Russian Orthodox Break Ties with Swedish Church
Here is a really interesting statement from the Russian Orthodox Church announcing the severing of all ties with the Swedish Lutheran Church.
Statement of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Regarding the Decision of the Assembly of the Church of Sweden from October 27, 2005, to Introduce an Official Rite for the Blessing of Same-Sex Partnerships (January 2006)
With deep disappointment and great pain we received news that the Lutheran Church of Sweden not only has no objections against entering so-called “same-sex marriages,” but that it even resolved to introduce an official rite for its blessing.
It is clear that such a resolution contradicts the biblical doctrine of family and marriage. The biblical witness leaves no doubt that homosexuality is to be considered a sin and an “abomination” (Lev. 18:22; 20:13). According to the word of the Apostle Paul, those who commit this sin “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11). A blessing of “same-sex marriages” is tantamount to an approval of a sinful disfiguration of the image of God in man and of a perversion of his nature. The Christian Church always has seen marriage between one man and one woman as a sacrament, because new life is born out of this covenant. This natural order of things was instituted by God and blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ at Cana in Galilee. The attempts to destroy this institution and to establish perversion as the norm represent an open contradiction against God’s will, a transgression of the commandments of God in Holy Scripture and of the centuries-old tradition of the Church. The rejection of anti-natural vices, to which homosexuality belongs, has always been an important part of Christian ethics, which has formed and shaped many generations of humans. This is why the approval of the shameful practice of “same-sex marriages” constitutes a severe blow against the entire European system of spiritual-moral values which were brought about under the influence of Christianity. Such “innovations” undermine the moral foundations of the European civilization and make it lose spiritual influence in the world; and such a loss cannot be justified at all.
We always regarded very highly the good relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Sweden. Representatives of our Church actively participated in a host of joint programs; we saw this as a unique opportunity to bear a joint witness to the values of Christianity for the good of today’s Europe and world. However, the abovementioned resolution of the Church of Sweden has to be seen unequivocally as apostasy from the foundational norm of Christian ethics; and this forces us to declare our bilateral relations ended.
Published in Tserkovnyj Vestnik, no. 1-2 (326-327), January 2006. Translation from Russian to German by Prof. Dr. Reinhard Slenczka, Erlangen; translation from German to English by Rev. Dr. Holger Sonntag, Carver, MN.