Nicosia, Cyprus, May 24, 2023
Gender is determined by the physiology of the body, not by choice or self-determination, the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus said on Tuesday, May 22.
The hierarchs gathered in an emergency session to address the proposal to criminalize conversion therapies aimed at helping those suffering from same-sex attraction, gender dysphoria, etc., that is to be voted on by the House plenum tomorrow. The matter has been in discussion for more than a year and a half already in the House Legal Affairs Committee, reports in-cyprus.
The conservative Elam party hopes to introduce an amendment that will exclude clerics from the ban.
Having discussed the matter in Synod, the hierarchs of the Church of Cyprus issued a statement, declaring that, “The Church cannot be forced into silence for the sake of globalization and the so-called New Order of Things.”
The Holy Synod remains faithful to the teaching of the Holy Bible that male and female created He them.
It also considers that sex is a gift given by God to every human being, which serves the mystery of life.
Gender is determined by the physiology of the human body and is not an element of choice or self-determination or able to be changed at will.
The Church does not have nor does it wish to have the possibility of imposing its position on people.
The evangelical word is clear: If any man will come after me... However, it retains its right to express an opinion and advise the faithful.
The amendment of the Law and the introduction of the above article into the Criminal Code is equivalent to leveling the right to free religious expression and the beliefs of the Cypriot people, which are protected by articles 18 and 19 of the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus and the European Convention on Human Rights. Based on this, we consider that:
a) People’s religious freedom, guaranteed by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which clearly provides for the free and unhindered expression of one’s religious beliefs, “publicly or privately, through worship, of the teaching and practice of religious duties and rituals,” is violated and criminalized.
b) The age-old tradition of our homeland, which wants the faithful, who freely entrust themselves to the pastoral care of the Church, to resort to it for counseling, is criminalized.
c) The unconditional right of a human being to decide freely, to choose and seek, within the framework of legality and religious freedom, support and spiritual guidance in matters which are highly personal and sensitive, which he can, in the end, decide to accept or not, is criminalized.
The state should recognize the rights of all citizens of the Republic of Cyprus without exception. Citizens who practice their faith, which is expressed in the rules and doctrines that have been valid throughout the ages in our Greek Orthodox Tradition, also have these rights. The Church cannot be forced into silence for the sake of globalization and the so-called New Order of Things.
The right of the citizen to freely express his views and his lifestyle choices is respected by the constitution and laws. It should, however, be reflected in the special characteristics, which reflect the ethos and values of the Church and the social structure of the Cypriot state, which consists in the majority of Orthodox Christians.
Under the guise of protecting human rights, a group of people cannot impose their way of life on others, nor should the work of protecting human rights serve political or other interests of vote-hunting or public display.
The Church is the mother of all without exception—it neither criticizes nor condemns. It is a refuge to which we all turn, in order to find through its holy spiritual experience and its Holy Mysteries, support, inspiration, consolation, and reinforcement in the existential struggles and psychological pressures we face.
The Church can cooperate with people who have no religious faith or metaphysical reference and share with them the respect for human freedom. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (Jn. 8:32).
We therefore appeal to our members of Parliament not to destroy everything that is healthy in this place. The spiritual degeneration of society is not the best for a people that is fighting for its national survival.
If the light of the Resurrection of the God-Man Jesus Christ can illuminate the human heart, then it can also transform the whole person. The Church always prays in love and humility for the person who struggles and repents.