Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church

Articles & Essays

St. Paul, the Fathers, and some thoughts. (Michael Berrigan Clark)

This little document of mine serves two purposes; I hope everyone will indulge me in what the French would call *un document polyvalent* — a multi-purpose paper.

Purpose number one: clearing up some confusion about what St. John Chrysostom said and did not say, and, with any luck, proposing a way forward for today’s Orthodox Christians to read patristic documents in an authentic way… a way that doesn’t distort the original author’s intent and doesn’t force artificial parallels between ancient society and contemporary culture.

Purpose number two: sharing a bit of personal history about how I came to my understanding outlined in Purpose number one. The beauty of the Orthodox Tradition is that it is never a story of abstractions, bodiless truths floating in space. Ours is an incarnational faith; Tradition has a *personal* character and progression.

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Holy Sexual Persons: Conjugal Relations in Orthodox Marriage (David Constantine Wright)

Holy Sexual Persons: Conjugal Relations in Orthodox Marriage

“When did marriage begin? When man sinned. Before that, there was no marriage, not in the present-day sense. It was only after the Fall, after Adam and Eve had been expelled from paradise, that Adam “knew” Eve (Gen 4.1) and thus marriage began.”

(From “Excellent Advice on Marriage”, A Sermon delivered in the Church of St. Nicholas, Trikala, Greece, 17 January, 1971 By Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra, Mount Athos)

There are some really disturbing ideas about marriage and human sexuality circulating in the Church these days. There’s this one stated above. As well, this next jewel was recently posted over on

Basil in the Hexaemeron says that angels procreate by a process of simple fission, i.e., splitting apart like amoebas. God’s reason for the duality of sexes in humanity, according to Basil was that He forsaw the fall after which humans would not be able to procreate like angels, they (we) were left to procreate like animals.

Or, as one certain poster on the Orthodox-Forum Yahoogroups list wrote,

The Orthodox Fathers tend to teach that Adam and Eve were sexless. In light of these ideas we as Christians involved in the process of returning to heaven should be doing the work of being cleansed from the sexual energies which came with the Fall from Paradise.

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Response to Myself by Fr. Robert Arida

Response To Myself

Is the legalization of same sex marriage/union a threat to the Orthodox Church’s stance on matrimony being the sanctified union of one man and one woman? This question is again becoming the focus of many Orthodox Christians in light of the recent passage by the New York State legislature to legalize same sex marriage.

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Christos Yannaras: In Praise of Marriage

The monk will never taste the experience (the real event) of sharing his life, his existence. Of sharing with someone else his body, his desire and his instinctive urges, the food that he has won by his labour, whatever sorrows he experiences, whatever joys. The monk will never share his name with anyone, that which ensures participation in the communion of relations. He will never taste any kind of sharing of himself, any “loss” of the “soul” a sharing or “loss” which is, moreover, also self-evident, “natural”, without the slightest possibility of being experienced as a reward for virtue.

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Metropolitan Anthony, Man and Woman


Forum talk by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh MAN AND WOMAN


9 May, 1989

The subject of man and woman has become more and more essential in the course of the last decades, not only because a number of people have been very vocal about the situation of women both in the Church and in society, but because more and more, the Christian vision has ripened, deepened, and problems which did not exist a century ago have come to the fore – not only forced upon the Christian consciousness by circumstances, but coming from within the Christian consciousness. A variety of groups of people have taken up the subject in the secular world, and also in the Churches.

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The Body’s Grace

By Rowan Williams

To ask, “Why does sex matter?” sounds a rather futile way of beginning an address in these circumstances. It’s rather obvious that it does matter, and that it matters in different ways to different people. To some it matters as a cause for alarm, to others as a cause for celebration: there would be less need for LGCM and kindred organisations if sex were not alarming to so many, and less impetus to join or support LGCM, if sex were not something a little more than another good cause.

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