Human rights groups call on Orthodox Church to embrace LGBT people

Close up from a mural at St. Innocent Orthodox Church.

Close up from a mural at St. Innocent Orthodox Church. Bil Browning

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Two gay rights’ groups have called on the Orthodox Church to open up “safe spaces for dialogue and reconciliation” within the church for gays.

In an open letter sent to the Orthodox council which this weekend gathered on the Greek island of Crete, the Euroregional Center for Public Initiatives and the Global Justice Institute-Metropolitan Community Church in New York said the LGBT Orthodox community was subjected to “spiritual and sometimes physical violence in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa.”

They said LGBT believers “feel abandoned and marginalized… and deeply affected by discrimination.”

Florin Buhuceanu, spokesman for the groups, said the letter was deliberately sent a day after Orthodox leaders ended their historic gathering, to not produce “a scandal” at the meeting.

There are some 300 million Orthodox Christians.

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