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Mount Athos monasteries oppose U.S. Archbishop's visit

Concerns raised over stance on same-sex marriage and adherence to Orthodox teachings


In a formal letter addressed to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, all the monasteries of Mount Athos expressed their opposition to a planned visit by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America during the third ten days of January.

The letter, issued under the sacred common seal of the Holy Community, pointed to concerns stemming from a baptism ceremony conducted by Archbishop Elpidophoros for the children of a same-sex couple in Greece last July. Representatives of the monasteries stated, "We regret to have found, through the published photographs of the Archbishop of America, a wrong impression was created regarding the Church’s acceptance of the marriage of individuals of the same sex. This message is contrary to the doctrines and teachings of the Orthodox Church."

The representatives appealed to Patriarch Bartholomew, emphasizing the sensitive nature of the subject and its implications for the faith and orthodox traditions. They urged the Patriarch to consider their concerns seriously.

Sources from Mount Athos indicated that the monastic community does not intend to welcome Archbishop Elpidophoros with the customary honors reserved for visiting hierarchs. The letter also expressed fears that the Archbishop might attempt to use a visit to Mount Athos for photo opportunities, suggesting acceptance by the monks.

Earlier attempts by Archbishop Elpidophoros to visit Mount Athos for a monastery celebration were reportedly denied. His upcoming visit to Thessaloniki is expected to include engagements with Greek-Americans and a speaking engagement at an Israeli association event. He is also scheduled to ordain a young man from Mexico for a community in New York focused on Hispanic outreach.

The letter to Patriarch Bartholomew, dated December 15/28, 2023, was signed by the joint Synaxis of Representatives and Superiors of the twenty Sacred Monasteries of Mount Athos.

Source: Greek City Times

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