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On July 12, 2019 at the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in Vancouver BC, a motion to amend the marriage canon to include same-sex marriage failed in its second reading. It received the required two-thirds majority in the Order of Clergy and the Order of Laity, but failed in the Order of Bishops.

It is our understanding that individual bishops retain the prerogative to authorize same-sex marriages in their respective dioceses.

See the Anglican Journal for a more detailed account.

Orthodoxy in Dialogue proposes to host a discussion on this development. Our readers around the planet know that the question of same-sex love, and the possibilities and conditions for its sanctification in the Church’s sacramental economy, have come to occupy a place of prominence in our publishng record beyond anything that we had initially planned.

We welcome articles written in a fraternal spirit, reflective of all sides of the issue, from Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike.

Our offer to host an Anglican debate in an Orthodox forum underscores the fact that the preoccupation with same-sex marriage—and with the wider questions of theological anthropology from which any Christian articulation of sexuality and gender must emerge—crosses ecclesial, denominational, and confessional lines as few other issues today. In a spirit of charitable, ecumenical listening, perhaps we have much to learn from each other. 

We have created a separate Anglican Church and Same-Sex Marriage category at the top of our Archives by Author & Subject. Articles published in this series will be archived there, in the Sexuality and Gender section, and under each author’s name.

Please limit your submission to 1200 words and be sure to include a bio. Refer to our Submission Guidelines for further requirements.

Orthodoxy in Dialogue seeks to promote the free exchange of ideas by offering a wide range of perspectives on an unlimited variety of topics. Our decision to publish implies neither our agreement nor disagreement with an author, in whole or in part. See the Fifty Years after Stonewall and extensive Sexuality and Gender sections in our Archives by Author & Subject. See our Patrons page for instructions if you wish to support our work financially as a one-time, occasional, or monthly contributor. Join the conversation on Facebook and/or Twitter.
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On July 3 Orthodoxy in Dialogue published A Special Kind of Clergy Directory, in which we appeal to priests in canonical Orthodox jurisdictions who feel spiritually, pastorally, and emotionally equipped to serve Orthodox Christians, inquirers, seekers, and others who identify somewhere along the LGBTQI spectrum. 

By the grace of God, our directory has grown to seven priests in three countries in just under two weeks. Every good structure begins with the first few stones.

We have made three referrals and are in contact with a fourth individual who is discerning whether to be referred.

In a fifth, heartbreaking case, we helped an individual through the discernment process of finding an ecclesial home outside of the Orthodox Church. This person wishes with all his/her heart to remain Orthodox, and is under no illusions that one church is just as good as another—but if one has been chased away, what can one do? One has to eat somewhere. This case is particularly shameful in that the priest accused the person of lying about being in a sexually abstinent relationship and excommunicated him/her.

In yet another shameful case, an OCA bishop continues to ignore our request for a priest to accompany a bisexual married man on the path to repentance from adultery.

Dear fathers in Christ, please read our appeal prayerfully and reach out to us if you feel called and emboldened to do so.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to contact us if you need the pastoral support of such a priest. If we do not know of one in your area, perhaps we can find one for  you or arrange for you to correspond with one who lives elsewhere.

All contacts from priests and laypersons will be handled with the utmost confidentiality.

See the Fifty Years after Stonewall and extensive Sexuality and Gender sections in our Archives by Author & Subject. See our Patrons page for instructions if you wish to support our work financially as a one-time, occasional, or monthly contributor. Join the conversation on Facebook and/or Twitter, and by submitting an article or letter to the editors.
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Archpriest Lawrence Farley

The utter incoherence of Father Lawrence Farley’s rhetoric, driven by his homosexual fantasies and rabid homophobia, crosses a line in his “Two Men in Bed Together”: A Failure of Exegesis of July 12, in which he responds to my From the Fathers: The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like…Two Men in Bed Together? of July 10. In it he draws a connection between same-sex love and child rape—not once, but twice:

I will not deal with Sanfilippo’s first point at length [i.e., my “Despite endless iterations by churchmen who possess no intellectual curiosity—indeed, no sense of pastoral responsibility—to become familiar with scientific advances and the helpful insights of queer theory in our understanding of sexual diversity in human nature…], other than to note that the same dubious argumentation is now being advanced in some places to justify pedophilia (now being sanitized under the term “minor attraction”).

Sanfilippo’s conclusion—which if taken at face value justifies not only homosexuality but also pedophilia (“also each man and boy”)—simply doesn’t follow.

In  case Father Farley tidies up his text after he reads this article (as he did with his response to my Conjugal Friendship of May 2017 after he had called traditional icons of the Mystical Supper disturbing visual trash), I have appended his full article below as copied and pasted around 11:30 p.m. ET on July 13. 

Father Lawrence and I go back some twenty-five years together, when we were brother priests in the OCA’s Archdiocese of Canada. We met at a clergy retreat some time between 1992, when I transferred to the Archdiocese from the Romanian Episcopate, and 1995, when I was suspended because my wife separated from me. About the same age (mid to late 30s), with our unkempt beards, our ponytails, and our practice of wearing our cassock and pectoral cross in public, we seemed drawn to each other as kindred spirits. In friendly conversation with each other I remember his remark that priests should be “countercultural” in their manner of dress and grooming in public. I agreed with him then—and agree with him now—except that so many of our younger priests seem to fetishize their long hair and beards.

I next saw Father Lawrence in July 2001, when he was appointed to sit on the jury of priests at my spiritual trial. A gentler soul I could not have asked for. By the unhappy look on his face I could tell that he wished himself anywhere on earth but there.

I saw him for the third and last time in April 2015, when he happened to concelebrate the Sunday Liturgy at the OCA parish in Toronto that I attended for a time. At the coffee hour he recognized me instantly—fourteen years older, heavier, but still bearded, ponytailed, and dressed in black street clothes. (There appeared to be some chance at the time that I might be reinstated to the priesthood and tonsured a monk.) He threw his arms around me with the joy of a long lost brother. The instantaneous spiritual bond felt real on both sides. Tearfully he told me about his adult daughter, who suffered from a debilitating medical condition of uncertain diagnosis, and begged me to pray for her. I promised to commend her to my best friend in heaven after Christ and the Theotokos, the Holy Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon.

