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Archbishop Elpidophoros officiates baptism of gay couple in Athens

biro

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So, children should not be baptized. Got it.
 

RaphaCam

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I know someone who was being baptised RC as a kid and the priest asked his father: "Do you renounce Satan and his works?" He said "no" and the priest pretended he hadn't listened, lol
 

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A really good article explaining in detail why this baptism should not have been performed:
Of course it is important to have rules and follow them, but the issue is that rules are *not* being followed, rather used as a selective form of abuse. "Economia" (as understood today) rears it's evil head, too, as would be expected. Consider these scenarios:

1. Ethnic couple comes in, never having been to the temple before, and asks for a baptism. Presbyter thinks "They're in the 'right' ethnic group, and maybe this will get them into Church", so he bends the rules. "Economia"!

2. Rich couple comes in, makes a show of their wealth, and asks for a baptism. Presbyter thinks "They're local and they have a lot of money, so maybe this will benefit the whole community", so he again bends the rules. "Economia"!!!

3. Family friend comes in, who the presbyter knew from childhood, and asks for a baptism. Presbyter thinks "They aren't really faithful anymore, but they were a 'good kid' back then and this may be *my* [note the pride] chance to save them", so he again bends the rules. "EcOnoMiA"!1!1!

4. A couple like those in the thread come in and ask for baptism. Presbyter thinks "They promised to teach their children the faith and raise them as Orthodox, and they even come to services, but what would the [pseudo-]Orthodox interwebz think?". "Sorry, I can't baptize your (non-gay) kids because it is against the [unspecified] rules!"

That kind of thing is the problem. If the rules were *strictly* enforced and the couple in this thread did or did not get their children baptized, then it is what it is: the common rules, for all our collective benefit, decided by bishops in council, were followed. But if the "rules" only come out when it it somebody of the wrong ethnicity, class, or social issue, that's not "following the rules", that is authoritarianism and sin.
 

augustin717

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Even if they wanted, many Orthodox churches couldn’t just enforce strict rules about baptism. I’ll take the case I know best: they depend on the public budget. And the budget is allotted to various churches based on numbers ( proportion if orthodox at last census), so they have every incentive to not be picky. And frankly it’s easy to be cynical about it , but it does give the ROC a feeling of a popular, here comes anybody religion, in contrast with more rigorist churches.
 

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Even if they wanted, many Orthodox churches couldn’t just enforce strict rules about baptism. I’ll take the case I know best: they depend on the public budget...
A very specific situation that doesn’t apply to most Churches, thankfully.
 

augustin717

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A very specific situation that doesn’t apply to most Churches, thankfully.
It only applies to those that form either majorities in their respective countries or minorities that live side by side with majority churches that enjoy the same privileges of which some ( if not all) minority religions may share in proportion to their numbers. Like in Hungary where Orthodoxy even though minuscule now, is subsidized by the state since it’s a historic religion of the Hungarian state. The situation Idescribe applies to Greece afaik, Cyprus, Russia etc.
 

augustin717

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Ok. Cyprus seems to be an exception, the church there functioning completely separate from the state, an inheritance of British colonial rule. But orthodox churches in Europe have close and complex relationships with their respective states, governments and national budgets. Im not sure about the ME, but I’d suspect that in places like Syria or Lebanon too, there would be public money given to the churches there.
 

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I’d suspect that in places like Syria or Lebanon too, there would be public money given to the churches there.
"Public money" + "Syria or Lebanon" = lol, there literally isn't any.

Lebanon famously hasn't had any kind of census since 1932 and while the system is based on sectarian pie-slicing, this doesn't translate in any legible way into state financial support for religious institutions. Syria, which usually pulls the 'secularism' card in its relations with Christians, to my knowledge, doesn't have any coherent system of anything, let alone of allocations to religious communities. But all this is theoretical, because there's no money to go around.

