Glyfada, Greece, July 13, 2022
Photo: romfea.gr While Archbishop Elpidophoros sought the blessing of the local Greek hierarch to celebrate the recent Sacrament that is being hailed as the “first openly gay baptism” in Greece, he wasn’t completely forthcoming, the local Metropolitan says.
Abp. Elpidophoros, the head of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, created an international scandal over the weekend when he traveled to Greece especially to celebrate the Baptism of the two children from surrogate mothers of a gay celebrity couple whom the Archbishop is close to.
While many in the media and on social media have been arguing about whether the children of a gay couple can be baptized in the Church, one of the “fathers” Evangelous Bousis and his brother George were praising Abp. Elpidophoros for his progressive values and for serving what they hail as the “first openly gay baptism” in the Greek Church.
However, Metropolitan Antonios of Glyfada, in whose metropolis the Baptism took place, has a different take on the event.
In a letter he sent to the Holy Synod of the Greek Church after the international uproar against the event, Met. Antonios reveals that Abp. Elpidophoros sought and received his blessing to celebrate the Sacrament in his metropolis, but that he concealed the fact that the “parents” involved are two internationally known gay celebrities.
Both letters were published by Romfea (see below for the English translation).
Thus, Abp. Elpidophoros “acted of his own accord, arbitrarily, and uncanonically within my metropolis,” Met. Antonios writes.
Had he been made aware, the Glyfada hierarch would have referred the matter to the Holy Synod to decide.
Read Met. Antonios’ full letter to the Synod, dated July 11:
Because of the uproar that has arisen because of His Eminence the Archbishop of America Elpidophoros having performed the Sacrament of Baptism of two children who are being raised by two persons of the same sex, I respectfully proceed to report to you the following:
1. The Archbishop of America requested my authorization to celebrate “the Baptism of two children from the Greek Bousis family from Chicago,” as can be seen from his attached document, no. Prot. 140/21.6.2022.
As a matter of fact, from the request in question, there is nothing that could arouse even the slightest suspicion of the event that would take place in the end. Therefore, since I did not have any knowledge about what would take place in the end, out of fraternal love I granted His Eminence canonical authorization to celebrate the Sacrament.
Since then, we have not had any communication in any form with the Metropolitan of America, either before the Baptism or after.
2. I was not present in the church during the celebration of the aforementioned Baptism. The incidents were reported to me on the night of Saturday, 07/09/22, by the clergy of the church.
3. As can be seen from the attached report from the rector of the church, the Godparents of those being baptized are Mr. George Bousis and Ms. Eugenia Niarchos, both Orthodox Christians.
In sum, the Archbishop of America acted of his own accord, arbitrarily, and uncanonically within my metropolis, inasmuch as, while he was well aware that the children do not belong to a family according to the institutions of the Church, he did not mention anything to me. If he had informed me, I would have referred to the Holy Synod for it to decide about the matter.
Abp. Elpidophoros’ letter, dated June 21:
Joyfully and dutifully I communicate to Your most welcome Eminence in order to request your canonical permission to serve at the sacred Church of the Panagia Faneromeni in Vouliagmeni in your God-protected metropolis on July 9, so that I may perform the Baptism of two children from the Greek Bousis family from Chicago.
Dutifully submitting the above according to order, I continue with love in the Lord and all honor.