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MESSAGE OF THE MONTH
The Passion of Homosexuality according to St. John Chrysostom
By Archimandrite Sarantis Sarantou, parish priest of the Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Marousi, Greece; published on the official website of the Holy Metropolis of Kifisia, Amoros and Oropos on June 16th, 2013.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
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Our holy Apostle Paul, according to the Holy Fathers, is the voice of Christ, and divine Chrysostom is the mouth of Apostle Paul. Commenting on the very important epistle to the Romans, St. John Chrysostom gives a divinely inspired analysis of homosexuality, among other issues.
All passions degrade humanity, but especially the mania of men for men. He summarily characterizes homosexuality as an unforgivable passion; this is not just because it really is, but also because the entire male personality becomes so distorted that a chronic allegiance to this abomination sets in; it thus becomes an immensely difficult passion to restrain by the fallen.
The golden words of Chrysostom are remarkably balanced. His unshakable logic, which he uses to spiritually support his flock, is universally acknowledged to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. Not even foreign rationalist Protestant researchers challenge him. It is precisely his rock of faith and deep love in Christ that are needed for all of us, in these difficult days that we are going through; thus, it is vital that we very carefully listen to him. Here is the order he chose for his compelling argument:
1. The holy Apostle first places the entire problem of homosexuality on a spiritual basis. In the twenty-fifth verse of the Epistle to the Romans of chapter one, he writes: They changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever... The divine Chrysostom points out that there was a distortion in the creation of God. God did not prevent the natural relationship between the sexes, so they "justifiably" fall into the strange madness of males having left the natural use of the female.
In the deep psyche of the homosexual world there is an autonomy of individual and selfish choice against the truth of God, a deep preference towards falsehood. It is for this reason that the way homosexuals display and advertise their "diversity" is very provocative. Arrogant attitudes and cocky appearances are displayed on television, and inaccuracies and falsehoods are spread about their demonic way of life. This is exactly why St. John Chrysostom boldly states: "Their ideology is satanic, and their life demonic." Thus, God abandons these people, who twist the truth concerning the creation of man and present falsehood with offensive boldness, namely that their perversion is an issue of genes or free sexual choice. And, "when God abandons, everything is turned upside down." A person’s entire mental state is flipped, his entire psychology and bodily existence transgress towards a psychopathological state. And it is exactly for all these reasons that the problem of homosexuality is primarily of a spiritual nature.
2. Moreover, says St. John Chrysostom, God put before them, the homosexuals, the "world" and "the mind of man." The vast majority of people accept, admit and deterministically are given over to the physical attraction between sexes and enjoy a lawful and proper relationship. This is what is meant by the "world." The prototype of the "mind of man," from his initial creation (and as implanted by his Creator), can distinguish the natural relationship of man and woman and takes rest in it. The other mental choice is one characterized by a voluntarily intentional misunderstanding of what is natural; its resulting impact is quite tragic. Man is dragged into the most dishonorable of passions, rejecting natural relations with a woman and frantically seeking to be satisfied through another man, autonomously, selfishly, without any preconditions, and entirely unblessed. This is why according to the holy Father this passion is unforgivable, because homosexuals do not engage in the natural human experience and the God-given inclination of the mind.
It is very sad today that young boys and girls are lured into silly and provocative so-called "homosexual programs" on television that selfishly allege to want to "break away," as they say, from their traditional parents, some of whom cannot hide the panic before such havoc "choices" of their sons or daughters. No news channel lately mentions, however, the ever lurking dangers of the AIDS disease. As a matter of fact, what were frequently reported news stories have nowadays completely disappeared.
3. What is even more dishonorable and disgraceful for mankind is that this degrading passion has infected women in equally frightening proportions. Even though they should be ashamed, today under the propaganda of the New Age, women find themselves more empowered than men, becoming more confused and callous than ever, while concurrently insisting upon their God-creating power of motherhood. The divine Father relies on the archetypal creation of the couple, as is divinely inspired and emphatically recorded in the Old Testament book of Genesis. God’s intent has been defiled; man, as the wise head, first and foremost ought to help woman think wisely and act correctly. Instead, he drags her to the godless and inhuman passion of sodomy. From the outset in Paradise, he degenerates this blessed relationship with abominable hostility. Though man was appointed a teacher of woman, and woman a helpmate of man, in the end they ended up outside the Church and outside the blessing of God, hostile on many levels and partaking in the shameful works of darkness.
4. The divine Chrysostom claims that prudence according to Christ dictated that the holy Apostle Paul was to speak humbly, candidly and chastely, but his words must also sting the ears of his audience. The divine Father says: "He does not say that they were enamored of, and lusted after one another, but, ‘they burned in their lust one toward another’." The verb "burned" does not denote a strong erotic desire, but indicates an unrestrained and unsatisfied burning. This vague verb is passively used to signify the constant unsatisfied erotic homosexual desire among women. Later he uses it towards men to complete the word "unseemly," thus indicating the violation of God’s law and the insult done to the male sex as well as the opposite sex. Homosexual acts by both sexes demean, for these relationships are completely perverted. They transgress God’s elect laws for natural eroticism, bringing shame to their own and to the opposite sex which they despise. It is for this reason that they are completely abandoned by God, reaching the worst, the most unheard of and lamentable, supposedly erotic sexual behaviors.
