Andriy, the chief writer and administrator, does not usually participate on the discussion board as it is primarily for visitors to post and respond to other readers of the website. If you want a direct response from Andriy please contact him at orthodoxandgay@yahoo.com

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  1. Marie Said,

    Hello,
    I am quite confused. The bible is against gay sex, but what does that have to do with prohibiting gay marriage? Honestly, I can’t find a single passage that says gay marriage is wrong. I only find some that say gay sex is wrong. I also find passages that say all sexuality is a gift from God. I myself am not homosexual, but I am asexual, so I am not really seeing a point in sex to begin with aside from emotional connection and reproduction. But as an asexual, I see other ways to establish deep emotional connection. Why is there no platonic gay marriage allowed? I apologize for disorganized thoughts.

  2. Joe Said,

    Is there really such an entity as “the gay community”? The words themselves seem to suggest and endorse the notion that people who experience same-sex attraction (I don’t like the word “homosexual”… too clinical) are somehow outside of the plain old “community”, and that we should be happy, willing, grateful participants in some weird kind of “sexual apartheid”. I have never perceived or felt any more love, understanding, support, etc from the so called “gay community” than from regular “community”…. (In fact, for some reason, and I don’t mean to offend anyone, but a lot of women who identify themselves as “lesbians” often treat me and my husband like we have the plague, to be honest.) Is this just some nonsense that only exists in my head, or has anyone else had similar notions/impressions?

  3. Nick Said,

    The Church says that something defined as “sin” by Scripture, the Fathers, and tradition, must always be regarded as such, yet the Church has had no problem doing just the opposite over the centuries: taking things that are justified or NOT defined as “sin” by Scripture, the Fathers, and tradition – and making them sinful. An example is slavery. Scripture doesn’t condemn it, the early Fathers made excuses for it, and Christians once owned slaves. Today, I suspect that no Orthodox Christian would cite Scripture, the Fathers, or tradition, to promote or justify slavery. Why is this? Why is it okay to use reason and intellect to make something that God and the Church once APPROVED of or tolerated into something “bad”, but not the other way around? The Orthodox Church didn’t spearhead the ban slavery, the secular world did, with assistance from members of various churches, meaning that the Church found truth in a social change that it did not initiate. Yet the Church repeatedly says that it must not modify teachings or understandings – because of social pressure! There is genuine contradiction here, as well as in Church teachings re: human sexuality overall. Sex between a married husband and wife is deemed good, but we are also told (depending on priest and jurisdiction I guess) to celebrate name days instead of birthdays, because the latter are reminders of the time that our parents yielded to LUST; that we can sit with our feet crossed (because we see this done in holy icons) but not with our legs crossed, because by doing so, we form a CROSS with our “VILE, LOWER PARTS”; that when children are grown and gone, a married couple should live chastely as brother and sister, or enter religious houses, suggesting that sex is for procreation only, having nothing to do with love, affection, or bonding.

  4. Yannis Said,

    Hello. My name is Yannis and i want to share my story.

    I am gay and i was raised in a Christian Orthodox family in Greece. At the age of 23, after having a panic attack i told my parents i am gay. My mother took me to a priest who insisted that i have some kind of mental problem and tried to make me follow priesthood or hide my “abnormality” and refuse my sexuality in the name of Jesus Christ and health. He told me that gays are paedophiles and turn to criminality because of their sick nature.

    He sent me to mount Athos, a place i visited with my father for 3 days and there i saw a medieval institution, a sanitarium from another era. I saw two gay monks holding their hands and act like a couple. In fact they were a couple, but hiding inside their cloacks. The most frightening image i have ever seen in my life was a table full of skulls, and a paranoid monk claiming that he has the skull of Saint John΄s first cousin. I finally escaped from this evil man΄s – i meann the priest my mother send me to – plans to imprison me for my sexuality.

    Αll these happened in the year 2007.

  5. andre Said,

    Yannis,

    Thank you very much for your comment and support of this website. I am very sorry that you have been put through these very trying and difficult times. You are brave to recognize who God created you to be and to come out to your parents. Of course the priest is wrong. Just because he was ordained and stands at the altar of God and celebrated the Liturgy, does not make him know everything or even give the right advice. Gay people are not pedophiles. The scientific community is clear on this. Pedophilia does not happen at any greater rate in the gay community than in the straight community. See this link (And there are numerous others from respected and peer reviewed sites, that address this).

