Mt. Athos issues statement on baptism of children of same-sex couples

Mt. Athos, July 28, 2022

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The Sacred Community of Mt. Athos issued a statement today in response to the international scandal surrounding Archbishop Elpidophoros’ celebration of a very public Baptism for the children of a celebrity gay couple.

The Sacred Community is the spiritual administration of the Holy Mountain, consisting of one representative of each of the 20 ruling monasteries.

The statement reads in full:

On the occasion of the recent public appearances and positions of clerics of the Church, even hierarchs, which leave the impression that it’s possible for the Church to accept any other form of family apart from the one established by the Holy Gospel, the Sacred Community wishes to express itself publicly.

The Holy Mountain, as a place of prayer and asceticism, with inseparable liturgical and spiritual continuity, humbly prays for the whole world, for all people regardless of discrimination.

The Sacrament of Baptism, by which a person becomes a member of the Church and receives the grace of the Holy Spirit, is undoubtedly the visible expression of God’s infinite love.

The effort to live according to the Holy Gospel and the law of God ensures the conditions for participation in the Sacraments of the Church.

In light of the above, we could not but express our regret for the above public appearances and positions of persons of the Church, which give cause to scandalize the faithful.

It is clearly foreign to the teaching of the Gospel and the Orthodox ethos to allow the understanding that a “same-sex couple” can be considered a family with the right to adopt children, as any such form of adoption or foster care is contrary to the teaching of the Gospel, human nature, and also the ethos and traditions of our people, while at the same time it violates the elementary rights of innocent defenseless people, who don’t have the possibility to choose a normal family environment.

We express the above as a voice of sincere interest in the course of our country, and indeed in such a critical period.

May the patroness of our country and abbess of the Holy Mountain intercede before our Lord Jesus Christ to lead everyone to repentance and a life according to the light of the Gospel and His teaching.

Complaints have also been voiced by Metropolitan Antonios of Glyfada, in whose diocese Abp. Elpidophoros celebrated the given Baptism, Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, and others.

As OrthoChristian reported today, the recent controversies surrounding Abp. Elpidophoros also dominated the most recent session of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

