Orthodox LGBT appeal to the Council: We ask you for the gift of your trust
Today 23rd of June, representative of the Orthodox Working Group of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups had published the Open letter to the Council, drawing attention to the vulnerable position of the LGBT Orthodox Christians in the society and churches.
Misha Cherniak, Orthodox believer and former Board member of the World Fellowship of Orthodox youth Syndesmos, who signed this letter on behalf of the Orthodox Working Group of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups, writes to the delegates of the Holy and Great Council, in the same time his appeal is equally addressed to the whole Orthodox Church.
In the letter, which presents a powerful message, it is clearly stated, that the LGBT people is not an outside issue for the Orthodox Church, and there are a lot of LGBT believers consist quite a large segment of the Orthodox flock:
We ask you: in your sermons and speeches, whenever you mention LGBT persons and issues, remember that we actually might be standing right before you! We are not an abstract concept, but actual human beings—your children, sisters, and brothers.
In the Church, which is called to be inclusive and healing community, LGBT people could experience a lot of pain and sorrow, including the facts that “many LGBT Orthodox Christians have been thrown out of their parishes, barred from the Holy Communion, required to undergo conversion therapy with harmful effects on their personality, compelled to choose monastic life for which they had neither predisposition nor vocation, or forced to enter into heterosexual marriages and, through this, bring pain to more people (their spouses, children, and families).”
Despite recalling this sorrow, the letter optimistically call the leaders of the Orthodox Church for creating a space of dialogue, where different experience, personal stories and theological opinions could be shared.
The letter was published at the web-site of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups in English (pdf), French (pdf) and Ukrainian. More language versions will follow.
The European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Christian Groups, an ecumenical association of more than 40 groups from across Europe, representing approximately 6,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Christians, would like to take the opportunity presented by the meeting of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church—an event of historical importance—to draw the attention of the leaders of the Orthodox Church to the situation of their LGBT faithful, a situation that should concern us all.