Fordham University’s Orthodox Center receives grant to study LGBTQ rights

New York, January 23, 2018

Orthodox activists protest LGBT Pride in Chisinau, Moldova last May. Photo: news.fordham.edu Orthodox activists protest LGBT Pride in Chisinau, Moldova last May. Photo: news.fordham.edu
    

Fordham University’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center will begin an official study of “LGBTQ rights alongside Eastern Orthodox identity,” reports Fordham News.

The center, co-directed by Aristotle Papanikolaou, Ph.D., the Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture, and George Demacopoulos, Ph.D., was awarded a grant by the British Council in the USA to conduct the study along with the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

Fordham’s Orthodox center focuses on connecting cultural and religious traditions to raise awareness of Orthodoxy, and engaging in ecumenical activity:

The Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University connects an archipelago of cultures, religious traditions, and academic disciplines to advance awareness and knowledge of Orthodox Christianity in public discourse. In its distinctive relationship to Roman Catholicism through the Jesuit tradition of Fordham University, as well as its location in New York City, the Orthodox Christian Studies Center is uniquely poised to engage ecumenical discussion and to foster Christian unity.

“Eastern Orthodoxy has many challenges that it needs to face in the contemporary world including sexual diversity, the role of women in the church in a democratic and secular age,” said Brandon Gallaher, Ph.D of Exeter University, who will also be working on the project. “I see this project as part of a larger cooperation of Fordham and Exeter to study the place and role of the pre-modern Eastern Orthodox Church in the modern West.”

According to Gallaher, Exeter specializes in both LGBTQ and Eastern Orthodox studies.

The grant is part of the Bridging Voices project which will bring diverging voices from both America and the United Kingdom together at Fordham for a seminar in June 2019 titled “Contemporary Eastern Orthodox Identity and the Challenges of Pluralism and Sexual Diversity in a Secular Age.”

According to Papanikolaou, the aim of the project and seminar is to facilitate discussion on touchy issues of sexual diversity “where there’s not a standoff.” “We hope this discussion will help educate public policy and open conversation to more nuanced ways to address the issue in the wider public sphere, rather than there being a reactionary approach from both sides,” he said, adding that, in his opinion, such discussions usually lead to “butting heads.”

The Orthodox Christian Studies Center is no stranger to the study of LGBTQ issues. The center also sponsors the blog Public Orthodoxy, which is well known for its many articles on such issues, and has a similar goal of fostering discussion. “Public Orthodoxy seeks to promote conversation by providing a forum for diverse perspectives on contemporary issues related to Orthodox Christianity,” the site reads.

Since its inception in September 2015, the blog has become known not only for giving a forum to conversation, but has earned the widespread reputation as a forum for positions, especially on matters within the LGBTQ sphere, that are incompatible with Orthodox teaching.

In addition to many other articles that have proven controversial, the blog hosted the article “Conjugal Friendship” by Giacomo Sanfilippo, a defrocked Orthodox priest and publicly-known practicing homosexual, in which the author attempts to justify homosexuality, stating that “Holy Tradition possesses in germinal form everything necessary to articulate, thoughtfully and cautiously, an Orthodox theology and spirituality of what we now call same-sex love, adequate to the pastoral needs of the 21st century and fully consistent with the ascetical ethos of Orthodox life for all.”

Orthodox responses to Sanfilippo’s unorthodox article have appeared from Fr. Lawrence Farley, and a notable Russian scholar.

Public Orthodoxy has also published an article from Mark Arey, who gave up his Orthodox priesthood after 30 years and “married the love of his life,” as his biography states.

A recent article entitled “Beyond the Binary: Hymnographic Constructions of Orthodox Gender” by Ashley Purpura argues that “Although the hymns rely on traditional gender categories that are in many ways challenging for values of equality and inclusivity, the tradition of praying Byzantine hymns reflects gender fluidity,” and asks, “if gender is so fluid in the voice of the hymns, then why is there so much elsewhere in the tradition that reinforces gender expression exclusively along an essentialized binary?”

The blog has also featured contributions from Inga Leonova, the founder of a pro-homosexuality group on Facebook, and Gregory Tucker, who is involved in a homosexual “marriage” with a former hieromonk who gave up his priesthood and broke his monastic vows to live with Tucker.

According to Papnikolaou, the Orthodox Christian Studies Center is “one of the only—if not the only—place where these issues can be addressed and that’s sort of our MO. Most of these issues can’t be addressed in a parish setting the way they can be in an academic environment.”

