As organizers prepare for the first ever gay pride celebration on the island nation of Cyprus, the Greek Orthodox Church’s synod, or council, stepped up its attacks and called homosexuality an “illness” and “not a natural way of life or choice.”
Despite the vitriolic statement and condemnation of homosexuality, the church said it loves and supports the “fallen” and prays that they seek God’s mercy.
“It was done with love, concern, and understanding towards all humans,” Bishop Isaias of the Cypriot Greek Orthodox synod of bishops wrote in a statement.
The official statement also blamed “foreign groups” for poisoning the minds of Cypriots and convincing them that homosexuality is normal.
The Church also blamed homosexuals for what it called a “loosening” of global morality, an increase in divorces, pedophilia, AIDS, broken families and unnatural adoption of children.
The statement came after activists said a two-week festival would culminate in a May 31 parade in the capital, Nicosia.
The head of Accept LGBT Cyprus, Costas Gavrielides, said the festival will include film screenings, book presentations, musical events and participants from the Turkish Cypriot community in the ethnically split island’s breakaway north.
The full statement of the Church of Cyprus follows:
“With concern and sorrow the Holy Synod is following what is happening and being announced in regards to the way of behavior and life of a portion of our fellowmen.
These men and women, incited and carried away by similar groups abroad and the confusion of their own conscience, argue and demonstrate that the relations of people of the same sex (homosexuality) is a natural way of behavior, which is why their choice must be received as legal evidence and socially accepted.
Indeed, in order to achieve their purpose, they have planned events of “pride”, as they call it.
However, they are contradicted and rebuked by Holy Scripture, which teaches that God “in the beginning made people male and female” (Matt. 18:14) and blessed with the mystery of marriage lawful coupling (Eph. 5:32).
At the same time, the word of God condemns homosexuality and warns its devotees of its grave consequences: “Do not be deceived: neither fornicators … nor adulterers, nor the soft (effeminate and womanish), nor homosexuals … will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). This is why homosexual relationships are also a moral aberration and constitute a dishonor of the human person (Rom. 1:24-28).
The Church and Science consider homosexuality as a fall and illness of the human person, and not a natural way of life or choice.
This is why they recommend proper treatment and therapy and oppose institutional and social support and acceptance.
The tragic results of homosexuality at the local and global level, with the loosening of moral behavior, the increased incidence of pedophilia, the countless cases of victims of the incurable illness AIDS of homosexuals, the increase of divorce and family breakdown, the unnatural adoption of children, etc., consist of the strongest arguments of this atypical way of life.
As a Church we always stand with sympathy and understanding next to our fallen fellowmen and we see them as brethren “in the image” of God.
Of course we also condemn their actions, since they are in contradiction with the word of God.
These same, however, we love and help, as long as they want it, and we hope and pray for their recovery, to have a sense of their fall and to seek the mercy of God.
Moreover, in these critical times we are going through as a people in Cyprus, we invite the Christian fullness of our Church to stay true to the immutable and eternal truths of our faith, which gives honor to man before God and makes him honorable in the family and social environment.”
Sacred Archdiocese of Cyprus,
May 15, 2014