On July 7, American Archbishop Elpidophorus (Ecumenical Patriarchate) baptized the children of the homosexual gay couple of Norwegian fashion designer Peter Dundas and his Greek partner Evangelis Bousis at the Church of St. Theotokos Phaneromeni in the Athens seaside district of Vouliagmeni. The two children were born to surrogate mothers, and the homosexual “family” lives in the United States. The baptism was given a lot of media coverage due to the presence of a large number of Greek celebrities. Some of the most famous Greek artists took part in the noisy celebration after this. The Norwegian designer and his Greek partner advertised the baptism as the first Orthodox baptism in a gay family and thus caused a wave of discontent in church circles.
The Metropolitan of Glyphada (a neighborhood of Athens where the temple where the baptism took place) Antonius made a statement addressed to the Archbishop of Athens Hieronymus and the members of St. Synod. In it he expresses his displeasure at being misled by the American archbishop Elphidophorus, who had “acted arbitrarily, arbitrarily and anti-canonically” in his diocese.
In his explanation he says that Archbishop Elpidophorus has requested written permission to baptize the two children of the Greek Bousi family from Chicago in his diocese. He did not speak personally with the archbishop either before or after the baptism and learned from the media that it was a homosexual couple. The godfathers of the two children are still Orthodox Christians, the bishop claims.
The Synod of the Church of Greece will hold an extraordinary meeting on Monday, July 18, and the main topic will be the adopted law on clerical positions, but it is likely that the issue of the baptism of the children of the secular gay couple will also be discussed. The Orthodox Church considers homosexuality to be a deviation that contradicts God’s plan for the development of the human personality, and in this sense defines it as one of man’s sinful inclinations. The Church has not placed any restrictions on the baptism of children, regardless of how they were born and who their parents are, and the requirements for godparents, who must guarantee their Christian upbringing, have long been reduced to the formal presence of an Orthodox baptismal certificate.
Nearly 50% of Greeks believe that society should accept homosexual couples. The scandal with the publicized baptism coincides with the updating of the topic of “gay marriage” in Greece. In May of this year the government again discussed legalizing civil partnership between same-sex couples, which was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2017.