The Ecumenical Patriarch, regardless of the fact that he does not speak for ALL the various Orthodox churches, does indeed speak publicly about the fact that abortion is acceptable under some circumstances.
To the everlasting shame of Orthodoxy the Ecumenical Patriarch appears to allow abortion in *any* circumstances decided by the husband and wife. But, glory to God, there are articles on the Net from other Bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate which teach the authentic Orthodox teaching.
We know some of the earliest patristic writings and canons of the Church and more recently, in 2000, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has formally re-affirmed that position ~abortion is a sin equated with murder.
However, Orthodox Christians for Life has an article which inform us that the Ecumenical Patriarch does not have such a position and leaves questions of abortion to the decision of the husband and wife. Presumably this means he would adopt the samed laissez-faire position with regard to the Pill.
I have to confess that when the Patriarch visited this country I found myself unable to take a blessing and kiss his hand because of this.
"Orthodox Patriarchs 'Wink' at Abortion"
(written by a priest under the Ecumenical Throne)http://web.archive.org/web/20040407123705/http://www.oclife.org/vnine.pdf
Here are his words:"Although the Orthodox Church believes the soul
enters the body at conception and, generally
speaking, respects human life and the continuation
of the pregnancy," Bartholomew said, the church
also "respects the liberty and freedom of all human
persons and all Christian couples. . . .We are not
allowed to enter the bedrooms of the Christian
couples," he also said. "We cannot generalize.
There are many reasons for a couple to go toward
I understand that Fr Dr Edward Pehanich (ACROD, founder of Orthodox
Christians For Life) who reported all this in an article in oclife.org
<http://www.oclife.org/vnine.pdf > has sought clarification or retraction
from His Divine All-Holiness. There has been no response.
As for those who doubt that the Patriarch was honestly reported, why would
Fr Edward Pehanich who holds a prominent position in ACROD highlight these
remarks in the Orthodox Christians for Life magazine if they were
unreliable, thereby antagonising his supreme spiritual authority in the
Phanar. I'd say he's a brave and honest priest.
If you'd like to contact Fr Edward and ask for up to date information his
contact details are:
Very Rev. Dr. Edward Pehanich
10062 Firethorn Dr.
N. Huntingdon, PA 15642
Phone: (724) 863-3741
And Fr Anthony Nelson, a prominent ROCA priest in the Right to Life
Movement, has written:
"We at Oklahoma Orthodox Christians for Life also wrote both to the
Patriarchate and the GOA requesting comments/clarification of the comments
at the time. Our requests went unanswered."
Protopriest Anthony Nelson
St. Benedict Russian Orthodox Church
Oklahoma City, OK USA 405-672-1441
If the Patriarch were wrongly reported it seems to me that he has a strong moral responsibility as the guide and father of his spiritual flock to correct the statement and publicly support the moral teaching of the Church. Why has he not done so?