Statement on the Comments of Fr. Robert Arida on Homosexuality

The following official statement was made and signed by the Brotherhood of the Orthodox Clergy Association of Houston and Southeast Texas, concerning an article by a prominent clergyman of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America (OCA).


In response to Fr. Robert Arida’s recent article, which was posted on the OCA’s blog for youth, Wonderblog, there have been many eloquent rebuttals. We do not wish to attempt to reproduce those critiques here, but we do wish to underscore some of the more important points that have been made, and to speak out publicly on this controversy. [The article, the response by Met. Tikhon (OCA), and a thorough discussion with many insightful and well-researched rebuttals can be found on Monomakhos.—OC]

We find it unacceptable for Orthodox Clergy, who have been given the charge to instruct and guide the laity, to suggest that the moral Tradition of the Orthodox Church needs to change with the times or with the prevalent culture. St. Paul admonishes us to be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Rom. 12:2). And it should be noted that the word translated from the Greek as "world" is not "kosmos" (the material world, world order, or people of the world), but "tō aiōni" which refers to the age (or generation, or time) in which we live. And we have no better guide as to what the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God is than we find in the Scriptures and Tradition of the Church.

It is also contrary to our Tradition to write about matters of faith or piety in ways that are intentionally ambiguous—this is rather the approach of liberal Protestantism. As the Orthodox polemicist Sergey Khudiev wrote in response to a previous statement by Fr. Robert Arida, which was likewise replete with studied ambiguity, liberal Protestants have “a particularity which entails a tendency to explain themselves with rhetorical questions, vague allusions and highly mysterious phrases from which you can with more or less justification guess at their positions, but are unable to explain them clearly.”1

We are all the more concerned that members of Fr. Robert Arida’s parish who identify themselves as homosexuals report that though they make no secret of their ongoing homosexual relationships, they are freely communed. One such person wrote on an open Facebook group (named oxymoronically “Pro-Gay Orthodox Christians”): “I am gay... I was married to my husband in a civil ceremony in 2005. When I began attending Holy Trinity later that year I was completely up front with the priest. My husband, Martin, began attending liturgies regularly about two years ago. He was chrismated Holy Saturday earlier this year. Our relationship is not a secret; I have had no negative interactions with either clergy or laity in this parish. Martin and I are not the only gay people in the parish, though after Martin became Orthodox, we are the only Orthodox gay *couple* as far as I know. I don't think this constitutes ‘don't ask don't tell’. More like ‘ask or tell whatever you like... we don't care’. Just saying.”2

Fr. Robert Arida’s recent and past statements on the issue of homosexuality are a scandal to the faithful. They also present those who are sincerely struggling against homosexual temptations with additional temptations, and misdirection. As a pan-Orthodox organization, we are also concerned that such blatant disregard for the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church present further obstacles to Orthodox unity in America. We can only unite around a common fidelity to the authentic faith and piety of our Tradition. If we are not united in that, then authentic unity is impossible.

This is not a matter that can be swept under the rug of "theologoumenon." A theologoumenon is an opinion that may or may not be correct, but which is neither an authoritative teaching of the Church, nor is it outside of the bounds of acceptable Orthodox opinion. Suggesting that homosexual sex may not really be a sin is not within the bounds of acceptable Orthodox opinion, but on the contrary, the consistent teaching of the Scriptures, canons, and the fathers and saints of the Church that homosexual sex is inherently sinful is clear and unambiguous.

We recognize that those who are struggling against homosexual temptations should be treated with pastoral patience, mercy, and love… as should sinners of any kind that are repenting of their sin, and seeking spiritual healing. However, suggesting to any sinner that their sin is not really a sin, and that they need not repent of it in order to worthily receive the Mysteries of the Church is pastoral malpractice, and cannot be tolerated.

We pray that the Bishops of the OCA will deal with this matter with the seriousness and urgency that it warrants, and put an end to these abuses.


