Washington, D.C., January 24, 2022
As usual, there was a strong Orthodox presence at the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., held on Friday, January 21, this year.
The Orthodox presence was led by twelve hierarchs, including His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of Washington and All America and Canada and several other hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America, and hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The day began with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the OCA’s St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, reports the OCA.
The hierarchs and other clergy then joined many other Orthodox Christians, including delegations from St. Tikhon’s Seminary and St. Vladimir’s Seminary, at the rally.
While the Orthodox participation in the March for Life has been headed for decades by the OCA, the Orthodox remarks and prayer from the rally stage were offered by Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
The Archbishop’s speech has proved to be ambiguous and controversial.
We affirm the gift and sanctity of life—all life, born and unborn. As Christians we confess that every human being is made in their image and likeness of God. Every life is worthy of our prayer and our protection, whether in the womb, or in the world. We are all responsible for the well-being of children. We are their “keepers,” and cannot shirk from our accountability for their welfare.
It is his next paragraph that, as can be seen from numerous comments on social media, has left people confused about his meaning:
At the same time, we also affirm our respect for the autonomy of women. It is they who bring forth life into the world. By His incarnation, our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ assumed human nature, through His conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary. She freely chose to bring Him into the world, and God respected her freedom. We can and must make the case for life, both born and unborn, by our own example of unconditional love.
The Archbishop’s speech has drawn many comments on his Twitter feed, both negative and positive: