Orthodox Protest Against Gay Couple Church Blessings

The Russian-Orthodox church says it has frozen relations with the Lutheran Church of Sweden.

The move comes after the former Swedish state church announced it will hold ceremonies to bless same sex unions.

The Holy Synod of the Russian church describes this as “a discrepancy towards the principle values of Christian morals”.

The Church of Sweden announced in October it will guarantee same sex partners the right to religious blessings, after an overwhelming vote by the church assembly. Swedish law gives gay couples the same rights as married couples, but these are officially partnerships and not marriages.

The Church of Sweden blessings are not the same as wedding ceremonies.

Commenting on the move by the Russian Church, Swedish Archbishop K.G. Hammar says he has been aware of the Orthodox position on the issue, but he does not know why they feel they have to act now, and what it means in practice.

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