Same Sex Relations and Orientation
The first session of the “Gender and Sexuality in Orthodox Christianity” series at Lysebu in December 2016 engaged questions concerning sexual orientation and same-sex relationships. The Orthodox Church has traditionally condemned sexually active same-sex relationships as inherently sinful, based usually on scriptural, patristic and canonical warrants. In recent debates on same-sex marriage, some Orthodox churches have issued official statements affirming that marriage is only between a man and a woman. The council at Crete in June 2016 contributed to the raising of these questions on the Orthodox agenda.
The seminar started from the fact that same-sex orientation and relations exist and is something that ecclesiastical bodies are facing. The aim was to move beyond simplistic dichotomies and stimulate an open dialogue about issues that are pressing in churches and communities but hardly debated in most ecclesiastical and theological arenas. It offered space for critical considerations of current positions and explored alternative theological and pastoral approaches from within the Orthodox tradition.