The Baptism of Gays’ Children

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There were many reactions in the news and on social media to the Baptism celebrated by Abp. Elpidophoros, the head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, of two children from a surrogate mother, whose paternity is claimed by two men who declare an association in a same-sex marriage. Some of these reactions are serious while some others are emotive, for or against the act. The discussion of the legality of what happened is not the concern of this article, although the form required for the Baptism in the Orthodox Church was not respected.

Regardless of the political and social effects of this Baptism or the scandal that it provoked among believers, the aim here is to respond to the emotional reactions and questions that some people raise, whether out of ignorance or bad intention, such as whether any priest has the right to refuse the Baptism of any child; what about the children of fornication; and other questions. In addition, some called for the Church to take a “progressive” position and look for some correct way to carry out such a Baptism, since same-sex marriages are taking place anyway.

First of all, it should be noted that the Baptism of children has been a given in the Church since the days of the Apostles. In the Acts of the Apostles, the phrase “he/she and his/her household were baptized” occurs several times. Among the arguments often cited in response to the refusal of some Protestants to baptize children is what St. Irenaeus said in his Against Heresies that “Christ has come to save all, infants and children, young men and old, all of whom are born again by Him and become in truth children of God.”

The first response to those who are sincere in their reactions, especially those who include Baptism among the rights of the child, is that Baptism is a process that moves a person from outside to inside the Church. It’s not an act of magic, nor is it a purely administrative measure. Rather, it’s a process that has pre- and postconditions that need to take place for it to be complete.

Originally, infant Baptism was based on the theology of the Trinity and the Church’s teaching on the family. From Genesis, the Church sees that through marriage, a man and a woman become one body. As the family is an icon of the Trinity, children are born from the one body of the parents. For this reason, all ecclesiastical laws permitting the Baptism of a child of fornication or rape, come as an “economia” connected to the person requesting the Baptism of this child and the accompanying hope that this child may be brought up in the faith. The Synaxarion mentions that St. Theodore of Sykeon, Bishop of Anastasiopolis, was born to a woman named Maria who had fornicated with one of Caesar’s messengers. But her subsequent repentance put her son on the path of holiness, which he attained, according to the testimony of the entire Church.

The Church doesn’t recognize the Baptism of children without the parents or their representative. The acceptance of persons into the Church is primarily the work of the community, not of individuals. Hence, it’s not permissible to subject the Baptism of children brought to the Church to emotive factors that aren’t based on the Bible and Tradition, lest it be a material exploited by advocates of deviance and perversion.

It’s also not permissible to deal with the rejection of these new cases as a rejection of progress and modernity, especially when talking about the Bible. Gender activists and supporters, including Orthodox “theologians”, frequently talk about progressivism in the Bible. The truth is that the Bible can’t be described as narrow-minded or progressive. We either accept The Bible or reject it. This isn’t based on interpretations according to demand and desire. In the Orthodox Church, the Fathers of the Church interpreted the Gospel and left it to us as a legacy that shows us the path for our lives here on Earth. Some would say that this position freezes the Bible and prohibits its interpretation now and in the future, but this isn’t true, for the Bible is the believer’s reference for every life question facing him. He interprets it within the logic, experience, and method of Holy Tradition, with emphasis on experience, in a spirit of prayer and humility, not using intellectual techniques, methodologies, and conjunctions.

Hence, the questions that should be addressed on the issue of the “children” of homosexuals aren’t focused on the children but rather the adults surrounding them. Surrogacy arose as a medical necessity and the Church didn’t fully accept it. Wouldn’t it be adultery in the case of homosexuals benefiting from it where there is no medical justification? Doesn’t the fact that some women are taking “surrogate motherhood” as a profession, under supply and demand, contradict the necessity of repentance for the sin of transgressing nature? Does the existence of a civil contract make the association of two people of the same sex a marriage in the Church, while the Church requires the Sacrament of holy matrimony for a man and a woman who are bound by a civil marriage in order to baptize their children? And most importantly, while the Bible clearly condemns any relationship contrary to nature? How can a child be baptized when he’s among a group of “violators of the law,” while psychology and educational sciences warn of huge problems caused to this child by such an environment? If “acquiring” children by homosexuals or by those who reject wedlock isn’t accepted, doesn’t baptizing these children legalize these rejected behaviors? Here, the use of the term “acquisition” is more accurate than the use of the term “adoption,” which is now used even to describe the purchasing of pets.

Does the Church have accurate answers to these questions? Yes, it does. It’s its ethos. The legalistic, the scholastic, and the secular are unable to perceive this ethos. On the other hand, the believer’s position is to adhere to what the Church received from the Apostles and Fathers and passed on through generations.

With no intention to judge anybody, there’s no place for emotions in these issues. Today’s societies spend billions on weapons and destruction without mercy, but they succumb when homosexuals and perverts claim they’re oppressed, only to enforce another oppression on those who refuse to submit to the whims of the homosexuals. According to human reason, this is clear hypocrisy, which the Church calls “deception” in its teaching. Deception is the work of satan, and it’s confronted with discernment. Discernment comes from an enlightened mind in harmony with a heart filled by the light of Christ.

