OrthodoxChristianity.net RulesOrthodoxChristianity.net Member Agreement
UPDATED: September 10, 2014

OrthodoxChristianity.net Rules and Regulations

Welcome to the OrthodoxChristianity.net (OC.net) forum!  We are a vibrant community dedicated to discussion of various topics related to Eastern Orthodox Christianity.  We pride ourselves on running the best Orthodox Christian forum on the Internet.  We welcome you and hope you will stay and join us in discussion.  A few rules are important to keep in mind while posting...

Forum Purpose & Place of the Non-Orthodox

To be clear, this site exists as an Orthodox Forum where people who identify themselves as Orthodox are given a place to discuss things pertinent to the Orthodox Faith.  In practical terms, this means that there is a broad approach to allowing people from the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and the EO or OO Traditionalists to post on topics relating to Orthodoxy.  It should be emphasized that it is the policy of this site that no one is required to affirm that any of the other groups are canonical or Orthodox, but rather the purpose of the broad approach is to allow broad discussion on topics that in academic discourse are labeled "Orthodox studies."

People who do not fit this broad, academic definition of Orthodox, such as Roman Catholics, Protestants, non-Christians, and others, are permitted to post here and to offer positive contributions to the site and corrections when their faith traditions are misrepresented.  They are not, however, permitted to attempt to bring people to other faiths.

A concrete example (that comes up frequently): Eastern Rite Catholics may have called themselves Orthodox for some time but regardless of nomenclature, they are not recognized by the Orthodox as Orthodox.  Vagantes are likewise not recognized by the Orthodox as Orthodox.  With the Eastern Orthodox patriarchates, Eastern Orthodox Old Calendarists, and Oriental Orthodox/Non-Chalcedonians, there are varying degrees of opinion between the three groups, such that a broad discussion forum about Orthodoxy would lead to discussion on topics concerning all three groups, and we wanted to create a place where all three would be welcome to post, within the limits of civil discourse.  We have no interest in broadening the scope to include Eastern Catholics, who are in submission to the Pope and have adopted many Roman Catholic innovations, or vagantes, who have no way of being measured or quantified.  We have to draw the line somewhere, and that is how we have chosen to draw it.  Naturally, Byzantine Catholics and vagantes are welcome to post here, but they have to recognize that they are on an Orthodox forum, which does not accept that they are "Orthodox in communion with Rome."  Latin Catholics and Protestants and anyone else of good will is also welcome to post, as long as they understand the purpose of the forum and the boundaries.

Academic Discourse -- Practically speaking, academic discussion means not referring to figures on your side as "St. so and so" while referring to figures of the other party as "the heretic so and so."  Instead, as with standard academic discourse, all historical figures will be referred at least by name and location, for instance "Leo of Rome" and "Dioscoros of Alexandria." It is presumed that posters reflect the position of faith of their Communion; for instance, it is presumed that an Eastern Orthodox member regards Chalcedon as an ecumenical and God-inspired council, while an Oriental Orthodox member regards Dioscoros of Alexandria as a teacher of the faith.  Therefore, it is not necessary for posters to continuously and aggressively point out the obvious in respect to the enumeration of councils, recognition of saints, etc.

Proselytism -- Proselytizing people from one Orthodox jurisdiction to another Orthodox jurisdiction is not allowed; we don't exist to give spiritual advice, but rather to discuss spiritual matters - there is a healthy distinction.  Likewise, proselytizing anyone (Orthodox or not) to join a non-Orthodox jurisdiction is not permitted - this is an Orthodox forum, after all.  If you feel the need to plug your group then do it by private message.  As this is an Orthodox forum, the Orthodox users are permitted (and encouraged) to invite non-Orthodox to join the Orthodox Christian Faith.

General Guidelines for the Various Boards

The following are general guidelines that are followed when moderating in the various boards.  If you have a question about application, you should ask that section's moderator, the global mod in charge of that section, or Fr. George.

When used in this section:
Discussion: Fairly simple.  Talking about something.
Debate: Discussion including contesting the meaning or application of an argument, story, etc.
Light Polemics: Debate with pejorative language used toward an opposing POV, system of belief, or corporate entity.  No profanity or vulgarity.
Full Polemics: Light Polemics with pejorative language used toward opposing users or other individuals.  Strong language allowed to a point, as established by precedent and guidelines already published.

The Boards / Areas of the Forum
General Forums (i.e. Christian News, Board News, etc.): Discussion, no debates or polemics.  These are information-only sections, with relevant discussion of topics permitted.