    10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked

    image

    10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked

    Battling the ‘homosexual agenda,’ the hard-line religious right has made a series of incendiary claims. But they’re just not true.

    View on http://www.splcenter.org

    Preview by Yahoo

    I am not sure if you have read the reflection that I wrote on a similar issue that you have experienced. It was a while ago and so you might have seen it. The link is here:

    http://www.orthodoxandgay.com/homosexuality-is-so-evil-that-even-the-devil-does-not-want-it-2

    I have visited Mt. Athos myself a few times. And there I saw and experienced wonderful as well as confusing things. Certainly we should not judge things that we may not understand or have not experienced.

    I pray that things are better for you now than they were in 2007.

    Please continue to speak out in support of LGBT persons, especially those who are Orthodox and are persecuted for who God made them to be.

    I bid you peace,

    Andriy

  6. George Stein Said,

    Why did God destroy Sodoma and Gomora in the Old Testament ?

  7. andre Said,

    George,
    The interpretations as to why God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone are varied, including Orthodox interpretations. Was it because of homosexual practices or the lack of hospitality? Is there a specific purpose you have in asking this question?
    Andriy

  8. Sophie Said,

    Hi, my name is Sophie and I am an 18 year old girl, and I’m gay. I was raised and baptized in the Orthodox Church, and have recently come out to my family. They are all very accepting, but when it comes to church, I feel as if I shouldn’t be gay because of our religion and how it is practiced. But, there is a gay male there whom everyone falls all over and love. I’m just afraid that when it comes to a woman, things woukd be extremely different. Any help or suggestions on how to deal with this?

  9. andre Said,

    Sophie,
    Forgive me for not responding sooner. Your comment somehow escaped my notification system. You are very blessed and beloved by God, never forget that. You are also very lucky that your family accepts you. I would take things one day at a time. You do not have to announce your sexual orientation to anyone, unless you feel safe and accepted. There will be loving, kind people in any church parish, but also cruel and ignorant people. Know that God made you as you are and thank Him for that. When you will be full of love and acceptance, kindness and charity, others around you will feed off of your goodness. Remember the guiding words of St. Seraphim of Sarov: “Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved.” Please stay in touch and I bid you peace. Andriy

  10. George87 Said,

    Hello,
    First of all congrats for your job at this site! I am an orthodox young man from Greece. Reading a lot about homosexuality and our religious tradition , i have some questions. A topic to discuss is about after death.
    According to greek orthodox tradition after death the soul starts the journey to the heaven. During the way
    The unrighteous souls have to pass some steps in order to make it.This is the clearance of the souls
    ( τελονισμος της ψυχης) where some fallen angels trying to take the soul into the Hades ( υnderworld) so they can stay there till the final judgement . One of them is the demon accuse the soul for arsonokoitia ( translated in greek sources as homosexuality). That is a strong reason why church is so against homosexual acts. But there is no evidence of that ,only visions of some saints and witnesses.
    So if you know something for that or have a source please let me know.

    God bless you all guys! Keep going the perfect job here!!

  11. Andriy Said,

    A prayer list has been opened on the website (second tab on home page). Please list the names of people you would like to remember and have others pray for – living or deceased. Please visit this page and remember in prayer the loved ones of others.

  12. Sergios Said,

    Jesus Himself prohibited married couples from divorcing, but our Church permits divorces and a second or even a third marriage by economy, because people in our age have a life expectancy that is about the double of what it was during Jesus’s time on Earth. If the Church can neglect one of Jesus’s social -not moral- commands, so She can neglect one of Paul’s commands. The Church should teach ALL people how to live a life of love, holiness and modesty following the example of Jesus. The Church should accept the homosexuals’ need to form a long and lasting emotional relationship with the person they will love. The Church should stop fantasizing about homosexuality as if it were gay porn (which is what many bishops watch at night, I suspect), and understand that it is about love and respect between two persons. Sexual promiscuity should be chastised in straight people as well. And marriage is NOT about procreation, otherwise our Church would not allow post-menopausal women to marry – and fortunately and wisely, She does.To those priests who engage in hate speech against homosexual people and drive so many good men and women away from the Church, Jesus and Salvation, I invite them to read again the Gospel, especially the Matthew 23:13 part where Jesus Himself, very angrily says: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in”.

