by Glen Chancy — March 2, 2009
Globally, Orthodox Christianity is known to be highly conservative concerning what is frequently referred to as “traditional Christian morality.” In Europe, for example, more progressive and liberal elements of society spare no effort in attacking the Church as a bastion of traditionalist repression, especially concerning homosexuality.
Ironically, however, in the United States an image seems to be growing of the Orthodox Church as more liberal towards sexual sins than, for example, the Evangelical denominations. Quite a few people, judging by chatter on the Internet, are getting the impression that Orthodoxy is similar to the Episcopal Church in respect to moral issues.
Part of this confusion stems from the book Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell. This book, published in 1994, asserted that certain Greek Orthodox medieval rituals were really ecclesiastical blessings of homosexual unions. Boswell especially singled out the Greek Orthodox Rite known as adelphopoiesis or “brother-making,” as one such example.
Since the book’s publication, Orthodox sources have roundly debunked Boswell. (One such effort can be found here.) Even so, a casual stroll through Google will find Boswell’s claims widely repeated on Websites associated with homosexual issues. (LGBT sites in the common parlance of today.) The fiction created by Boswell is useful for sexually active homosexuals, both within the Orthodox Church and without. [Read more…]