Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos Speaks to Press on the Announcement of the Church of Greece on Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption

When the Archbishop said "no", everyone applauded him, said Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou, a member of the Hierarchy's press committee, speaking to ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation). The decision was unanimous, there was no objection and no reaction, instead we saw the unity of the Church, he pointed out among other things.

He added that "a text will be drawn up which will be read in the churches, in the sacred temples, on February 4th. It is called 'To the People' and it is customary for the Church to do this for serious matters. She writes a text to inform the people. Subsequently or at the same time, a text with a legal framework and legal content will be drawn up, which will be sent to all members of Parliament."

When asked if the love of the Church also concerns people who have a different sexual preference and live with their partner, he answered:

"The love of the Church is a given, just like Christ is. And God loves everyone, sinners and the righteous and everyone. Hence, while the love of the Church is a given, of course it exercises pastoral care for both heterosexuals and homosexuals. But here we have a subject which is something special. In other words, the mystery of marriage is negated. The Church has an institution, it has the mysteries and of course it accepts all people and exercises pastoral care over them, when of course there is repentance. In other words, love, which is certainly given to all people, is one thing, and the pastoral guidance she exercises is another. And of course being an active member of the Church. Therefore, one should not confuse love, which is a given, and certainly one who returns and asks for the help of the Church with repentance, the Church accepts them."

As for why the civil marriage of same-sex couples bothers the Church, he answered:

"The Church has an institution, she has her mysteries, she has her marriage, and therefore everything that is outside the sacramental life is not accepted by the Church, unless there is repentance."

When asked if he still believes that civil marriage is "fornication" he replied:

"Yes, that is the tradition of the Church. In other words, everything that is not blessed, that is not solemnized, is a relationship that takes place between two people, which has not been blessed by the Church. Well, this applies even more for homosexuals, for so-called gay or same-sex marriage."

To the question of whether homosexuality is deviant, he answered:

"Of course. Deviation from God's command. For God made man and made them male and female and blessed them."

Asked if a homosexual is less faithful than a heterosexual, he said:

“He can believe. But we say we have an institution. This institution of the Church has certain duties that one must observe. Therefore, anyone who does not observe what the Church says, is outside the sacramental life of the Church. Of course, I told you before, the Church is philanthropic and loving. It's a spiritual hospital. It is a healing clinic, but it heals those who want to be healed. We also respect the freedom of everyone not to live according to the tradition of the Church, but when someone wants to be called a member of the Church, they must respond to what the Church says, just as it happens in every organization. When one wants to be a member of a group, one must observe the principles of that group."

At another point he said that they will study whether to baptize the children of same-sex couples. Answering the journalist's question, whether the Church will accept to baptize a child adopted by a same-sex couple, he emphasized:

"There is a problem. First of all, the child is not responsible for this matter. The second is that you know in the ancient Church they were baptized at an older age and it was their decision and they went through a stage of catechism. Infant baptism was recognized from the 5th century onwards. The possibility was given to baptize infants, precisely because we know that they will grow up in a Christian family and that is why there is the sponsor, who will talk to them about the Church and about the life of the Church. So there is a real problem here. We did not make a concrete decision yesterday, but the synodical bodies will study it. If the child - who I repeat is not responsible - is baptized he will not grow up in a family with Christian standards. If the children of a same-sex couple are baptized, then in the act they will be present, we recognize. It is not possible on the one hand to say we do not recognize the civil marriage of homosexuals and on the other hand to recognize it by our actions. After all, you know that when a baptism takes place, the parents sign. What will they sign? Parent 1 and Parent 2? There are various problems which were raised yesterday in the Hierarchy. No decision was taken, it was referred to the synodical bodies in order to be studied."

The full interview can be seen in the first video. Below that is a press conference Metropolitan Hierotheos addressed on the same issue.