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July 1, 2013

The Passion of Homosexuality According to St. John Chrysostom

By Archimandrite Sarantis Sarantou, Parish Priest of the Holy Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Marousi

"Because of this did God give them up to dishonorable passions, for even their females did change their natural function into that which is against nature; and in like manner also the males having left the natural use of the female, did burn in their longing toward one another...." (Romans 1:26-27)

The Apostle Paul, according to the Holy Fathers, is the holy mouth of Christ, and divine Chrysostom is the mouth of the Apostle Paul. Commenting on the very important Epistle to the Romans of the holy Apostle Paul, the divine Father gives a divinely inspired analysis of homosexuality, among other issues.

All the passions are degrading to humanity, but especially the mania of men for men. He summarily characterizes homosexuality as an unforgivable passion, not because it really is, but because the entire male personality becomes so distorted that there is a chronic allegiance to this abomination, which is a difficult passion to restrain by the fallen.

The golden words of Chrysostom are remarkably balanced. His unshakable logic, which he uses to spiritually support his flock, is universally acknowledged to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. Not even foreign rationalist Protestant researchers challenge him. Such a rock of faith in Christ and deep love in Christ for people are needed in our difficult days that we are going through, and we should very carefully listen to him. Here is the order he chose for his compelling argument:

1. The Apostle Paul first places the entire problem of homosexuality on a spiritual basis. In the twenty-fifth verse of the Epistle to the Romans of chapter one, he writes: "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator...." The divine Chrysostom points out that there was a distortion in the creation of God. God did not prevent the natural relationship between the sexes, so they "justifiably" fall into the strange madness of "males having left the natural use of the female." In the deep psyche of the homosexual world there is an autonomy of individual and selfish choice against the truth of God that prefers falsehood. This is why the way they display and advertise their "diversity" is very provocative. Arrogant attitudes and cocky appearances are displayed on television, and inaccuracies and falsehoods are spread about their demonic way of life. This is why Chrysostom boldly states: "Their ideology is satanic, and their life demonic." Therefore does God abandon those people who twist the truth concerning the creation of man and present falsehood with offensive boldness, namely that their perversion is an issue of genes or free sexual choice. "When God abandons, everything is turned upside down." Ones entire mentality is flipped, the entire psychology, the entire physical physiology, and it turns into psychopathology. Therefore, the problem is primarily spiritual.

2. Moreover, says St. John Chrysostom, God put before them, the homosexuals, the world and the mind of man. The vast majority of people accept, admit and deterministically are given over to the physical attraction between sexes and enjoy a lawful and proper relationship. This is what "world" means. The "mind of man" archetypically, from his initial creation, can distinguish the natural relationship of man and woman and take rest in it. The other mental choice is to intentionally misunderstand, and so the result is tragic. Man is dragged into the most dishonorable passion, rejecting the natural relationship with a woman and frantically seeking to be satisfied autonomously, selfishly, without preconditions, and entirely unblessed with a man. This is why according to the holy Father this passion is unforgivable, because homosexuals do not consider common human experience and the God-given gift of the mind.

It is very sad today that young boys and girls are lured into silly and provocative so-called "homosexual programs" on television that selfishly allege to want to "break away", as they say, from their traditional parents, some of whom cannot hide the panic before such havoc "choices" of their son or daughter. No news channel lately mentions, however, the ever lurking danger of the sickness of AIDS.

3. What is even more disgraceful for people is that this degrading passion appeared also among women. Even though they should be ashamed, today under the propaganda of the New Age, they are more empowered than men, becoming confused and callous, at the same time insisting on the God-creating power of motherhood. The divine Father relies on the archetypal creation of the couple, as is divinely inspired and emphatically recorded in Genesis of the Old Testament, that man first, as the wise head, ought to help woman think correctly and act correctly. Instead he drags her to the godless and inhuman passion of Sodomy. From the outset in Paradise he degenerates this blessed relationship with abominable hostility. Though man was appointed a teacher of woman, and woman a helpmate of man, in the end they ended up outside the Church and outside the blessing of God, hostile on many levels in the works of darkness and shame.

4. The divine Chrysostom claims that prudence according to Christ dictated that the Apostle Paul was to speak chastely, but also to sting the hearer. The divine Father says: "He does not say that they were enamored of, and lusted after one another, but, 'they burned in their lust one toward another'." The verb "burned" does not denote a strong erotic desire, but indicates an unrestrained and unsatisfied burning. This vague verb is passively used to signify the constant unsatisfied erotic homosexual desire among women. Later he uses it towards men to complete the word "unseemly" to indicate the violation of God's law and the insult done to the same sex and the opposite sex. Both demean, for these relationships are completely perverted. They transgress the elect laws of God for natural eroticism, bringing shame to their own sex and to the opposite sex which they despise, and for this reason they are completely abandoned by God, reaching the worst, the most unheard of and lamentable, supposedly erotic sexual behaviors.

