Tens of thousands of Serbian Orthodox faithful came out to the Cathedral of St. Sava in Belgrade last night for a moleben for the sanctity of marriage and the family and harmony and peace in Serbia celebrated by His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije.
The central streets were “jammed with endless columns of pious people” from across the country, the Serbian Orthodox Church reports.
The prayer event comes on the eve of the planned EuroPride, a pan-European LGBT event to be held in Belgrade today through the 18th. The Serbian president earlier announced at least a postponement of the week-long event due to serious security concerns, but organizers have repeatedly declared that they will hold the event on schedule, no matter what.
The faithful have processed in protest of the event several times already.
Yesterday’s moleben was attended by a number of Serbian hierarchs, including His Grace Bishop Longin of the Diocese of New Gračanica and Midwestern America.
Following the prayer service, the Patriarch preached to the people, emphasizing that in the beginning, God blessed marriage as the union of love between one man and one woman.
“In the life of us Orthodox Christians, everything should begin and be imbued with prayer, should end with it, everything should be grounded in prayer, because we Orthodox Christians recognize immeasurable power and strength in prayer,” His Holiness preached.
The Orthodox faith has shaped the culture and values of the people over the centuries, which are centered on love for God and love for our fellow man, the Patriarch said. But this love isn’t something superficial, but rather a love that is responsible for the sanctity of life and salvation.
But while the Church and Serbian society don’t impose their values on anyone, they also don’t want foreign values to be imposed upon them, His Holiness emphasized. “Our measure and criterion is the word of Christ, the word of God… By faith in the word of Christ we know what is male and what is female. We know what marriage is.”
However, the outside values being brought into Serbia today aim to “destroy our identity foundations and the pillars of the individual and communities, so that everything becomes relative and fragile,” the Patriarch warned. “It’s as if they’re trying to tell us that everything we’ve known so far and what we’ve lived so far no longer applies and that we’ve actually been living wrong for thousands of years.”
Such ideologies end in not even knowing what it means to be human, the Patriarch stated. “Therefore, for us Orthodox Christians, LGBTQ+ ideology is unacceptable,” the Serbian primate said, calling on the authorities to withdraw school textbooks that teach gender ideology.
At the same time, the Church is against all kinds of violence, contempt, hatred, and persecution, His Holiness emphasized.