At the time that Father Lawrence showered me with such an outpouring of brotherly love and pleaded for my prayers, I was working on my MA thesis at Regis College entitled A Bed Undefiled: Foundations for an Orthodox Theology and Spirituality of Same-Sex Love (which can be downloaded as a PDF free of charge).

Over the ensuing weeks Father Lawrence and I exchanged several emails. On April 26, 2015 he wrote:

Thank you so much for writing. You are correct: I was only sitting in on that spiritual court because I was asked; I knew nothing about you or your situation, and certainly held nothing against you. I do not regard you as a disgraced priest; simply as a brother in Christ who like me is trying to work out his salvation. Thank you for your prayers [for his daughter]. I will indeed keep in touch when we learn something. [Personal information about his daughter.] Meanwhile, let us pray for each other.

On June 12, 2015 I wrote to tell him that I had appealed for reinstatement to the priesthood, and asked if he might be willing to advocate for me. He replied that same day:

Vladika Irenee will be coming to visit at the end of this month. For whatever it may be worth, I will bring up your case and do my best.

He also asked me to pray for the return of their missing cat, Professor. The next day he wrote for the sole purpose of letting me know that Professor had been found. He concluded with, “Anyway, THANK YOU for your prayers, dear brother.” I mention this simply to underscore the warmth of our relationship and his loving attitude toward me.

On June 17, 2015 Father Lawrence reiterated:

Dear brother: I am keenly aware of how little “pull” I have, but I will speak with Vladika [about my appeal for reinstatement to the priesthood] when he arrives later this month.

On June 18, 2015 I wrote a long email to Father Lawrence, from which the following excerpts:

I consider you a good man, and would not want you to feel betrayed or deceived if you advocated on my behalf, only to learn second- or third-hand that you would not have if you had known me better.

I am attaching what I have written of my thesis so far [the one linked above], about 45 pages. Please bear in mind that a). it’s just a little more than half finished, and b). a master’s thesis cannot have the depth and thoroughness of a doctoral dissertation. It’s obviously an indicator of my thinking rather than an exhaustive treatment.

I am not asking you to agree, or disagree, or even comment on what I have written. I offer it to you in the interests of honesty, transparency, and sincere friendship in Christ, so that you can be fully informed on whether I am the sort of man whose reinstatement and tonsure you can support in good conscience.

If you cannot support me to Abp. Irenee, I will understand completely and have no hard feelings towards you. I would never ask you to go against your conscience. I only ask that you not withdraw your friendship and your prayers from me.

One June 28, 2015 Father Lawrence wrote:

Despite my disagreement with your thesis, I did speak to the bishop about your case to at least bring him up to date about our communication and to sound him out. […] Despite…our evident disagreement over the subject of your thesis, my love and support for you remains unchanged. You continue to have my friendship, if you want it, and of course my prayers. Do write, anytime you like. Your brother in Christ, Fr. Lawrence 

By November 4, 2015 Father Lawrence had my completed MA thesis [the one linked above] in his hands. On that date I wrote, “I only ask that you refrain from making a public response, even implicitly, until I make it public myself.” He responded:

…[O]f course I would not make any response at all in public. I regard it as two friends privately sharing their thoughts over a (cyber) coffee.

I next heard from Father Lawrence on May 3, 2017, the day after my Conjugal Friendship went to press at Public Orthodoxy:

Christ is risen!

I have just recently read your piece “Conjugal Friendship” in the “Public Orthodoxy” site. This is an important topic—perhaps THE important topic of our time—and the front line of the battle that is being waged. I am sorry that we must find ourselves on opposite sides of the front line. I have written a response to the piece in my own “No Other Foundation” blog, with my usual vigour and candour. I did want to assure you that, whatever the depth of our disagreement about this topic, my friendship with you remains, on my side anyway, unchanged. I would still be delighted to meet you for coffee whenever I have time in Toronto or whenever you may find yourself in the Vancouver area.

I went to No Other Foundation trusting that I would see Father Lawrence’s “unchanged friendship” for me and an intelligent debate—between friends—on the substance of my article.

Instead, I found nothing but sputtering incoherence, misrepresentations, lies, diversionary tactics, the first hints of his own dark homosexual fantasies, and the beginnings of his endless campaign to paint me, for the entertainment of his plucky band of fellow homophobes, as a disgusting human being with nothing but gay sex on my mind at all times and in all places. (I don’t use homophobes lightly. Have a look at the comments that my “friend”—a priest of Christ!—allows to pass unchecked about my person at No Other Foundation.)  

It takes a special kind of priest to find a tangle of genitalia and orifices hiding behind every word I write on the spiritual beauty of same-sex love purified in Christ. Did Father Lawrence actually read my thesis? Conjugal Friendship? The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like…Two Men in Bed Together? All he gets from those is sex, sex, and more sex? I don’t recall ever really writing about sex per se. In a classical case of projection, he accuses me of “sexualizing” everything when—no matter how spiritual a vision of same-sex love I strive to articulate—he brings it back to penises and anuses. Seriously, he thinks about “gay sex” way more than gay people do.

Did Father Lawrence read the heartfelt and heartbreaking testimonials sent to our bishops in Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s recent Open Letter? Did he who suffered much over his daughter four years ago read of my love for my son through extraordinarily difficult times?

Forget about those. Has Father Lawrence read The Ever-Virginity of the Theotokos? Reformation 500: An Orthodox Reflection? On “Orthodox” Wife-Beating (our number one article of all time)? On Chastity: Two Letters to a Struggling Monk? A Priest Forever? Reflections on a Bittersweet Anniversary? Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy: An Anabaptist-Orthodox Conversation on Tradition and Theosis? St. Paul on MarriageOn Judging Others? The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple: A Brief Festal Reflection? My very recent efforts (still ignored ten days later by the OCA bishop to whom I appealed for a priest) to accompany a struggling brother on the path to repentance from adultery?

Did he read here and here about the thousands of dollars raised by Orthodoxy in Dialogue (“where it’s always Pride Month”) to feed the homeless on the frozen streets of Toronto on Christmas?

In a future article I will respond to the actual substance of Father Farley’s two articles to show how he lies, misrepresents, diverts, dog-whistles, and engages in character assassination.