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Helen Thanopoulos7/24/2023 12:06 pm
We should all pray about this and ask the Holy Spirit to guide our Clergy about what the correct thing is. To baptise children of homosexual couples or to not baptise them. A decision should be made that all the Orthodox clergy can follow throughout the world. May the Holy Spirit guide us and have mercy on the whole world because we are living in strange times. ✝️✝️✝️
Archbishop Nikodemos 9/2/2022 11:50 am
The Baptism is an indoctrination to Christianity, to protect the souls of the child lest they be taken before accepting Christ themselves. It also binds the parents and God Parents to raise the children in the proper Christian foundation established by the ONE True Church. How can a parent teach the child the "way" when they themselves have forsaken it and turned to surrogacy ONLY to get around the biological??? Then KK Elpidophoros also "gets around " the faithful, because he can, just to help out friends? The Greek government does not allow same sex adoption, a legal and binding choice on it's citizens. As the Church and State are so close in Greece and must abide by the laws of the church and land, why hasn't the Department of Justice revoked his passport and put out a warrant for his arrest. Clearly the Baptism cannot be legal, as the same sex Parents have no rights to do this in Greece. Where is the warrant? Then let the Greek Synod bring him to ecclesiastical Court for conduct unbecoming, but who you know and how deep the pocket is makes it okay?? Not what Christ told them in the temple!! Dastardly acts like this may seem "beautiful & Accepted" as Christ's love, but when hundreds of devout Orthodox fail to return to Church knowing politics, Masonry, Monetized special interests, and plain old UNACCEPTABLE ORTHODOX PRACTICES reign, their is no love in that. The Turks are taking the Church from within now..
Gregory8/20/2022 10:39 am
@Priest-monk Macarios stop with the woke ****
Michael Snow7/30/2022 5:39 am
Amen to Priest-monk Macarios words on the faithful use of language. Christians too often rush to use the world's foolish phrases. I have been at baptisms in Romania, but do not know what the Orthodox Liturgy includes in the baptism of children. In other churches, there is a clear exhortation to the parents to raise the children in the faith. Here is a Lutheran summary: It 'is a sobering reminder that when a child is brought to Baptism his or her parents should understand that (in accordance with Jesus' own mandate in Matthew 28:19-20) Baptism is to be followed by “ongoing instruction and nurture in the Christian faith” . Good pastoral practice prior to Baptism includes a reminder to the parents about the necessity of such ongoing nurture in the faith.' How can such be given to men who reject God's word and live outside of the faith?
Panagiotis7/30/2022 3:47 am
Sometimes it is not what is said, but what is not said that is important. I cannot recall reading or hearing of any Orthodox Bishop, not one, who has issued a public statement supporting what the Archbishop did. What does this tell you? ......Just my humble opinion.
Marc Manolache7/30/2022 12:27 am
I am beyond livid. Elpidoforous must be defrocked. He cannot be allowed to continue to harm souls.
Bob Martin7/29/2022 7:43 pm
It seems clear that our beloved Orthodox Church has not confronted the issues of homosexuality and other perversions of our God created humanity for too long. What started a few decades ago as a plea by the homosexual community for simple acknowledgement by the general society has (predictably) progressed to insistence on a full embrace of their lifestyle as normal and equal to heterosexuality, denying moral and biological truth. Lately the assault has escalated into bizarre questions of gender itself. The Church should convene an Ecumenical Council to establish and clarify its position on such matters of our modern times unequivocally. The future of the Church and, indeed, the future of humanity as created by God demands it. As for Archbishop Elpidophoros, dismissal from his position should be considered.
Priest-monk Macarios7/29/2022 3:37 pm
Dear Brothers, please refrain from using the word _gay_, an argot for _homosexual_, standard in "politically correct" speech but despised by any sane person. English language is rich enough to express any semantics with this regard. Same ought to be said wrt abbreviations for sexual perversions. Please take notice: in the statement from Mt.Athos presented above that word is not used.
Steve7/29/2022 3:27 pm
"Archpriest" (or is that Monsignor?) Kevin Fletcher, what the heck is the "Pan Orthodox" faith?
Richard Mohr7/29/2022 8:41 am
Someone will have to respond to Rev. Dr. Nicholas Denysenko's article, "To Baptize or Not: God's Love and Image" in "Public Orthodoxy" about this event. I have pasted the last paragraph below the website address. I can't help but suspect that this is another example of the homosexual community's Fabian approach to getting what it wants. Almost thirty years ago I heard homosexual teachers at a "Gay and Lesbian Elementary Curriculum Workshop" say that they were only concerned about children who had two "daddies" or two "mommies" at home. They wanted teachers to be aware that there were children with these situations. There was nothing said about same-sex marriage or the idea that homosexual behavior was equivalent to heterosexual behavior. That came later. Step by step, they persuaded more and more people to be affirming of all manner of things associated with homosexual inclinations. Now the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University in its publication "Public Orthodoxy" has come out (!) in support of this baptism. It appears to be suggesting that love for the children should lead us to accept the validity of a sham marriage. To do otherwise means we are not loving our neighbor. Please read this article. "It seems to me that Archbishop Elpidophoros recognized the desire of the parents to present their child to God for the beginning of an eternal covenantal relationship. He then refused to deny an innocent child access to God’s love through Baptism, if we are to believe his own words: “Every person, no matter who they are, or what they have done—for better or for worse—is worthy of God’s love. And if they are worthy of God’s love, then they are worthy of our love, too.” The pastor who would deny any child access to God’s blessings will have to account for their decision before the very God who is constantly reaching out to bring all of us sinners into his flock."
Theo7/29/2022 3:06 am
Using surrogate mothers to get children should also be condemned. It is highly unnatural and not according to God's design. Imagine the effect on the children when they grow up and find out how they were conceived! So selfish of people to get kids that way, instead of humbly accepting the limitations of their circumstances.
Archpriest Kevin Fletcher+7/29/2022 1:11 am
It is against the Teachings and the Pan Othodox Faith. This should not have happened. Disaplinary action should be taken immediately I Remain Your Humble and Unworthy Servant in Christ Jesus Kevin+
Gerry7/29/2022 12:43 am
I agree with Theodoros! This was just a bunch of blah, blah, blah and more weak blah!! After all, Mount Athos stood by and watched one of the most ancient monasteries on it be attacked by the Turkish Bartholomew and all of the other evils that “they” have committed, so why would Mt. Athos suddenly become warriors of the Holy faith today? They need that Greek government and EU money man!!!
Sir Gatanas 7/29/2022 12:23 am
ELPI NEEDS TO BE DEFROCKED! No more excuses - this is one depraved perverted individual who needs psychiatric help
Steve7/28/2022 11:30 pm
It seems their only actual criticism here is that same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children. Of course it is illegal in Greece for same-sex couples to adopt, so it's not surprising they would say this. No criticism is offered about the baptism.
Ghyssaert Ivan7/28/2022 10:08 pm
I agree a 100 % about the statement given by the orthodox church. It is time to openly speak about the total derailment of morals on earth. God is clearly showing us how angry He is about affairs on the planet. I have read the presictions of Saint Paisios and agree also about his received revelations. The first invasion of Cyprus was predicted by him 3 weeks in advance, The conflict could well explode in october and bring the world economy on the verge of collapse. I am a practicing catholic praying intensely everyday. When I visited London years ago I used to go to the Orthodox Mass on the side of Hyde Park. May God allmighty keep blessing all monks and abbots on Munt Athos and elsewhere. I treat the worlds most difficult health issues with natural methods. I have had 3 encounters with the Holy blessed Virgin Mary.
Theodoros7/28/2022 4:46 pm
The statement should have been more specific. It should have addressed the baptism itself and the behavior of the Archbishop. It is accurate in pointing out the Orthodox Church does not accept gay marriages. But what about the specifics of this case? What about the wrongdoing of the Archbishop and the apparent effort to politicize and change the Orthodox Church? This incident has attracted widespread publicity and the church needs to address the scandal brought about by the Archbishop and the adults who bragged about a “gay baptism”. Now is the time for the Church to condemn efforts to normalize lifestyles that contradict Orthodox teaching.
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