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The Armenian Church And Human Sexuality


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#1 gamavor

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 12:03 PM

The Armenian Church and Human Sexuality

By Fr. Shenork Souin


On February 11, 2000, the federal Justice Minister, Anne McLellan introduced Bill C-23, an Act to modernize the Statutes of Canada in relation to benefits and obligations, omnibus legislation which would amend 68 federal laws in order to extend to same-sex couples most of the rights and benefits currently given to common-law and married couples. If passed, homosexual and lesbian relationships will be equated with married couples under federal law.

In light of the possible reversal of a traditional understanding of marriage for all Canadians and it's concomitant ramifications, the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church-Canadian Diocese, comprised of 60,000 Canadian citizens, must, for good conscience and for the benefit of her children who look to her for spiritual and moral guidance in matters of faith and morality, articulate her position regarding human sexuality and marriage, without regard to the definition that civil law might describe.

Before specifically addressing the issue of sexuality and marriage, we desire to make perfectly clear how the Armenian Church articulates, demonstrates and transmits her faith throughout all time, and in all places, without regard for the particularities and "timeliness" of the issues she addresses.

To see how the church transmits her faith, one must first know what the Church is and to whom she belongs. Clearly, as the "Bride of Christ," and thus His mystical Body, anything she says and does must be firmly grounded in His Person, Work and Word, always looking to Him as the Head, the Lord and the Master. She must therefore, by definition, be a faithful bride, subject to Him in all things. The Church is thus One Body and is visibly seen in her unity, which is known by her confessional catholicity. Any "group", by contrast, that is unfaithful to Christ, not subject to His Word, is Anathema, condemned and outside the "catholic" church through her own infidelity, her own fault her own most grievous fault.

With this in mind, and in order to avoid any misunderstanding, the Armenian Church is an Apostolic and Orthodox Church. She is a member of the "One Holy Apostolic Catholic Church". Being founded by and in Christ, her primary and fundamental dogmas, and doctrines are canonized and sanctified by the divine guidance of Her Holy Tradition. Her Holy Tradition is nothing less than the life and footprints of the Holy Spirit in the Church, which must remain and always do remain faithful to Christ and the "teaching of the Apostles". For this reason, while the evolution of how she articulates doctrines may be improved, formalized or developed with creeds and canons, the Armenian Church has not and will not withdraw nor change that which was once and for all established and received, regardless of times, seasons and laws, in the realm of Theology, Christology or ethics.

We believe that the teaching of the church on the subject of human sexuality, homosexuality and marriage are so abundantly clear that we do not feel the need to go into great detail.

The Armenian Church's view of homosexuality, along with sexuality in general, is articulated in the rubric of Christian Anthropology which has always sprung from a profound understanding of mankind as being created in the image and likeness of God and recreated by the Incarnation of God in Christ. From this profound reality, furthermore, we also hold to an extremely exalted view of the sanctity of life since, as St. Athanasius taught that, "God became man so that man might become like God." These values and teachings are eternal and changeless. They give stability to our ethos as Orthodox Christians.

On the matter of homosexuality, in particular, a leading Orthodox ethicist, Rev. Fr. Stanley Harakas states that "The church teaches that human sexuality is a divinely given dimension of human life that finds its fulfillment in the marital relationship." For this reason therefore the church has said and continually says that "premarital sexual relations between unmarried persons are sinful and as such are labeled fornication." This means that not only homosexuality but heterosexuality also, practiced outside the sanctity of the "marital embrace", is, without repentance, sin and punishable according to God's command. Yes, homosexuality is sin and the one who is a practicing homosexual is by that definition a sinner. To seek good standing and Communion in the church, the homosexual along with any sinner, MUST repent, turn away from that life style and remain celibate. Does this mean that the church disapproves of homosexuals? The words "disapprove" and "hate" are often confused and the label "homophobia" is used for those who view homosexuality as sin according to God's Word. This label is completely unfair as applied to the church or confessing Christians. As God hates the sin but loves the sinner, so too does the church, with the "mind of Christ", out of a profound and irrational sense of love for the "lost", continually call sinners to repentance. Of these, homosexuals are not alone. As St. John says, "whoever says that he is without sin is a liar and the truth is not in him". All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, the adulterers, the fornicators, the murderers, the gluttons, the proud, the envious, the angry, the hateful, the greedy, the slothful...in a word all who have sinned.

