Greek Orthodox Bishop Excommunicates Lawmakers Who Voted For Same-Sex Marriage

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by blueapples
Tuesday, Feb 27, 2024 - 13:58

Despite being a cradle of western of civilization and literal originator of the word Europe, Greece had found itself on the fringe of modern European society on one issue in particular: same-sex marriage. The cultural delineator that separated Greece from its other EU compatriots was that the Orthodox Christian country held a much different position on same-sex marriage and LGBT+ issues generally compare to its Catholic and Protestant counterparts. However, the influence of the Greek Orthodox Church's opposition to same-sex marriage ceased to shape the Hellenic Republics policy making following a parliamentary vote that legalized same-sex marriages in the country. Although the bill makes Greece the first Orthodox Christian country to legalize same-sex marriage, the Greek Orthodox Church has remained steadfast in its opposition. The cultural schism between church and state that the bill has widened is exemplified by the decision of one high-ranking Greek Orthodox bishop to excommunicate the 176 lawmakers who voted for the bill from his diocese.

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus

Metropolitan Seraphim Of Piraeus was joined by church council and administrative committee members in issuing a decree banning Greek ministers of parliament from church services in his diocese until they vote to revoke the law legalizing same-sex marriage. “To protect our ministry and respect our responsibility before God, we sever our ties with those who voted against divine law, not inviting them to any parish event until they show genuine repentance by repealing this heinous legislation,” the decree read. In doing so, the bishop has expelled over half of the Greek Parliament.

Since being consecrated as a priest in 2001 and elected as bishop in 2006, Seraphim has maintained a hard-lined position against the church embracing homosexuality. The bishop's decision to excommunicate members of the Greek Parliament should come as no surprise as he promised to do so over a decade ago when the premise of legalizing same-sex marriage previously arose.

In 2013, Seraphim wrote then Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos a stern letter compelling him against moving forward on the issue. "I beseech you from the heart not to proceed," he wrote. The letter would go on to express the church's vehement position against same-sex marriage, stating "For the church fathers, homosexuality is the most disgusting and unclean sin...[Such relationships] are an insult against God and man…an unnatural aberration not even observed in animals." While lawmakers lambasted the bishop for expressing his position with such bold language, the Holy Synod Of The Greek Orthodox Church came to the defense of his position. The ruling body of the Greek Orthodox Church echoed his message with more diplomatically by succinctly stating "Our position is well known, we are against such things."

The forward-facing position the bishop has taken against same-sex marriage is not the only issue that has made him a highly visible and controversial figure in Greek society. In 2010, Seraphim was chastised for what his critics deemed to be an antisemitic tirade that he made during a television interview. Seraphim blamed the cultural movements dissolving the traditional nuclear family on international Zionism, stating it was the main force driving same-sex marriage throughout the world. He continued on stating that "Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism and was financed from the renowned Rothschild family with the sole purpose of convincing the Jews to leave the shores of Europe and go to Israel to establish the new empire." Seraphim continued his remarks denouncing Zionism by expressing his belief that "Jewish bankers like Rockefeller, Rothschild and Soros control the international banking system that controls globalization."

Although the Greek Archdiocese Of America issued a statement condemning anti-antisemitism following Seraphim's interview, no such measure was taken by the Holy Synod. The silence of the Greek Orthodox Church's governing body on Seraphim's controversial remarks demonstrates the esteem and influence he holds in the church. However, the waning influence the church has over Greek society is exemplified by the legalization of same-sex marriage in spite of that fervent opposition.

Although same-sex marriage is now legal in Greece, LGBT+ activists have expressed the belief that the Greek Parliament has not done enough to advance their cause. LGBT+ advocates now look to further their agenda by challenging laws such as the ban on gender conversion therapy for minors that Greece signed into law 2 years ago. With battles to be waged ahead in the culture war over Greece, it's safe to say that this will not be the last Metropolitan Seraphim will be heard from. The bishop has made his intent clear, stating that he will use the authority imbued to him by the church to oppose whatever form he called “the woke agenda, which aims to deconstruct Christian doctrine, ethics and culture.” takes.

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