For context see the Metropolitan Joseph: The Scandal section in our Archives 2020-22 linked at the top of this page and the Sexuality and Gender section in both Archives.
On October 24, Orthodoxy in Dialogue published the appointment of Metropolitan Antonios (El Souri) as the Patriarchal Vicar to the Antiochian Archdiocese together with his biography. His education grounds him impressively in both the sciences and theology. We noted that he has an article to his credit entitled “The Issues of Homosexuals in the Priesthood” — and we expressed our hope that this “[did] not signal an unwelcoming approach to the LGBTQ+ members of the Antiochian Archdiocese and the wider Orthodox Church.” We offered him our sincere welcome and humble prayers.
A week later, in a sweeping and shockingly ignorant condemnatory blogpost entitled “Holiness at a Time When Uncleanness is Made Legal” (which he may have thought was unlikely to be widely disseminated in the West), Metropolitan Antonios makes clear that his vision for the Orthodox Church of the 21st century has no place for the paganism and satanic mental illness of feminism, sexual and gender diversity in human nature, contraception, women’s rights, human rights, etc. etc. etc. Even while decrying “sexual liberty regardless of whether a person is married or not,” he makes not so much as a veiled allusion to the scandal of the adulterous, predatory, home-wrecking, family-despising former Metropolitan whose downfall necessitated his (Metropolitan Antonios’) appointment as Patriarchal Vicar.
Metropolitan Antonios (El Souri) of Zahle, Baalbek, and Dependencies
Patriarchal Vicar to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Holiness at a Time when Uncleanness is Made Legal
“For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” (Romans 6:19)
In the 20th century, between the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s movements of sexual liberation began and the idea of a “sexual revolution” started to spread. During the 60s broad changes started to occur in Western societies, particularly society’s attitude toward sex, which aimed to “liberate” sex from predominant religious, social and ethical constraints, leading to new legislation about the sexual behavior of an individual in society, much of which is still in effect today.
These movements and legislation led to various issues and tendencies in different societies, among them sexual liberty regardless of whether a person is married or not, contraception and birth control pills, public nudity, the homosexual liberation movement, demands for the freedom to choose abortion, women’s rights, the women’s liberation movement or feminism, etc… The new sexual freedoms that were legislated and promoted were exploited by large financial and commercial investments seeking to exploit society for material gain and to spread ideas associated with the sexual revolution. An example of this is the fact that pornographic and obscene materials have started to appear in the open. With development in media and social media, everything connected to sex has come to be exploited for greater commerce and profit. The most important and most dangerous thing is that it has become easy to market and obtain through the use of modern technology such as smartphones, etc.
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What is called “civilization” today is based on what is called “human rights”, which make licit corruption and the corruption of morals with regard to God’s commandment. In many countries of the world, this has introduced new legislation permitting homosexuality, abortion and sexual relations outside of marriage… All of this is on the basis of the belief in man’s right to do what he wills since everything is relative and that he can live as he wants on a personal level and no one has any authority over him with regard to his individual choices, since his body is his property… or so they argue.
Making such things licit is none other than man’s return to paganism and submission to animal, impulsive nature, which was unrestrained before the Law. The devil has mastery over the world through lust (for money, authority, sex) and the great catastrophe that destroys humanity in the name of humanity is permitting man’s submission to the lust that corrupts the image of God that is in him in the name of the freedom of his will, this lust that man can make into an art by amplifying it and taking pleasure in it to a degree without any limit apart from man’s utter collapse, since he is a rational being with a free will. God does not constrain man’s freedom, even if he commits error, sin or crime, because He will judge him for what he does, on the basis of the faith he embraces, by right of love and the blood of the Son of God which was shed for the life of the world, because out of love He wants us to come to Him since we have known Him. Man defines his relationship with God: either he is someone who wants to be a son, and therefore returns in repentance to his loving and tender Father or he comes to be under the Law since he lives in rejection of the Lord’s Messiah.
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Beloved, do not be deceived or dazzled by the lights of ‘false truth’ that Satan promotes in the name of reason, freedom, progress, civilization and culture… These are false lights, inasmuch as they do not bear the light of truth, the light of Christ who revealed to us who God is and who man truly is. Everything that separates man from what the Lord Jesus Christ has revealed to us about the substance of humanity is from the evil one. There is no mixing of light and darkness. The light condemns the darkness and “this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
Do not give credence to those who would lead you to believe in the name of freedom that the legalization of uncleanness is a human right. Everything that distorts and debases the image of God in man is uncleanness. Sex is unclean if it is not in the blessing and grace in love consecrated by God in marriage between a man and a woman, since only then does it become a bond of unity, a language of mutual address in the spirit between lovers and a shared gift for pleasures within the framework of an integrated path of life, through good times and bad, towards holiness.
Any relationship between members of the same sex is a sin that is destructive of man’s spiritual, psychological and physical being because it reveals man’s submission to impulse and the devil who corrupts minds and souls and destroys hearts. Thirty years ago and earlier, psychology generally considered homosexuals to be mentally ill, but today concepts have been reversed in psychology, starting with laws that permit every corruption, so that today through education in the schools the principle of deviance is introduced into the minds of students, since those whose ages aren’t any greater than the number of fingers on your hands are given the freedom to choose their sex and to live according to that without the family having any right to treat this issue under penalty of law. This is the “great farce of freedom” in what is called “the civilized world”, which by legalizing such deviance has become the dying world, requiring chastisement, indeed, divine punishment as happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, tomorrow soon to be seen… unless humankind returns to its true reality written in nature by creation and to the image of God in it, since everything is called to holiness.
Metropolitan of Zahle, Baalbek and their Dependencies