Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
For our entire three-year history, Orthodoxy in Dialogue has called repeatedly for substantive action from our hierarchs, clergy, laity, monasteries, and seminaries on racial justice. See the White Supremacy and Racism section in our Archives 2017-19 and Archives 2020, especially our Open Letter to Our Beloved Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America and White Supremacy in the American Orthodox Church: An Open Letter to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.
It therefore gives us pleasure to note that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has launched an online Resource Center on Racial Reconciliation. We recommend it to Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers, with one major caveat.
Archbishop Elpidophoros’ introductory statement, excerpted from his longer remarks when he marched in Brooklyn on June 3 (reported here), reads:
I will continue to stand in the breach together with all those who are committed to preserving peace, justice, and equality for every citizen of goodwill, regardless of their race, religion, gender or ethnic origin.
This is Pride month. Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. Yesterday also, the Trump administration continued its unrelenting assault on the rights, health, and well-being of LGBTQI American citizens. The Orthodox Church’s LGBTQI sons and daughters continue to wait with broken hearts and waning hopes for some sign that our hierarchs — or at least one of them — “stand in the breach together with all those who are committed to preserving peace, justice, and equality for every citizen of goodwill…regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Given that His Eminence extended his comments beyond race — the immediate focus of the march — to include religion and gender, LGBTQI Orthodox Christians and American citizens find their exclusion from his pastoral and civic concern glaringly obvious, likely intentional, and acutely painful.
The Resource Center on Racial Reconciliation represents a good start. But so much more is needed.