Sanctity of Marriage Sunday
WHEREAS the Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of Church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of one man and one woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church; and Whereas neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions adultery, fornication, or a union between persons of the same sex;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Sixteenth All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America strongly commends the efforts of Orthodox bishops, clergy, and laity to bear witness to the sanctity of marriage in the public arena; commits the Orthodox Church in America to continued witness and defense of the authentic marriage of one man and one woman; strongly reaffirms the Orthodox Church’s opposition to same sex marriage, and that it does so on theological and moral grounds; and stresses God’s will that marriage be a lifelong commitment, monogamous, and heterosexual;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Sunday in September falling on or after the Feast of the Conception of St. John the Baptist will be called Sanctity of Marriage Sunday and on this Sunday: an annual letter from our Metropolitan will be read in all OCA Parishes during the Divine Liturgy affirming the Orthodox understanding of marriage; and each parish priest will declare his availability to counsel individuals or couples desiring to be married or already married; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Orthodox Church stresses that all persons tempted to act contrary to the Orthodox Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, and all those who succumb to such temptations, are to be offered pastoral guidance and cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all of humanity and that all persons are called by God to grow spiritually and morally toward holiness.
Why do we need this resolution?
— Our culture’s view of marriage over the last few decades has departed from a traditional Christian understanding (Scripture and teachings below), and has especially accelerated in the last two years with the advance of same-sex marriage laws. The District of Columbia and six states–Iowa, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts–have already passed same sex marriage laws. Maryland is planning on voting on it in January, 2012. Do we go and preach the Gospel to all nations or isolate ourselves?
— Some clergy and laity appear to not understand, are not familiar with, or wish to ignore the Church’s clear teaching regarding marriage, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and same sex unions. They may also ask for dialogue. Thankfully, dialogue has already been provided to us over the past 2000 years as can be clearly seen in the teachings of the Orthodox Church.
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