Russia also doesn't have a systematic way of financing religious communities. There are lots of churches (and a few mosques, stupas etc.) built or repaired with public money and individual cultural or charitable projects that get state funding, but it's extremely ad hoc. The number of actual baptized individuals is totally irrelevant.
 

augustin717

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Youre all suddenly acting like Mennonite or something similar: don’t want large numbers, don’t want the state to fund the church . As I said, where orthodoxy informs majorities it’s not picky about who gets in.
 

augustin717

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Last time I checked, in Bulgaria, for instance, the BOC received about 7 euros per year per baptized orthodox, based on self identification at last census.
 

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the BOC received about 7 euros per year per baptized orthodox
That's a pretty minuscule sum, even for Bulgaria.

Youre all suddenly acting like Mennonite or something similar: don’t want large numbers, don’t want the state to fund the church .
There's lots of other models for state funding of churches.. you just have Romania's on your mind because of the recent push about the census there.

Or, to elaborate slightly more-- what the Church can't become is what the state churches in Scandanavia became: large nominal membership, solid state funding, a modicum of civic presence and zero faith. There's a lot of space between that and the Anabaptists.
 
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A really good article explaining in detail why this baptism should not have been performed:
Leave it to Fr. Lawrence Farley to state the obvious. Coming into the church during Covid and all it’s gathering restrictions, it was Fr. Lawrence who answered all my questions and clarified and sorted out with me. He is very patient and loving and great with explaining things. I’m forever grateful to God for his spiritual, quick, humble, and thoughtful responses to my questions.
 

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Dn Chryssavgis keeps at it, basically telling Athos to keep its mouth shut:

Monasticism receives and welcomes “all people without discrimination” as members of Mount Athos’ community and citizens of its polity. It should reflect the same openness and inclusiveness in its relations to the outside world without releasing empty, exculpatory slogans. While it may be tempting for Mount Athos to adopt positions on contemporary issues, it ultimately offers more through the silence and restraint attending a life of retreat and renunciation.
It boggles the mind, how much Constantinople's spokesmen are willing to memory-hole the whole Crete thing, which had a statement on marriage rather different than their new line.
 

augustin717

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Mariage isn’t an issue here, much less redifining it, it’s whether children belonging to parents in irregular relationships ( from the point of view of the church) can be baptized. And , numerous cases prove they can.
 

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Mariage isn’t an issue here,
The issue is explicitly whether the gentlemen in question can constitute a family, which Chryssavgis is asserting is possible. I think the case is very strong that from the Church's perspective, these children can't just be taken away from their mothers in a commercial transaction and considered "adopted".
 

augustin717

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The adoption procedure or what’s the legal procedure is, is legal and I’m assuming it suffices for this case, even though it raises some ethical issues.
It’s not like they were kidnapped. But of course, if one dogs deep enough, they will sure find cases where kidnapped kids were baptized.
 

augustin717

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In the orthodox ceremony of baptism it’s the godparents that answer all the relevant questions, traditionally that mother doesn’t even go to church for the ceremony. What I’m saying is that this insistence that the parents be unblemished is rather more fitting for the Presbyterians where as I understand, they don’t have sponsors, the parents taking their place.
 

Samn!

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In the orthodox ceremony of baptism it’s the godparents that answer all the relevant questions, traditionally that mother doesn’t even go to church for the ceremony. What I’m saying is that this insistence that the parents be unblemished is rather more fitting for the Presbyterians where as I understand, they don’t have sponsors, the parents taking their place.
But I can't just take someone else's kids, find some godparents and have them baptised. Nor could I go and get my kid baptised if my wife didn't agree to it. So the parental relationship is an important part of things. If surrogacy is illegitimate in the eyes of the Church (which it obviously is), these men didn't have any standing to have these children baptised.
 

xariskai

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Marriage isn’t an issue here, much less redifining it, it’s whether children belonging to parents in irregular relationships ( from the point of view of the church) can be baptized. And , numerous cases prove they can.
The Church expects that children presented for Baptism will be raised in the Church -at least it use to.

So it is safe to assume a couple living together out of wedlock, with a child they paid to be conceived out of wedlock via surrogacy[1] will raise their child to follow Christian praxis. Got it.

A Bishop who tacitly approves any of this is not raising his flock to follow Christian praxis but to toss 2000 years of tradition into the garbage.
I say DEPOSE.