Or maybe I won’t. He has absolutely nothing to offer, and is probably not worth any more of my time.

See the Fifty Years after Stonewall and extensive Sexuality and Gender sections in our Archives by Author & Subject. See our Patrons page for instructions if you wish to support our work financially as a one-time, occasional, or monthly contributor. Join the conversation on Facebook and/or Twitter, and by submitting an article or letter to the editors.

“Two Men in Bed Together”: A Failure of Exegesis

by

Father Lawrence Farley

In a world of change it is (almost) comforting to see how some things can always be counted on to stay the same—such as Sanfilippo’s Orthodoxy in Dialogue blog, which consistently treats its faithful readers with repeated attempts to legitimize the sin that the Church has always condemned. Answering every one of his blog posts point by point would require something like a full-time job, and most of us are already fully employed. The points that Sanfilippo makes in his recent post “From the Fathers: the Kingdom of Heaven is Like…Two Men in Bed Together?” can be boiled down to two: 1. scientific advances have now shown that past approaches to homosexual behaviour are out-dated and should be scrapped; and 2. the images and parables of the Scripture and the Fathers use nuptial imagery, and this legitimizes homosexual behaviour.

I will not deal with Sanfilippo’s first point at length, other than to note that the same dubious argumentation is now being advanced in some places to justify pedophilia (now being sanitized under the term “minor attraction”). I deny that science has much to say about the moral legitimacy of either form of sexuality or indeed of morality in general at all. Scientific research can document what people desire to do; it is beyond its competence to pronounce on the morality of these desires.

Of more interest is Sanfilippo’s argument about male-to-male sexuality (with his provocative image and title “two men in bed together”). Some of this article simply repeats material in his previous piece “Conjugal Friendship” at the Public Orthodoxy site, and the reader is referred to my response to that in a previous blog piece. Sanfilippo’s basic point in this article is that “the presence of male-male conjugal intimacy in our patristic tradition as a symbol of the mystical and eucharistic union of Christ with the individual male believer nullifies the irrational idée fixe of those Orthodox churchmen who insist that the Holy Fathers abhorred the mere thought of same-sex eroticism.”

In support of this idea he cites St. Maximus the Confessor’s words about the believer being “made worthy to lie with the Bridegroom Word in the chamber of the mysteries”. Since the Greek word for the one believing was in the masculine (“ο πιστευων; in the masculine”), Sanfilippo concludes that Maximus was offering a homosexual image of males climbing into a conjugal bed with Christ.

Sanfilippo also cites the words of St. Symeon the New Theologian. St. Symeon offered a parable of Christ welcoming the repentant sinner, conflating images drawn from the parable of the prodigal son with images drawn from the Song of Solomon, universally interpreted by the Church as an allegory of Christ and the soul of the believer. In Symeon’s parable, the King (i.e. Christ) welcomed the penitent, falling on his neck and kissing him (an image from the parable of the prodigal son; Luke 15:20) and then embracing him on his royal bed (an image drawn from Song of Solomon 1:2, 2:6).

Sanfilippo concludes from this that St. Symeon was open to the possibility of moral homosexual behaviour since he used these images in his parable to describe the restoration of the penitent. In short, according to Sanfilippo, “It seems all the more significant to ask why, in neither St. Maximus’ more subtle nor St. Symeon’s more explicit use of male-male love-making as a worthy simile for the Kingdom of God, those scriptural passages on which modern churchmen fixate every single time the subject of same-sex love is raised—Gen 19, Lev 18:22 and 20:13, Rom 1:26-27, 1 Cor 6:9-10—presented no deterrent whatever to these two Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church.” According to Sanfilippo, the Holy Fathers were not so opposed to “male-to-male conjugal intimacy” as we had supposed.

What are we to make of this? It is difficult to put the irony of it all to one side long enough to deconstruct Sanfilippo’s tangle of errors. Sts. Maximus and Symeon offered these images and parables to illustrate the glory of those repenting of sin, and Sanfilippo tries to appropriate them to justify the unrepentant behaviour which Maximus and Symeon would surely have condemned in the strongest terms possible. The idea of Maximus in the seventh century and Symeon in the eleventh century being possibly open to the morality of homosexual acts is a stunning bit of anachronism. Can any sober historian imagine these saints flying the rainbow flag in their day in the teeth of Scripture, Tradition, liturgy, and canonical legislation? This is, like John Boswell’s absurd tour de force, an example of scholarship prostrate before ideology.

It is also too small a broom to sweep away the clear meaning of the Scriptures cited in Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Sanfilippo’s argument revolves around the possible implications of patristic images and parables; these Scriptures reveal the clear import of homosexual acts. The churchmen Sanfilippo objects to do not “fixate” on these Scriptures; they simply citethem as authoritative, for the excellent reason that these texts are the only ones which clearly and unambiguously deal with the subject at hand. Why ruminate upon the possible significance of Maximus’ image when we have the unambiguous teaching of homosexuality’s actual significance? Sanfilippo has yet to deal with these texts in a convincing way. He can only suggest that scientific advances have now proven them wrong and out-dated.

Sanfilippo’s error is a basic one: he confounds metaphor with reality, and refuses to see that not everything in a metaphor is directly applicable to the reality of the human condition. It is as if one attempted to justify dishonesty in business because of Christ’s use of the dishonest steward in His parable in Luke 16:1-9, or judicial corruption because Christ compares God to an unjust judge in His parable in Luke 18:1-8. Christ took it for granted that dishonesty in business was worthy of condemnation, and assumed that His hearers would not conclude that dishonesty was acceptable after all because people in His parable praised the dishonest steward for his shrewdness. That dishonesty was a part of the parable, and necessary to make the parable’s point—which was not that dishonesty was acceptable, but that money was to be used and not hoarded.

It is the same with the parable of the unjust judge: Christ assumed that His hearers knew that judicial corruption was wrong. The corruption of the judge was there as part of the parable’s furniture, the point of which was not that judicial corruption was fine, but that perseverance in prayer was required. Christ used images of dishonesty and corruption in His parables because He assumed no one would be so stupid as to conclude from His words that dishonesty and corruption were okay after all.

