Tbilisi, May 18, 2021
A number of events dedicated to traditional family values and the protection of the family have been held in various Orthodox countries and Churches in recent days.
Family Purity Day was celebrated in Georgia yesterday. The holiday was established by His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia in 2014, and coincides with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, which propagandizes in favor of immoral lifestyles.
The day is usually celebrated with a large procession through the streets of Tbilisi, though that was not possible last year or this year due to the pandemic. Instead, a convoy of priests drove through the capital, dousing the people and streets with holy water that was consecrated in the morning at Holy Trinity Cathedral, reports 1tv.ge.
In Romania, the Church celebrates Christian families on the Sunday closest to March 15, the International Day of Families, which also coincided this year with the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women, when the Church celebrates Christian Women.
In his message for the occasion, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel noted that Romanian Christian families take the Holy Apostle Andronicus and his wife Junia as their patrons, as they preached the Gospel of Christ to their Thracian ancestors, near the borders of today’s Romani, reports the Basilica News Agency.
“On the occasion of the Sunday of Christian Women and the Sunday of Christian Families, we pray that God may give to all right-believing women and families the joy and blessing that He gave to the Myrrh-Bearing Women, so that they be able to witness to our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ,” the Patriarch said.
His Beatitude also commemorated the many ways that women carry out missionary work in the life of the Church and society, including the bearing and upbringing children in the Christian faith, catechizing children, social-philanthropic activities, medical and social assistance and volunteering, Christian media activities, and much more.
In this same vein, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow recalled in his homily for the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearers how it was often women who preserved the faith during the long years of soviet persecution, secretly taking their children to be baptized and “tried to instill in them the very foundations of the Orthodox faith.”
“Women have a special ministry—to be myrrh-bearers, to be continuers of the work of the Holy Apostles, to carry the message of Christ, to bring up their children and grandchildren in the faith, to influence their friends, relatives, and relatives who are still far from Christ. This great mission—the testimony of the Risen Christ—still lies with our women, who carry out this service outside of the churches of God,” the Patriarch added.
In Minsk, the “Family: Today, Tomorrow, and Forever” forum was held on May 15, International Family Day, organized by the Belarusian Church’s Synodal Commission for Family issues and the Protection of Motherhood and Childhood.
The forum was held online and attended by clergy responsible for working with families from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, teachers of medical schools, and representatives of legal and social institutions, and public organizations.
The main purpose of the forum was to unite the efforts of Orthodox organizations in supporting families, protecting motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood, promoting Christian family values and traditions, and sharing practical experience in such work.
Among the presenters was His Eminence Metropolitan Benjamin of Minsk, who emphasized that “a strong family is the foundation of a strong society.”
“It’s the traditional values that have been formed over the centuries that are the wealth that must be preserved and invested in the foundation of the future,” he continued.
It is intended that the forum will become an annual event.
In Lithuania, thousands came out for the Big Family Defense March on Saturday, which President Gitanas Nausėda addressed, expressing his support for traditional families.
Meanwhile, in the Bulgarian city of Burgas, the city’s first-ever gay pride parade was prevented on Saturday by representatives of the Organization for the Protection of Bulgarian Citizens, which organized its own rally in defense of traditional family values on the same day, though, unfortunately, they threw water bottles, eggs, and other items at the participants in the Burgas Pride march.