Logan says

        Yep. The ocatruth ppl must hate the first photo (or two) found here. Thats from November 2010. Lots of others from the event were posted on FaceBook. Who IS that man in the veil on the left? Maybe you can find his name at Or not. Wasn’t he involvd in some lawsuit or something?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Harry, I hear ya. I for one would be disappointed if +Jonah doesn’t come out of the gates with both guns blazing once his “retreat” is over, but to hold him accountable for not cleaning up every little mess that existed prior to his tenure is patently unfair. He had a lot on his plate –none of it was good. And the fact that his subordinates in Syosset have been actively undermining him is not going to make his job easier. (To say nothing of the bishops.)

        One reason the ROC is so strong today after 70 years of persecution is because it has been quietly and discreetly taking care of its problems. This is a Christian way of doing things, unless you want to go back to the heresy trials of the Middle Ages and publicly bring men to book (and then burn them at the stake).

        • Harry Coin says

          George, which point is it you favor? Earlier you said to support the man on the basis of what he did none of when he was in a position so to do. Not ‘every little’ as you write, but ‘none’. Why exactly do you deem it likely his future will be different than his past? I hope you’re correct, don’t get me wrong, but the pattern I’m seeing is very familiar. Give the room what it wants to hear, then do nothing or do the opposite once all the cake and coffee are gone and the people who now like you go back home. Except, now there is the internet and people see whether the doing matches the saying… ruh-roh….

          • George Michalopulos says

            Because Harry, life is messy. I mean, who would have thought that Churchill would view Stalin as an ally when he hated Bolshevism from the start? In the run-up to the War Between the States, the smart money was on Robert E Lee being made General-in-Chief of the Union forces.

            My take on the present mess is that mosty holy synods dealt with problems like this by sweeping it under the rug. Also we can’t forget the normal human interactions and relationships that have been built up over the years. I was shocked that +Demetrios went to the lengths he did to protect Katinas. Why? Because the archbishop was evil? Far from it. He just knew him for decades and considered him a friend. Was this the right way to go about it? No, absolutely not, but it doesn’t surprise me. I myself have rationalized the bad actions of friends of mine. It’s a character flaw we are all subject to.

    • Chris Plourde says

      You’ve got totally understandable ideas, but I’d caution against overreaction.

      The Roman Catholics erred by making celibacy the rule for their priesthood in reaction to what appeared to them to be intractable social problems. I’d think that Orthodox Christians would err by making marriage the rule for ours as well.

      And just as the lives of Sts Sergius and Bacchus are cagily misinterpreted by some, if we declare that living the life recommended by Scripture and the Fathers (and lived by the Fathers as well) made one morally suspect we offer huge opportunity for misunderstanding and mischief.

      The real solution, it seems to me, is to enforce the rules that have existed since the beginning of the Church rather than to attempt to pre-empt the need for them. It’s not like this is unknown to the Church, ever read the Sayings of the Desert Fathers?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Chris, you are 100% right. We cannot use our modern biases to redirect the lives of those who are genuinely undertaking the ascetic struggle. If anything, we should be making it easier for anybody who wants to take this podvig for himself. It is not only a blessing to the person in question, but to the laity as well.

  11. From “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” in The Orthodox Study Bible, New Testament and Psalms

    Sardis, Dead

    3.1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,
    ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars:
    “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive,
    but you are dead.

    And the following from the Footnote for 3.1:

    “For the church in Sardis had so completely compromised with the surrounding pagan world
    that although it appeared to be alive,
    it was spiritually dead. (Matt. 21:19)”

  12. A. Rymlianin says

    This goes more to the heart of the struggle within Orthodoxy in this country than many could imagine. It is my personal opinion that what is motivating the struggle against Met. Jonah is his well enunciated policy on homosexuality and his support from Moscow, which has enunciated a firm policy to combat the homosexual influence within the Russian Church.
    Many in the OCA are soft on homosexual influence. The re-appointment of disgraced archdeacon Jonathan Burke is one example. Two hierarchs of the OCA were complicit in restoring a known homosexual to active service within the clergy after the man had moved to California and married another man. One of them has a law suit against him for discriminatory termination of a clergyman for complaining about another priest who openly and notoriously lives with another man . Let us not even mention our most recent metropolitans who are accused of spending millions on their lavender lifestyle. Finally , we get a hierarch who wants to take a hard line on this issue and the screeching hasn’t stopped since. We have been infiltrated by the same spirit that has overtaken the Episcopal Church in the USA; permissiveness with regard to the injunctions of Scripture.

    • George Michalopulos says

      you are 100% right. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: had +Jonah come out to take the ECUSA approach to perversion, he’d have been lauded by those who are presently calling for his head.

    • Katherine says

      It is +Met. JONAH’s stand on the homosexuality and same sex marriage that is behind people wanting him out. I have a sneaking suspicion that they wanted him elected Metropolitan because they thought they could control him, since he had no experience as a bishop before he was elected Metropolitan. Needless to say, they haven’t been able to control him. God actually wanted the mess cleaned up and HB has been trying to do that (though he has made some mistakes, I do think he is honestly trying). I think there are people who made a big deal about supposedly wanting the mess cleaned up, but I’m not at all sure they really want things to change.

      I personally hope that HB is going to get an investigator looking into the allegations about MS’s private life, as if they are true, he should not be on the MC. Personally, I also think they need to be investigating whether MS’s priest has been giving him communion and whether he knew the truth about MS not remaining celibate if the allegations are true.