  13. andre Said,

    Sergios,
    Thank you for your comment which is logical and well said. I do think it is incumbent upon LGBT Orthodox to live honest and open lives as much as possible. It is also vital that we pray for the hearts of the bishops and priests who reject us to change.
    Andriy

  14. Constantine Said,

    Hi,
    I am 19 and gay. I grew up in the Greek Orthodox Church and I talked to my priest about being gay. He said I was allowed to partake in communion and be in the church before and after I marry. I also heard from another priest that “it isn’t worth coming to worship” is this true? I am confused about it because other religions say that gays go to hell but our is a little fuzzy on the subject…

  15. andre Said,

    Constantine,
    Thank you for your comment and question. You are very, very lucky to have a priest who accepts you and allows you to approach the chalice. Many Orthodox Christians have been told not to come to church, let alone be allowed to receive Holy Communion, when they told their priest that they were gay. I am not sure what the other priest meant when he said “it isn’t worth coming to worship”, so I can not comment on that. To be clear the official position of the Orthodox Church is that any sexual relationship outside of a heterosexual marriage is a sin. However, there are enlightened and educated priests who understand that gay people did not choose their sexual orientation, and are more accepting of gay people in monogamous relationships. These are true pastors and with their guidance an LGBT individual can have a solid spiritual relationship with their priest and grow as a Christian. You will be in my prayers. Please stay in touch, Andriy

  16. Nicholas Said,

    I have never been a religious person. I was raised in the Antiochian Greek Orthodox Church. I have cousins that are Priests. I have a great aunt that is a Nun in the Roman Catholic Church. I am attached to my culture and history. Down the block is a beautiful Greek Orthodox Cathedral, but I can’t bring myself to go in. My family knows that I am gay. I am happy with my life. I just cannot bring myself to enter the doors as I used to. I know they won’t accept me.

  17. andre Said,

    Nicholas,
    You must believe that God loves you and is with you, especially in the most difficult times that we doubt His love and His creation. You do not have to announce that you are gay when you walk into the Church. God already knows as He created you in His image and gave you your sexual orientation, it is a gift. “Fear not; for I am with you: do not be dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10

  18. Anna Said,

    How oh earth can you say that Christ accepts homesexuality and
    Blessed it. This is a sin and if the apostles were here they would excommunicate yous that say that god blesses it. Look if you are gay remember Christ loves you as we are
    All sinners but at the end of day the bible clearly states that those that are
    Homesexuality will never enter the kindgom of heaven. Turn to christ and repent
    And he will create in you a new mind and a new heart. This website is
    Very deceiving to those individuals that are orthodox and struggling with homesexuality for the creator of this website to say that god blesses it is a deceptive lie and is it trying to keep you in your sin.
    m

  19. andre Said,

    Anna,
    The Orthodox Church has changed its mind on numerous issues and will one day embrace the science and empirical proof that millions of gay, lesbian, and transgendered individuals were given our sexual orientation by our Creator – at birth. It is not chosen any more than you chose your eye or hair color. God loves us as He created us.
    I bid you peace,
    Andriy

  20. Lee Bailey Said,

    Just to be blunt, I am Orthodox and supportive of the Orthodox Church’s stance on sexuality. The church fathers, being sinners themselves, unfortunately do not get 100% of everything correct in all of their writings, however, the Church has always looked to the canons of ecumenical councils and saints for guidance on truth. None of this has ever permitted or blessed homosexuality. To the contrary, they actually fight against it and bring truth to light. There are a few arguments made above that I would like to briefly respond to, hopefully in humility, as I know this is a deep and confusing struggle. I hope the best for everyone who bears it. You are likely stronger than I.

    First, I would like to say that God indeed loves all of you with a deep, redemptive, powerful, “I will die for you” love that he showed on the cross and in his resurrection. If you feel buried with the temptations of homosexual intercourse or any other type of sin, God can resurrect you to righteousness and loves you deeply.