According to St. John Chrysostom, not even wild animals go beyond their heterosexual boundaries. They live according to their erotic nature and compulsion which was granted to them by the Creator, for the purpose of perpetuating their species. A relative reduction in their ferocity is achieved during commingling, a certain intimacy, tameness and relief.
5. According to the in the image and likeness creation of the first couple by the personal will of God, they should have lived in perfect marital unity. This most philanthropic will of the Triadic God was envied by the devil and, when presented with the opportunity (and ever since the time of the fall of man) he has zealously pursued unforeseen obstacles in every married couple, for the sole purpose of overwhelming this blessed union. As an extreme consequence of this deep hatred towards mankind, there has appeared among men and women this disgraceful and ingrained passion of homosexuality; consequently, those men and women who are subdued to this evil passion do not come forward to the blessed sacrament of Marriage and thus exclude themselves from the divine plan of creation, which is fulfilled in the birth of children. (Ed., with the recent legalization of "marriage" among homosexuals, the plans of the evil one are reaching new levels of "legalized immorality.")
6. According to St. John Chrysostom, homosexuals should be the most unhappy and pitiable of people even if they were successful in all other levels of life. But their self-awareness is so deficient and their conceit so inflated, that they consider themselves and put themselves forward as the happiest of all, while others, those who live normally, are according to them ill and oppressed. St. John Chrysostom unequivocally argues that they already live in hell existentially and certainly the fire of Gehenna awaits them. He has the deep and broad experience of the sacred confessional, in which, no matter how much they want to pretend, eventually they cannot hide their deep pain and blood which drips from every section of their heart. And when sincerity finds them during their confessions, they easily and willingly admit that this deceptive homosexual companionship has proven to be impossible and unrealizable.
So that the Saint becomes more believable, he describes two examples of two very strange people. Suppose I saw, he says, a young man running around naked besmeared with mire and exulting that he is clean and well washed. He also spoke of a young virgin, if she was enclosed in a house and condemned to have intercourse with an animal, and afterwards rejoiced in it. The one who compelled her, argued the Saint, is worse than a murderer because he ruined her soul and her body. How truly twisted man becomes when he distances himself from the true Triadic God and His saving Church!
Young people today (as well men and women of older age groups) are trapped in mindless ways, in the nets of charming people, who sneakily lead them into sodomy. There is no more terrible thing than such an attack, says the Saint. "And that you may learn what the real force of this is, if any one were to come and assure you that he would make you a dog instead of being a man, would you not flee from him as a plague? But, lo! You have not made yourself a dog, but an animal more disgraceful than this. For a dog is useful for service, but he that has thus given himself up is serviceable for nothing." If somebody threatened men that he could make them able to conceive, to become pregnant, to give birth, to go through the time of postpartum, what would you do, how would you react? Would you turn yourself upside down with your screams due to the strangeness of it, or would you bask passively, with fears and complexes? What is then your reaction my man, to all that you observe the homosexuals enable within your society?
7. In the inspired Old Testament, the terrible situation that was created in the society of Sodom and Gomorrah is described articulately and vividly, just before the pouring out of the just wrath of God and the complete destruction of these ancient cities that once flourished. Below we will provide excerpts that exemplify the level of alienation for any homosexual, as well as their erotic companions, and the entire social environment which tolerates, accepts or admits with every readily available communication means with them and cooperates accordingly at all levels of life. The defilement of it is contagious, if it is accepted for reasons of "politeness" so that we are not considered bigots. The "immune system" in Christ is sickened, the psychology of our youth is affected, and the demonic convention finds grounding to corrupt places, souls, mentalities, and easy companions.
And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.
But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter. And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.
And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
Saint John Chrysostom persistently stands before the exemplary catastrophe of Sodom and Gomorrah and guides his flock through education to strengthen their moral immune system in Christ; he aims to accomplish this in a timely manner so that his spiritual children escape this defilement before it takes on epidemic proportions. The fiery rain of Sodom and Gomorrah was so catastrophic that it made their land barren and unable to produce anything that could contribute to new life flourishing, a new human society, a new civilization.
8. For educative purposes we should distinguish homosexuals who have not fallen into carnal sin, and those men or women who have "freed themselves from the taboos of the past" and are having carnal relations and perhaps have even entered into a modern homosexual cohabitation.
The first group struggle very hard to get rid of the demon of homosexuality. The demon engages into a fierce battle with the struggling homosexual, and his efforts are focused upon strong thoughts in the mind of the struggling man or woman, to blacken his or her soul and thus tear down his "competitor." The second, who have entangled themselves by consent in carnal homosexual sin, should ask with inner pain for the mercy of God, should go to confession frequently and with honesty, and eventually they will benefit from Divine mercy. They will accomplish, together with the Lord, in disbanding the "machinations of the enemy" and shake off the abominable carnal homosexual sin and thus annul the wiles of the devil. The support of a spiritual father beside them is needed, guiding them in Christ until they are able to understand that correction and the straight path is not impossible, for what is impossible with man, is possible with God.