Prayer Forum: No discussion, debate, or polemics.  Only prayer and praise.  

Convert Issues: Discussion, no polemics or debate.  The purpose of the Convert issues forum is to provide a place on the OC.net where inquirers, catechumens, and newly converted could ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith (OO, EO Old and New Calendar) in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. Many of those posting in this area are ignorant of Orthodox teachings and are using this forum to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. Due to the simplicity of many of their requests and responses, direct and simple answers with sources if possible are most helpful. If the moderators find that the discussions become faith or jurisdiction debates, the topic will be split and sent the appropriate OC.net forum to continue the discussion or debate. As a poster, you may also ask that a topic be split so that a private discussion can be established to go into detail about the issues that you feel adamant about and wish to debate or discuss. The convert forum is not a place for combative debate or argument. Thank you for your following these guidelines to the edification and spiritual growth of the forum inquirers, catechumens, and newly converted.  Only questions about our faith and relevant answers, and only from the Orthodox POV.  Other faiths can clarify misconceptions about their group, but no defense permitted, and no anti-Orthodox polemic.  

Faith Issues: Discussion and debate, no polemics.  This forum is for the discussion of issues pertaining to the Orthodox Faith (EO, OO, Old-Cal).  Discussion of topics by those of other faiths should be restricted in this area; this is especially true viz-a-viz their own faith (i.e. non-Orthodox faiths), on which they should only comment to correct misunderstandings or misstatements, not to further their agenda or dispute Orthodox teachings (they should go to the Free-For-All or the Private fora for that).

Orth-Other (Orth-Cath, Orth-Prot): Discussion, debate, light polemics.  Other Christian faiths can butt heads with the Orthodox here.  Ad hominems are not permitted.  

Liturgy (and WR): Discussion and debate, no polemics.  Primarily for discussion of Orthodox Liturgy; other Christian worship to only be discussed as a point of comparison.  Non-Orthodox can only clarify misconceptions about their group, but no defense permitted, and no anti-Orthodox polemic.

Oriental Orthodox Discussion: Discussion and debate, no polemics.  This forum's purpose is to discuss specifically Oriental Orthodox topics such as history, liturgy, saints, praxis, and inter-OO affairs.  In the Oriental Orthodox folder, discussion about Chalcedon (and other polemical EO vs. OO discussions) is prohibited because in the past, such discussion has had a negative history, has caused the hijacking of other threads, and has led to the controversialization of otherwise non-controversial topics.  

Orthodox Family Forum: Discussion and debate, no polemics.  For Orthodox POV only; non-Orthodox can only clarify misconceptions about their group, but no defense permitted, and no anti-Orthodox polemic.  

Other Topics: Discussion, light debate, no polemics.  For non-serious topics only.  

Free-For-All (Religious and Non-Religious): Discussion, debate, light polemics.  Other faiths can butt heads with the Orthodox here.  Ad hominems are not permitted.  These forums are a lot looser with rules than the other moderated fora.  Be warned prior to reading and posting; things can get a little heated!  Free-For-All threads should be started in one of the sub-fora (Religious Topics, and Non-Religious Topics), not in the general Free-For-All area.

Private Fora (Politics, Eastern/Oriental Orthodox Private Discussions, and Orthodox-Other Christian Private Discussions): Discussion, debate, full polemics.  These forums are private to allow a more polemical tone to the discourse without bothering the rest of the forum.  They are for the most part not moderated, unless something is posted in them which is illegal (e.g. libel, treason, etc.), or to the limits of Christian decorum (obscenity), etc. You must petition the Forum Administrator (currently Fr. George) to gain access to the Private Fora (which, like everything else here at OC.net, is free).   Do not quote material from the Private Fora in the public fora.

No Political Discussion in the Public Fora -- If you wish to post political discussion, especially American Political discussion, please do so only in the private Politics Forum.  Topics of a quasi-political nature that directly affect the Orthodox Church (especially in countries where Orthodox Christians constitute a majority of the population) may be permissible in the Public Fora, but you should PM a moderator first to get approval.

What is the Administrative Structure (sometimes called "chain of command") here at OC.net?

