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GOAA - Orthodox Bishops Statement on Moral Crisis in Nation
Worldwide Faith News <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wed, 27 Aug 2003 11:27:53 -0700
GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA
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The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10021
August 27, 2003
SCOBA STATEMENT ON MORAL CRISIS IN OUR NATION
As members of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in
the Americas (SCOBA), representing more than 5 million Orthodox Christians
in the United States, Canada and Mexico, we are deeply concerned about
recent developments regarding "same sex unions."
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 a man and a woman, and that
authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church. Neither
Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions such a union between
persons of the same sex.
Holy Scripture attests that God creates man and woman in His own image and
likeness (Genesis 1:27-31), that those called to do so might enjoy a
conjugal union that ideally leads to procreation. While not every marriage
is blessed with the birth of children, every such union exists to create of
a man and a woman a new reality of "one flesh." This can only involve a
relationship based on gender complementarity. "God made them male and
female... So they are no longer two but one flesh" (Mark 10:6-8).
The union between a man and a woman in the Sacrament of Marriage reflects
the union between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:21-33). As such,
marriage is necessarily monogamous and heterosexual. Within this union,
sexual relations between a husband and wife are to be cherished and
protected as a sacred expression of their love that has been blessed by
God. Such was God's plan for His human creatures from the very beginning.
Today, however, this divine purpose is increasingly questioned, challenged
or denied, even within some faith communities, as social and political
pressures work to normalize, legalize and even sanctify same-sex unions.
The Orthodox Church cannot and will not bless same-sex unions. Whereas
marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred institution ordained by God,
homosexual union is not. Like adultery and fornication, homosexual acts are
condemned by Scripture (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Timothy
1:10). This being said, however, we must stress that persons with a
homosexual orientation are to be cared for with the same mercy and love
that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all of humanity. All persons
are called by God to grow spiritually and morally toward holiness.
As heads of the Orthodox Churches in America and members of SCOBA, we speak
with one voice in expressing our deep concern over recent developments.
And we pray fervently that our nation will honor and preserve the
traditional form of marriage as an enduring and committed union only
between a man and a woman.
+Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Orthodox Church in America
+Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada
+Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary
Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
+Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos,
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA
+Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America
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