It is exactly the same with the words of Maximus and Symeon. The image of Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church—both men and women—as His bride was ingrained in the culture in which these Fathers wrote. The notion that homosexual acts were sinful was similarly ingrained, and these two Holy Fathers assumed that none of their hearers would assume otherwise simply because they used nuptial images from Christ’s parables of the wedding banquet and from the Song of Solomon to illustrate their points. Sanfilippo insists on putting these images to a use that the Fathers would have emphatically repudiated, since they, along with the rest of the Church, could “fixate on” and read such Scriptures as Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

There are other exegetical errors as well, such as investing Maximus’ ο πιστευων with an emphatically male significance. In fact, the masculine here simply indicates the universal, just as the Scriptural αδελφοι/ adelphoi/ “brothers” in Philippians 1:14 simply meant Christians, regardless of gender, and not just male Christians. Anyone of my vintage knows that. The old Anglican “prayer for all conditions of men” was offered for all people, not just for all males.

But such ineptitude pales beside Sanfilippo’s major error, which is to sexualize practically everything. To a hammer everything looks like a nail, and to Sanfilippo everything in Scripture and the Fathers looks sexual. How else to account for his extraordinary misreading of the Fathers and of the Scriptures? His analysis of the prophetic parable in Hosea 2:14f is a case in point. He writes, that in this text God “lures an eponymously male bride named Israel into the desert to seduce him/her”. Such a conclusion is breathtakingly perverse: in this passage, the people are spoken of as exclusively feminine throughout, and the name “Israel” is in fact not even mentioned.

It is the same with Sanfilippo’s conclusions derived from St. Paul’s use of nuptial imagery in Ephesians 5:23f. Sanfilippo concludes that Paul means that “Christ the Bridegroom ‘marries’—and takes into His marriage bed—not only the Church, but each of us individually; and not only each woman and girl, but also each man and boy” (italics original). Sanfilippo’s conclusion—which if taken at face value justifies not only homosexuality but also pedophilia (“also each man and boy”)—simply doesn’t follow. It is yet another example of his failure to distinguish metaphor from reality. Here the Church as a whole is..

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Orthodoxy in Dialogue and RAICES are exploring the possibility of forming a permanent partnership as a mechanism for our readers to become one-time, occasional, or frequent donors. In the meantime, you can take action today by:
  1. Checking in with your neighbour, joining community groups, protesting at the local ICE office, calling your elected official, and asking your mayor to demand ICE not enter their city
  2. Donating at the DONATE NOW link below
  3. Sharing this post with everyone in your social media and email contacts 
See our related On Sodomy. Providing for the needs of the foreigner and the stranger, the widow and the orphan, is not a matter of liberalism or conservatism, but the very heart of the Christian Gospel as preached by all of the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church.

ICE has become an American nightmare, nothing less than the main thrust of an attempt to institutionalize racism against a scapegoated minority — undocumented, nonvoting, mostly voiceless brown people. Darlena Cunha for the New York Times

ICE Raids are set to begin this weekend in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.  We have set up a hotline for those in Texas affected by the raids.

What can we do? In the short term, we must #ProtectEachOther. If you are in one of the 10 cities targeted, check in with your neighbor, join community groups, protest at the local ICE office, and call your elected official. You can also ask your Mayor to demand ICE not enter their city. 

Don’t let this domestic terrorism be business as usual. You can also assist those affected by the raids by donating to the RAICES bond fund. RAICES has established the largest bond fund in the nation, paying over $2.1 million in bonds in the 2018 and over $4.7 million to date to release individuals from detention and reunite separated families. We’ll be using our resources to release those detained by ICE.

We’re already fighting to educate our immigrant friends and their families and allies about the rights they have. ICE agents will assume that immigrants (undocumented or documented) will not know their rights – in fact they are counting on it. ICE officials feed on the fear and uncertainty they breed in immigrant communities, in fact that’s how the Trump deportation machine works.

We’ll be manning the hotline and we’ll be working to get those detained out on bond. We’re asking allies of immigrants in this country to make a donation today to help those that are a victim of the raids.

↓ Click ↓ DONATE NOW

In Solidarity, 

Erika Andiola
RAICES Chief Advocacy Officer

#ProtectEachOther Follow RAICES at FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM www.raicestexas.org
EIN: 74-2436920 RAICES
1305 N. Flores
San Antonio, TX 78212
United States
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In A New Political Theology for 21st-Century Ukrainian Orthodoxy we noted, “What works in the West, with its tiny minority of Orthodox Christians, might not fit unmodified in Ukraine, with its solid majority of Orthodox Christians. Yet we can meet together, learn from each other, borrow from each other, support and encourage each other.” We offer Patriarch Daniel’s remarks, delivered on June 7 of this year to the International Conference on the Relations between the State and Religious Denominations in the European Union, in order to advance the conversation on what an Orthodox political theology might look like in our time and how it might be modified to fit local circumstances.  (Published originally at the news agency of the Romanian Orthodox Church.) Importance of Church-State cooperation in the European context

Patriarch Daniel of Romania

According to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon of 2007, ‘The Union respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States’ (article 7, paragraph 1 TFEU). Thus, ‘recognising their identity and their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations’ (article 17, paragraph 3 TFEU).

Therefore, in the European Union there is no ‘European model’ for the relationship between religious communities and the political authority, but the legislative systems in force in the EU Member States oscillate from a radical separation to an almost complete identification between a particular religious community and a State. At the same time, the European Union aims to engage in dialogue with religious denominations so that they may express their specific contribution to the European construction.

Today there are four Member States with a majority Orthodox population in the European Union (Greece, Cyprus, Romania, and Bulgaria), where Autocephalous Churches are organized and operate, while in other Member States there are important Orthodox communities organized ethnically as autocephalous (Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) or autonomous (Finland and Estonia). Also, in some Member States there are consistent Orthodox communities organized ethnically as diaspora (Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, and Austria). Romania, with a population of 16,307,000 Orthodox believers, is the largest country of the European Union with a majority Orthodox population.

In the Orthodox majority states, the Church-State relation originally followed the Byzantine principle of symphonia, that is, harmony, understanding and cooperation between two distinct institutions, which are united by the common social life of the people in their double status as citizens of the State and believers of the Church.