1/23/2018

See also
New, but not improved... A Response to Public Orthodoxy, on the Creed New, but not improved... A Response to Public Orthodoxy, on the Creed
Fr. John Whiteford
New, but not improved... A Response to Public Orthodoxy, on the Creed New, but not improved... A Response to Public Orthodoxy, on the Creed
Fr. John Whiteford
John Fotopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou, in their recent article "Women and the Creed: Who For Us Humans and for Our Salvation," (published by "Public Orthodoxy") have expressed their unhappiness that the Greek Archdiocese has decided to use a translation of the Creed that is in line with pretty much every other translation that English speaking Orthodox Christians have been using for as long as we have had Orthodox Christians speaking English. They are offended by the use of the word "man".
Orthodox pastors, theologians gather in Amsterdam to discuss their views on issues of sexuality Orthodox pastors, theologians gather in Amsterdam to discuss their views on issues of sexuality Orthodox pastors, theologians gather in Amsterdam to discuss their views on issues of sexuality Orthodox pastors, theologians gather in Amsterdam to discuss their views on issues of sexuality
Participant Edith M. Humphrey writes: “The group was not monolithic in views, and discussed many different aspects of pastoral care and sexual matters. It did not meet to strategize or to make plans for the Church, but simply was a group of academics and clergy whose writings or pastoral concerns have touched upon these topics.”
Response to Response to "Orthodox Fundamentalists"
Fr. John Whiteford
Response to Response to "Orthodox Fundamentalists" by George Demacopoulos
Fr. John Whiteford
Dr. George Demacopoulos of Fordham University recently posted an article entitled "Orthodox Fundamentalists," on the Greek Archdiocese's website. There are a number of problems with it that I think need to be pointed out.
Comments
chris1/25/2018 11:27 pm
Who knew that Orthodox doctrine needs an overhaul?
Alexei1/25/2018 6:53 am
Sodomy is NEVER right despite what leftists crave you to believe.
Laskarina1/25/2018 6:05 am
Inga Leonova is a rabid homosexual who attacks Orthodox Christians personally, and Orthodox clergy, if they do not accept her insane views. She flourishes in the OCA Church in Boston, has a website wherein she blatantly misrepresents Orthodoxy, and is condoned by other pseudo-Orthodox, particularly the group known as "the lavender mafia". Her behavior bears no resemblance to the tenets of Orthodoxy or the commandments of Christ.Anyone who differs from her bizarre political views gets the same treatment --savage personal attacks, never anything resembling Christian behavior ever.It is odd that such a person receives communion and calls herself Orthodox. I guess in the USA, anything goes.
ACatharina1/24/2018 2:11 pm
There isn’t much academic value in these "open discussions". I believe such initiatives are an attempt to appease the modern world, but its main purpose is to sow strife between believers, clergymen and people outside of the Church.
Tanya1/24/2018 6:33 am
What does a Catholic university have to do with the Orthodox Church?
What have they to do with our Faith and Holy Tradition?
It is all nothing to me.
Alan1/24/2018 5:03 am
This is yet another attempt to normalize homosexuality except this time it is not secular but in the bosom of the Church. Homosexuality is a disordered state that is of the devil and must be repulsed as such.
May God grant us the fortitude to cast out the serpents entering Holy places.
Susanna1/23/2018 11:59 pm
"To those who do not believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the prophets and apostles, and by them taught us the true way to eternal salvation, and confirmed this by miracles, and now dwells in the hearts of all true and faithful Christians, and teaches them in all truth, Anathema!"

"To those who reject the Councils of the holy fathers and their traditions, which are agreeable to divine revelation and kept piously by the Orthodox Church, Anathema!"

-The Rite of Orthodoxy which the Holy Orthodox Church celebrates on the first Sunday of Great Lent; the Sunday of Orthodoxy. The Greek Orthodox Church in American does not celebrate this rite!!
Susanna1/23/2018 10:06 pm
"To those who do not believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the prophets and apostles, and by them taught us the true way to eternal salvation, and confirmed this by miracles, and now dwells in the hearts of all true and faithful Christians, and teaches them in all truth, Anathema!"

"To those who reject the Councils of the holy fathers and their traditions, which are agreeable to divine revelation and kept piously by the Orthodox Church, Anathema!"

-The Rite Of Orthodoxy celebrated on the first Sunday of Great Lent; the Sunday of Orthodoxy. No longer celebrated in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF00JJ13l7Y
Isaac1/23/2018 9:53 pm
Can anyone tell me what "Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture" means exactly? Does this man represent and speak for Archbishop Demetrios at the Fordham university on matters of Theology and Culture? If so, we are in HUGE trouble!
Anthony 1/23/2018 9:20 pm
I immediately thought ''Demacopoulos'' when I read the headline, and hey! presto! Kerrr Ching! I think this man has to be one of the most poisonous pseudo Orthodox characters (on par with Ron Haler ''Lazar Puhalo'') around in North Amerika today. I would recommend reading Fr John Whiteford's rebuttals of Demacoupoulos' garbage and his attacks on the Church and her tradition. What we read here now should come as no surprise.
Michael1/23/2018 8:57 pm
The only "challenge" Orthodoxy will have is that She remains ever vigilant, and faithful to Christ, the Cross, and the teaching of the Holy Church in condemning, with reserve, the transgressions and sin of homosexuality, lesbianism, pornography and every sexual perversion and gender deviation. In short there is nothing to "talk" or "dialog" about. There is only the pure unadulterated teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Holy Bride the Church, which we continue to obey... not dialog about. Sexual purity, not perversion. Holiness not hedonism. The question remains: "Will you repent, confess your sin" and receive absolution from any and every sexual perversions. Evil is never good.
A Prophesy of Future Lawlessness by St. Anatoly the Younger1/23/2018 6:31 pm
And from that heresies will spread everywhere and deceive many people. The enemy of the human race will act with cunning in order to draw into heresy, if possible, even the elect.
He will not begin by crudely rejecting the dogmas of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Jesus Christ and the virtue of the Theotokos, but he will begin imperceptibly to distort the teachings and statutes of the Church and their very spirit, handed down to us by the Holy Fathers through the Holy Spirit.Few will notice these wiles of the enemy, only those more experienced in the spiritual life. Heretics will seize power over the Church and will place their servants everywhere;the pious will be regarded with contempt.
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