The Church does not excuse sin, as the world is apt to do. For the world, what was sin yesterday is seen today as an "alternative lifestyle". This is the way of the world, against which the Church always struggles and for which she is persecuted. Through her call to repentance and her desire to absolve and release sinners, she is acting contrary to this world's mindset.

Her role therefore, in view of sin, is to accuse it and ready to forgive the one who turns to Christ in repentance. Therefore, in answering the question, she disapproves of homosexuality but continually calls a homosexual to her embrace in repentance. She is not homophobic but philanthropic desiring to bring all to the glory of Christ in the fellowship of His Church, through the forgiveness of sins.

In the matter of adoption, in the view of the Armenian Church, children are the fruit of marriage, the gift of God, which is a sign of His continually creative love. Adoption for the church is therefore, only possible for married couples, husbands and wives to whom the divinely instituted stewardship of parenthood is given and sanctified. Having said this therefore, it should be already obvious that she does not approve or even look to the possibility of marriage or adoption for homosexual "couples." Anyone who, by civil authority or in accordance to "man-made" laws which may be contrary to the law of God, seeks either marriage in a homosexual relation and or adopts children in such a relationship is by their own action outside the grace of the holy Church and may not seek nor expect any sacrament, blessing, or acknowledgement from or in the Armenian Church.

May God grant wisdom to our policy makers, may He protect His Church from the snares of the evil one and may He guide us in the tradition of His Holy Church and to Him be glory now and always and unto the ages of ages, Amen.

http://www.geocities...nork/index.html

PS: Fr. Shenork's web page has extremely interesting content. Lots of links and articles. Worthy reading!

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#2 kakachik77

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 06:54 PM

yes but in the case of the Armenian Church particularly it is more important to understand that what is on paper differs greatly to the practice. If the church is going to harass homosexuals then we as Armenians have not learned anything from our long history of harassment.

#3 phantom22

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 12:39 AM

QUOTE (kakachik77 @ Nov 2 2005, 06:54 PM)
yes but in the case of the Armenian Church particularly it is more important to understand that what is on paper differs greatly to the practice. If the church is going to harass homosexuals then we as Armenians have not learned anything from our long history of harassment.


Even though Armenians should be more tolerant due to our long history of harassment doesn't mean that a history of harassment makes a group more tolerant in this regard. American Blacks and Hispanics have a long history of being discriminated against yet polls show that over 80% of Blacks and about 70% of Hispanics do not believe that homosexuals and bisexuals should have any civil rights, even non-practicing homosexuals and bisexuals.

#4 Anahit

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 02:04 AM

法律面前人人平等!
EVERYONE IS EQUAL IN FRONT OF THE LAW! NO MATTER HETEROSEXUAL, BISEXUAL OR HOMOSEXUAL! THUS, IF THERE ARE LAWS PROTECTING OR BENEFITING HETEROSEXUAL RELATIONS, THE SAME LAWS MUST IMPLY TO THE OTHERS AS WELL!

#5 Sasun

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 10:08 AM

QUOTE (Anahit @ Nov 3 2005, 03:04 AM)
法律面前人人平等!
EVERYONE IS EQUAL IN FRONT OF THE LAW! NO MATTER HETEROSEXUAL, BISEXUAL OR HOMOSEXUAL! THUS, IF THERE ARE LAWS PROTECTING OR BENEFITING HETEROSEXUAL RELATIONS, THE SAME LAWS MUST IMPLY TO THE OTHERS AS WELL!

Yeah, everyone is equal in front of God's Law -not man made temporary and changeble laws. Those who act against God's laws suffer the consequencies. Don't blame God, you have been told not to do so.

#6 kakachik77

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 10:52 AM

QUOTE (phantom22 @ Nov 3 2005, 01:39 AM)
Even though Armenians should be more tolerant due to our long history of harassment doesn't mean that a history of harassment makes a group more tolerant in this regard. American Blacks and Hispanics have a long history of being discriminated against yet polls show that over 80% of Blacks and about 70% of Hispanics do not believe that homosexuals and bisexuals should have any civil rights, even non-practicing homosexuals and bisexuals.


Phantom jan, which polls. Hispanics as a race don't exist (check US census). You mean white looking Argentinian hispanics have been harassed?? Your statement is very broad. Think catholicism in this case not as much harassment.

