Burgas, Bulgaria, April 26, 2021
“We oppose the public and immoral demonstration of the sin of Sodom,” writes a metropolitan of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in his letter of protest against the planned holding of a gay pride parade in the city of Burgas.
Having learned from faithful Orthodox Christians from the city on the Black Sea Coast that such a parade is scheduled to be held on May 15, His Eminence Metropolitan Joanikii of Sliven addressed a strongly worded letter to Mayor Dimitar Nikolov, emphasizing the destructive consequences of such displays, especially for children.
In his letter, published on the site of the Bulgarian Patriarchate, His Eminence clearly states the Orthodox teaching that marriage can only be between a man and a woman and emphasizes that children must be protected from such propaganda.
Met. Joanikii writes:
We categorically oppose this upcoming event and we categorically stand in defense of the moral purity and innocence of the children and younger generation of Bulgaria. We consider it our duty to protect the traditional Bulgarian family as well. We emphasize that only marriage between a man and a woman is a constructive environment in which love between the two sexes and raising children is realized in God’s favor and bears fruit in accordance with God’s order in the world.
Thus, the Orthodox faithful must not participate in this “procession of sin”:
We call on our spiritual children not to participate in this procession of sin, which is a provocation to the Creator, the Church, the Fatherland, and life. We call on parents to protect their children and not to be indifferent to such corrupt practices, but to bring raise their children to be alert, dignified, literate in Christianity, and pious in life.
The permissiveness of sin that characterizes such parades and lifestyles distorts the people’s perception of good and evil and perverts our God-given freedom:
We oppose the public and immoral demonstration of the sin of Sodom, which has devastating consequences for the physical and spiritual health of the people. It is an abuse of the freedom given to man and a destruction of the traditional values of the Bulgarian people. The Scriptures therefore teach us through the Apostle: All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient (1 Cor. 6:12). The permissiveness of sin, which pervades gay parades, seduces young people and confuses people’s criteria for good and evil, for what is permitted and forbidden, for what is sacred and not sacred. And the human soul is a holy gift from God, which we must keep and develop into the likeness of God. There is no justification for any manifestation that defiles the human soul, that darkens it and distances it from the Light of the world—the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot support “freedoms” that replace the essence of the family with fornication, love with depravity, the natural with the unnatural, health with destructive pleasures. Any deed that is contrary to God’s will is blasphemy and a fight against God. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Gal. 6: 7-8). Let us not call God’s wrath upon us by wicked deeds, but let us pray with a pious life for God’s mercy on us, our homes, and our homeland.
Further, Met. Joanikii notes that Burgas is the largest Orthodox center in southeastern Bulgaria, where the population is known for its zealous Orthodox faith. Thus, gay pride parades would offend the religious sensibilities of the locals, he writes.
“In our capacity as spiritual mentor for the Orthodox Christians from the city of Burgas and the entire Sliven Diocese, we urge you not to give permission for such an event, and if it has already been issued, to cancel it, the Metropolitan concludes.
In 2018, the Bulgarian Holy Synod issued a statement urging the LGBT community to go to church rather than the pride parade.