Each moderated forum has its own "Section Moderator."  Then there are two "Global Moderators." The Global moderators oversee the Section Moderators as well as moderate the forums which have no moderators assigned to them. Finally, the "Administrators" oversee everything and make decisions on policy. They are Fr. George (Forum Administrator) and Anastasios (Content & Technical Administrator, Forum Owner, & Webdespota).  There are also other people who assist with content development and are involved in moderator/admin discussions.  In practice, the moderators and admins work together and discuss issues. Also, if a section moderator sees some gross breech of forum rules in a forum which is not normally their responsibility, they are able to intervene.  An updated list of the Moderators, Global Moderators, and Administrators is kept in this thread: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12447.0.html

Please respect the mod/admin staff -- The moderators and administrative staff of oc.net keep this place running tidy.  While you don't have to agree with a particular decision they make, we ask that you at least respect it publicly.  Do not complain about forum moderation, or the specific official actions taken by the moderators, global moderators, or administrators, on the forum.

When making official decisions, in their capacities as moderators, 3 things will be consistent:
- The notice will be posted in Green or Red
- The moderator will "sign" the notice
- The moderator will indicate to whom appeals should go

We encourage members of the forum to support their fellow users in following the forum's rules, and to informally acknowledge when someone may indeed be in violation of the forum rules.  However, no one should take it upon themselves to imitate or impersonate the moderators, global moderators, and/or administrators (i.e. do not give directives to your fellow users in green or red text, etc.).

Please Report! -- If anyone feels that there is a post that breaches forum rules or proper Christian conduct then please, please use the Report to Moderator link!  It is at the bottom of each post on the right hand side.  (Private Messages - PMs - can be reported to the Administrators via the "Report to Admin" link at the lower-right corner of each PM.)  If that does not work for you, then send either a pm to the board's moderator or to one of the Global Moderators.  We try to catch things that are over the top, but this is a huge forum and we cannot catch everything; furthermore, something may be offensive, but we may not realize it or it may be something special that warrants individual attention.  This forum is a community and can only work with full cooperation with everyone.  When we see something unacceptable we try to take the necessary procedure to deal with the situation as to what we judge the gravity amounts to.  However, abuse of the reporting system - repeated reporting of non-infractions, reporting only posts by users you dislike, or over-use of the reporting system - may result in the revocation of the ability to report posts.

Informal Warning, officially Warning (“green dot”), Post Moderation, Muting, or Banning -- An “informal warning” is one which is made by the moderator either via PM or by a simple in-post message; it does not trigger an official warning through the forum software.  Warned status (through the forum software) is a public indication that you committed a minor infraction.  Further infractions may result in Post Moderation (where you can post, but the posts will not be seen publicly until they are approved by a moderator), Muting (where you cannot post, but you can engage in PMs and your account remains active) or Banning (ending your participation on the forum permanently).  A time limit will be placed on your warning between 1 and 99 days; at the conclusion of that time, your status will automatically be downgraded to the next lower warning level for the same duration.  (E.g. If you are muted for 15 days, at the conclusion of that time your status will be downgraded to Post Moderation for 15 days, then Warned status for 15 days.)  When any of the above steps are taken to correct an action, a User Log is generated which tracks user infractions and moderator communication with said user.

Contacting the Forum Administrator instead of Anastasios -- (A message originally posted by Anastasios himself on April 24, 2009; the only edit was to remove the specific name and replace it with "the Forum Administrator") When you wish to express a concern, give feedback for a job well done, make a complaint, or a suggestion, or discuss anything pertaining to the Forum, please contact the Forum Administrator.  I am the owner of the site, true; but direct appeals over the head of the Forum Administrator defeat the whole purpose of having someone on the staff who is in charge of just the forum (whereas I am busy trying to develop content and keeping the site running "under the hood.")  So the next time you wish to communicate your thoughts about the forum, the right person to contact is the Forum Administrator.  When people contact me to escalate a complaint about a moderator or about the forum aspect of the site, I will always refer these complaints to the Forum Administrator.  If you want me to be aware of a problem though, you can always use "bcc:" to ensure that I will see it.  But I will let the Forum Administrator respond to any communications about the forum.  If your complaint is about the Forum Administrator, then yes, you can contact me directly, but since the Forum Administrator and I are a team, we will discuss the issue together as a team.

Appeals Pathway

All appeals to be conducted via PM, and in the proper order, as outlined below.

This procedure should be followed in all cases, and involves as its first step communicating directly with the person who issued the warning to you (or performed some other action in an official capacity, like moving or locking a topic you started).  If you choose to skip steps within the appropriate pathway, then you also give up your right to appeal the decision to anyone further (i.e. if you don't like the answer you get, that's tough).  

If you are appealing to Anastasios (according to the situations outlined in #s 3 and 4 below), understand that he may choose not to hear/consider your appeal (in similar fashion to the Supreme Court).

