Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece on Thursday said the adopted children of same-sex couples may get baptized in the Church after they had reached adulthood, speaking to the press after a meeting with the visiting Archbishop of America Elpidophoros.

Responding to questions reporters upon exiting the meeting at the Archdiocese in Athens, which lasted around 40 minutes, Ieronymos said societal norms have shifted compared to the past, when “there was a sense that the child grows up in an environment of Christian values and they did not need catechism,” and therefore it would be prudent for the Church to wait for these children [of same-sex couples] to grow up before they decide whether they wanted to get baptized.

“We must return to tradition”, he noted, adding that the Church loves all children and cares for them more than anybody. On his part, Elpidophoros concurred, saying “I have nothing more to add on the matter, as his Beatitude has said it all.”

Commenting on the broader issue of same-sex marriage, which had taken center stage in public debate in the country this month, and in light of a related draft bill tabled by the government in Parliament, Ieronymos underlined that an individual’s freedom is a serious issue that had to be heeded by all parties, both by the state and the Church.

He added that neither the Church should take up arms, nor should the state bind any institution in the country.

During the meeting, the two religious leaders broached ecclesiastical matters of bilateral interest, agreeing on the close ties between the two Orthodox Churches bound together under the auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Elpidophoros stated: “The political leaderships of the two countries are showing the right path, that the United States and Greece are moving together for the benefit of both sides. Certainly, the Church preceded this collaboration because we always move together. The Church of Greece is the Church of our homeland, for all compatriots.”