I humbly agree that in this contemporary "sinful and adulterous" generation, in which homosexuality seems to be celebrated, spiritual fathers are the only ones who show true understanding to those who sin heavily, and they help them come to the knowledge of their situation, to repent, and to become living members of the Church and be saved.
9. It is understood that, in the circle of priests, homosexuality is unthinkable. Even the simplest carnal sins are obstacles to priesthood. The saints of our Church believe that even the smallest hair in the eye of a person causes tingling and pain and it takes many tears to remove it from the eye. It is likewise for any clergy candidate, and much more for the active clergyman; if there is the slightest carnal sin, he cannot rest in his priestly ministry, but is tormented and suffers.
Homosexuality is the greatest of sins, which irrevocably prevents one from entering priesthood (and of course the Church does not allow any homosexual to be elevated to priesthood, even if he has stopped the sin for years). St. Basil the Great considers homosexuality or lesbianism a beastly sin: "Abusers of themselves with mankind and with beasts, just as is the case with murderers, wizards, adulterers, and idolaters, are deserving of the same punishment" (Canon 7 of St. Basil the Great). Saint Gregory of Nyssa characterizes homosexuality as "unnatural" in his 4th Canon. Saint John the Faster observes in his 19th Canon, according to the compilation of The Rudder by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite, the following: "A boy who has been ruined by any man cannot come into the holy priesthood. For although on account of his immature age he did not sin himself, yet the vessel of his body was rent and became useless in connection with the sacred priesthood."
10. Unfortunately there exists within our Holy Orthodox Church an organized group of homosexual clergy. These men, by their provocative behavior and by their obscene insistence on mortally sinning, take others by the neck and drag them to hell from this life, preparing them, alas, for eternal hell, even though they ought to grab them from the abyss of destruction and reconcile them once again with Christ.
The psychology of clergy possessed by the deadly passion of homosexuality mutates essentially into having a persecution mentality by the Church. The residual, ingrained faint voice of their conscience cries out for them being on the wrong course and for their daily exemplification of a loud but degraded persona. Incredible nervousness bifurcates their personality, and there is obsessive antipathy towards specific individuals, terrible negligence in their liturgical and pastoral duties, disregard for their family (if by chance they are married), and a substantial annihilation of their angelic schema (if they are unmarried). Manic behaviors, with various sophistries regarding the sacred Canons and with hypocritical and pious excuses, they endlessly try to modernize the Church.
Unfortunately within such a group of homosexual clergymen there has developed an illusory and deceptive climate of supposed love and support for one another. Young inexperienced candidate clergy, if not guided by an experienced spiritual and pious Orthodox mindset, are likely to be ensnared by the exaggerated zealous protectionism indicated above. They are bound emotionally, and through a "friendship" with these patrons of theirs (and if there is some tendency towards homosexuality) they basically become victims of this homosexual network with devastating consequences, ultimately for the former and the latter. The evil of these organized groups, or the ones that are less methodical (i.e., more individualized), continues with scenarios and pitfalls set up across the world by the wicked and cunning serpent, the devil. If the candidate or young clergyman joins and stays within the circles of homosexuals, he will certainly suffer the consequences of the corresponding associative uniqueness of the homosexual circle as well as the terrible alienation against the measures and molds which experienced and knowledgeable homosexual patrons are imposing.
There are also rare exceptions of repentant or remorseful homosexual clergymen, who are suffering spiritually, psychologically, existentially and perhaps physically; nothing can grant them rest and quiet from the relentless torture of their conscience.If they do not deeply repent and give up their high pastoral office, they will never rest and acquire the inner experience of complete forgiveness by God.
11. The holy elder Paisios often spoke of the power of spiritual laws. Because homosexuality is an abominable sin before the Triune God and offends His all-wise and personal creative care for people, the counsel of God allows, in the operation of spiritual laws, to deregulate the immune system of the human body, resulting in dire health consequences, which in time often leads to death. Why does the media minimize the high risk of AIDS and over-advertise homosexuality? Or do they not know the exponential increase of bearers and patients of AIDS across the world?
Disappointing are the descriptions made to us in Holy Confession by homosexual patients with AIDS. Dissolved personalities, sad ruins struggling to survive, alternating heavy treatments, remorseful for reckless impassioned homosexual intercourse that have brought them down to pathetic skeletons. Avid seekers of perversion, they lured into demonic pleasure others as their supposed erotic partners, whom they initially completely trusted and in the end were left miserably cheated, all alone, in their existential loneliness.
For all of the above corruption to not occur, with its terrible pathogenesis and unimaginably tragic side-effects, St. John Chrysostom suggests active use of spiritual drugs in Christ. His primary therapeutic guideline is awareness of the omnipresence of God. Nothing destroys people more than unawareness and the criminal forgetfulness of God. But nothing saves him more than seeing the All-good Lord noetically, Who was crucified for us and rose from the dead, and to call upon His All-holy Name. Only in this way will the corruption of homosexuality be forgiven...
Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us...
Most Holy Theotokos, save us!