In a statement issued Thursday, July 2, 2015, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America expressed strong disagreement with the Obergefell v. Hodges decision handed down by the US Supreme Court on June 26.
The statement reads as follows.
“The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America strongly disagrees with the United States Supreme Court decision of June 26, Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court invents a constitutional right for two members of the same sex to marry, and imposes upon all States the responsibility to license and recognize such ‘marriages.’
“The Supreme Court, in the narrowest majority possible, has overstepped its purview by essentially re-defining marriage itself. It has attempted to settle a polarizing social and moral question through legislative fiat. It is immoral and unjust for our government to establish in law a “right” for two members of the same sex to wed. Such legislation harms society and especially threatens children who, where possible, deserve the loving care of both a father and a mother.
“As Orthodox Christian bishops, charged by our Savior Jesus Christ to shepherd His flock, we will continue to uphold and proclaim the teaching of our Lord that marriage, from its inception, is the lifelong sacramental union of a man and a woman. We call upon all Orthodox Christians in our nation to remain firm in their Orthodox faith, and to renew their deep reverence for and commitment to marriage as taught by the Church. We also call upon our nation’s civic leaders to respect the law of Almighty God and uphold the deeply-rooted beliefs of millions of Americans.”
A downloadable PDF of the statement is available here.
We are republishing today a teaching given by our bishops two years ago.
SYNODAL AFFIRMATION OF THE MYSTERY OF MARRIAGE
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America
July 2, 2013
At the Tenth All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, held in Miami, Florida in July 1992, the Holy Synod of Bishops issued a document titled, “Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life.” The Affirmations were issued after a lengthy process of study and discernment with the intention of addressing issues that, even in our time, continue to be a source of debate and division within American society.
The first section of the Affirmations, titled, “The Mystery of Marriage,” reads as follows.
“God creates human beings in His own image and likeness, male and female. He declares human life, with all that He makes, to be ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:27-31).
“God wills that men and women marry, becoming husbands and wives. He commands them to increase and multiply in the procreation of children, being joined into ‘one flesh’ by His divine grace and love. He wills that human beings live within families (Genesis 1:27; 2:21-24; Orthodox Marriage Service).
“The Lord Jesus blessed marriage in which the ‘two become one flesh’ when, by His presence with His mother Mary and His disciples at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, He revealed His messianic glory in His first public miracle, evoking for the first time the faith of His disciples (Genesis 2:24; John 2:1-11)….
“Christ’s apostles repeat the teachings of their Master, likening the unique marriage between one man and one woman to the union between Christ and His Church which they experience as the Lord’s very body and His bride (Ephesians 5:21-33; 2 Corinthians 11:2).
“While condemning those who forbid marriage as an unholy institution, along with those who defile marriage through unchastity (1 Timothy 4:3, Hebrews 13:4), the apostles commend as ‘the will of God’ that Christians, as examples for all human beings, abstain from unchastity [porneia] and know how to marry ‘in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God.’ They insist that ‘whoever disregards this [teaching] disregards not man but God, who gives His Holy Spirit’ to those who believe (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).
“Husbands are commanded to be the heads of their wives as Christ is the head of the Church. They are called to love their wives as their very selves, as Christ loves the Church, giving themselves in sacrifice to their brides as to their own bodies. And wives are called to respect and reverence their husbands as the Church devotes herself to Christ with Whom she too, like the wife with her husband, is ‘one flesh’ (Ephesians 5:21-33; Orthodox Marriage Service).
“The ‘great mystery’ of marriage (Ephesians 5:32) is the most used image and symbol in the Bible for God’s relationship with His People in the Old and New Testaments where the Lord is the husband and His people are His wife—so often unfaithful and adulterous (cf. Hosea, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Song of Songs, Corinthians, Ephesians, et. al.). And the ultimate union between the Lord and those saved by Christ for eternal life in God’s kingdom by the indwelling Holy Spirit is likened to the communion of marriage (Revelation 21-22).”