V. Rev. Fr. Joseph Shahda, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas

V. Rev. Fr. Serge Veselinovich, Ss. Constantine and Helen Serbian Orthodox Church, Galveston, Texas

V. Rev. Fr. Dejan Tiosavljevic, St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Cypress, Texas

V. Rev. Fr. Gabriel Karam, Holy Forty Martyrs Antiochian Orthodox Church, Sugarland, Texas

V. Rev. Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas

V. Rev, Fr. Anstasios Raptis, St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas

V. Rev. Fr. John Whiteford, St. Jonah Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Spring Texas

Hieromonk John (Anderson), St. Cyril Orthodox Church (OCA), The Woodlands, Texas

Rev. Fr. Lubomir Kupec, St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Houston, Texas

Rev. Fr. George Dahdouh, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas

Rev. Fr. Cassian Sibley, Life-Giving Spring Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Bryan, Texas

Rev. Fr. Michael J. Lambakis, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Houston, Texas

Rev. Fr. James Shadid, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas

Rev. Fr. Richard Petranek, St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, Katy, Texas

Rev. Fr. James Early, St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas

Rev. Fr. Stelios N. Sitaras, Holy Dormition Greek Orthodox Church, Galveston, Texas

Rev. Fr. Demetrios Tagaropulos. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Houston, Texas

Rev. Fr. Anthony Baba, St. Anthony Antiochian Orthodox Church, Spring, Texas

Rev. Fr. Symeon Kees, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas

Rev. Fr. Beningo Pardo, St. Jonah Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Spring, Texas

Rev. Archdn. Meletios Marx, St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas

Rev. Dn. David Companik, St. Jonah Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Spring, Texas

Rev. Dn. Juvenaly Hale, St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas

This statement was approved unanimously by those present at our November 11, 2014 meeting, and other clergy who are members of our clergy association, who were not present, have asked to have their names added as well, more names may be added later.


1 . Sergey Khudiev, "Let Your Yea Be Yea and Your Nay Be Nay", July 5, 2011 <>

2 October 19, 2014 <>

Joshua Wherley9/14/2020 10:07 pm
It is my opinion that secularism, which enters Orthodoxy under the guise of "love" and "inclusion", is the new heresy that the Church must address. Becoming "open" and "affirming" to those who live out their non-heterosexual marital inclinations is popular, and those who do not fall in line are expected to wither away because of the "hate" they preach. Ironically, the churches that do affirm this deviant behavior, such as the Episcopalians or ELCA, are the ones who continue to see dwindling membership, while those who stand strong and reject this heresy, such as the various canonical Orthodox jurisdictions here in the Americas, or certain Protestant denominations such as the LCMS, have been shown to grow in recent years. People crave the truth and will die to defend it. Trends and fads will ultimately fade. Just as Arianism gripped the Church at one time, and threatened to snuff out the True Faith, so, too, does this novel doctrine of "diversity and inclusion" threaten us today. We must point out that everyone, regardless of sexual attraction, is welcome in the Church, so long as they practice Christian chastity. I am a heterosexual man, but that gives me no right to "sleep around" with various women. I am a virgin, and will remain so unless I enter Holy Matrimony in the Orthodox Catholic Church. Additionally, Christianity has been distorted to the point where it is said that Jesus's message was basically to accept everyone as they are and love them in that state. Yes, Jesus dined with sinners. But these sinners came to Him so that they could repent. Call to mind what He said to the woman caught in the act of adultery. Our Lord's message was that of John the Baptist's - "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." In Christianity, everyone is expected to remain chaste unless they enter a Church-recognized heterosexual marriage. No one is forced into this, and they have the right to leave the Church and live the life that they want to live. This is the gift of free will in action. But make no mistake, the Church must fight to defend Her teaching (which we received from God Himself) that sexual activity is only appropriate between one man and one woman who have entered into marriage. Anything beyond this, including young men "hooking up" with women online, as happens frequently today, will not be accepted. The Christian life is full of struggle, and the Church will not bend to make life easier. Her people must get stronger.
Jacques Chene5/26/2016 9:47 pm
Why is "Fr." Robert Arida still an active priest in the OCA ? Why wasn't he defrocked yet by his bishop ? Does the OCA agree with "Fr" Robert Arida's view on homosexuality ?
Ronda Wintheiser11/21/2014 8:00 am
Thank you.

God bless you.

You are in our prayers.
Fr Patrick B O'Grady11/20/2014 7:55 pm
Bravo! A much needed statement. I hope the rest of us clergy will be quick to utter our Amen.
Bien dite! Well said!
--V. Rev. Fr Patrick B. O'Grady,
St Peter the Apostle Antiochian Orthodox Church
Pomona, California
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