Odessa, August 22, 2019
A number or religious organizations in Odessa, Ukraine are taking a stand against the planned Odessa Pride 2019 festival, which will include the “March for Equality.”
Not wanting to see their city turn into Sodom and Gomorrah, His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and representatives of a number of other churches and organizations sent a letter to Mayor Gennady Trukhanov, calling on him to shut down the LGBT festival “for the sake of preserving peace among the residents an guests of the city” and for the sake of cultivating a godly atmosphere in the city.
The letter has been published on dumskaya.net.
In addition to Met. Agafangel, the letter is signed by representatives of the Armenian, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, and other organizations present in Odessa.
Such an event, planned for later this month, would be an insult to the religious feelings of millions of Ukrainians, the letter reads, “and is frankly provocative.” Further, the authors note that according to Article 51 of the Ukrainian constitution, marriage is based on the free will of a man and a woman.
“Family, childhood, motherhood, and fatherhood are protected by law. This statement corresponds to the Biblical view of marriage and family… We as Christians are called to support and develop Biblical views in our society, for the sake of the preservation and prosperity of our state, where the family is the basic unit,” Met. Agafangel and the other religious leaders write.
The head of the Odessa Diocese Missionary Department, Fr. Oleg Mokryak, went through the city streets, cleansing them with Holy Water after last year’s pride parade. Pride Parades in Odessa had been successfully banned in the past, such as in 2015.
Festivals like Odessa Pride, which run against the established Christian values of Ukrainian society “will cause indignation and the resistance of millions of Christians,” the letter reads.
The religious leaders also warn and lament the damage that could be done to children who have to “witness a demonstration of the deviant sexual behavior of the LGBT community.” Such an event would undermine the good reputation of the city, Met. Agafangel and the others are sure.
The Ukrainian religious leaders thus entreat the mayor not to allow the event to go ahead as scheduled. “In turn, we will continue to pray for the souls of these people, that the Lord would help them to be free from perversions,” they write.
“May God Almighty grant you wisdom and courage as a leader, so that these and similar events, which can negatively affect the fundamental values of our society, family, and marriage, do not take place in Odessa,” the authors urge.
Abbess Seraphima (Shevchuk) of the Archangel Michael Monastery in Odessa, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Synodal Department for Church and Culture, also addressed the LGBT event on air on DumskayaTV, noting that Ukraine is democratic and everyone has the right to their own view, “but we are fighting for the fundamental foundations of human life and the life of everyone us to also have their rights.”
Abbess Seraphima also stated her view that such LGBT events are lobbied and supported by powerful forces that want to “blur the main cornerstones of society” in Ukraine. Recall that the KyivPride organization heartily welcomed the creation of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” which was accomplished thanks to the support of the U.S. State Department and of other powerful Western nations.
However, she stressed, the Church does call to throw stones at such people, or to carry out violence against the participants in such events, but to remain open and ready to offer love, comfort, and enlightening spiritual conversation.
However, tolerance, of course, has its limits: “Odessa is a city of great sacred Orthodox sites, a city of great spirituality, which has given birth to great ascetics of God. And knowing this, we must not make Odessa into Sodom and Gomorrah. God is love, and God speaks to us completely clearly, that the family, marriage, love between a man and a woman, are the foundation of foundations of human life in general. And that says it all.”