COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH PRESS RELEASE
FOR RELEASE TO PRINT AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA
Coptic Orthodox Church Formally Condemns
Homosexuality, Ordination of Homosexuals and Same-Sex Marriages
August 26, 2003
BOSTON, MA (USA) - During its Annual Clergy convention the leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church discussed recent issues related to homosexuality. The convention was presided by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. In attendance were twelve Coptic Bishops from North America, Egypt, Australia, Europe; and 180 Coptic priests from America, Canada and Australia. The issues discussed included: the legalization of same-sex marriage, the ordination of a homosexual Bishop in the Episcopalian Church in New Hampshire, U.S.A., and the vote of the Uniting Church in Australia to allow the ordination of any homosexual clergy.
Based on the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and teachings of the Old and New Testaments, the clergy strongly condemns such activities.
1. Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke against homosexuality when He made reference to the abomination of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 10:12; Genesis 19:24; Jude 1:7). Similarly, St. Paul warns, “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves ... will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). See also (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-32).
2. Same-sex marriage is against the Divine Plan for marriage and its purpose of procreation. “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” (Mark 10:6, 7). See also (Ephesians 5:31; Genesis 1:27; 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6).
3. Therefore, those who are ordained for church ministry must uphold the teachings of the Holy Bible. They should be: “... blameless... of good behavior.., able to teach ...“ (1 Timothy 3:2). Consequently, we disapprove of and condemn the ordination of homosexual clergy, active or not. These movements not only contradict Biblical teachings, but also pose a serious threat to the stability of the family unit, the morals of society, the purity of the Church, and the future of ecumenical unity. While we condemn homosexuality, we invite those who are under this sin to repent out of concern for their eternal life.
We applaud the courageous voices of those who oppose such activities both in and outside those churches, and call on all churches to obey the Biblical teachings without compromise or change.
Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis
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