    Some of the main arguments:

    Slavery – many people say because Christians have had slaves this means that they make mistakes and that their opposition to homosexual actions are also a mistake. Unfortunately, this argument has a few holes in it. First, the Church has never been “pro slavery”. If you look into the writings of the Fathers, some of them mention slavery as a necessary evil, but they still have a low view of it. Secondly, they never condone or (God forbid) glorify it in a council or formal way. Last on this subject, the saints of old have always put greater emphasis on HOW we are loving one another EVEN IN THE MIDST OF A CULTURAL EVIL (like slavery) – Paul was more concerned with the fact that if someone was a slave owner, that they treat their slave like Christ would treat us. This shows simply that the Fathers recognized we are aliens in this world, so whether slave or free, what was MORE important (not that ending slavery is not important) was repenting and partaking of God’s kingdom. The church undoubtedly rejoices that slavery is no longer a part of American culture. To say that the Church changed Her view here is wrong. Furthermore, using this as a point int he LGBT agenda is comparing something the church “permits” and nurtures towards at least a loving relationship (when culture is unfortunately aligned this way, slavery) to something the Church has unanimously stated is against the natural laws God has given us and is a part of the sickness we’ve fallen into. To encourage someone to go deeper into this sickness does not help anybody. To encourage someone to “come out”, however, and face the truth of what is really going on inside of them, can indeed be helpful, but it must be handled in a way that leads all to truth that homosexual acts are unnatural and harmful.

    Divorce – to say that Christ didn’t allow divorce but the Church does and assume the Church should do the same with homosexual marriage also has a few holes in it. First, Christ does allow for divorce under certain circumstances (adultery, esp) and the Church quickly clarified that his example also applies to a few other stances (abuse and the like). These things were unanimously clarified by the Church and are treated with pastoral care. The struggle of homosexuality should also be treated with pastoral care, but that is not to say that because of this we can say … “see divorce can be a good thing”.. In no way… a second marriage is permitted as ECONOMY/CONCESSION (but is not Christian/Orthodox) to allow room for people who have weakness/need when they have been wronged in marriage or ruined their marriage and have repented. Even then, the church does not allow for a 4th marriage ever, and even the 2nd and 3rd are treated with SERIOUS REPENTANCE (they even have a whole different service!!). Conclusion here – “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel. Divorce and homosexual actions should both be treated with pastoral love and care that leads to right and natural relationship and recognizes both as sinful in need of God’s help. Glorifying either of these as “good” does not help anyone.

    Infertile relationships – The church (especially through the beloved St. John Chrysostom) has confirmed that a MAJOR role of marriage is undoubtedly procreation. To take this away is to make marriage something less than God intended. However, he clearly proclaims that Paul makes clear the other reason for marriage – help in chastity and union of two people in a natural, God given way. Because the Church confirms there are reasons for marriage other than procreation, the Fathers do agree that it would be better to grow into an abstinent state after menopause. This is also seen as the reason men naturally begin to lose their sexual drive with old age. Homosexuality does not treat procreation as a possible role of marriage and does not treat infertility as a part of the fall. These are Orthodox concepts that cannot be taken away from God’s natural creation.

    Monogamous homosexuality – To say that the important thing is simply a commitment to 1 other person is to have a low view of marriage. Marriage fulfills laws of nature (heterosexual), creates life (children), and glorifies God with gender roles being fulfilled with humility. Any marriage outside the Orthodox Church sacrament is less than Christian, but some of them are at least “natural” and “not sinful” in this way; these have the ability to be blessed and become fully Christian in as much as each party begins to partake of the sacraments and life of Christ with humility (just getting your marriage blessed does not mean it will stay Christian, this is an active walk in the Church). The problem with this argument is that it does not account for the full view of marriage.

    “God made you this way” – Unfortunately, this is a lie that teaches people to define themselves by their struggles. You are MORE than your struggles and if you have homosexual tendencies, this is only a large temptation and heavy burden to bear, so I feel for you and ask for you to pray for me in my struggles as well (depression, anger, lust, pride, impatience, etc…) I might be an angry person sometimes, but my sinful anger does not define my person-hood; it needs to be purged out with divine fire so that I may become fully human in a natural way, as God created and intended for me.

    Please forgive me for any offense this might create. I love you and don’t mean to offend you but I believe that encouraging sin as “good” is not helpful to anyone.

