In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Brothers archpriests, brothers priests, monks and nuns, brothers and sisters, children of Saint Sava and children of Saint Prince Lazar, children of our great, glorious fathers and forefathers, ascetics, martyrs and witnesses of the Orthodox faith, you are welcome under the protection of Saint Sava’s Temple. We are all welcome and we have gathered well tonight. One thought and one desire brought us here tonight in such large numbers in front of the Temple of Saint Sava, in front of the congregational church of the entire Serbian Orthodox people, wherever they are. That desire, that thought is simple: that we should be what we are, that we should be what our ancestors were–that our children should also be the same, that we should be what we have been since the birth of our nation, that we should be what is the will of God, what God wants from us, not what people are trying to get for themselves. Brothers and sisters, we have gathered here to pray to God for the sanctity of marriage, for harmony and unity.
In the life of us Orthodox Christians, everything should begin and be imbued with prayer, everything should end with prayer, everything should be grounded in prayer, because we, Orthodox Christians, recognize immeasurable power and strength in prayer. Prayer is at the same time the space of God’s presence among us, in us and in our lives. Yesterday, brothers and sisters, I served the Liturgy in Jasenovac, and this morning in Lika, in Medak, where many innocent people lost their lives in 1993. A few days before that I was in Szentendre in Hungary, and before that in Herceg Novi. In the last two or three months, I visited and served in many dioceses of our Church, from Kosovo through the Republika Srpska [in Bosnia Herzegovina] and throughout Serbia. I served and gathered with our people, prayed to God together with them… Wherever we live, regardless of national and political borders, we are all connected by the same Orthodox faith. We are all connected by the same Serbian Orthodox Church. It is precisely because of this that the same value system connects us all and makes us one. The Orthodox faith has shaped us wherever we happened to be throughout the centuries, from Saint Sava, through the Kosovo Covenant, Saint Prince Lazar of Kosovo, until our days. We have been shaped by the Gospel of Christ, by the word and commandments of God, we have been shaped by Christ’s teachings. With the Gospel of Christ we have built and created our way of life and our system of values. With that system of values, we organize our private, family, social, and cultural life. Our public morality was formed on that system of values. With it, we build relationships among ourselves, but also with others, those different from us; in a word, we build and nurture what is right for us, our identity. It is an Orthodox, Christian identity and an evangelical value system. At the center of that value system is love for God and love for neighbor, but not sentimental, superficial love, rather love that is a responsibility towards the sacredness of life and responsibility towards salvation. We are not just biological beings called into this world to have our beginning and then have everything rendered completely and senselessly meaningless, to disappear from it. We were created for eternity, and our Church leads us to that eternity, the Gospel of Christ and the value system built on the Gospel guide us.
Brothers and sisters, you know this better than I do, we do not impose our way of life on anyone, but we also do not want anyone, from any part of the world, to come and impose their values, their worldview, their way of life on us. Brothers and sisters, we will not–I repeat, because we do not impose our way of life on anyone–have anyone, even if they think they are better than us, impose their rules, their worldview and their way of life on us. We will not let anyone tell us what we should be. The measure and criterion for us is the word of Christ, the word of God. Christ gives us guidance, tells us what is good and what is not, what is black and what is white, what is established by God as natural and what is unnatural or, as Saint Maximus the Confessor says, counternatural. Already in the opening pages of the Scripture, God’s word reveals to us that God created man as two sexes, as male and female, and that He blessed marriage and the family as a union of love between a man and a woman with their children. Society and civilization as we know it, not only here but also in Europe, were built on such God-blessed marriage and such family. The very word family, according to its meaning in the Serbian language, tells us that men and women moved by love and desire to be one enter into a union and have offspring, a family. Family is one of the fruits of marriage between a man and a woman. But, when there is no offspring in marriage, when there are no children, when such is the will of God, marriage loses none of its fullness and its meaning, because the most important goal remains–that two become one in love.
So what is this? This is our faith. Through it and through trust in the word of Christ, we know what is male and what is female. Through it, we also know what marriage is. For us Orthodox Christians, it goes without saying. There is no need for any explanations, because Christ’s word is simple and directed to each and every person. Today, however, we are faced with waves, with a tsunami, with the invasion of many new value systems that are being imposed violently, aggressively or with soft power and by invisible works under the radar, with the aim of collapsing any existing natural or civilizational order, in order to establish a new paradigm, new rules. In this vortex, the intention is to destroy the identity foundations and pillars of individuals and communities, to make everything relative and fragile. It’s as if they want to tell us that everything we’ve known and lived with until now is no longer valid and that we have actually lived erroneously for thousands of years, that we have lived in a misconception. The epilogue of these ideologies of the post-humanist society is not only that we lose the idea of what is male and what is female, what is marriage, but that in the end–I will use a strong word and be called out for it, I do not care about name-calling, but I worry with you about what will God say–we cannot even say with certainty what a man is. And there are already such ideas and such voices.