1. When appealing a moderator's action / warning:
PM the Moderator who issued the warning/action (yes, PM them directly about the warning/action) -> The Global Moderator who oversees their section -> (final appeal) Administrator of the Forum.

2. When appealing a Global Moderator's action / warning:
PM the Global Moderator who issued the warning/action (yes, PM them directly about the warning/action) -> (final appeal) Administrator of the Forum

3. When appealing the Forum Administrator's action / warning:
PM the Forum Administrator directly -> (final appeal) Anastasios, Forum Owner, Founder, Webdespota

4. When appealing Anastasios' action/warning:
PM him.  That's it; the buck stops with him.

General Posting / Behavioral / Account Rules

* Respect Others -- Things can (and do) get heated on this board.  Any attempt to harass or threaten another poster, whether publicly or privately, can and will result in a permanent ban.  Based on the severity of the incident, it may also warrant report to law enforcement authorities.  Keep civil and respectful of others. Do NOT post others personal information (e.g. name, phone numbers, email, etc.) or their private correspondence with you (e.g. email, PMs, Facebook messages, etc.) without their permission.  Semi-public information - discussions, photos, or other info - which is posted in areas with controlled access (like Facebook) cannot be shared here unless you either have the person's permission to post it or if the item was shared to "public" (i.e. not to just "friends" or "family" or some restricted group).

* Malicious Behavior -- Do not post links to anything obscene, profane, asking us to vote on other websites, links for free iPod offers, gimmicks, spam, or anything else of this nature.  Doing so will result in a sure warning, and if severe enough, a permanent ban.

* Duplicate Accounts, Forgotten Passwords, and Deleting Accounts -- If you forget your password, use the "forget password" feature, or contact an Administrator.  Do NOT create a new account because you cannot/forgot how to log in! Due to blatant disregard for this rule in the past, violators WILL be banned. Account sharing or acting as surrogate posters for those who have limited posting privileges (banned, muted, or post moderated users) are also prohibited and are bannable offenses.  If you decide to stop posting, we do not delete accounts (it has caused database problems).  If you choose to stop posting and want it to be obvious, please consider writing "I no longer post on this forum" in your signature line.  There is one exception, and that is if someone is stalking you and using your user account as a way to harass you, we will consider deletion options in this case only.  

* Official Requests for Identification -- We can and will ask posters to identify themselves (usually privately but sometimes publicly) if claims they are making do not seem to fit in with other facts or the style of their posting, etc.  If a moderator asks you to identify yourself, and you choose not to, moderation will begin.  This is because we generally only ask for identification of posters for very specific reasons and so any such request should be considered "quite serious."

* No Forum Plugging -- You shall not have banners in signatures to other forums, or advertise your other web forum on our forum, or private message others to solicit them to join your forum.  You may link to another forum or website in your signature (without comment), and you may post links to threads on other forums, as long as they are pertinent to discussions here.

* Keep Threads on Target -- For the forum-challenged, a thread is a sequence of postings, or messages, related to a primary topic.  For purposes of continuity and consistency, please keep ALL threads on target to their original purpose.  If you want to deviate, start a new thread.

* Contain Conflict -- With religious discussion, disagreement is inevitable.  Please be civil and keep conflict (provided it's on topic) within the thread it was posted in.  If your conflict seems to be taking a thread off of its course, please start a new one.

* Thread Commandeering -- Any poster may face discipline on the site if, in the consensus of the Adminstrative or moderatorial team, any individual poster habitually takes control of numerous threads by posting non-germane material in existing discussions, providing irrelevant observations or points, or continually bringing up the same point in numerous threads.

Posting Content Rules

* Argumentum ad hominem (argument against the person) -- Frequently shortened to ad hominem, this is a logical fallacy in debate that describes an attempt to discredit an argument or position by attacking the individual holding said position (rather than discussing the merits of the position).  As a discussion forum, our purpose is to debate ideas, principles, statements, etc., and not to attack the character of individuals.  As such, personal arguments are forbidden in the public fora; those who sign up for the private fora understand that this tactic is permitted there.

