Saturday, February 17, 2024

Russia’s Church Blasts Greece for Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Officials of the Orthodox Church in Russia have criticized the decision by Greece to legalize same-sex marriage and the Greek Orthodox Church for being ineffective in its opposition.

Greece’s 300-member Parliament passed the bill in a roll call vote on Thursday night. The legislation garnered support from 254 lawmakers, with 176 voting in favor and 76 against.

Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate emphasized the incompatibility of the Church with LGBT ideology, deemed extremist and banned in Russia, and expressed worries about the erosion of moral principles in society.

They highlighted the strategic implications of legalizing same-sex unions, suggesting it was a deliberate effort to weaken the Church’s influence.

Igor Yakimchuk, Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, said that the Church of Greece was unable to prevent “a blatant violation of traditional moral principles,” as quoted by the Orthodox Times.

“What happened is a tragic event both for the Greek people and the Church of Greece. Despite its state status, the Church was unable to unite its flock to prevent this blatant violation of traditional moral principles,” Yakimchuk was quoted as saying.

He claimed that “clear signs of spiritual degradation [in Greece] appeared not now, but several years earlier,” when the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) was created, considered as schismatic by the Moscow Patriarchate.

Russia’s Church says Greece’s decision contradicts the concept of the family

Vakhtang Kipshidze, Deputy Chairman of the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate for Relations between the Church and Society and the Media, also expressed concerns over the recent legislation passed by the Greek Parliament, the Orthodox Times reports.

He emphasized that this law directly contradicts the Christian concept of the family and appears to be targeted at undermining the Church. He warned of the potentially catastrophic consequences this decision may have on Greek society.

He stressed the ongoing “totalitarian pressure” experienced by numerous European Union member states, compelling them to adopt ideologies contrary to their traditional values.

“The decision to legalize same-sex unions by a state shows a strategic intent to undermine the very fabric of the Church,” he asserted.

“The Church cannot align with the LGBT ideology, deemed extremist and banned in Russia, as the two are fundamentally incompatible. Any Church that embraces this ideology and sanctions such marriages risks deviating from its sacred role, transforming into mere advocacy groups for LGBT rights,” Kipshidze said.

Unlike the Orthodox Church in Russia, twenty-eight foreign embassies accredited to Greece have jointly issued a statement applauding the enactment of legislation on same-sex marriage.

“We would like to welcome the adoption of marriage equality legislation and the recognition of same-sex families. Extending the fundamental right to marriage to same-sex couples has been an important milestone in the journey toward equality and dignity in all our countries. We celebrate this historic moment together with the people, parliament and government of Greece,” the statement said.