New York, January 26, 2022
On Monday, OrthoChristian reported on the controversy surrounding the remarks offered at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
While the Archbishop stated: “We affirm the gift and sanctity of life—all life, born and unborn… Every life is worthy of our prayer and our protection, whether in the womb, or in the world,” he also said: “At the same time, we also affirm our respect for the autonomy of women. It is they who bring forth life into the world,” leaving the faithful unclear about his message.
Numerous comments were left on the Archbishop’s social media pages asking for clarification, or outright charging him with heresy. Others praised his statement as compassionate and profound.
George Demacopoulos, co-founder of the Fordham Orthodox Christian Studies Center and official historian for the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, known as the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, writes: “Not everyone can handle paradox but it has been a central element of Christian thought since antiquity.”
And adding to the confusion is the fact that the GOARCH Press Office retweeted a specifically pro-abortion tweet praising the Archbishop’s statement.
On January 21, Aggeliki Spanou retweeted the Archbishop’s statement, with the comment: “A hierarch who defends a woman’s right to decide for herself, even if she chooses abortion. So rare in the Church that it ends up being touching.”
This tweet was retweeted by the GOARCH Press Office:
On the same day as the March, Abp. Elpidophoros also visited the Ukrainian ambassador to America to assure her that GOARCH stands together with the U.S. State Department against the Russian Orthodox Church.