Of course, I do not mean to sound self-centered or proud when I say that we are a hindrance to them, or say that we are supposedly better than they are because we have a different stance and point of view, but rather I want to say that our entire and firm determination for the truth of the Gospel of Christ, and even for the truth about the male and the female and marriage, exposes their wayward paths. That and their spirit is hindered by Christ and His Gospel. We have read the Gospel and know when the Lord was in the Gadarene region. He did good, but they told him: Go away from us, you are bothering us, spoiling our business, spoiling our idea that comfort, success and fame are the most important things in the world. Christ bothers them, because He clearly says: “If I had not come, they would have no sin”, i.e. if Christ had not come, they would not have known what is right and what is wrong. Since Christ did come and said in the Gospel what is true and what is a lie, the obstacle to that spirit is Himself and His Church, that is, the values that spring from His truth. That is why the spirit of the new ideologies is concerned with those values, if not wanting to remove them, then at least to dilute and relativize them. Of course, it tries to do so from inside, from within the Church, to relativize what the Lord said. They say: “Hasn’t God given freedom to man?” Yes He has. But the Apostle Paul said: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” Therefore, not every freedom is for our salvation or meaningful. Hence, for us, Orthodox Christians, the LGBTQ+ ideology is not acceptable.
However, let me immediately underline that we are simultaneously against any kind of violence, that we are against contempt, hatred, persecution and branding of those who share those ideas, especially if the violence is committed in the name of the Church and in the name of Christ. Moreover, I know that there are many people from that population who are better than me, but who carry their cross and struggle with their temptations and who do not support any parades. I believe that people here have such experiences. We do not judge them, we do not accuse them and we do not condemn them. God is the judge of all, including us gathered here. As Christians, we also pray for them, because they are also our neighbors. We pray that they also come to know the truth of Christ, His law, His commandments. We do not interfere in how someone organizes their life. This is not about a personal relationship with anyone in particular. It is about the fact that we cannot accept anyone’s weaknesses, personal preferences and choices that are not in accordance with the order established by God, and which are promoted and imposed as a new social norm and a rule. We cannot accept that the media, education, culture, and political institutions are turned into means of constant and permanent psychological and moral pressure in the service of violent social engineering. We cannot allow that ideology to change the model of society that our people have lived with ever since the birth of our nation.
We are already faced with the fruits of the silent engineering of that LGBT ideology. Lest anyone says that we are exaggerating, that we are suspicious, that I am exaggerating: these days we found out that lessons that promote gender ideology have been incorporate in textbooks for primary and secondary schools in our country under the counter, far from the public eye. Who did this? Has anyone asked you, whose children go to school, about this? Do you agree with this? If they didn’t ask you, and I know they didn’t, we ask the competent authorities to immediately withdraw from use all textbooks, manuals and teaching aids in high schools, primary schools and preschools that contain such lessons.
Just imagine the absurdity these trends lead to. While, on the one hand, we have laws that give mothers the absolute right to decide whether their child will see the light of day or not, whether it will be born or not–and for decades I have confessed on behalf of our Serbian people in the Kovilje monastery and I know the pain of everyone who deals with this issue, I prayed together with those who went through this and I was certain that God counted that pain as their contribution on the path of transformation and salvation–and on the other hand, in countries where these [LGBT] trends have become a reality and a norm, where they have become normal, they have laws that forbid those same parents, if they have a male child, to see him as a male, to address him as a male, to say to their son: my falcon; or if they have a girl they are not in a position, and they are not allowed by law to nurture their girl to become a young woman one day and a future mother. And all that before I don’t know what year of the child’s age. And about whether he is a boy, if he was born as a boy, and if she is a girl, if she was born as a girl, whether they really want to be that. When they come to I don’t know what age, they are to decide for themselves, according to their affinities, what they are, and before that, until the age of fourteen, they had already gone through brainwashing, they had gone through various programs in schools. These are not the values we live by! These are not the values we want to live with!
Therefore, it is understandable, brothers and sisters, that we are against the so-called Europride, that we are against parading through the streets of our city dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the capital city of Belgrade. We have already seen in many European capitals and we have no need to see any more of how such events, with their obscene and exhibitionist behavior and their visual and aesthetic aggression, insults, mocking and ridiculing everything that is considered the most sacred and virtuous in our nation, but also in other nations. We are against Europride as such, because it is obvious that they are not only interested in walking and partying, as their goal is to transform our society, our values, our way of life, even though we have not asked for that.
Brothers and sisters, some say, I’m sure without thinking about it deeply, that this attitude of ours is a crusade. We know very well what crusades are. Orthodox nations know that, they also know who led them and why. We were objects of the Crusades, but we overcame that temptation and that trouble with faith and the Gospel. Are we waging crusades if we sit in our houses? We did not go to another country, to another people, to impose our way of life and our values on them, not even by grace, let alone by force. We did not do that either by faith or by any other idea, and countless times in history we have been subjected to various attempts to renounce ourselves, to not be who we are, to become something else. Thank God, here we are with our heads on our shoulders alive and well, and we still are what we have been. So who is leading the crusade? Others have come to our house to promote their ideas to us, to steal from us and impose their ideas on us. They want to tell us what we should be. We are the objects in this story and we are the ones subjected to violence. They are raping our minds! They are raping our soul! They would like to, but they won’t be able to!
Brothers and sisters, I could be with you until the morning, and more than anything, I would like to have an all-night vigil, an all-night prayer the way the monasteries on Mount Athos and Serbia do, to pray for the whole world and for all people, to pray that God give us peace, that He give us a healthy family, that He give us harmony and unity, because we have many temptations and problems–that’s why we need to be one in faith and one in good–to pray for our fallen brothers in connection with the ideology that we have mentioned, so I will not mention it anymore. In connection with each of our falls, with each of our sins, may God help us all to come to the knowledge of the truth, to know Him, the One in the Trinity of God whom we glorify, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and always and unto the ages of ages. Amen!