In the Byzantine perspective on society there were two hierarchical systems, one of the Church and the other of the Empire, coexisting in the same space, confessing a single faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, and pursuing the same purpose: the union of the visible world with the invisible God. However, the two hierarchical systems of the State and the Church were conceived and understood as different and distinct, and any attempt to combine them proved to be unfortunate.

In this regard, a good example of the relationship between the two hierarchical systems was given by the Epanagoge or the Eisagoge (a codification of the Byzantine law promulgated in 886), in which legislators distinctly juxtaposed the two systems, without combining them. Hence, in the Byzantine Empire, although the Church cooperated closely with the imperial authority, it kept its autonomy as regards ecclesiastic activities. However, the Church-State symphonia has never been symmetrical in the sense of equality of the two institutions, but almost always asymmetrical, because the Church has always been organized and operated in the State and was constantly praying for state authorities.

This historical fact illustrates the Orthodox teaching that the Church manifests itself in human society, which is organized in a political community, that is, the place of the Church is always within the State. This relationship between the Church and the State is based on the Orthodox teaching that the Church is both a spiritual, sacramental or mystical reality, and an institutional, social reality, and man – as a subject of history – belongs to both the Kingdom of Heaven and to Caesar’s Kingdom (Matthew 22:21). From a practical point of view, this relationship takes place between certain limits and is based on mutually invoked prerequisites.

Therefore, the Orthodox model of the Church-State relationship includes both Church autonomy in its relation to the State and their distinct and limited cooperation in a spirit of mutual respect.

According to Orthodox ecclesiology, the Universal Church is defined as the communion of Autocephalous Churches that are in dogmatic, sacramental and canonical unity with each other. In practice, autocephaly represents the canonical status of a local Church that enjoys full church autonomy and has the right to choose its Primate (πρῶτος – primus) by its own Synod of Bishops without any external interference. Consequently, the autocephaly of a local Church is also an expression of the concept of freedom in communion, that is, the freedom of local Churches towards one another, while preserving at the same time the unity of faith, sacramental life and canonical discipline.

This ecclesiological conception is based on the thorough experience Orthodoxy has in relation to the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, understood as the supreme communion of life and eternal love between equal and distinct divine Persons.

Therefore, the unity of the Church is the communion of the trinitarian grace-filled life communicated by the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Christ in order to reach communion with the Father. In this regard, trinitarian life is at the same time a source of and a model for ecclesial communion (John 17:21-22). As the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity are equal, distinct and consubstantial, so too the Church is understood as a communion of equal, distinct and consubstantial local Autocephalous Churches, meaning that each and every one of them separately and all together share the same fullness in the truth of faith, in sacramental life and in ecclesiastical discipline.

This means that every Autocephalous Church has the right to establish its relationship with the State in which it is organized and operates. In the European context, however, each Autocephalous Church must foster practical cooperation and Christian solidarity to unite the national freedom and the European co-responsibility of the Church.

Only five days before Romania’s accession to the European Union, Law no. 489/2006 was promulgated, which (re)introduced the system of recognized religious denominations, supplemented with some elements of Byzantine origin, especially with regard to the practical way of Church-State cooperation. This new law guarantees the autonomy of the recognized religious denominations in their relation to the State and regulates the distinct cooperation between the State and the recognized religious denominations, as well as their support by the State.

The new law also indicates the 18 denominations recognized in Romania, providing them the status of legal persons of public utility and recognizing their spiritual, educational, social-charitable, cultural role in the life of society, as well as their status as ‘factors of social peace’ in partnership with the State.

The current Romanian legislation on Church-State relationship therefore reflects to a certain extent the fact that Romania is the only country with a majority neo-Latin population of Orthodox tradition, belonging to the Christian East through its ecclesial life, but also to the West though its Latin linguistics. This unique specificity represents the personal responsibility of Romania to contribute both spiritually and culturally to the promotion of cooperation in the European Union, especially in terms of good cooperation between the State and religious denominations.

We congratulate the organizers of this international conference and we bless all its participants, expressing our hope that its results will contribute to a deeper understanding of the importance of the cooperation between the State and religious denominations in the European Union.

† Daniel
Patriarch of Romania

Orthodoxy in Dialogue seeks to promote the free exchange of ideas by offering a wide range of perspectives on an unlimited variety of topics. Our decision to publish implies neither our agreement nor disagreement with an author, in whole or in part. See our Patrons page for instructions if you wish to support our work financially as a one-time, occasional, or monthly contributor. Join the conversation on Facebook and/or Twitter, and by submitting an article or letter to the editors.
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Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America

On July 4 one of Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers reached out to me for pastoral support. Let’s call him “John.” I share the following publicly with his permission in the hope that it may help others.

John is a cradle Orthodox, middle-aged, married, and the father of children. Prior to marriage, he had only been intimate with men. His priest convinced him to give up men and marry a woman. Five years into marriage, he began to see men intermittently behind his wife’s back. He continues to do this to the present time.

Over the course of several emails in one day, in which I asked questions to get a better sense of the situation but said nothing judgmental, it became clear to me—and was no surprise to me—that John sought emotional fulfilment more than sexual gratification in the arms of men.

When I finally felt in a position to offer some sort of guidance, this is what I wrote:

Thank you for your openness with me. I’m humbled by the trust you have placed in me.

If you love your wife despite the challenges (every marriage has them), and you consider your children to be your life, it seems to me that you have a decision to make, and that there’s only one possible decision. I know it’s not easy, especially when your attraction to men is not only physical but also (perhaps mainly) emotional. Yet we are told to love our wives as Christ loved the Church, which means loving her to the point of sacrificing yourself for her. In your case, she’s not only your wife, but your children’s mother, so that by loving her you also love them. I wonder if you’ve seen my little St. Paul on Marriage.

Would it be possible to have a special friend with whom you engaged in no sexual intimacy, and whom you could bring openly into your family circle? It seems to me that secret friends are never a good idea for a married person, even if you try to keep the friendship chaste. If your wife and kids know and like your friend, then you can do things with him from time to time (nonsexual, of course) without feeling guilty, as if you were sneaking around.

I hope you “hear” that I’m not scolding or moralizing, much less judging, but encouraging you as one brother another to pursue the path to repentance and spiritual wholeness.

What are your thoughts on what I’ve said?