"the issue is... irregular relationships (from the point of view of the church"

No it is more than that. A couple living together outside of wedlock is not just any irregular relationship.

___________________
[1]And via a process which by routine involves "selective termination" of multiple embryos:
Christine said:
I have been infertile since a year after marriage, and it was emotionally devastating. However, it was not nearly so devastating as when several of my Orthodox sisters in Christ chose to go through infertility treatments with the blessing of our parish priest. Let me explain why.
My husband and I fully went thru the first stage of the IVF process, too, but were shocked at what actually happens. Absolutely shocked. Beyond the whole egg or sperm donation bank and fertilization in test tube thing, the abortions done during IVF is rarely discussed outside the IVF clinics and HMOs and hospitals that do the procedures. The fact is that
each round of fertilization treatments aims for 10 embryos, of which 4-6 are implanted, and then 2-3 of those are aborted in the womb a few weeks after implantation. It’s clinically called “selective termination” and the purpose of aborting these extra embryos is to give room for the remaining 1-3 to grow. So
for each IVF treatment round, we would have had to pay for freezer storage of the non-implanted embryos still in test tubes (2-4 embryos depending on their viability) for 2 years after which they would be discarded/incinerated.
We also would have had to sign permission over for the abortion (selective termination) of all implanted embryos in my womb other than 1-3 embryos.
(Many couples go thru multiple rounds
, so these numbers can add up over the course of 1-3 years of trying IVF.) We tried fighting against this industry standard, saying we would pay for just one egg to be fertilized and implanted at a time, but
due to the high level of test tube embryo non-viability, clinics and doctors will not do that. Abortion is woven into every aspect of IVF, regardless of what type of facility, large or small, public or private, does the IVF.
Why do I share this personal story? It’s of course not in judgement of my Orthodox sisters who have chosen this path. It’s because
the Orthodox church itself does not understood this topic, or parish priests would not be giving their blessings for IVF and the abortions that go along with creating embryos outside the womb. My prayer is that these infertility treatment centers will be closed with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, that IVF “selective terminations” will be exposed for the abortions they are, and there will be no more destruction of the tens of thousands (likely more) of frozen embryos in cold storage around the country.
Believe me, I understand the pain of being a childless woman in an Orthodox parish surrounded by families. I understand why many women think IVF will ease that pain, but it only creates more tragedy for them with the sin of entering into the abortion of the “extra” implanted embryos and the freezing then incineration of non-implanted embryos. It is a deception of women of the most evil kind. We can choose life, and grow our families in other ways, and devote our lives to being mothers of the Church. For many of us, that is our God-given calling.
I’m sorry this was so long, but this topic is never brought up and definitely needs to be addressed in the pro-life, anti-abortion movement. So thank you, Irene, for your impassioned comment! Please pray for me, a sinner.
 
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Ainnir

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In the orthodox ceremony of baptism it’s the godparents that answer all the relevant questions, traditionally that mother doesn’t even go to church for the ceremony.
I find this mind blowing.
 

LizaSymonenko

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I find this mind blowing.
Mind blowing perhaps, but, it used to be the norm....

The child would usually be baptized as soon as possible...

If the baptism was before the child's 40th day, than the mother would not have yet been "churched" and could only go as far as the Narthex.

These things are slowly changing...
 

LizaSymonenko

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The issue I see with this particular baptism has nothing to do with the children. They certainly have every right to be baptized, regardless who their parents are. In early days, children of pagans were secretly baptized... so....

We hope that the godparents chosen for these children are pious Orthodox Christians, and will raise them in the Church... although this will be difficult... but, not impossible.

My concern with this baptism is that it was used to make a statement.

Holy Sacraments ought not be "used" towards someone's agenda.

The baptism could have quietly taken place, with the local priest presiding.

...but, no.... they wanted a "show"... they wanted a hierarch... and not even their local hierarch... but, a well-known hierarch with some clout...

Said hierarch could have declined... but, hey... I'm sure he had his reasons...

