“AN INDUSTRY OF DECEPTION”: RUSSIAN CHURCH PREPARING DOCUMENT ON PASTORAL CARE FOR TRANSSEXUALS

This report appeared yesterday at Orthodox Christianity. In reprinting it, we at Orthodoxy in Dialogue use this opportunity to reiterate in the strongest possible terms our support for transgender persons and their particular spiritual, social, and emotional needs at every stage of their transition, and for a more dialogical approach within the Orthodox Church than the Moscow Patriarchate’s “no-matter-what-psychologists-surgeons-and-other-specialists-may-say” stance. We pray especially for our transgender brothers and sisters in Christ who find themselves in the Russian Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk

“The sex change industry is an industry of deception,” His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk told RIA-Novosti on Saturday, commenting on the Russian Orthodox Church’s decision to prepare a special document on the topic.

The Russian Church cannot accept so-called “sex changes” under any circumstances, the Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations said, no matter what psychologists, surgeons, and other specialists may say.

To develop the document, a separate working group “with the involvement of competent experts” will be created under the auspices of the Commission on theology and Theological Education of the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church, headed by Met. Hilarion.

“The position of the Russian Orthodox Church on so-called ‘sex changes’ is expressed in the Basis of the Social Concept document. This position is not subject to revision. The Church cannot accept a ‘sex change’ under any circumstances,” His Eminence said.

The Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, adopted by the Council of Bishops in 2000, states:

Sometimes perverted human sexuality is manifested in the form of the painful feeling of one’s belonging to the opposite sex, resulting in an attempt to change one’s sex (transsexuality). One’s desire to refuse the sex that has been given him or her by the Creator can have pernicious consequences for one’s further development. “The change of sex” through hormonal impact and surgical operation has led in many cases not to the solution of psychological problems, but to their aggravation, causing a deep inner crisis. The Church cannot approve of such a “rebellion against the Creator” and recognize as valid the artificially changed sexual affiliation. If “a change of sex” happened in a person before his or her Baptism, he or she can be admitted to this Sacrament as any other sinner, but the Church will baptize him or her as belonging to his or her sex by birth. The ordination of such a person and his or her marriage in church are inadmissible (XII.9).

According to Met. Hilarion, “it is obvious that there is no sex change in reality,” and “a crippling operation can only change some of the secondary sexual characteristics of a person, but it cannot turn a woman into a full-fledged man or a man into a full-fledged woman.”

“The sex change industry is an industry of deception, involving psychologists, psychiatrists, sexologists, endocrinologists, and plastic surgeons,” Met. Hilarion says. Such operations have been performed in Russia for decades, since Soviet times, the Metropolitan noted.

The new document will not concern any changes in the Church’s position, but rather “various aspects of the pastoral care for persons suffering from the mental disorder, which in modern language is called ‘gender dysphoria.’”

“How can the Church help such people? And what can the Church present to oppose gender ideology, one of the points of which is the idea that the biological sex of a person may not coincide with his self-perception? These are the questions that will be answered in the document,” His Eminence concluded.

Unfortunately, officials in Georgia have capitulated to pressure from the LGBT lobby. On March 25, for the first time ever, the Tbilisi Civil Registry Service of the Agency for the Development of Public Services of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia issued official documents recognizing a man as a woman.

See also, by Metropolitan Hilarion, If Your Church Accepts Homosexuality, It’s Time to Look for a New One, as well as the extensive Sexuality and Gender section in both our Archives 2017-19 and Archives 2020-21.

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk is chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s public relations arm, the Department for External Church Relations (DECR).

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