Thursday, August 04, 2022

An Open Letter to Archdeacon John Chryssavgis from Fr. Benigno Pardo

Reverend Archdeacon John Chryssavgis,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

After reading your letter in defense of the action of the Archbishop Elpidophoros, in opposition to all the critics who have condemned his actions, this unworthy servant was extremely surprised to see all the serious errors you have asserted. You would have the entire Church change the Faith we have always held, and which are expressed clearly in the Holy Scriptures and in the teaching of the Church, concerning which Jesus Christ told us to "Go therefore, and teach all nations… to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). I am completely astonished to read your arguments that we should change our Faith and to follow yours – and especially that we change our "rituals [which are an expression of our Faith] and flamboyant vestments.” 

You said that all the criticism Archbishop Elpidophoros has received is only another episode in the “culture wars” and you accuse the church of living in a bubble. Archdeacon, that kind of response to the criticisms that the Archbishop actions have justly brought upon himself are extremely simplistic. The Church is not in a bubble. I think it is more likely that you and the ones who think like you are the ones living in bubbles. The criticisms of the Archbishop’s actions have come from everywhere in the Church, throughout the world. Archdeacon, the Church is and always will be down the streets of the big cities and little towns of the world teaching what Jesus sent us to teach – which is the Truth, and the eternal life which is Jesus Christ Himself according with St. John 17. Archdeacon the Truth is that God create man and woman. Do you remember – you should as an Archdeacon – what He did right after He made Man in His image, as male and female (Genesis 1:27)? He blessed them and then He told them: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). To put it in words more down to earth, he said: “Go and make babies,” which is something only males and females can do, and so it is only in the context of lawful marriage between a man and woman that two human beings can have sexual relations in a way that is blessed by God, and it is only this kind of sexual activity, which has the capacity of procreation in love, which  can be holy and blessed by God. Can we say God married Adam and Eve with the sacrament of Matrimony? Yes, because He blessed them and made them one flesh, and so He made their sexual relationship holy and blessed. So what the Archbishop did was absolutely wrong, and there is no excuse possible. The Holy Scripture is clear, and this is not an ambiguous question, subject to various interpretations.  There is no sexual “love” outside of the love of a male and female, in the context of marriage. “Same sex unions” are only a perversion, as the Holy Scriptures make clear (e.g. Romans 1:20-32; Leviticus 20:13). You know there are more texts but, natural law also makes this clear enough, as we see simply by the configuration of our bodies.

You quoted St. Porphyrios, who went to bless a brothel as saying that those women are in “a better spiritual state than other people.” Reverend deacon, I agreed with that, I do not doubt that those women suffer a lot doing what they do to make some money to bring food to their kids, and of course any of those women may open the Gates of Heaven for me, but are they sinning? According to the law, yes, they are, but whether they understand that this is wrong, only God knows. But what did Christ say to the woman caught in adultery? He had mercy on her, but said “Go and sin no more,” but, Deacon, we are talking of a sin according to nature, female and male ....not a perversion of two people of the same sex, which St. Paul says is “against nature” (Romans 1:26).

You said the children are entitled to be baptized. This is true, but this also depends on the circumstances, because there are quite a few requirements that have to be met, the most basic of which is a promise by the parents and godparents that the child will be raised in the faith, and only Orthodox Christians in good standing can make such a promise, and this requirement was not met in this case. It is amazing the archbishop disregarded this most basic requirement, and that is why he is absolutely wrong, and why he has been condemned for it. It is also important that children have a proper home to grow up in, with their father and mother, in order for them to grow with a proper balance in life. Fathers and mothers are both essential, and neither is dispensable. How then can we encourage homosexual couples to produce children with surrogate mothers, and raise them without the benefit of their mothers?  Men cannot be mothers, and mothers cannot be fathers. A human being needs to have one of each, even if one of them is only a memory handed on to them after they have died. Furthermore, this sacred ceremony was made into a celebration of a perverse relationship, and this overshadowed the actual baptisms which united these children to Christ and His Church. This was a sacrilegious abuse of Baptism. It made a mockery of this most important Sacrament, because through Baptism all the other sacraments are made available to us as members of the Church.

What makes this event even worse, is that these children were produced as a business transaction which made use of surrogate mothers, and so the children were produced by unnatural means, in the absence of love. It is not an exaggeration to call this “satanic." And so Archbishop Elpidophoros not only participated in the celebration of a perverse lifestyle, but also was by his actions endorsing the trafficking of poor women who are compelled by their poverty to rent out their wombs to produce children for wealthy gay men.

Deacon, don’t you know that Morality cannot change? In the final analysis if our actions are not in agreement with the Faith and Tradition of the Church that action is wrong... it is as simple as that. Do you think we change Christian Morality every few decades or so, because society thinks we should?  No, Deacon, you are as wrong as the Archbishop, Morality does not change. 

Rev. Deacon, this unworthy priest has spent fifty years in Christian ministry. You don't seem to understand the tremendous harm the Archbishop has done to the simple people down the street. Society is so confused today with all the different types of problems people face, and such people often don’t know what to do. They need to hear a clear voice from the Church to guide them, but that is not what they heard from the actions of Archbishop Elpidophoros in Athens. I am inclined to think he doesn’t have very much experience with the regular and simple people, how they live, or the problems they have, and probably you are in the same boat. Go to the streets, go do some prison ministry. There you find life in the real world, and those people need the Church to seek them out and bring their souls back to God. When Jesus Christ changes a person’s heart, there is no need for the Church to change Christian morality to conform to his former ideas and desires, because Christ will help him to change, and will instead conform such a person to the moral teachings of the Church.


Fr. Benigno Pardo 

Assistant Priest at St. Jonah Orthodox Church

Spring, Texas