27 December 2005, 17:28
Russian Patriarchate suspends relations with Church of Sweden
Moscow, December 27, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate has suspended relations with the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Sweden after it decided to establish an official ceremony on blessing homosexual couples.
"We have received with great disappointment and grief the news that not only does the Lutheran Church of Sweden not oppose so-called homosexual marriages, but has even ruled to establish an official blessing ceremony," Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in a statement at a session in Moscow on Tuesday.
The members of the Synod believe that the Church of Sweden's decision contradicts the Biblical concept of family and marriage "and the testimonies of the Holy Writing leave us no doubt that homosexuality is considered a sin and 'confusion'," the statement says.
"The Christian Church has always regarded a marriage between a man and a woman as one of the sacraments, because it is the union which gives birth to a new life," the statement says.
The attempts to break this tradition "and present perversions as a norm" are "an open resistance to God's will, violation of commandments of the Holy Writing and ancient Church traditions," the statement says.
The approval of homosexual marriages is a serious blow to the system of European spiritual and moral values "formed under the influence of Christianity," the statement said. "Such innovations undermine the moral basis of European civilization and inflict irreparable damage to its spiritual influence in the world," the statement said.
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