Aigion, Greece, March 19, 2018
A Greek court has acquitted Metropolitan Ambrose of Kalavryta, not finding any incitements to violence in a controversial 2015 blog post in which the bishop wrote about the sin of homosexuality, reports RIA-Novosti with reference to the TV channel Star.
The court session ended late in the evening on Thursday. The trial had been delayed and was held with increased security measures, as before the session, a group of anarchists organized a LGBT support rally near the court, hanging large panels and breaking the windows with rocks.
His Eminence was accused of hate speech after his blog posting in which he condemned same-sex relations and called on the faithful to oppose them, calling homosexuality a deviation from the laws of nature. The post came as Greek parliament was voting 193-56 in favor of homosexual civil partnerships.
According to Greek Reporter, nine citizens filed a lawsuit against His Eminence on January 16, 2016 for public incitement to violence or hatred under Article 1 of Act 4285/2014 on combating racism but also for abuse of ecclesiastical office in accordance with Article 196 of the Penal Code, by which “a religious officer who in the practice of his work or publicly and in his capacity causes or excites citizens to anger against state authority or other citizens is punished by imprisonment for up to three years.”
In his defense, the Prosecutor stated that Met. Ambrose should be acquitted, as his post did not cause any harm and did not violate any laws.
In his own defense, Met. Ambrose stated that he struggles against those who are against God. “God created man and woman, not an anomaly. I wrestle with those who are against God. Homosexuals are our brothers and sisters, but not children of God,” the prelate said, explaining that, in their fallen state, living against nature, they are not “creations of the Lord. God turns away from all of them.”
According to the bishop, and the entire Orthodox Church, the law on homosexual cohabitation adopted by the Greek state violates the law of God. He also called the behavior of homosexuals provocative.
“When I say, ‘spit on them,’ I mean, ‘ignore them,’ Met. Ambrose stated, referring to a portion of his blog that especially aroused anger.
Met. Ambrose was greeted with applause as he left the court house a free man, though there are of course those who are angered by the decision. Churches in his own diocese were graffitied with obscene slogans against him, and Greek SYRIZA politicians have lamented that, in their view, prejudice is given a pass when it comes from a Church representative.
Metropolitan Alexander of Mantineia and Kynouria was also charged for his words against sodomy: “They are an anomaly which is condemned by society and life itself. I feel bad for them. I pray for the Lord to forgive them and that they would repent and change themselves to become honest members of our society.” He was acquitted in April.