With your permission, I can write to the OCA bishop of your area and ask him to introduce me (by email) to a priest who might be able to work with you. Would you like me to do that?

In his reply, John expressed his willingness to see a priest. Immediately I emailed the OCA bishop of the area where John resides:

Master, bless. Christ is in our midst.

You may have seen my appeal yesterday at Orthodoxy in Dialogue for priests who feel spiritually, pastorally, and emotionally equipped to minister to LGBTQI individuals.

This morning an Orthodox man has reached out to me who resides in your diocese but attends church in a jurisdiction other than the OCA. He’s married, has kids, and meets with men intermittently for sexual and emotional intimacy. I’m conducting an email conversation with him to get a better sense of his situation, but would like to refer him to a priest because he obviously needs sacramental confession. If you have read and understood anything I have written on sexuality and gender, you know that I am not looking to promote immorality or promiscuity. (See, for instance, my Two Letters to a Struggling Monk.)

He doesn’t feel that he can open up to his parish priest. He has given me permission to write to you.

Is there a priest in your diocese who has the pastoral patience and gentleness to accompany our brother on his path to repentance without having a fit over his sexual orientation per se? If so, would you be so kind as to introduce me to him via three-way email?

Relying on your archpastoral prayers,

Giacomo Sanfilippo

Seven days later, the bishop has not responded, and our brother seems to be sliding into despondency.

See the Fifty Years after Stonewall and extensive Sexuality and Gender sections in our Archives by Author & Subject. See our Patrons page for instructions if you wish to support our work financially as a one-time, occasional, or monthly contributor. Join the conversation on Facebook and/or Twitter, and by submitting an article or letter to the editors.

 

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St. Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833) is arguably the most beloved of modern saints anywhere in the Orthodox world. We have seen his icon even in Greek churches. He is remembered for his gentleness, his relationship with wild animals, his visions of uncreated light, his conversation with Nicholas Motovilov on the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, and his practice of calling all his visitors my joy as he greeted them every day of the year with Christ is risen, my joy!  A less likely candidate for patron saint of Russia’s nuclear arsenal there could not be. The following short excerpts are taken from Russian Orthodox Church Considers a Ban on Blessing Weapons of Mass Destruction, which appeared yesterday at Religion News Service. We encourage you to take a few minutes to read the whole report at the source. 

St. Seraphim of Sarov

As police officers stood guard [in May 2018], two Russian Orthodox priests wearing cassocks and holding Bibles climbed out of a vehicle and began sprinkling holy water on the stationary Topol and Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Priests have sanctified S-400 surface-to-air missiles, nuclear submarines, tanks and fighter jets.

Vsevolod Chaplin, an influential priest and former spokesman for the patriarch, told the Vzglyad newspaper that nuclear weapons were the country’s “guardian angels” and necessary to preserve “Orthodox civilization.”

Patriarch Kirill has described the Kremlin’s military campaign in Syria as a “holy war” [Orthodox jihad?], while uniformed clerics embedded with the armed forces are being trained to drive combat vehicles and operate communication equipment.

Russia’s nuclear arsenal also has its own patron saint — St. Seraphim, whose remains were discovered in 1991 in a disused monastery in Sarov, a small town in central Russia that was home to several key nuclear facilities in the Soviet era.

Putin has memorably described Orthodox Christianity and nuclear weapons as “twin elements of Russia’s domestic and foreign security.” 

Ideas such as these have been melded into a radical ideology described as “Atomic Orthodoxy” by Yegor Kholmogorov, a nationalist writer. “To remain Orthodox, Russia must be a strong nuclear power, and to remain a strong nuclear power, Russia must be Orthodox,” Kholmogorov wrote.

“I was myself, to some extent, a medium for such ideas,” Dmitry Tsorionov, the former head of a radical Orthodox Christian movement called God’s Will that sometimes clashed with anti-Kremlin activists. “It was not uncommon to see how church functionaries openly flirted with these toxic ideas.” Tsorionov, who is better known by his pseudonym, Enteo, said he broke with militant Orthodox ideology when he witnessed how young Russian men took up arms and voluntarily headed to eastern Ukraine to fight “under the banner of Christ” after the Kremlin’s support for separatist forces there.

See also The Russian Church’s Rush to Spiritual Bankruptcy: War Priests & a Cathedral Resembling an Army Tank and Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy. See our Patrons page for instructions if you wish to support our work financially as a one-time, occasional, or monthly contributor. Join the conversation on Facebook and/or Twitter, and by submitting an article or letter to the editors.
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In sending our Open Letter to the bishops of the United States and Canada this morning we invited them to send responses which we would be happy to publish. 

Archbishop Mark (Maymon) of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania Orthodox Church in America

Please remove me from your list.

Archbishop Mark’s biography can be read on the website of the Orthodox Church in America.

See the Fifty Years after Stonewall and extensive Sexuality and Gender sections in our Archives by Author & Subject. See our Patrons page for instructions if you wish to support our work financially as a one-time, occasional, or monthly contributor. Join the conversation on Facebook and/or Twitter, and by submitting an article or letter to the editors.
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Our LGBTQI Listening Tour: An Open Letter to Our Bishops in the USA and Canada was sent with the following letter this morning to approximately forty episcopal email addresses across the United States and Canada.  In case your bishop’s email address was unavailable to us, you may wish to forward this to him. It is not too late to sign our Open Letter. Instructions are found at the link above. ——————

Your Beatitudes, Your Eminences, Your Graces:

Masters, bless.

Please accept this Open Letter as a heartfelt appeal from the LGBTQI children, youths, women, and men, as well as their families and allies, who are members of the combined flock entrusted to your archpastoral care by the Good Shepherd whose image you bear, our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The final paragraph explains why so few people have signed. Yet this Pew Research report suggests that a surprising majority of Orthodox Christians in North America support the contents of our letter in principle. 

Orthodoxy in Dialogue stands prepared to publish, either as articles or letters to the editors, whatever responses you see fit individually or collectively to send to us.