#7 kakachik77

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 11:00 AM

I find the Armenian Church open-minded, so again what is on the paper is not what happens in practice. It is easier to approach and have all kinds of conversations with our priests. Once I tried to do this with a Catholic one and I was unpleasantly surprised.

#8 phantom22

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 01:08 PM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Nov 3 2005, 10:08 AM)
Yeah, everyone is equal in front of God's Law -not man made temporary and changeble laws. Those who act against God's laws suffer the consequencies. Don't blame God, you have been told not to do so.


Oh, Please. God's laws? Where does it say that Jesus condemned this? Are you speaking of Leviticus? I suggest that you read through the old Testament. Do you realize that you are going against the prohibitions there every day in your life? Some of the prohibitions are absolutely comical.

#9 Sasun

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 02:03 PM

QUOTE (phantom22 @ Nov 3 2005, 02:08 PM)
Oh, Please. God's laws? Where does it say that Jesus condemned this? Are you speaking of Leviticus? I suggest that you read through the old Testament. Do you realize that you are going against the prohibitions there every day in your life? Some of the prohibitions are absolutely comical.

Phantom, I am not someone who endorses churchmen, but agree with the article which suggests that sex is for reproduction. That is abundantly clear in the Bible as well as in all other major religions. Gay sex is absolutely useless for reproduction and serves no other purpose than pleasure (in that a perverted one IMO), therefore it is against God's laws. Now, this has been told from times immemorial. Jesus didn't say also that drug abuse is bad, he did not say so many other things. That does not mean that he approved it. Do as you wish but don't try to find any loopholes in the Bible. Isn't the story of Sodom in the Bible enough for you?

#10 phantom22

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 08:29 PM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Nov 3 2005, 02:03 PM)
Phantom, I am not someone who endorses churchmen, but agree with the article which suggests that sex is for reproduction. That is abundantly clear in the Bible as well as in all other major religions. Gay sex is absolutely useless for reproduction and serves no other purpose than pleasure (in that a perverted one IMO), therefore it is against God's laws. Now, this has been told from times immemorial. Jesus didn't say also that drug abuse is bad, he did not say so many other things. That does not mean that he approved it. Do as you wish but don't try to find any loopholes in the Bible. Isn't the story of Sodom in the Bible enough for you?


Sasun,

Have you ever wondered why homosexuality exists at all. Why would God condemn certain persons to such an existence? What is God's purpose in placing homosexuals and bisexuals on this earth?

By the way, do you also condemn the heterosexual couples who choose not to bear children. I know of numerous professional women who have chosen not to bear children. This was one of my major arguments with my ex-wife. I wanted children very much and she did not. She aborted two from me and two from her first odar husband, without our consent.

#11 Takoush

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 08:58 PM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Nov 3 2005, 03:03 PM)
Phantom, I am not someone who endorses churchmen, but agree with the article which suggests that sex is for reproduction. That is abundantly clear in the Bible as well as in all other major religions. Gay sex is absolutely useless for reproduction and serves no other purpose than pleasure (in that a perverted one IMO), therefore it is against God's laws. Now, this has been told from times immemorial. Jesus didn't say also that drug abuse is bad, he did not say so many other things. That does not mean that he approved it. Do as you wish but don't try to find any loopholes in the Bible. Isn't the story of Sodom in the Bible enough for you?

Sasun:

You are quite right. That's exactly what the Bible says. That sex is for reproduction only. You are on target.


Although I feel for phantom22's bad faith; I mean for his ex-wife being evil and doing what she did and with two husbands; but consider this phantom. How do you figure that God created homosexuals? How do you know that the devil isn't the one to be part of that? Why do people place all the ill doings of people as God's doings and not the devil's?

I believe what your wife did, it isn't because God wanted it that way or God did it; but the responsibility's on the devil himself. The devil got into her. Somehow he played with her ethics and what is right and not right to do.

Edited by Anahid Takouhi, 03 November 2005 - 09:07 PM.


#12 phantom22

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:39 PM

QUOTE (Anahid Takouhi @ Nov 3 2005, 08:58 PM)
Sasun:

You are quite right. That's exactly what the Bible says. That sex is for reproduction only. You are on target.
Although I feel for phantom22's bad faith; I mean for his ex-wife being evil and doing what she did and with two husbands; but consider this phantom. How do you figure that God created homosexuals? How do you know that the devil isn't the one to be part of that? Why do people place all the ill doings of people as God's doings and not the devil's?