    With love and hope for all,

    Lee

  21. andre Said,

    Lee,
    Thank you for your email and intense interest in the subject of Orthodoxy and LGB issues. There is much to comment on and I will be selective.
    You state that you are supportive of the Orthodox Church’s stance on sexuality. I would challenge that statement in that I am not sure that the Church has a pastoral or comprehensive definitive statement on sexuality. There are numerous views expressed by bishops and priests in print, in homilies, as well as in private conversations that would show the range of these views. 
    This website receives thousands of emails from LGBT Orthodox Christians, their family members, as well as those seeking entrance into the Church. There is not a single monolithic statement or approach. For example, one woman was accepted into the Church along with her wife and their adopted children. One transsexual woman was deprived of the sacraments when she spoke with her priest. The priest has no idea what a transsexual was and would agree to give her communion as long as she did not wear a dress to Church. One father sought advice from his pastor when his son came out. The priest had suggested that a memorial service be chanted for his son. The father stopped going to Church.

    As you state the Church Fathers do not get everything 100% right all of the time. They were and are glorified and proclaimed for their holiness not their knowledge of neurobiology, psychology or chemistry. It would be foolish to assume that Saint John Chrysostom in the 4th century would know about DNA, genetics or neuroscience.

    Also, you mention the canons of the Ecumenical Councils. As I am sure you know there are numerous canons not being followed and if they were, we would all be excommunicated. Everything from the prohibition of having two Orthodox bishops in  one city (how many Orthodox bishops are ruling bishops of New York City for example) to the prohibition of seeing a Jewish doctor. Therefore to see the canons as the final ruling in issues of human sexuality would not be appropriate.

    Also, your comment that I and millions of other LGBT individuals are “buried with the temptations of homosexual intercourse or any other type of sin” deserves a comment. I would ask you if you are “buried with the temptations of heterosexual intercourse”? If so, then we stand in agreement. However, the love and desire that I feel for my husband of over a decade, is a blessed love. There is faulty temptation in the heteronormative world to condemn LGBT individuals for simply being who God created us to be. This attitude is full of great pride.

    Finally, you may believe that saying God made me this way is a lie, I would have to ask you, how did God make you? How else can you explain your attraction to women? Was it a choice? If it was a choice, can you choose to be sexually attracted to a man? This is folly. Just as I can only describe my calling to the priesthood as a feeling instilled in me from Christ Himself, I can only describe the love and attraction that I have for my husband as a feeling instilled in me from Christ Himself.

    In conclusion, you ask for forgiveness for any offense and yet state that I am teaching lies. I am not sure how this logic works, but I will accept your asking for forgiveness.

    My prayer is that God will lead you to a greater understanding of the beautiful differences in the world that He created. That thousands of types of individuals are not sin, but part of the beauty of His creation.

    I bid you peace,
    Andriy

  22. Christopher Said,

    Uhm….is anybody at this website monitoring this posting thread? I thought this was supposed to be a gay-affirming place where LGBT Christians could gather to help and support one another. Instead I see anti-gay Christians who are clearly not affirming attempting to revictimize those of us who are seeking a community that embraces us as we are. If the point of this posting board is simply to engage in hate disguised as religion to attack those who are in need of supportive community, then this website is pointless. If the leadership of this site is not here to help and support us but simply allow this endless and un-winnable “debate” with right-wing religious folks, what is the point?

  23. andre Said,

    Christopher,

    I have received your email. Please try and understand that I am just one person, trying my best to provide a space to exchange ideas as well as answer hundreds of emails from people around the globe. (I also have a full time job, a husband, and take care of my mother who has advanced dementia and Alzheimer’s).  I am hoping that others, like you, will also take the time and initiative to answer some of those who hate us or question us on the website.

    I am sorry if you feel that the website is pointless. From my perspective, we are providing some solace and bit of care to those who need it. Most of those in need do not reply to the website discussion boards, but send me an email.
    You can either curse the darkness or turn on a light. I pray that you choose the second option and help us out.
    I bid you peace,
    Andriy

  24. Christopher Said,

    PS. By “un-winnable” debate, I don’t mean that the anti-gay people are right in their views but that reasoned argument based upon evidence is not something they are typically interested in. So genuine debate becomes difficult if not impossible.

  25. Lee Bailey Said,

    Andriy,

    First off, thanks for your response. The thing I am most interested in is where you are coming from on the scientific level because you quote this often and I know little about it. I emailed you outside of this discussion a while back, hoping to have a genuine and open conversation about all of this and hear where you are coming from (to the site’s Yahool).

    To comment on your response, I have been taught a much different perspective on how to handle the canons as well as what it means for the orthodox church to have a formal stance on an issue.