Relying on your archpastoral prayers,

Giacomo Sanfilippo, Editor
Orthodoxy in Dialogue
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Despite endless iterations by churchmen who possess no intellectual curiosity—indeed, no sense of pastoral responsibility—to become familiar with scientific advances and the helpful insights of queer theory in our understanding of sexual diversity in human nature, the piously stentorian proclamation that HOLY TRADITION HAS ALWAYS CONDEMNED HOMOSEXUALITY! fails the test of truth on two counts.

First, neither the awkwardly Greco-Latin neologism homosexual, nor the presumed psychopathology that it was intended to signify, existed prior to the 1850s. Its adoption in certain 20th-century English versions of the New Testament not only raises questions about the agenda of their editors, but violates the original spirit of the word itself. In pathologizing same-sex desire as a disorder which an individual has no power to choose or not to choose, the nascent field of 19th-century psychology sought to remove it and its erotic enactment from the realms of criminality and hamartiology. Thus when biblical editors attribute to St. Paul the notion that “homosexuals…will [not] inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9-10 NKJV), they commit an egregious philological and conceptual anachronism—with a result no less absurd than consigning everyone with bipolar disorder to eternal damnation. In her 1983 Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic, Orthodox author and therapist Elizabeth Moberly argued for approaching “the homosexual condition” not as a moral failing to be condemned, but as an emotional deficit from early childhood to be treated through a long course of Freudian psychoanalysis.

Yet the challenges in translating μαλακοὶ and ἀρσενοκοῖται from 1 Cor 6:9 with both semantic and theological integrity fall outside the scope of this brief essay. Nor will I address the universally debunked theory which posits same-sex desire as a mental illness to be “cured” through the sometimes fatal torture of “conversion therapy.” Here I have wished simply to point out that no two people mean exactly the same thing when they use the word homosexuality.

The completely arbitrary use of the word from one speaker to another acquires a sense of extreme pastoral urgency when we consider that children start to become aware of their romantic interest in their own gender at a very early age, long before they can envision—let alone pursue—its sexual enactment. In today’s social context these young children now possess the vocabulary to name their innocent same-sex desire and to “come out” to their family and friends, if and when they choose to do so. What must it do to a child of 6 or 7 or 10 or 12 who suddenly learns in the middle of the Sunday Epistle reading that he or she is destined for hell? The correlation between religious faith and suicidal ideation for LGBTQ persons is real.

Second, if some people reduce homosexuality to engaging in same-sex sex (of course, sexual orientation—whether for one’s own, the opposite, or both genders—subsumes much more than just “having sex”), the presence of male-male conjugal intimacy in our patristic tradition as a symbol of the mystical and eucharistic union of Christ with the individual male believer nullifies the irrational idée fixe of those Orthodox churchmen who insist that the Holy Fathers abhorred the mere thought of same-sex eroticism. In my Conjugal Friendship at Public Orthodoxy two years ago I noted the following: “Implicitly in St. Maximus the Confessor and explicitly in St. Symeon the New Theologian, we find the use of male-male intimacy as a metaphor for the union of Christ with the male believer in the Eucharist and the vision of uncreated light.”

How could it be otherwise? The fact should give pause to those who subscribe to an inflexibly heterosexist reading of Scripture that the metaphorically male God of the Old Testament—who later becomes biologically male in the New Testament—lures an eponymously male bride named Israel into the desert to seduce him/her (Hos 2:14ff).

If this seems like a stretch, we do well to observe that the Holy Fathers knew nothing of the taxonomies of love enunciated by the Anglican C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves and repeated as gospel by nearly everyone in the intervening sixty years. In the patristic tradition of the Orthodox Church, God’s love for us and our love for Him is no less “erotic” than “agapic.” For certain of the Fathers—here I have in mind especially St. Maximus the Confessor—divine eros for man and human eros for God captures most expressively the mutual yearning of God and man to become ecstatically “one flesh” and “one soul” with each other through the reciprocal movement of incarnation and deification, mysteriously prefigured from the very moment of our creation (Gen 2:24), and later in that great love—“more wondrous than the love of women” (2 Sam 1:26)—which “knit” David and Jonathan spontaneously into one as soon as they laid eyes on each other (1 Sam 18:1-4). Reading the narrative of their love in the Septuagint, the Greek Fathers could not have but pictured our two young men, alone in a field, kissing passionately for a very long time before bidding one another a tearful farewell (…καὶ κατεφίλησεν ἕκαστος τὸν πλησίον αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔκλαυσεν ἕκαστος τῷ πλησίον αὐτοῦ ἕως συντελείας μεγάλης. 1 Sam 20:41; 1 Kg 20:41 in the LXX).

Again, if this seems like a stretch, the awkward fact remains that the Holy Fathers spoke of the conjugal union of Christ and the Church, Bridegroom and Bride, Husband and Wife, not as a poetic abstraction offered solely to the Church corporately, but as a profoundly real and personal experience of divine and human eros, mystically exchanged between Christ and each individual believer in the depths of his or her body and soul. Christ the Bridegroom “marries”—and takes into His marriage bed—not only the Church, but each of us individually; and not only each woman and girl, but also each man and boy.

So we read in chapter sixteen of St. Maximus’ First Century on Theology:

He who believes [Ὁ πιστεύων, in the masculine], fears; he who fears, grows humble; he who is humble, grows gentle, having acquired a character state that is not made active by the movements of anger and desire that are against nature; and he who is gentle, observes the commandments; and he who observes the commandments, is purified; and he who has been purified, is illuminated; and he who has been illuminated is made worthy to lie with the Bridegroom Word in the chamber of the mysteries [ἐν τῷ ταμιείῳ τῶν μυστηρίων ἀξιοῦται τῷ νυμφίῳ Λόγῳ συγκοιτασθῆναι: literally, “in the chamber of the mysteries is made worthy to get in bed with the Bridegroom Word”].

Of course, a bridegroom’s bed consists neither of two camp cots side by side with a suitable gap between them, nor of separate bunks, but of a marriage bed. In St. Maximus’ telling, two male-bodied persons—One divine, the other human—enter mystically into a conjugal embrace for the consummation of their union in the Holy Eucharist.

