On July 7, Bishop Elpidophore, Primate of the Greek Archdiocese of the United States, under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, baptized the children of a gay couple formed by Norwegian fashion designer Peter Dundas and his Greek partner Evangelis Bousis at the Church of St. Theotokos Phaneromeni in the Athens seaside neighborhood of Vouliagmeni.
Both children were born to surrogate mothers and the “couple” lives in the United States. The baptism was widely publicized due to the presence of a large number of Greek celebrities. Bousis's brother, George, thanked Bishop Elpidophore, and said, “This is the progress and leadership we need in our church.”
“Yesterday was a really special moment, not only for my family and me, but also for our whole Greek Orthodox Church,” George further commented on Facebook. “My brother Evangelo Bousis and Peter Dundas became the first openly gay couple to celebrate a baptism for their children, my godson Alexios and my niece Eleni.”
Nearly 50% of Greeks think society should accept same-sex couples. The publicized baptism scandal coincides with the update of the “gay marriage” project in Greece. In May of this year, the government again discussed the legalization of civil partnership between same-sex couples, rejected by the Supreme Court in 2017.
Local Ecclesiastical Reaction
The Metropolitan of Glyphada – the district where the church where the baptism occurred is located – Antonius, made a statement addressed to the Archbishop of Athens Hieronymus and to the members of the Holy Synod.
In it, he expresses his displeasure at having been misled by the American Archbishop Elphidophore, who “acted in an arbitrary and anti-canonical manner” in his diocese. He only learned from the media that they were a homosexual couple.
The Patriarch of Constantinople Supports the Archbishop
The Greek Orthodox Church held a synod at the end of July in the presence of Patriarch Bartholomew. As the National Journal reports, concerns about this archbishop and his stance on such sensitive issues as abortion and the family have been raised by other Orthodox hierarchs.
“The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, during the meeting of the Holy Synod in Constantinople last Thursday and Friday, July 21 and 22, received from the synodal hierarchs observations, concerns, revelations, and almost unanimous complaints concerning the arbitrary actions of Elpidophore that have put the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Patriarch himself in a difficult position. It is one of the rare times when so many hierarchs have expressed themselves in this way.”
But Patriarch Bartholomew, who chaired the meeting, “ignored the issue and did not allow it to be included in the discussions, sending the message in all directions that he covers and supports Archbishop Elpidophore.”
As we can see, the LGBT question is beginning to divide Orthodoxy, as it already divides Protestantism and Anglicanism. This makes all the more unfortunate and miserable the action of the Synodal Path and of all its emulators, which is sowing the seeds of division within Catholicism, seeds which are not being suppressed by the highest authority in the Church, the Pope himself.