Misplaced Gaze: A Response to the Recent Parades in Belgrade

Recently the streets of Belgrade bore witness to a gay pride parade, followed the next day by a procession of priests and laity chanting hymns and sprinkling holy water in order to cleanse the streets, as they put it, after the previous display. One nun was quoted as identifying recent years' calamitous weather conditions as punishment from God on the Serbian people for allowing gay parades. One monk of the Serbian Church has offered us his critical response, pointing to a more pandemic moral problem facing the Serbian Orthodox people.

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In recent days, two processions have taken place in Belgrade, the capital of Orthodox Serbia. One parade decried the so-called injustices of homophobia, while the following day's parade decried the evils of homosexuality and sought to erase the defilement of the previous day’s parade. While in all honesty both sides have a point, my initial reaction was that both misplace their gaze, both identify really quite fringe elements as being the menaces of Serbian society.

The visible gay community in Serbia is tiny, and most of the people in it are foreign, of only partial Serb ancestry, or otherwise just kind of elite/foreign-minded—definitely not average Serbs by any stretch of the imagination. It is largely due to this that Serbs feel pressured into accepting something they don't want. The parade almost certainly came about due to foreign influences and not from a request from Serbs themselves. Serbs are generally not interested in and not tempted by this particular aspect of Western influence.

Given that, I would like to see Serbia (and other Orthodox nations) take a more serious stance against their very serious abortion rates, which really is our huge glaring moral failure, as I see it. Few Serbs are actively politically gay, and so, how is that our national problem? It seems like finger pointing to distract from our true national sins. Homosexuality is not a problem in Serbia, there are hardly any gay people, and society wouldn't permit them to organize or have the kind of public expression of their abominations, and so, how is that a huge problem that we must get upset about and exert our energies on? We have quelled this particular problem.

In Serbia I have met exactly two openly gay people. I have met about as many who at least openly state that homosexual acts are acceptable. The general culture is very openly against homosexuality. So how can anyone say with a straight face, as has this nun in the recent article, that the troubles which have befallen Serbia are due to punishment from God for allowing gay pride parades, when every day in Serbia thousands of children are murdered through abortion, and no one really cares? Isn't the murder of a child infinitely worse? Serbia is a country where most women have had several abortions, but there is almost nothing in the way of any pro-life movement to counter that. I have been told by many people that up to a third of Serbian women are barren, due to having so many abortions. Serbia has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, on the same level as Japan. While other factors, especially poor economy, are certainly contributing to this, the lack of societal value for the lives of the unborn is certainly also a major factor. There can be no Orthodox Serbia, no future for us as a nation, if there are no children. As long as we so easily and readily abort the children God has entrusted to us, there is no need for homosexual activists to threaten our country, our people, our Church—we do it all ourselves.

A Google search for concrete figures on Serbia’s abortion epidemic shocked me before I even read any data: Google’s search tool which fills in your search as you type based on things others have searched for filled in “Abortion in Serbia” (in Serbian) with “Abortion in Serbia cost,” “Abortion in Serbia how much money,” and “Abortion Serbia pill.” The first page was filled with pages of medical centers offering abortions or a few news articles about a new abortive pill. There was only one site on the first page which spoke of abortion in a decidedly unfavorable light. This already speaks volumes.

In any case, in concrete numbers, Serbia has more children murdered each year by their mothers than it permits to live. In 2014, about 150,000 abortions were performed in Serbian hospitals and clinics, while only about 70,000 children were born. These numbers are almost unbelievable, and in light of these facts, who are we to blame anyone but ourselves for the disappearance of our nation?

Not much is done to stop it. The non-Orthodox West is, in a way, more moral than Orthodox Serbia in the sense of at least having a visible opposition to this great sin. There exists nothing on the same level as the pro-life movement in Western countries, where people visibly and actively working against abortion, where there are organizations women can turn to for help if they opt not to abort, or to get advice that encourages them away from abortions. Abortion is rarely discussed in Serbia, despite its high prevalence, and it is generally not a political issue as it is in Russia or America. It has become a great evil that people have become far too accustomed to, far too comfortable with.

