Trustees Adhere to Synodal Statements on Human Sexuality

At their meeting on July 24, 2017, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir’s Seminary affirmed that the Seminary, in its teaching of theology on the issues of marriage and human sexuality, is guided by the document titled, “Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life,” originally issued by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) in 1992.

Additionally, during their Semi-Annual meeting on May 19, 2017, the full Board of the Seminary unanimously adopted another statement titled, “Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs Regarding Marriage,” which was also adopted by the Holy Synod in June 2016. The first paragraph of that document states that “The Orthodox Church in America teaches and maintains as a sincerely held religious belief that God has established marriage as a lifelong, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman, and that all intimate sexual activity outside the marriage relationship, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise, is immoral, and therefore sin,” and then goes on to cite several scriptural passages upholding that stated belief.

“These two statements, originally issued and adopted by the Holy Synod, provide the public with a clear articulation of the fundamental Orthodox Christian teaching regarding marriage and human sexuality, as well as a recognizable moral guideline,” said Archpriest Chad Hatfield, president of the Seminary.

“And our Board’s recent actions regarding them assure that theological education at our school remains in alignment with the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church,” he continued.

“Moreover,” Fr. Chad concluded, “our Board’s consistent adherence to the Holy Synod’s statements regarding marriage and human sexuality serves as a legal bulwark for the Seminary in matters of religious liberty.”

Specifically, the document titled, “Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life” addresses a range of topics related to human sexuality and family life, within the tradition of the Orthodox Church, based in Holy Scripture. The “Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs Regarding Marriage” statement prohibits the use of church facilities for activities “contrary to and incompatible with sincerely held religious beliefs of the Church, including but not limited to, events, services, or receptions related to non-Orthodox sacraments (including weddings between persons of the same sex and related receptions), non-Orthodox worship services, and partisan political activities.” The statement also articulates fundamental beliefs of the Orthodox Church regarding marriage in terms that can be easily understood and applied by federal, state, and local government officials. According to the OCA’s website, the statement might dissuade “the necessity of probing inquiry or interpretation” by such officials, and might prevent them from transgressing “limitations imposed on them by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by related federal or state legislation, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.”

Read the entire statement titled, “Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs Regarding Marriage” here.

Read the entire statement titled, “Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life” here.