Fr. Antoine Melki


Mavra Patropulos 7/30/2022 3:59 am
This was not a gay baptism. Two babies were baptized and brought into the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now these innocent souls are protected by their angels and Gods Grace. I n early Christianity children of pagan parents were baptized in secret either from one or both parents. Many times it would be grandparents or the mother who were Christians in secret. In this instance the Baptism had nothing to do with the lifestyle of the caregivers because they were not the ones who were being baptized. Also, it doesn’t imply that the Church condones their sinful lifestyle. It would be different if they became sponsors themselves or received Holy Communion. However it is the priests responsibility that he educates by his sermons the congregation the reasons the Church, according to the Bible it does not condone this sinful lifestyle. Our priest do not speak enough about the sanctity of Marriage or other vices that are prevalent in our society and both young and old are constantly bombarded through the internet. How about pornography introduce through a beautiful family story etc. How about intoxication, how about inappropriate music etc. All this must be addressed by the clergy in their Sunday sermons. Right now these matters are being brushed under the rug. Out of sight out of mind.
George7/26/2022 7:36 pm
Even the churches have fallen. Like what the good book says. Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me and the whole world for we don't know any better.
Nikos7/25/2022 6:42 am
Ok, the baby was baptised and that is not bad. But taking photos with the gay couple in Church next to the icons, is terrible. the gay couple should have stayed outside of the church. sodom and gomorrah
Maximus7/24/2022 10:11 pm
The creepy gay dudes with their future victims is gross enough, but why is there some woman with her midriff exposed in attendance? This is the real outrage, disgusting!
Gary Cox7/22/2022 10:07 pm
This seems to me to be an act of evil. The possibly good thing to come of this will be Orthodox Christians leaving the Greek church for one that maintains the apostolic faith.
Shayne Swenson Icons 7/22/2022 6:49 pm
If you think Archbishop Elpidophoros did this for any reason other than his usual neoliberal political evangelization then you are cosmically naive, profoundly mentally impaired, or just simply a delusional liar.
Rdr Daniel7/22/2022 6:46 pm
@ Dionysius Redington I think you're going off track with your comparisons are the people in your example unrepentant in their sins as these people clearly are? Will they bring there children up Orthodox despite their personal sins, or do they intent to normalize their sins and to denounce Orthodox Church is wrong as these men do? And are you really saying that a family who only attend church on a Sunday are equivalent to two people engaged in a false union which they call a marriage against the doctrines of the Church? But really all these examples need to be left aside as it is not that the 'family environment is bad for the children' for what ever reason - this is really beside the point. Nor is it just that there is a great difference between those who sin, which is all of us, and those who justify, normalize and promote sin - though there is. It is there is no family environment to start with, two men may engage in a erotic relationship that is up to them, but this is not a family. Additionally a bishop performing this baptism and doing so in such a public way without any humility or a sense of the need for repentance, effectively 'affirms' that such a setting is a family and is appropriate for raising children which is against the teaching of the Church. We have no evidence that there was any effort on the part of these men who are friends with the pseudo bishop in question, only a deceptive effort on his part. There is likewise no evidence that they will take the children to Church at all from now on- it may be they just wanted the fanfare and chance to challenge Orthodox teaching as one of the men's brother suggested- only that both they and their Godparents will bring the children up in false teachings against the very first teaching given to the Church, the need to 'repent for the kingdoms of God is at hand'.
Steve7/22/2022 6:43 pm
Let's say a twelve year old child wants to be baptized in the Church, but the child's parents are not Orthodox Christians. This shouldn't be a problem, as long as the parents give their consent. I've actually seen this happen. Even in the case of an infant who has no cognizance of what's going on, I think it's still possible for the infant to be raised in the Church even with non-Orthodox parents, that is if there exists a wider family or social network that will support the decision.
Anthony7/22/2022 1:35 pm
It was quite a disruptive mess when those two men tore the roof off someone elses house to lower their friend down to Jesus to be healed.
Dionysius Redington7/22/2022 4:23 am
What is Fr. Antoine's opinion on baptising the children of usurers? Of phyletists? Of Sunday-only Christians? If the family environment is bad for the children, does that not make it all the more important for them to have a church environment to provide an alternative? If the fathers of the children (which they are, biologically) went to all this trouble to have their children baptised, probably they will also send them to church once in a while. Does Fr. Antoine believe it would preferable that their fathers send them somewhere else? Where? --Dionysius Redington
Theodoros 7/21/2022 10:17 pm
This whole mess could have been avoided if the Archbishop had made some clarifications. He could have politely told the guardians of these children that the baptisms do not imply approval of same sex relations or surrogacy. He could have asked that the baptisms and the reception afterward be treated with proper respect and should not be used in furtherance of a social and political agenda. He should have been honest with the Metropolitan of Glyfada. If he had done things appropriately and the guardians of the children agreed with conditions there might not have been an uproar. This case should serve as an example of how bishops and priests should not handle situations like this which will likely be more common in the future.
Rdr Daniel7/21/2022 1:51 pm
I think part of the problem is just that, that these children will not be properly raised in the Orthodox faith by the two men who claim to be their parents, and such is necessary prerequisite for the baptism of children who should be baptized in a family. But there is another issue that is being overlooked which I think is more important, that of Godparents. The primary role of Godparents is to to teach their Godchildren the faith, more so than even the parents. This is the responsibility placed on them by the Church which lasts all their lives even when their Godchildren become adults; though with children is more important as they've not spiritual fathers to guide them in the same way as adults do, nor support from mature Christian friendships. It is therefore most vital that Godparents hold fast to the faith and are in good standing with the Church. It is seems here that at least one publicly, but likely the other, believes that homosexuality can be blessed by the Church. Such a belief puts on outside the canonical bounds of the Church and makes one unable to fulfill the role of Godparent. Finally that the baptism is celebrated in such a public way and without any humility or sense that this is being done for the children despite the sins of the adults, tacitly gives approval to the adult's sins and causes great scandal for the faithful.
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