I believe what your wife did, it isn't because God wanted it that way or God did it; but the responsibility's on the devil himself. The devil got into her. Somehow he played with her ethics and what is right and not right to do.


Anahid,

So you believe that the Devil placed homosexuals and bisexuals on this earth? What about those who do not practice their homosexuality? Do you consider them also to be the work of the devil?

#13 ED

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:55 PM

QUOTE (phantom22 @ Nov 3 2005, 07:39 PM)
Anahid,

So you believe that the Devil placed homosexuals and bisexuals on this earth? What about those who do not practice their homosexuality? Do you consider them also to be the work of the devil?



I just wonder, how they, the homosexuals, forfill there natural need.

and one more thing, if sex is only for reproduction, then according to God premerital sex is sin also?
I dont think so, sex is very natural be that in a marriege or outside of it, lets say a couple meet, they fall in love, and nature takes its course they end up having sex regardless if they would get married in a future, just 2 consenting adults falling in love and one thing lets to another .....boom! is that sin?

#14 kakachik77

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 10:08 PM

weird, I thought Armenians did not really believe in God wink.gif come guys, look at your history and think before believing in any fairy tails.

#15 Takoush

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 11:52 PM

QUOTE (phantom22 @ Nov 3 2005, 10:39 PM)
Anahid,

So you believe that the Devil placed homosexuals and bisexuals on this earth? What about those who do not practice their homosexuality? Do you consider them also to be the work of the devil?


I believe that the devil not God had a part in it.

What about it? For those who do not practice their homosexuality? Are you trying to say they are exempt from sin because of their abstinance? I have no answer for that. However if they do pray and stay close to Him, to God, than they would be better off in the long run, yes.

I am not a theologian nor am I a preacher; but with my little knowledge and understanding, I would think that most of ill faiths on this earth that we place a lot of emphasis and claim that it's God's doing, I don't believe so. Some things it is God's wrath against men and their wrongdoings or not following God's words. But in our every day life I believe the devil controls the earth, it's his domain and it's the devil's way of alluring people to draw us away from God. However, if we stay close to God, in our everyday life, we will certainly feel His presence and feel more His love towards us, and we towards Him, and that bond will certainly make us abstain from sins of the devil. But I believe in every day prayers. Yes, I believe in that.

Edited by Anahid Takouhi, 04 November 2005 - 01:02 AM.


#16 Eloren

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 01:05 AM

How do we really know that sex for "pleasure" is a sin? Who said it? God himself? Jesus?

Or maybe some religious/politician priests or fanatics back in the old days that spread these ideas to control population, to maintain fear or discriminate those who do not believe their ideas? Have we arleady forgotten that these same people used to forbid most books? Art? Pleasure?

I myself, as a christian, do not believe any of this.
Making love is a very natural thing, it is one of the greatest gift of love one can give. Making love is not just to have children, it is not a sin. It is just a way to express our feelings.
Homosexuals or bisexuals also are not instruments of the devil, they are also people like us, like anyone that have feelings towards another one. Who on earth has the right to judge two people loving each other?
We all get emotional and stuff when we hear a beautiful "impossible love story" like Romeo and Juliet, but at the same time we condemn it.

God put us on this earth and gave us free will. He gave 10 commandements that are essential for a peaceful, healthy society. I have not seen in these rules: "Do not have sex, or pleasure, or love someone your own sex"..

We are not God's puppets, not the Devil's puppets, nore are we some fanatic's toys.

Just my two eurocents wink.gif

#17 Takoush

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 06:53 AM

Eloren and Edward:

I also believe in the strong power of love.

Don't get me wrong. However I recited what also sasun said from the Bible only. I don't know the validity of it; whether God will find it faulty or not if we fall in love and have relations 'sex' too. But I just recited from the Bible.

I also believe that the beauty of love between a man and a woman is also sacred and something for us humans to look forward to and of course dream about. That goes without saying. That's what the world is made of. Why else people from day one would make all the poetries and love songs about it?
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#18 Sip

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 07:14 AM

QUOTE (Anahid Takouhi @ Nov 4 2005, 06:53 AM)
... That's what the world is made of. Why else people from day one would make all the poetries and love songs about it?