* Obscenity, Blasphemy, Profanity, etc. -- Obscenities and blasphemies are not permitted anywhere on the forum. To accommodate strong polemics on the Private Forum, we will permit a few of the stronger scatological (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/scatological) profanities there. These words, however, will be permitted ONLY on the Private Forum; their use on the Public Forum is still forbidden. Other words such as "damn" and "hell", when used as expletives, will be permitted on all Public and Private boards as long as they're not used as part of a blasphemy. We reserve the right to moderate some language not on the list if it is way outside the bounds of common decency. If you're not sure about the appropriateness of a word or expression, please PM a moderator before using it on the forum.  Except for "BS," all acronyms (STFU, WTF, etc.), abbreviations (F-off, etc.), and semi-censored versions (F**K, BULLS**T, etc.) of forbidden words are also forbidden.  Quite simply, harsh, obscene, or foul language is not appropriate for an Orthodox Christian message board.  Our Lord is present even in the forums and we don't feel like hosting your foul language on our servers--free expression is one thing, but on a Christian message board you will have to act like a Christian even in a theoretically unmoderated sub-section of the board.

* EO/OO/RC Pejoratives -- Please do not use the following terms in your discussions as they are considered to be pejorative by other members of this forum: Uniate: Use Eastern Catholic (or their appropriate official title).  Monophysite: Please use Oriental Orthodox or Non-Chalcedonian.  Obviously, if you are discussing these terms in their true and historical sense then there is no problem using the term. What is being rejected is using this as a label to counter other members of the forum. As always, this does not imply that the board takes a position itself on these positions; this is merely a request to use civilized terminology & academic discussion standards in dialog on this forum.

* Low Content Posts -- Please make an effort to refrain from low content posts in the Moderated Forums area, if appropriate.  Low content posts generally consist of posts with 5 or fewer characters.  

* Quoting Other Articles, Websites, etc. -- When linking articles, news stories, etc., please only copy the first paragraph or at most two as an intro text, with a link to the original, so we can obviate any accusations of exceeding "fair use" allowances in terms of copyright.

* Clean Images/Media -- Please keep all posted images and media "clean." Pornography or other distasteful images or videos will be deleted and trigger disciplinary actions ranging from warning to outright ban.

* Signatures -- Keep in mind that everyone on the forum has to see your signature over and over each time you post.  Please keep your signature small.  Do NOT use large images over 400 pixels wide and 125 pixels tall.  Moderators and Administrative staff have the authority to edit or remove any signature at any time.

* Links -- Posters are not permitted to post links to websites designed for the commercial purposes of selling without explicit permission from an administrator.  Other activities that require explicit administrator approval are as follows: advertising, soliciting donations for any purpose, soliciting votes to help an individual or organization win a prize, and soliciting signatures on a petition. This is not an exhaustive list; our administrators have the authority to add to this list at any time.  Permission to post any of the aforementioned links can be obtained by sending a pm to Fr. George. Offending posts will be immediately deleted.  Posting of a link to any website not related to the ongoing thread discussion is not allowed.  If it is the first topic in the thread, or if the link IS relevant to the conversation at hand, it is required that the poster post a paragraph of text from the article in question into the thread.  The poster can then include a DIRECT link to the article in that post, below the paragraph of text.  "Naked" links - links posted without a description of what is being linked to - are not permitted.

* Prohibited Everywhere (even in Private Messages) -- Chain letters, harassment, profanity, sexually explicit images or links, promotion of illegal activity

* References & Proof -- Occasionally a moderator will make a formal request (i.e. in green font, explicitly stating that they're asking as a mod and not a user) for clarification of a point, references to support a point, or "proof" of an assertion made in the course of discussion.  Sometimes this request will come with a "time limit" or other stipulation requesting expediency.  These requests are made in order to facilitate open and honest discussion, without knowingly or unknowingly propagating false information.  Do not be offended by such requests, but do make all haste in fulfilling them, in order to allow productive and edifying discussion to continue.  We are just trying to meet our responsibility of fairness and remember we will all face the ultimate judge, Christ himself. We really want to make sure that our site is not responsible for advertising falsehoods whenever possible. No one on our moderation team is assuming anything you have said is not true; and, conversely, no one is assuming that your point is true just because you meet a minimum standard of "support." It is just confusing to try and figure out all the details and we are trying to be cautious. This is how Orthodox people are supposed to take all things, with a discerning spirit.

* Criminal Accusations -- Original accusations of criminal conduct against individuals will not be made on the forum. By original, we mean accusations that are drawn from original research or from information collected from sources that are not peer-reviewed which contain original research. Examples would be a blog post without reference to legal proceedings or a news article that appears only on one or a few sites of undetermined accuracy.  Determinations of appropriateness will be made by the section moderator.  If there is an ongoing, documented public criminal investigation about an individual already in process, and such a discussion is germane to the scope of this forum (for instance, an Orthodox individual is arrested for misconduct and there is a discussion about the facts of the case) then such discussion will be allowed within limit (at the discretion of the moderator of the section).