The posing in photos.... with inappropriately dressed (for church) beautiful people... knowing full well the photos would be publicized... well... that was in poor taste.

The Baptism, a Holy and Sacred Sacrament... was turned into a show.... and to further an agenda the Church does not support.

I don't know. I am not judging anyone... but, all of this, if truly done for the sake of the children... should have been done differently.
 

RaphaCam

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I know a boy whose parents are not Orthodox, but since choosing godparents are a big deal in Brazil, they eventually chose friends who are and those started taking him to church whenever possible. Nowaday's the godfather's a priest in a mission established in their own neighbourhood. So godparents are on of many ways I could see kids being raised Orthodox by parents who aren't exactly in good standing, but ultimately it's all about what @LizaSymonenko said.
 

xariskai

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children have a right to be baptized - absolutely
children... have a right to be baptized
children... have every right to be baptized
I have seen similar use of rights language in this context debated in connection with one Dn. Chryssavgis' use of it (e.g./remark: "He begins by calling a privilege a right and it goes down from there") -and was curious if there is a source in our tradition for this idea.

LizaSymonenko said:
My concern with this baptism is that it was used to make a statement.

Holy Sacraments ought not be "used" towards someone's agenda.

The baptism could have quietly taken place, with the local priest presiding.

...but, no.... they wanted a "show"... they wanted a hierarch... and not even their local hierarch... but, a well-known hierarch with some clout...

Said hierarch could have declined... but, hey... I'm sure he had his reasons...

The posing in photos.... with inappropriately dressed (for church) beautiful people... knowing full well the photos would be publicized... well... that was in poor taste.

The Baptism, a Holy and Sacred Sacrament... was turned into a show.... and to further an agenda the Church does not support.

I don't know. I am not judging anyone... but, all of this, if truly done for the sake of the children... should have been done differently.
Excellent comment.
 
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RaphaCam

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I have seen similar use of rights language in this context debated in connection with one Dn. Chryssavgis' use of it (e.g./remark: "He begins by calling a privilege a right and it goes down from there") -and was curious if there is a source in our tradition for this idea.
Michel Villey dedicated most of his life work to that question, but unfortunately he has never been translated into English, which is common for continental legal scholars even though his conclusions are almost as relevant for Anglo-Saxon readers. Alasdar MacIntyre's books all have a thing or two on that topic, though.

To sum up, the expression "I have the right to X" comes from "it is right that I X". This wording replaced "it is just that I X" because most scholastic currents were highly skeptical of the human ability to understand what God finds just, even though Thomas Aquinas, more influenced by Plato and Aristotle, went on the opposite direction. Skipping to the 18th century, as Western societies were crescently living with religious pluralism, secularisation of cities, rapid economical growth and erosion of traditional power structures, individual rights became the centre of revolutionary ideologies.

After that, there was still a lot of discussion on whether the origins of these rights were natural or civil, but the idea of civility prevailed until the Holocaust gave a dark window into what the idea of even Western states regulating the rights of their citizens could do... Nowadays most philosophers/scholars/diplomats would argue, whether they use these words or not, that rights are a fiction that must be globally enforced by convention. A large current, most famously Rawls, claim they're actually defending natural rights, which is technically true, but their idea of the origin of rights comes from a negative of a very vague idea of the Golden Rule, so it's ultimately about preaching that "humanity" should construct conventional justice through discussions.
 
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Nowadays most philosophers/scholars/diplomats would argue ...that rights are a fiction that must be globally enforced by convention.
Or indeed by fiat, as in USA-led "rules based" vs. "law based" models, etc. The collapse of Natural Law Theory, Enlightenment rationalist modernism, classical hermeneutics etc. in the Post-Christian West certainly leaves a vortex of the American constitutional tradition too as documented in Allan Bloom's brilliant book The Closing of the American Mind notwithstanding stray and probably doomed attempts to revitalize the likes of Aristotle, post-Christian societal Golden Rule, & etc.

Do you mean to suggest by confining your reply to civil and natural historiography that the "right to baptism" meme might be nothing more than a "casual bleed-over" from e.g. Thomistic/secular philosophical/Marxist etc. natural/civil rights talk -hence more of a socio/political/philosophical meme than of specifically Orthodox ecclesial or spiritual origin? Still trying to confirm.

