To the Editor:
The article of Archdeacon John Chryssavgis defending Archbishop Elpidophoros officiating in the baptism of the children of a gay couple is a strange brew. It is suffused with such hostility and contempt of the Orthodox Church that one wonders how Chryssavgis is still a member of it. If his objective was to seek “healing and reconciliation”, as he says, he should not have penned such an intemperate attack on the Church and Metropolitan Antonios of Glyfada – apparently with the blessing of Elpidophoros. He should instead have addressed the Metropolitan’s concerns about the baptism.
Specifically, why did Elpidophoros deceive the Metropolitan about the nature of the family requesting the baptism? Chryssavgis’ assertion that this was “simply another baptism” is disingenuous. The celebrants themselves hailed the event as “the first openly gay baptism in the Greek Orthodox church.” They saw it as a coup towards a more “progressive” Church. So this wasn’t just “another baptism”.
Metropolitan Antonios also expressed concern that such an unorthodox ceremony would create the negative impression that “everything is permissible in the Church.” The glitzy celebration and the triumphalist tweets following the ceremony suggest, as Christopher Tripoulas wrote in a column earlier this week, that this baptism was less about the sacrament and more about making a political statement. This shouldn’t surprise, given the parents’ background and expressed aspiration to normalize a lifestyle that for two millennia the Church has considered sinful. By participating in the celebration, Elpidophoros gave the appearance at least of supporting their ambition to undermine this Church tradition. It is not hard to understand why the Metropolitan would be upset to have his see used for such a purpose.
If that was not Elpidophoros’ intent, then he committed an egregious gaffe for which he ought to apologize. Unleashing attacks on clerics who disagree with him is neither Christian nor smart.