* Other Forum Policies -- From time to time we issue updates and addenda to these rules, which will be posted in the following thread: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,54263.0.html.  All users are expected to comply with them.

* Catch-All -- Undoubtedly there will be someone who manages to do something bad, but it doesn't fit into the above.  To this end, Mods and Admins reserve the right to amend these rules at any time.

Regarding Clergy Titles

1. Any clergy of the mainline (i.e. non vagante) OO, EO New- and Old-Calendarist Churches shall be called by their proper title or salutation, a respectable abbreviation of such, or an acceptable academic-style reference.  Extreme abbreviations are only appropriate for institutions or large groups (i.e. MP for "Moscow Patriarchate" not "Patriarch of Moscow").  All such references should be made with respect following proper decorum (i.e. no inclusion of pejoratives or other personal attacks).

E.g. When referring to the current Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, "Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens," "Archbishop Ieronymos," "His Beatitude Ieronymos of Athens," "His Beatitude Ieronymos," and "the Archbishop of Athens," etc., would all be appropriate; "Ieronymos (Liapis) of Athens," or “Ieronymos of Athens” are acceptable academic-style references; just "Ieronymos," or some sort of nickname ("Jeronimo") would not be appropriate.

2. Any man formerly a clergyman of one of the groups named in #1 who has been removed from clerical status without the dispute of or transfer to the other 2 groups shall not be referred to as an active clergyman, but either by their lay name, or as a former clergyman.  Again, such references should be made without pejoratives or personal attacks.

E.g. If a man named Paul Smith was defrocked from the priesthood (for abusing children, preaching heresy, etc.), you can call him "Mr. Paul Smith," "former priest Paul Smith," or even "disgraced former priest Paul Smith," but not, "Paul Smith the rapist" or "the heretic Paul Smith," etc.

3. Any person who is a clergyman of a group not listed in #1 can either be referred to by their official clerical title, a corresponding title appropriate with their position, or an appropriate academic-style reference; however, this must be done without pejorative, maintaining a minimal state of decorum.

E.g. The current Roman (Latin) Catholic Pope of Rome can be referred to as “Pope Francis I of Rome,” “Pope Francis,” “the Pope of Rome,” etc.; “Francis (Bergoglio) of Rome” or “Francis of Rome” are acceptable academic-style references.  It would not be appropriate to call him Cardinal Bergoglio (since that is no longer his title in the RCC), the Heretic, Francis, or any other pejorative, diminutive, or other form of insult.

4.  Defrocked clergy who go to other jurisdictions/groups should be treated with usual courtesies; those who do not go to other groups shall be treated as laymen/monks.

As for vagantes, we can use the most basic definition: groups with only 2-3 bishops.

Regarding the Discussion of Homosexuality on OC.Net

The topic of homosexuality has been a controversial one throughout our modern era.  It has stirred charged emotions in many people, and has caused great turmoil where it has been discussed.  Following a period of particular animosity and tension on this forum, a moratorium on discussion of this topic was established to “calm the seas.”  Following the lifting of the moratorium, the Administration of the forum issued the following points related to the discussion of homosexuality here:

1) The administration of OCnet fully supports the Orthodox Church's position that homosexual relations are sinful.

2) Discussion will again be allowed openly, but those expressing positions contrary to the received tradition of the Orthodox Church will need to respect the fact that the Orthodox Church's teaching is not under question, and that their positions are at variance with the consensus of the Church. What this means practically is that anyone expressing the position that active homosexual practices can somehow be reconciled with the Orthodox Church's teaching will be allowed to offer this position if they do so respectfully and with the understanding that their position is novel.  Anyone arguing vocally or in a belligerent way that the Orthodox Church's teaching is wrong or that it will be changed at some point of the future will be moderated per the normal moderatorial procedure in place.

The goal here is to affirm the traditional Orthodox teaching, not forcibly subject Orthodox Christians on an Orthodox forum to novel opinions, while allow discussion on a topic which for whatever reason engenders more than normally passionate debate and discord.

We state unequivocally that those who have a homosexual orientation, if it can be scientifically determined to be such, or who struggle with a temptation towards homosexuality, are accepted and loved as brothers and sisters, and are welcome in the Church, even if they have failings as do we all.  Our upholding of the traditional Orthodox position as the website administration does not seek to discount individuals and their real struggles.

Administrative Staff

Anastasios, OC.net Founder, Content & Technical Administrator
Fr. George, Administrator of the Forum