Church of Greece 'firmly opposed' to same-sex marriage, it says in response to related bills

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The Church of Greece's Hierarchy unanimously disagrees with the same-sex couples bill. In a unanimous decision, the session of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece concluded with a ‘no’ vote on marriage between same-sex couples and the adoption of children by them.

The session of the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy began shortly after 9:00, with the sole agenda item being the introduction of same-sex marriage.

In recent times, statements from a significant portion of the Metropolitans primarily concerned this issue, with the Hierarchs expressing their personal views, emphasizing that this specific legislation would disrupt the fundamental core of society, the family.

The Church of Greece had issued a circular just before the Christmas holidays expressing its opposition to marriage between same-sex couples and the adoption of children by such couples.

Following the announcements by the Prime Minister and the leak of the meeting between Archbishop Ieronymos and K. Mitsotakis, pressures increased for the need to convene the Hierarchy.

Read below the announcement of the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece is quoted below:
The Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece convened in an extraordinary session today, Tuesday, January 23, 2024, with the sole agenda being the announced legislation regarding marriage and “parenting” for same-sex couples.

After the customary prayer, the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece listened to the presentation by Metropolitan Nikolaos of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki, followed by a dialogue. The Synod unanimously expresses the positions of the Church of Greece on the matter as follows:

The theology of the Church regarding marriage derives from the Holy Scripture, the teachings of the Fathers of the Church, and the arrangement of the Mystery of Marriage, clearly evident in the Rite of this Mystery. The purpose of Christian marriage is the creation of a good marital union and family, the development of children as the fruits of the love of the two spouses in Christ, and their connection to the ecclesiastical life.

The Church acknowledges the relationship between man and woman and children that:

a) The duality of genders and their complementarity are not social inventions but originate from God (“…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply..” Genesis 1, 27-28). The sacredness of the union of man and woman refers to the relationship of Christ and the Church (“…a man who loves his wife loves himself… this is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church,” Ephesians 5:28).

b) Christian marriage is not a mere cohabitation agreement but a Holy Mystery, through which the grace of God is bestowed on the relationship of the union of man and woman with the aim of their common journey towards deification – and this blessed journey pertains to all couples, with or without children.

c) Father and mother are essential elements of both childhood and adult life (“Honor your father and your mother,” Exodus 20:12).

Obviously, the State legislates, but this parameter neither deprives the Church of its freedom of speech nor exempts the Church from the duty to inform the faithful people, nor can it indicate to the Church what constitutes sin. The Church does not legislate and is not responsible for the laws. If it remains silent, however, it bears a grave responsibility and abolishes itself.

Since 2015, the cohabitation agreement has provided same-sex couples with all the rights and possibilities of marriage, with the main exception being the possibility of acquiring children through adoption or surrogate pregnancy. The slogan of “marriage equality” aims at one goal, the acquisition of children by “same-sex couples.”

It was announced that “same-sex marriage” and “same-sex parenthood” through adoption and (through various means) through surrogate pregnancy will be allowed. The architects of the draft law and those consenting to it promote the abolition of fatherhood and motherhood and their transformation into neutral parenthood, and the disappearance of the roles of the two genders within the family, and prioritize the sexual choices of homosexual adults over the interests of future children. According to the draft law, homosexual single parents will be able to impose their partner on their child as “father 2” or “mother 2”.

This legislative initiative condemns future children to growing up without a father or mother in an environment of confusion regarding parental roles. Single-parent families are a different case, causing the absence of one parent but not confusion of parental roles. Conversely, same-sex cohabitation induces both. Additionally, these children often may not have the opportunity to meet their other biological parents. They will also lack the personal experience of the presence of the opposite gender (in contrast to their “same-sex parents”) within a heterosexual relationship. Children with fathers 1 and 2 or mothers 1 and 2 (or more) will be victims of an unnatural mechanism of parenthood.

It was disclosed that: a) “Same-sex couples” will be allowed joint adoption and adoption by the “same-sex spouse” of the parent (this will also apply to existing children from surrogate pregnancy), b) surrogate pregnancy for a “same-sex couple” will not be allowed in Greece, but it will be recognized if legally conducted in another state. These regulations may serve as incentives for the exploitation of vulnerable women.

If the aforementioned measures are implemented, it constitutes a narcotized draft law with contradictions and ways to circumvent its prohibitions (through pregnancies abroad), and the condemnation of Greece by the European Court of Human Rights due to discrimination is possible. In such a case, the country will be compelled to legislate surrogate pregnancy domestically.

The draft law not only abolishes bioethical principles, Christian values, and Greek family tradition but also overturns the rights of future children and the roles of genders as elements of social cohesion. This pertains to everyone, even if they do not adhere to Christian morality. The unanswered question that looms is: What is the substantive reason for this decision that fundamentally and unequivocally changes the institution of marriage and the status of parenthood, and why is it promoted with such persistence?

8. The Church of Greece recognizes only the Sacred Mystery of Christian marriage and rejects civil marriage regardless of gender. In this regard, it opposes the civil marriage of “same-sex couples” for the additional reason that it inevitably leads to “same-sex parenthood” through adoption or surrogate pregnancy. This legislation conflicts with both Christian anthropology and society’s duty to ensure the well-being and proper upbringing of children, as well as the right of children to have both paternal and maternal presence and care. For all the aforementioned reasons and with a sense of pastoral responsibility and love, our Holy Church categorically opposes the proposed draft law.

9. The Holy Synod of the Hierarchy has decided: a) to compose a relevant letter expressing its positions to the honourable members of the Hellenic Parliament, b) to announce its positions in the Holy Temples on Sunday, February 4, 2024, and distribute a related brochure “To the People” through the Holy Temples and its website, c) to authorize every Venerable Metropolitan to take initiatives within his province and, in his prudent pastoral judgment, engage in information and awareness initiatives regarding the impending legislation and the institution of the family.

It added that the Church’s positions on the matter would be conveyed to congregations following Sunday services on Feb. 4 and published on the Church’s website, while letters would be sent to members of parliament.

Greece legalized same-sex civil partnerships in 2015.

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