In light of the decisions rendered on June 26, 2013 by the Supreme Court of the United States of America with regard to same-sex marriage, we, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, reaffirm that which had been stated in June 1992, namely that marriage involves the union of one man and one woman, as divinely revealed and experienced in the sacramental life of the Church. As such, the Church does not, and can not, condone or accept marriages apart from those involving one man and one woman who seal their relationship in the all-embracing love of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
We exhort the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America not to have fear or anxiety in the face of the decisions of the civil authorities of our lands, but to bear witness to the timeless teachings of Christ by striving for purity and holiness in their own lives, by instructing their families and communities in the precepts of the Holy Gospel, and by placing their trust in our Lord Who “has overcome the world.”
Vespers Wednesday, May 20, 6 p.m.
Divine Liturgy Thursday, May 21, 6:30 a.m.
Vivian Haddad, a much-loved founder of Holy Resurrection Church, fell asleep in the Lord Thursday, May 14, after a long illness.
Vivian’s body will be brought to the Church Saturday at 4 p.m. and will remain there until the burial.
Visitation will begin at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Church, followed by the Orthodox Funeral Service at 6 p.m.
The Divine Liturgy will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, followed by burial in the Clinton Cemetery next to the Church, and the Mercy Meal will follow in the Archbishop Dmitri Parish Hall.
May her memory be eternal!
Saturday, April 11, 11:30 p.m. – Procession, Paschal Matins, Divine Liturgy and Feast
Sunday, April 12, 4 p.m. – Paschal Vespers and Feast
Come receive the light from the Light that never sets, and glorify Christ who is risen from the dead
April 4 – 12, 2015
The Orthodox Holy Week and Pascha services set before us a rich feast of Christian experience that no seeker of God should miss. The four Gospels devote more space to the week before our Lord’s death than all the rest of His life and teaching. Beginning with the Raising of Lazarus, the Orthodox services give us each day scriptures, hymns, and liturgical actions that enable us experience these saving events as realities in our time. Make plans to join us for these.
Fr. Thomas Hopko reposed peacefully today, March 18, shortly after 3 pm.
Obituary and funeral schedule: http://www.oca.org/in-memoriam/protopresbyter-thomas-hopko
Information regarding live streaming of funeral services for Fr. Thomas Hopko will be posted at:
The following was presented to Fr. Thomas at his last visit to Holy Resurrection in February, 2012:
Whereas in 1977
Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko
sacrificially shared his home and entire summer vacation
with Paul Yerger and his family
to teach him and prepare him for ordination
and sent him on his way to Mississippi
with all things needed for a church;
and whereas during 35 years he has made five journeys here
to enlighten and encourage our community;
and whereas he continues to support us in our journey
by his books, recordings, and personal conversation
and especially by his prayers;
we recognize him with gratitude as a
Founder and Benefactor
of Holy Resurrection Church.
February 16, 2012
May his memory be eternal.
Visitation will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at Holy Resurrection Church, followed by a Panikhida (Prayer Service) at 6 p.m.
The Funeral Service will be Wednesday, March 18, at 10 a.m. at the Church, followed by burial at Lakewood Cemetery and a Mercy Meal at the Church.
May her memory be eternal!
Please pray for Father Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary and long-time friend of Holy Resurrection, who has been hospitalized in Pittsburgh with congestive heart failure. He is very weak and cannot receive phone calls or answer email. He does appreciate cards sent to 3042 Creek Lane, Ellwood City PA 16117.
His daughter Juliana Thetford has set up a website for updates on his health: http://frthomashopko.webs.com/
Let us fast with a fast pleasing to the Lord. This is the true fast: the casting off of evil, the bridling of the tongue, the cutting off of anger, the cessation of lusts, evil talking, lies and cursing. The stopping of these is the fast true and acceptable.
–Monday Vespers of the First Week
The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian
O Lord and Master of my life
Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk.
But grant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother,
For blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.
Dr. Christopher Veniamin is Professor of Patristics at St Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Professor Veniamin will give three presentations based on his recently-released book, The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: “Theosis” in Scripture and Tradition.
AT ST. PETER ORTHODOX CHURCH
180 St. Augustine, Madison, MS
February 2-4, 2015, 7:00 P.M.
Dr. Veniamin is a spiritual child of elder Sophrony of Essex and Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan PA, where he has served for the past 20 years. He received his first degree in Theology from the School of Theology in the University of Thessalonica, and his doctorate from the University of Oxford.
For more infoirmation call St. Peter Orthodox Church at 601 856-3894.
This program is open to the public.