According to divine Chrysostom, not even wild animals go beyond their heterosexual boundaries. They live according to their erotic nature and compulsion which was given to them by the Creator God, for the purpose of perpetuating the species. A relative reduction in their ferocity is achieved during commingling, a certain intimacy, tameness and relief.

5. According to the "in the image and likeness" creation of the first couple by the personal will of God, they should have lived in perfect marital unity. This most philanthropic will of the Triadic God was envied by the devil and, when given the chance, since the time of the fall of man he has enabled obstacles in every married couple with the purpose of overwhelming this blessed union. As an extreme consequence of this hatred, there has appeared among men and women this disgraceful and ingrained passion of homosexuality, with the result that they do not come forward to the blessed Mystery of Marriage and participate in the divine plan of creation, which is fulfilled in the birth of children.

6. According to St. John Chrysostom, these people should be the most unhappy of people and the most pitiable, even if they were successful in all other levels of life. But their self-awareness is so deficient and their conceit so inflated, that they consider themselves and put themselves forward as the happiest of people, while others, those who live normally, are according to them ill and oppressed. St. John Chrysostom unequivocally argues that they already live hell existentially and certainly the fire of Gehenna awaits them. He has the deep and broad experience of the sacred confessional, in which, no matter how much they want to pretend, eventually they cannot hide their deep pain and blood which drips from every section of their heart. At a certain time they are found to be sincere, that this deceptive homosexual companionship has proven to be impossible and unrealizable. So that the Saint becomes more believable, he describes two examples of very strange people. Suppose I saw, he says, a young man running around naked besmeared with mire and exulting that he is clean and well washed. He also spoke of a young virgin, if she was enclosed in a house and condemned to have intercourse with an animal, and afterwards rejoiced in it. The one who compelled her, argued the Saint, is worse than a murderer because he ruined her soul and her body. How twisted man becomes when he distances himself from the true Triadic God and His saving Church!

Young people today are trapped in mindless ways, but also other age groups in the nets of charming people, who sneakily lead them into Sodomy. There is no more terrible thing than such an attack, says the Saint. "And that you may learn what the real force of this is, if any one were to come and assure you that he would make you a dog instead of being a man, would you not flee from him as a plague? But, lo! you have not made yourself a dog, but an animal more disgraceful than this. For a dog is useful for service, but he that has thus given himself up is serviceable for nothing." If somebody threatened men that they could be able to conceive, to become pregnant, to give birth, to go through the time of postpartum, what would you do, how would you react? Would you turn yourself upside down with your screams due to the strangeness of it, or would you bask passively, with fears and complexes?

7. In the inspired Old Testament there is described articulately and vividly the terrible situation that was created in the society of Sodom and Gomorrah, just before the pouring out of the just wrath of God and the complete destruction of these ancient cities that once flourished. Below we will provide excerpts that show how alienated an individual is the homosexual, their erotic companion, and the entire area which tolerates, accepts or admits with every comfort communication with them at all levels of life. The defilement of it is contagious, if it is accepted for reasons of "politeness" so that we are not considered bigots. The "immune system" in Christ is sickened, the psychology of our youth is affected, and the demonic convention finds grounding to corrupt places, souls, mentalities, and easy companions.

Genesis 19:1-11

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 

“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 

Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom — both young and old — surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

Saint John Chrysostom persistently stands before the exemplary catastrophe of Sodom and Gomorrah, and guides his flock through education to strengthen their immune system in Christ on time so that his spiritual children escape this defilement before it takes on epidemic proportions. The fiery rain was so catastrophic that it made their land barren and unable to produce anything that could contribute to new life flourishing, a new human society, a new civilization.

8. For educative purposes we should distinguish homosexuals who have not fallen into carnal sin, and those men or women who have "freed themselves from the taboos of the past" and are having carnal relations and perhaps have even entered a modern homosexual cohabitation. The first struggle very hard to get rid of the demon of homosexuality, that tries in the end with strong thoughts in the mind of the struggling homosexual to blacken his soul and thus tear down his competitor. The second, who have entangled themselves by consent in carnal homosexual sin should ask with inner pain for the mercy of God, should go to confession frequently and with honesty, and eventually they will benefit from Divine mercy. They will accomplish, together with the Lord, in disbanding the "machinations of the enemy" and shake off the abominable carnal homosexual sin and thus annul the wiles of the devil. The support of a spiritual father is needed beside them, guiding them in Christ until they are able to understand that correction and the straight path is not impossible, for "what is impossible with man, is possible with God."

I humbly agree that in this contemporary "sinful and adulterous" generation in which homosexuality seems to be celebrated, spiritual guides are the only ones who show true understanding to those who sin heavily, and they help them come to the knowledge of their situation, to repent, and to become living members of the Church and be saved.

