As public dialogue over a contentious same-sex marriage draft bill tabled by the government continues in Greek society, the semi-autonomous Orthodox monastic community of Mount Athos released a statement expressing its unequivocal opposition to the prospect.

A lengthy statement underlined that the draft bill was not only a violation of the Gospels but in contrivance with the norms of Greek society, calling it “a great crime.”

The statement noted that the proposed legislation “abuses human nature, because it essentially impedes normal development, unknowingly destroying the person”.

The statement was signed by the 40 Abbots and representatives of the Holy Monasteries of Mount Athos, who convened in the monastic community capital of Karyes, also on the northern Greece promontory.

As the document states the enactment of the law, while aiming to ensure the principle of equality through “the conclusion of a “marriage” between persons of the same sex and even the protection from discrimination, violates fundamental principles of human existence and kills the possibility of life and normal development of the child. Not only the human family is dissolved, but the entire human existence.”

The monastic community added that: “The institution of ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex is a subversion of Christian marriage and the institution of the family, and has been rejected by the entirety of ecclesiastical tradition and is faced with repentance, which is a change of lifestyle.”

According to recent polls on the matter, Greeks appear to be divided on the issue, while some high-profile government ministers openly opposed the bill. Recently, hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece also unanimously opposed the bill.