Centuries later, St. Symeon takes up the same theme—with his startling propensity for graphic detail—in a brief parable of his own composition where he seems to conflate elements of the Prodigal Son and the Song of Songs. We read in his Tenth Ethical Discourse:

A certain man was serving a rebel, an opponent and enemy of the King of the Christians. He accomplished many victories and acts of courage against the [King’s] servants. While he was held in great honour by the tyrant and his troops, he received messages on several occasions from the King of the Christians that he should come to Him, and be with Him, and be honoured with great gifts and reign with Him. He, however, for some years did not want to do so and increased his warfare against Him still more fiercely. One day, though, when he had come to doubt himself and had become sorrowful, he decided to take flight and go alone to the King…. When he approached the King and embraced His feet, he wept and asked for forgiveness. Seized by unexpected joy, that good King immediately accepted him, wondering at his conversion and humility. […] Raising him up, the King “fell upon his neck and kissed him” [Lk 15:20] all over his eyes which had been weeping for many hours. […] …[H]e Himself clothed His former enemy and rival, and in no way reproached him for anything. And this is not the whole tale, but day and night He rejoices and is glad with him, embracing him and kissing his mouth with His own. So much does He love him exceedingly that He is not separated from him even in sleep, but lies together with him embracing him on His bed, and covers him all about with His own cloak, and places His face upon all his [bodily] members.

“Such,” Symeon concludes his astonishing narrative to his audience of male monastics, “is also our own situation with respect to God, and I know that it is in just such a manner that the beneficent God welcomes and kisses those who repent, who, fleeing an illusory world and its rule, strip themselves naked of the affairs of this life in order to approach Him as King and God.”     

St. John Chrysostom offers us a metric or canon, as it were, for discerning the innate beauty of any human impulse or activity: a thing cannot be evil in its essence if it serves as a worthy allegory of divine-human communion. He writes:

See how [God] does not despise physical unity but uses spiritual unity to illustrate it! How foolish are those who belittle marriage! If marriage were something to be condemned, Paul would never call Christ a bridegroom and the Church a bride, and then say this is an illustration of a man leaving his father and his mother, and again refer to Christ and the Church.

St. Maximus goes further when he insists that “nothing created and given existence by God is evil;” and again, “there is nothing evil in creatures except misuse, which stems from the mind’s negligence in its natural cultivation.” Indeed, “neither are the demons evil by nature; rather they have become evil through the misuse of their natural faculties.”

In this context it seems all the more significant to ask why, in neither St. Maximus’ more subtle nor St. Symeon’s more explicit use of male-male love-making as a worthy simile for the Kingdom of God, those scriptural passages on which modern churchmen fixate every single time the subject of same-sex love is raised—Gen 19, Lev 18:22 and 20:13, Rom 1:26-27, 1 Cor 6:9-10—presented no deterrent whatever to these two Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church. Can we perhaps reasonably infer that, for Maximus and Symeon—indeed, for Holy Tradition as a whole, including the canonical tradition—there really does exist a profound distinction, waiting to be explored and articulated more fully in our time, between the dead end of same-sex lust, no different from opposite-sex lust, and the illimitable spiritual fruitfulness of same-sex love, no different from opposite-sex love?

Committed, monogamous, Christian same-sex couples—and those hoping to find a beloved partner with whom to form such a union—simply do not recognize themselves, their life of shared joys and sorrows, their love for God and the Church and each other and the hungry and the homeless and all God’s creatures great and small, in the passages used perpetually as a billy club against them. The time has come to listen to their testimony.

Some of my readers will pounce predictably on “waiting to be explored and articulated more fully in our time.” While there is most certainly a legitimate sense in which we Orthodox insist that doctrine does not “develop” and the Church does not “change,” St. Maximus himself acknowledged another sense in which—by divine providence—each generation of the Church receives the grace to discover new meanings that had lain undetected by previous generations. This only makes sense: each generation brings its own questions to the Church. Thus a perhaps necessary tension resides in the dialectic between the Church’s changelessness and her unending discovery of new meanings—both one and the other a function of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who guides the Church into all truth, and guarantees the inner continuity of the Church’s doctrine and praxis, within the specific social time and space occupied by each successive generation.

If we cannot agree, at the very least, that Holy Tradition does not consist of an ossified repository of ancient texts containing ready-made answers to every possible question until the end of time (a positon which apparently none of the Holy Fathers even imagined), it may in fact be true that dialogue has become impossible and we condemn ourselves to an endless shouting match between monologues.

If every attempt to grapple constructively with the questions of our time surrounding sexuality and gender provokes panicked shrieks of The gay agenda! Liberal propaganda! That dumpster fire at Orthodoxy in Dialogue! Sodomites! It’s always Pride Month at Orthodoxy in Dialogue! Bring out the millstones and drown them! Those homofascists and tolerance tyrants! That lavender Mafia! then yes, dialogue becomes impossible, and the shouting match between monologues rages on.

Won’t you be part of the dialogue?  

See the Fifty Years after Stonewall and extensive Sexuality and Gender sections in our Archives by Author & Subject. Download the author’s MA thesis, A Bed Undefiled: Foundations for an Orthodox Theology and Spirituality of Same Sex Love. See the author’s Father Pavel Florensky and the Sacrament of Love at The Wheel. This introduces his future doctoral dissertation. See our Patrons page for instructions if you wish to support our work financially as a one-time, occasional, or monthly contributor. Join the conversation on Facebook and/or Twitter, and by submitting an article or letter to the editors.

A more complete bio than usual to spare my detractors the hard work: Giacomo Sanfilippo (aka Peter J. SanFilippo) is an Orthodox Christian, divorced father of five, grandfather of two, and deposed (“defrocked”) priest. After his divorce he experienced same-sex promiscuity and a committed same-sex relationship. He remains open to the possibility of another, hopefully lifelong same-sex relationship. In addition, he is a PhD student in Theological Studies at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, founding editor of Orthodoxy in Dialogue, writer of religious commentary at the Kyiv Post, habitual almsgiver, shoulder to lean on, ear to listen, and keeper of confidences. He holds a BA in Sexuality Studies from York University and an MA in Theology from Regis College/St. Michael’s College, both in Toronto, and is an alumnus of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. Earlier in life he completed the course requirements for the MDiv at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.  

Orthodoxy in Dialogue seeks to promote the free exchange of ideas by offering a wide range of perspectives on an unlimited variety of topics. Our decision to publish implies neither our agreement nor disagreement with an author, in whole or in part.

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