9. It is understood that in the circle of priests homosexuality is unthinkable. Even the simplest carnal sins are obstacles to the Priesthood. The Saints of our Church believe that even the smallest hair in the eye of a person causes tingling and pain and it takes many tears to remove it from the eye. So also the candidate for the clergy, and much more the active clergyman, cannot rest in his priestly ministry, but is tormented and suffers, if there is the slightest carnal sin.

Homosexuality is the heaviest sin, which irrevocably and definitely prevents one entering the Priesthood (and of course the Church does not allow any homosexual to be elevated to the priesthood, even if he has stopped the sin for years). Basil the Great considers homosexuality or lesbianism a beastly sin: "Abusers of themselves with mankind and with beasts, as also murderers, wizards, adulterers, and idolaters, are deserving of the same punishment" (Canon 7 of Basil the Great). Saint Gregory of Nyssa characterizes homosexuality as "unnatural" in his 4th Canon. Saint John the Faster observes in his 19th Canon, according to the compilation of The Rudder by Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite, the following: "A boy who has been ruined by any man cannot come into the holy priesthood. For although on account of his immature age he did not sin himself, yet the vessel of his body was rent and became useless in connection with the sacred priesthood."

10. Unfortunately there exists within our Holy Orthodox Church an organized group of homosexual clergy, who by their provocative behavior and by their obscene insistence on mortally sinning, take others by the neck and drag them to hell from this life, preparing them, alas, for eternal hell, even though they ought to grab them from the abyss of destruction and reconcile them once again with Christ.

The psychology of clergy possessed by the deadly passion of homosexuality mutates essentially into having a persecution mentality by the Church. The residual or inherent faint voice of their conscience cries out for them being on the wrong course and for their daily augmented personality which they form. Incredible nervousness bifurcates their personality, and there is obsessive antipathy towards specific individuals, terrible negligence in their liturgical and pastoral duties, disregard for their family if by chance they are married, and a substantial annihilation of their angelic schema if they are unmarried. Manic to the gut with various sophistries regarding the Sacred Canons, together with hypocritical and pious excuses, they try to modernize the Church.

Unfortunately within such a group of homosexual clergymen there has developed an illusory and deceptive climate of supposed love and support for one another. Young inexperienced candidate clergy, if not guided spiritually and maturely by an experienced spiritual and pious Orthodox mindset, are likely to be ensnared by the exaggerated zealous protectionism indicated above. They are bound emotionally and in a friendly manner with these patrons of theirs, and if there is some tendency towards homosexuality, they basically become victims of this network with devastating consequences, ultimately for the former and the latter. The evil of the above groups, or with others who are more individualized, continues with scenarios and pitfalls set up across the world by the wicked and cunning serpent, the devil.

If the candidate or young clergyman eventually joins and stays within the circles of the homosexuals, he will certainly suffer the consequences of being a particular type as well as terrible alienation against the measures and molds, which experienced and knowledgeable homosexual patrons are imposing.

There are also rare exceptions of repentant or remorseful homosexual clergymen, who are suffering spiritually, psychologically, existentially and perhaps physically, and with nothing can they find rest and quiet from the relentless torture of their conscience. If they do not deeply repent and give up their high pastoral office, they will never rest and acquire the inner experience of complete forgiveness by God.

11. The holy elder Paisios often spoke of the power of spiritual laws. Because homosexuality is an abominable sin before the Triune God and offends His all-wise and personal creative care for people, the counsel of God allows, in the operation of spiritual laws, to deregulate the immune system of the human body, resulting in dire consequences with health, which in time leads to death. Why does the media minimize the high risk of AIDS and over-advertise homosexuality? Or do they not know the exponential increase of bearers and patients of AIDS across the world?

Disappointing are the descriptions made to us in Holy Confession by homosexual patients with AIDS. Dissolved personalities, sad ruins struggling to survive, alternating heavy treatments, remorseful for reckless impassioned homosexual intercourse that have brought them down to pathetic skeletons. Avid seekers of perversion, they lured into demonic pleasure others as their supposed erotic partners, whom they initially completely trusted and in the end were left miserably cheated, all alone, in their existential loneliness.

For all of the above corruption to not occur, with its terrible pathogenesis and unimaginably tragic side-effects, St. John Chrysostom suggests active use of spiritual drugs in Christ. His primary therapeutic guideline is awareness of the omnipresence of God. Nothing destroys people more than unawareness and the criminal forgetfulness of God. But nothing saves him more than seeing the All-good Lord noetically, Who was Crucified for us and Rose from the dead, and to call upon His All-holy Name. Only in this way will the corruption of homosexuality no longer be an unforgivable sin.

Source: Published on the official website of the Holy Metropolis of Kifisia, Amoros and Oropos on June 16, 2013. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.