    The orthodox church has had times where the majority of the church believed in heresy; however, this clearly does not mean the heresy was true. This was the case with the Arian heresy and was the purpose of the ecumenical councils, to work these things out in community. This does not mean that if you could poll the orthodox in the world, the popular vote would determine truth. There were times where only one or two bishops held to the truth and, eventually, by the Holy Spirit, brought this to light for the Church to see (for example, St. Nicholas at Nicea).

    When looking at the question “is homosexuality dealt with in the canons or formal teachings of the church?” (and not just a popularity vote), we can clearly look and ask if the councils touched on this. The councils give guidance through canons to excommunicate or prescribe penance when certain harmful/sinful things are done by the faithful, in order to guide and chastise us towards holiness and union with God. When we see a canon (even if we are to break it via economia) we can still ask “what is the basis of and reason for this canon”? To say that we are breaking one canon in NY and therefore that we should throw all canons out the window is a very unorthodox approach. What is the point of having one bishop in a city? The interpreters of the canons historically say this is for order and because he is the presence of Christ to look over the distribution of the Eucharist in that area. This has been broken many times in history during the evangelization of new areas by multiple other orthodox Churches and the goal has always been to get the new area to a canonical state in a healthy way. Just because it gets broken does not mean it has no basis and is worthless.

    When asking why the Church excommunicates and penances those who commit homosexual actions, what conclusions can we come to? (note that this has nothing to do with whether or not someone feels homosexual temptations) The only two conclusions I can see are 1) the church was wrong, shouldn’t have dealt with the subject, and did not know enough about science or 2) homosexual actions are degrading and harmful to those who partake of them and this canon is for their benefit (and the benefit of all). If you are claiming the church simply doesn’t know what she’s talking about with this subject, this is not at all the same reasoning for why the church breaks other canons (i.e. multiple bishops or going to a Jewish doctor).

    When you get to the basis of this discussion in regards to the canons, you simply want to throw the canons out the window and pick and choose the ones you feel are appropriate, placing yourself as the supreme authority. The church, on the other hand leaves the canons in the hands of the bishops to implement BUT learns from them what we “should” be doing in an ideal world, still holding to the fact that canons we break continue to authoritatively teach us truths.

    One note about heterosexuality… I do not feel that “being heterosexual” is something that defines me as an image bearer of God. God has given me sexual parts that show me to be male; how I feel about being male does not really change this. He has created sexual desire that is to be used for procreation and union between a spouse. However, if I lost the ability to have my wife sexually, I would be asked by Christ through the Church to abstain. This would not change who I am although it would be a heavy burden to bear. I have indeed had to bear it at points of life and I can agree that it is not easy.

    To say that God did not make you this way is not to say that God really made you heterosexual and you’re screwing it up. It’s just to say that our person-hood is much deeper than sexual desires. I do understand that God made you as a male image bearer of Christ and he has indeed allowed you to have homosexual urges and passions. He does not, however, create these passions and place them within you. He has created mankind, male and female and designed us with compatible sexual parts, but the passions and urges are a part of our fallen humanity and can be used for good and creating union and life when channeled in a natural way.

    I am in no way claiming that you can just “choose” to be attracted to a woman as some trivialize this issue down to. This is not an easy or simple issue and our passions run deeper than simple choice, but to say that any urge I get is clearly one that God gives me is to give no credit to the fact that many of the voices in our head can be demonic or even simply fleshly. The question we should be asking first is do homosexual actions really hurt/degrade those who partake of them. It seems you are lumping me in with most right wing that very much trivialize the “solutions” to this issue, but I am in no way suggesting simple solutions but want to first deal with clarifying what is really true.

    A quick note to all on the contentiousness that can come from this subject:
    I do not mean to pass judgement on anyone who has these urges and passions. I do currently disagree with your conclusions and would like to continue to understand your perspective and view point in a respectful discussion. I understand that you think I’m theologically wrong and I believe the same about you, but if I’m right, this does not make me any better of a person than you and I give total benefit of the doubt that you are not doing any of this with a malicious heart but simply might be uninformed of the truth. I trust you can look at me the same way and see that I simply might be uninformed (assuming you all are correct). I sincerely wish you the best and only hope to be helpful here by discussing what the Church’s true stance is. I hope you can at least agree that “if homosexuality really is harmful, it would not be good to encourage it” and see that I come with a heart to help (even if you think I’m stupid and uneducated).

