Sofia, June 17, 2021
New ideologies about gender are a demonic attack aimed at separating man from God, according to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
The Bulgarian Holy Synod recently expressed its view on how the concept of “gender” should be understood in the national constitution in response to a specific invitation for an opinion from the Constitutional Court.
The Synod’s response, signed by His Holiness Patriarch Neofit on behalf of the Holy Synod, is published on the Bulgarian Patriarchate’s official website.
The Synod begins by noting that it has already had occasion to express an official public position on the concepts of “gender” and “gender identity” in connection with the famous Istanbul Convention, which was already subject to constitutional review in Bulgaria and declared unconstitutional in 2018. Despite the case currently under review by the Court, the Court already ruled that gender can only be defined biologically, the Synodal statement emphasizes.
This ruling “was an occasion for spiritual satisfaction and joy for Orthodox Christians and the majority of Bulgarian citizens.”
Questions surrounding the interpretation of “gender” are not merely legal, but go to the very foundation of humanity, the Synod is certain. And the Bulgarian Church is not alone in its understanding of gender, but its position, previously presented at an international forum on ending violence against women, in fact found the support of the Committee of Representatives of the Orthodox Churches in the European Union, the statement notes.
Church representatives also presented the ruling of the Bulgarian Constitutional Court in response to questions at the aforementioned conference, and the Church is confident that the Court will continue to uphold its ruling from 2018. A new understanding of gender would, the Church believes, on the other hand, compromise the concept of “constitutional identity.”
“Adding content to the concept of ‘gender,’ apart from its biological understanding, would ‘constitutionalize’ a new concept incompatible with the Bulgarian social order, unknown in our national legal system, and would promote ideas incompatible with ancient moral values and the faith of the Holy Orthodox Church, and the Eastern Orthodox faith is part of the national and constitutional identity of Bulgaria,” the Synod writes.
The Synod then goes on to lay out its opinion regarding “gender” in connection with the understanding of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The hierarchs emphasize the “unchangeable Biblical truth” that from the beginning, God created mankind as male and female and gave them the command to multiply.
“This is a property set by God. It is a prerequisite for the emergence of the family as a union of man and woman, which is consecrated in the Holy Sacrament of Marriage and whose purpose is the mutual salvation and sanctification of believing men and women through spiritual feats in Christ and in the creation and upbringing of children.
New ideologies about gender are, in fact, a demonic attack on the Divine union of love that “try, first of all, to separate man from God,” the Synod states.
We are all created as man or woman by God, “and it’s not a matter of personal choice,” the position statement reads. And for Christians, the fact of biological gender from birth is no limitation, “but a real opportunity for the manifestation and realization of the human person in communion with others.”
“Throughout the 2,000-year-old Orthodox Tradition, both man and woman have always had their natural, God-ordained place in Christian society,” the hierarchs affirm.
God’s grace in the Church doesn’t replace natural properties, but sanctifies them and gives them the opportunity to be realized in their fullness. Not only is this the unchanging teaching of the Church, but “also the common sense of the vast majority of Bulgarian society, as well as the entire state-legal and historical tradition in Bulgaria from the founding of the country to the present day.”
The mere fact that such questions about gender are even being asked “shows the extent to which sin and vice have affected the human consciousness,” the Synod states. “We must not allow unnatural thinking to change obvious truths and reality itself, because it would be detrimental to our people and our homeland.”
In conclusion, the hierarchs refer to the statement of Professor Zhivko Stalev, the former Chairman of the Constitutional Court, who said that attempts to change the age-old understanding of gender is “a utopian illusion.”