May 6, 2012

 

Recently, on an internet discussion thread, I was asked about who Jesus would allow Himself to be photographed with.  One question was if Jesus would be photographed with Patriarch Filaret. Filaret is the current primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyivan Patriarchate.  Not liking my answer to the question, another person asked if Jesus would be photographed with a priest who is a faggot.  Although not said explicitly by the person, I can safely assume that the priest in question who is a faggot, is me.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyivan Patriarchate, although having the support of a significant number of Ukrainian Orthodox faithful, is not recognized by world Orthodoxy.  The reason that this church is not recognized is because its leader, Filaret was defrocked by the Moscow Patriarchate.  The circumstances revolve around the election of a new Patriarch of Moscow following the death of Patriarch Pimen. Filaret, as the most senior ranking bishop, expected to be elected Patriarch of the entire Russian Orthodox Church. The political process and ecclesiastical intrigue involved in these events are quite fascinating, but beyond the scope of this reflection. However, among the accusations levied at Patriarch Filaret when he was defrocked, was that he was married and had at least one child by that marriage, a daughter.  Whether the indictment is true or not is not for me to judge.  Certainly, the Russian controlled press in Ukraine went out of their way to try and prove the allegations, including an interview with the Patriarch’s alleged daughter.  One newspaper headline read “I call him Daddy.”  Today Patriarch Filaret may be persona non grata in certain world Orthodox circles, but among numerous faithful in Ukraine, he is “His Holiness.”  I wonder if Filaret would have the vast support that he commands had it been rumored that he had a male lover, a husband?   

Filaret recently traveled to Canada where the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, issued a decree forbidding its priests and lay leaders from being photographed with Filaret so as not to “infer support”.  When I was asked – “would Jesus be photographed with Filaret?”  Of course He would, I said, and probably would have invited him to dinner.” If you have even a passing familiarity with the Gospel, you know that Jesus was seen with people from all walks of life, all people, all sinners.

Within that same discussion thread, I was then asked if Jesus would be photographed with a faggot priest. Faggot priest. For some reason the phrase did not shock me. That would have given the person who wrote the phrase power and applied a greater meaning to the writer’s words than they actually have. The phrase, “faggot priest”, was directed at me. I answered that of course Jesus would be photographed with a gay priest, because “He makes all things new.” (Revelation 21: 5)

There are those in the Orthodox Church who truly believe that Jesus would only be seen at banquets – seated at the head table at some fancy hotel where a parish was celebrating some milestone.  For those of us that have read the Bible, we know the truth.  Jesus would not be at the head table.  He would be in the basement or kitchen seated with street people, and the maligned of the world, those who truly desire and need nourishment from Him.

I do not know if the Orthodox Church will ever change its “official” view of homosexuality or if it will continue to be on the side of the Pharisees and troglodytes when it comes to modern science on the issues of biology and human sexuality.  All I know is that this “faggot priest” has already been photographed with Christ. Created in the image of God, I see myself reflected in every icon of our Lord.

  1. Ken Said,

    I converted from the UPCI to the Eastern Orthodox Church via GOARCH. Since becoming Orthodox, I've left the GOP and joined the Democratic Party (USA). I'm a straight male, but I attempted suicide a year before graduating High School after my pastor told me he believed the false rumors about me being gay and told me I was going to Hell. I was devastated. Before I became Orthodox, I considered the Episcopal Church, but my homophobia put a stop to that idea. Now that I'm a recovering homophobe and have read that there is evidence the Early Church used to ordain female and gay priests, I can't help but think the EC is leading they way to where the other Apostolic Succession churches (e.g., RCC, EOC, Oriental Orthodox, and the rest of the Anglican Community) should be going. Have you thought about joining the Episcopal Church? There's an EC less than 3 miles from my house, and the Orthodox Church I attend is an hour round trip drive. I would hate to disappoint my Greek Priest, but I think I might be happier being Episcopalian. What do you think?

  2. andre Said,

    Ken,
    Thank you very much for your sincere comment. While I love the beauty of the Orthodox Church, I understand that while many are drawn to the Orthodox Church they might have issues with becoming a full member. It is not always easy to be a Christian, and of course it is not easy to be Orthodox. However, we are praying, hoping and working for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the Orthodox Church. Everyone has to choose their own path when it comes to church membership. You are in my prayers.

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