    Can we please discuss the specifics of the scientific issues?It seems this is what I’m uneducated on and is the sole thing that is claimed to justify the feelings of the LGBT.

    Other questions I would ask. What makes me white? Is it me feeling white, or is it just a fact we can see by a simple observation. Why am I male? Is it because of how God created/formed me? Why would me feeling female change this? Why is this different from feeling black or hispanic? I say this to make a point that much of this discussion leans towards LG issues, but the B and T don’t make much sense to me. I can understand having different sexual urges/passions, but believing we should have been given different sexual parts seems to blame God for messing up. Please explain why you all feel these are important if you disagree. Thanks!

    Best,

    Lee

  26. andre Said,

    Lee,
    Thank you for your comments. You raise many issues, and unfortunately I only have time to address a few of the comments you made. I hope that other readers will be willing to also address your remarks.
    1) Concerning the science. The American Psychological Association as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the American Medical Association have all stated that there are a variety of factors that impact a person’s sexuality. The most recent literature (from the APA) states that sexual orientation is not a choice and is shaped at an early age. Evidence suggests that homosexuals, and in particular male homosexuals, cannot change their sexual orientation. Biological, including genetic, or inborn hormonal factors play a significant role in orientation. (See APA 2010 report). Of course, scientists have not yet found a “gay gene” which may or may not ever be found. There is an excellent article from the American Academy of Pediatrics – a clinical report – on Sexual Orientation and Adolescents concerning the nature vs. nurture argument. A simple Wikipedia search on homosexuality will bring forth the relevant footnotes and bibliography on the subject. There is an article in GeneWatch journal from 2011 that gives a full history of the search for the Gay Gene (Volume 24 Number 6).
    2) Concerning canon law. I must say that your argument confounds me. To argue that the vast majority of canon laws, from either the Ecumenical or Local Councils are valid, or even valid on paper while not practiced, is a kin to arguing that the laws in the US prohibiting spitting on the sidewalk or not allowing African Americans and women to vote. I understand the spirit of the laws, but in numerous instances they must be looked at again, debated and updated. Just to give one example. The canons are clear about the date for the celebration of Pascha. This is broken by the Church of Finland. The Church of Finland has broken this canon for decades, without any rebuking or consequences from the other Orthodox churches. Your argument for why there are numerous bishops in each city does not convince me. This is wrong according to canon law – designed to assure against false teachings. The Church needs to re-visit this law, in light of the church outside of traditional Orthodox countries, in light of immigration patterns, in light of the breakup of Church-States relationships etc. I can use the same argument about re-visiting, reviewing and updating in light of medical or scientific information or societal changes, for the canons prohibiting women from communion during menstruation or the prohibition of going to the theater or having a Jewish doctor or not ordaining a man because he has only nine fingers….The bishops continuously break these laws themselves, so can they claim to be in charge of them? Or how can the faithful continue to trust that they care about them?
    3) Your comments about heterosexuality. Sexual desire was not only given for procreation otherwise the church would not sanction the marriages of older couples. Union with a spouse can take place between people of the same sex. Alluding to your later comment about having “any urge” – my husband of almost 15 years is not an urge, but one half of a committed, loving relationship in the fullest understanding. You say that if you lost your wife, you would abstain from relations. But you are asking us, gay people, to never have a spouse. There is a significant difference between losing a spouse and then abstaining, and having been called to married life, even with a person of the same-sex, and never being allowed to marry.
    Finally, your comment questioning if “God messes up”. I do not believe that God messes up. However, take an afternoon and roam the halls of a children’s hospital or spend an evening in a lock down unit of a hospital for the mentally handicapped, both of which I have done as a pastor, and then tell me that there is a one size fits all rule of law and a single understanding of God’s creation.
    Andriy

  27. Lee Bailey Said,

    Andriy,

    I appreciate your respectful response. I hope to look into many of these issues and respond at a later date. I have many thoughts on your take on the canons, and hope to form my thoughts on that in a future response as well. I do, initially, disagree on your comparison to American law since this law was clearly not claimed to be God-inspired and by the Church. It does bring up an excellent point, however, that when Bishops look into “how to implement and manage the cannons,” they (and the whole Church) must approach the canons with the question “what was the basis and reason for this canon?” and ask if it bears weight on eternal matters or matters of culture at the time it was written. I am not familiar with the canon about a man with 9 fingers, but much of the Church disagrees with how Finland handles Paschal dates (this is up to the Bishops to handle, however) and just because the Church breaks canons at times does not mean they have no basis and does not mean She is always justified in doing so. I have been taught the canon on abstaining during menstruation has basis and should be upheld. The questions still lies “do homosexual relations hurt/degrade those that partake of them?” More thoughts on all of this later; I do appreciate your thoughts and all of the info.