It wasn't really from day 1. I'd say this modern concept of "love" between man and woman is not really that old ... maybe from the Renaisance days? You don't see too many squeeshy lovey dovey poetic stuff about "love love love" from much before that ... though I am certainly no expert on the subject.

#19 Takoush

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 08:11 AM

QUOTE (Sip @ Nov 4 2005, 08:14 AM)
It wasn't really from day 1. I'd say this modern concept of "love" between man and woman is not really that old ... maybe from the Renaisance days? You don't see too many squeeshy lovey dovey poetic stuff about "love love love" from much before that ... though I am certainly no expert on the subject.

Sip jan:

You're still upside down. Coming on your subject, how do you expect young + pretty + smart Armenian girls or guests on the Forum to fall head over heels for you if you are going to remain upside down? photo.gif dizzy.gif biggrin.gif

Edited by Anahid Takouhi, 04 November 2005 - 12:15 PM.

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#20 Arpa

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 09:04 AM

QUOTE (Anahid Takouhi @ Nov 4 2005, 02:11 PM)
Sip jan:
You're still upside down.

He has no control over it.
That yellow stuff oozing out of his head is in fact his grey matter
He let his brain get so cheesily big that it made him top heavy, and now he is condemned to stay inverted until he rediscovers that our brains are square, not triangular.
Pretty soon he will be blasted off to that celestial body that is made of blue cheese, the moon.
biggrin.gif tongue.gif

Hey Sip!
Do they make goat cheese in Wisconsin?
look at thia story;

19 TONS OF ARMENIAN CHEESE TO BE EXPORTED TO US IN NOVEMBER

Noyan Tapan
Nov 3 2005

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 3, NOYAN TAPAN. In total, the Selim, Vayots Dzor
and Doustr Melania Armenian companies will export 19 tons of Armenian
cheese to Los Angeles (US) in November 2005, 7.5 tons out of which
will be goat cheese. As Noyan Tapan's correspondent was informed by
the Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD) fund rendering
assistance to cheese export, the first batch of Armenian goat cheese -
7 tons, was exported to the US in 2005 spring.


PS. I'm sure you also remember that I was the first to address you as "sip";
Here;

QUOTE
Arpa Oct 24 2002, 11:57 PM Post #1

Ali wrote;
tb,
the only mountain name that comes to my mind that has the stress on the second syllable is süphan da?? (your sipan), and i think that is either because it has only two syllables (but then again, both agri and toros, both stressed on the first syllable, have two syllables), or because süphan is a koranic word (subhan with long a). of course, the transition from sipan to süphan probably took place during the republican period, and i would very much like to know how the locals (who are probably kurdish) call the mountain.
=====
Very few languages have as many sounds as the Armenian.
Among others the sounds of ds/dz as in "adze" and ts/tz as in "pits" etc. Some Turkish speaking Armenians cannot produce the sounds. They would pronounce "tsaghik"(flower) as "zaghik" and would say "sav@d tanem"("let me bear your pain") instead of "tsav@d tanem". Which came first? The Armenian dzet/tset(olive oil), dziteni/tziteni (olive tree) or the Arabic/Turkish "zeit/zeitun"?
The custom seems to be reciprocal. Many words and names in the Armenian use the sound of ds-ts whose equivalents in other languages may sound as z or s.
Tsopq (some may pronounce it "dzopq", should in fact be transliterated as "tsoPHq" as it is spelled with the letter "pyur" equivalent of the Greek/Latin PH (As in pharos/paros.)
Tsopq is a region of historical Armenia, the second largest state of Greater Haik. It is bordered by Commagene in the west and Tarawn on the east. Its e-w extant is approximately from Melitene(Malatya) to Tigranakert (Dyarbakir). The Armenian appellation of the region may have derived from the Hittite Ishuva/Isua, Assyrian Sofan or the Uratuan Supani. The Latins know it by Sophananae and the Greeks call it Tsophani. The latter may be the closest to the Armenian "tsophq". The mountain named the same as the region is known as Suphan, Siphan and ultimately as the Armenian Sipana Ler (descriptive i.e. Mountain of Siphan) is sometimes aternately called Tsophq. (As hinted above, since most other languages pronounce it with F sound, i.e. PH, the correct anglification of it would rather be SiPHan and not Sipan.

Note: Don't let Sip see this, lest he wake up and come back from his long wanderings on the "sea "

Edited by Arpa, 04 November 2005 - 09:46 AM.





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