Is there a source in our Orthodox ecclesiastical or spiritual tradition for "right to baptism" talk such as Dn. Chryssavgis has been criticized for using (e.g./remark: "He begins by calling a privilege a right and it goes down from there")
http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/threads/archbishop-elpidophoros-officiates-baptism-of-gay-couple-in-athens.79974/page-4#post-1638786

Thanks for your reply -I always find your posts to be of the highest order, and have read a smidgenon on the historiography of "rights" in various philosophical and political trajectories in the past myself (natural law, Enlightenment, Utilitarian, Marxist, etc.) -we have a whole glob of shared interests, and I am constantly dumbfounded that English is your second language(!) -you use it better than most native speakers including myself.
 

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Or indeed by fiat, as in USA-led "rules based" vs. "law based" models, etc. The collapse of Natural Law Theory, Enlightenment rationalist modernism, classical hermeneutics etc. in the Post-Christian West certainly leaves a vortex of the American constitutional tradition too as documented in Allan Bloom's brilliant book The Closing of the American Mind notwithstanding stray and probably doomed attempts to revitalize the likes of Aristotle, post-Christian societal Golden Rule, & etc.
Probably. There's a certain dialectical aspect to it. Natural law was pretty much broken and fixed with glue.

Do you mean to suggest by confining your reply to civil and natural historiography that the "right to baptism" meme might be nothing more than a "casual bleed-over" from e.g. Thomistic/secular philosophical/Marxist etc. natural/civil rights talk -hence more of a socio/political/philosophical meme than of specifically Orthodox ecclesial or spiritual origin? Still trying to confirm.
Well, I actually thought Fr. Chryssavgis and your subsequent answer were being more generic, but yeah, this could be said.

Is there a source in our Orthodox ecclesiastical or spiritual tradition for "right to baptism" talk such as Dn. Chryssavgis has been criticized for using (e.g./remark: "He begins by calling a privilege a right and it goes down from there")
http://forums.orthodoxchristianity.net/threads/archbishop-elpidophoros-officiates-baptism-of-gay-couple-in-athens.79974/page-4#post-1638786
If someone finds that díkaios was in use meaning "right" before Rigas Feraios, colour me shocked!

Thanks for your reply -I always find your posts to be of the highest order, and have read a smidgenon on the historiography of "rights" in various philosophical and political trajectories in the past myself (natural law, Enlightenment, Utilitarian, Marxist, etc.) -we have a whole glob of shared interests, and I am constantly dumbfounded that English is your second language(!) -you use it better than most native speakers including myself.
Wow, thank you very much! :oops:
 

biro

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You can’t un-baptize anyone.

What should be done?

Adopt the children out to some other heterosexual couple in the family?
 

TheTrisagion

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You can’t un-baptize anyone.

What should be done?

Adopt the children out to some other heterosexual couple in the family?
The horse is out of the barn on this particular situation, but I do think it is important that the Church be explicitly clear on when they will and will not administer sacraments. Sacraments are not a universal good. If I go to confession to brag about banging a bunch of women, if I commune and then turn around and give double middle fingers and pump my fists, if I get ordained because I want to be able to boss people around, the sacraments are actually harming me. I don't know this particular situation, so I won't pass judgment either way, but I have seen baptisms all too often treated as a cultural event with little to no attention paid to the sacredness or purpose of the baptism. Along with baptism comes the expectation that the child will be raised in the Church and taught in accordance with its teachings. If a family does not intend to do so, the baptism should not take place, and baptisms are certainly not the place for photo ops to promote sociological ideologies that are contrary to the teachings of the Church.
 

Mor Ephrem

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You can’t un-baptize anyone.

What should be done?

Adopt the children out to some other heterosexual couple in the family?
This is why you’re supposed to tread carefully in situations like this instead of treading however His Eminence did.
 

biro

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Is the horse out of the barn or not?

Adopt the children.
 

biro

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Here
Faith
No
Jurisdiction
No
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