Alarm from Orthodox Moldova about future of marriage


Eastern Europe


A couple takes a photo in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. The Orthodox Church in the country is worried about the direction regarding marriage taken by Western Europe. The church leadership says the majority of the country is for traditional marriage. Photo EPA, Dumitri Doru

The Moldovan Orthodox Church is concerned about a verdict from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) saying that all countries should recognise same-sex relations. These “foreign values” would press the “Orthodox conscience”, a declaration says.

On Monday, Metropolitan Vladimir of Moldova writes that his country is “in a worrying situation”. He says that his country is put under an obligation to open marriage for homosexuals.

Moldova’s constitution describes marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. The country does not know civil unions for same-sex people either. In employment, however, there is legal protection for LGBT people.


The church leader refers to a verdict from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg that says Russia should give more guarantees to people in same-sex relations. Because of this decision, “representatives of the tiny homosexual minority” in Moldova threaten to go to court if the government does not act appropriately.

Metropolitan Vladimir. Photo EPA, Dumitru Doru

The Metropolitan stresses that he “respects the privacy” of the gay community in his country. But to the political leaders, he says: “Do not forget that the vote for the leadership of the country was offered by a majority and not a minority, and this majority of citizens, even if they are not educated at Western universities, still know, thank God, to separate the tares from the wheat”, he says.

The archbishop says that attempts to formalise gay relationships “will be followed by a proportional reaction because such decisions go against the eminently Orthodox and historical conscience of the people. The Orthodox Church of Moldova urges the faithful to take a stand, obviously, strictly within limits allowed by the legislation in force of the Republic of Moldova, so that such legalisation and promotion of sin does not take place.”

Everybody should, therefore, ask himself: “On what side do I stand?” The church, the bishop assures, is on the side of all the “people who for centuries fought and won their right to exist through the sign of the Holy Cross”. The others are “on the side of those who want to bring us to Europe by legislating sins that cry out to heaven?”

The Metropolitan says he is not against the “European aspirations” of his country. Still, only with respect for the “true Christian and historical values of Europe, a Europe in which the Gospel of Christ is put back at the head of the table, and people know their origin in the image and likeness of God.”


The European Court in Strasbourg is part of the Council of Europe, a human rights organisation with 46 member states. The states are supposed to follow the jurisprudence of the ECHR. In several earlier cases, the Court already noticed that there is a trend in Europe to recognise same-sex relations and that the Court follows that.

In the Russian case that the Moldovan Metropolitan is referring to, the Court concluded that the state “had failed to comply with its positive obligation to secure the applicants’ right to respect for their private and family life”. That does not say that marriage should be open for homosexuals. In many countries in the east of Europe, this would even ask for a constitutional change.



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