The Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, Archbishop Stylianos, has issued an encyclical supporting the universal definition of marriage, in response to the push for “same-sex marriage” in Federal Parliament. The encyclical was read at the conclusion of the Holy Liturgy on successive Sundays, from 26 July to 9 August 2015.
The encyclical, while obviously addressed principally to members of the Orthodox Church, is addressed to clergy and the administrative committees of parish communities of the archdiocese.
He wrote, “Further to our Encyclical of 28 May 2013, in relation to a law which the state proposes to vote upon with regard to Marriage between persons of the same gender, we write to you once again because the Federal Parliament is expected very soon to deal with redefinition of the concept of Marriage.
“You might appreciate then, should such an Act be legalised, what destructive consequences this will have on the institution of Marriage, but also on the institution of the Family more generally.
“As Orthodox Christians, therefore, we are obliged once again to express in the strongest possible terms, our objection to the enactment of such legislation, as this will assail the sacredness of the Sacrament of Marriage and the Family, as has been taught to us through the Ages by our Holy Faith and by the Fathers of the Church.
“In the first instance, of course, our reaction must be through prayer to God. That is why the period of the August Fast for the Dormition of our Lady [the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary], which is about to commence, is the most appropriate time to beseech the Theotokos, of whom we ask, as ‘a fervent advocate and invincible battlement, fountain of mercy and sheltering retreat for the world’, to protect the people from such an aberration.
“We are also called upon to protest by gathering signatures, requesting the defeat of the proposed legislation. Our protest may be expressed by signing the relevant petitions or via the online internet page of the Archdiocese (marriage.greekorthodox.org.au). You shall receive detailed instruction from our reverend clergy.”
Archbishop Stylianos concluded, “Hopeful that none of us will show indifference to such an important issue, I thank you for your co-operation in this matter and pray that the abundant blessings of God be upon you all during the blessed period of the sacred August fast. With fervent fatherly prayers.”
The statement comes as leaders of many faith communities have spoken out in defence of marriage, and urging no change to the current law.