    Best,

    Lee

  28. andre Said,

    Thank you Lee. You sort of prove my point with your two comments 1) “I have been taught the canon on abstaining during menstruation has basis and should be upheld.” Shouldn’t the Church be discussing this issue with WOMEN? 2) When you state: “The questions still lies “do homosexual relations hurt/degrade those that partake of them?”, shouldn’t the Church be discussing this issue with HOMOSEXUALS? The bishops are not Christ or mind-readers or omnipotent, and they should never presume to be any of those.
    Andriy

  29. Lee Bailey Said,

    Must we ask the thieves if stealing is wrong?
    Must we ask the fornicators if fornication is wrong?
    Must we ask the adulterers if adultery is wrong?
    Must we ask the murderers if murder is wrong?

    Or does the Church and Holy Scripture give us guidance on moral issues apart from how people feel about it?

    If you especially polled the fornicators and abortionists in this country, due to desensitization of our culture, you would learn that neither of these is wrong.

    I do not mean to say homosexual actions are equal to something like murder, but I am just making a point that the Church guides us apart from our feelings many times, although our feelings are important and need to be dealt with sensitively.

    Best,

    Lee

  30. Clio Said,

    Hello I’m a bisexual orthodox girl at my 23.I love church and I’m also member of LGBTQ community.But..many times feels like I’m in between and it sucks.

  31. Helena Said,

    I have read a lot about homosexuals who have become straight through healing prayer and secular psychotherapy. I went to hear Mario Bergner of ‘Desert Streams’ in America, speak about his book detailing his journey from cruising multiple homosexual encounters daily for many years to marriage with a woman and they now have five children! There is another side to the story. Also, why would God create people as homosexual when His Word explicitly speaks of only men and women ever marrying? Homosexual behaviour is to do with a confusion of identity; projecting the unmet needs of childhood onto the same sex. My step brother admitted to me that his distant father gave him the homosexual yearning for a man’s arms around him. Equally, a woman who is unfulfilled by her mother will project this unmet need onto other women once she is grown up, and then will believe herself to be a lesbian. Read Mario Bergner’s book: you’ll be astonished at his story.

  32. Nomad Said,

    I’m in Asia not a baptist Christian. I been attending Catholic Church, but I’m leaning towards Orthodoxy, There’s a Russian orthodox community, and who knows i may be baptist as Orthodox but unlike most of u guys being baptist as infant. I’m an adult now, how can this be possible? A gay getting baptism as orthodox? Orthodox Church look hostile towards LGBT, I really do not know what I’m getting into. Unless I keep silent on my sexuality. But it’s a sin and I can’t have the Eucharist? It’s a muddy situation over here, I need an advice.

  33. Bob Said,

    I am an orthodox straight man and have come across this http://wouldjesusdiscriminate.org website, which teaches based on the Bible that consensual love between same sex is not prohibited by the Bible.

    Reading opposite views coming from high level hierachs confuses me.

    In general the context needs to be taken into account. For example the canons prohibit a believer to go to a Jewish doctor but what to do in New York where majority of doctors are Jewish? Well back in the day many Jewish doctors were into practicing pagan healing like today’s new age healers do. Same goes with gay sex, as back in the apostles time there was pagan ritual temple worship which involved often forced sex between same sex.

    Context, don’t forget it!

  34. Simeon Said,

    I am a Greek Orthodox Christian and I am Bisexual and I have been in relationships with both genders. I am not ashamed of my Orthodoxy, in fact I love my religion and the beauty of each Chant and ceremony but I feel upset at the fact that I would not be accepted by the Church. I have even read something called the “Orthodox Theology” that says that every love love (including Homosexual love) is divine live which proves the essence of God. I do not understand why the Priests would discriminate when the Orthodox Theology says that.

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