Orthodox Christians at Washington, D.C.'s annual March for Life Orthodox Christians at Washington, D.C.'s annual March for Life

In fact, abortion is an old "tradition" in Serbia. Older Serbs will quietly tell stories of how, in Ottoman times, women were forced to sleep with the local Ottoman officials on their wedding night, and so even right up until the end of Ottoman rule (from the 1830's right up until 1912, depending on which part of Serbia you are in), it was a very common practice for the firstborn child, the one that in the Old Testament was offered to God, to be murdered upon birth for fear it was really a Turk—a child offered to the god of senseless nationalism. Today, the child is offered to the god of selfish individualism, and is it not this murderous idolatry for which the Lord might be punishing us?

While certainly, if a woman came to the Church, saying she was thinking of getting an abortion, she would be counseled against it, I have not heard any kind of public discourse against abortion. On the other hand, I have seen many statements from the Church against homosexuality and gays, heard sermons against them, etc. Yet, who are we preaching to? Where is the great danger? I don't see where it is in Serbia. Abortion, however, remains epidemic and mostly totally undealt with in the public sphere. Abortion, not homosexuality, is Serbia's national sin that we must deal with or face punishment from the Lord. And I fear that this focus on gays, while not technically wrong, just distracts our attention from weightier, more present matters, such as abortion.

It must also be stated that the march through Belgrade was organized by schismatics. The world needs to know that the Church of Christ is not about political activism or what are essentially media stunts. The individuals who marched through Belgrade do not represent the Church, and as schismatics who have cut themselves off from the Church, are not, in fact, blessing the city. Furthermore, Christians should not look down on others and proclaim that their very presence has defiled the streets of the city, rather, we should look upon our own sins and beg the Lord to forgive us, particularly when our nation is in the state it is. The true Church of Christ, on the other hand, held a prayer service the evening before the gay pride parade in Belgrade, in which the priests and people humbly supplicated our living God to have mercy on us and to bless and increase Orthodox families in the Serbian land. We, the Church, act in humility and love, we seek our answers from the God Who is the Giver of all good things. We do not march proudly in streets and denounce others as sinners, as defiling our country. We invite all to join us in the Church, in repentance, prayer, and humility, that He may bind us all into one, into His image, into His community of love.

A certain memory still burns in my mind: when I was going through the lists people write down in church for commemoration and typing them up for the priests, someone wrote "For all of the children that I have aborted, that my mother has aborted, and that my sisters and aunts have aborted." I just cried. And this is what Serbia must deal with. This is our sin that we need to repent of or God will punish us more. We don't need to repent for sins we haven't committed, while we are in deep trouble for those which we ignore. And that is my fear for Serbia, and the Orthodox countries in general. May our God Who loves mankind have mercy on us and guide us to repentance, and bring an end to abortions and grant us to live in Christian marriages which are images of the life in Christ.

A Monk of the Serbian Orthodox Church


Mark Citadel9/25/2015 4:26 pm
Two points.

1) I commend you for talking about abortion. This is MASS MURDER and it is happening all over the Orthodox and Slavic world, the menace from Communism we could never erase. You are right to draw attention to this, the greatest evil.

2) However, do not neglect the sodomite agenda. Just look at Finland or Ireland to see where that can lead. Like the Russians, you have to stamp this out before it spreads. 'Homosexuality' can never be seen as an identity. It must be seen as a morally deficient, criminal pathology or behavior. Once it is viewed as an identity, like a virus it begins to work on destroying the society's moral fabric.
Miro Miketic9/24/2015 7:08 pm
Драги Срби, Драге сестре,
Овај чланак је у потпуности тачан и ниста боље нијесам прочитао о абортацији и наспј српској ситуацији. Поред свих мука и невољња, поред политичког срозавања АСрбије, поред униставања економије, поред у ниставања села и сељака, ипак је абортација за нас Србе највеће зло и невоља која нас гура у неповрат. "Чије су овце тога је и планина" бстара изрека. Фамилија је је, посебвно богата фамилија са чељатима како се кјаже у Васојевиће, је основ и база прво фамилије, па села, вароши и на крају државе. Јер све почћива на породици. Ако се уништи породица онда ће мо унисштити и нас и нашу нацији. Господ гледа у нас, а то чини већ дуго надајући се нашем оздрављењу. Али од тога нема ништа. Идењмо стрмоглавице у нестанак.
Хвала писцу ових горе Божјих ријечи.

Миро Микетиц
Castrese Tipaldi9/23/2015 2:37 pm
Those numbers are really unbelievable, spine-chilling! Maybe a little light should be shed also upon all the priests who absolve and commune those women (and their male co-sinners) as if they just broke a fasting.
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