His Beatitude preached: «We are not conservative. We are traditionalists!» At a later date, sermonizing in Mytilene – on June 1999 – our country’s fiery spiritual leader, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, added: «As you are well aware, we are not German or French. Nor are we English. We are mannish Greeks. Orthodox Greeks.» Consequently, we should not accept any «failings» such as homosexuality, his Beatitude went on to clarify in November 2004. Now, we like to think that Greece is a fairly tolerant place, a nation in which diversity is celebrated in line with the traditions of antiquity, when homosexual relations between heroes were often honored. Yet for the Greek Orthodox Church homosexuality remains a powerful taboo. Thus, it unreservedly condemns all expressions of sexual misconduct considered to be incompatible with the definite and unalterable function ascribed to sex by God’s ordinance and manifested in man’s experience as a law of nature. All the same, it seems that the denouncing of homosexuality is a thing of the past. On April 26 the European Parliament in Strasbourg by a great majority adopted a resolution on homophobia in Europe. One of the articles of the resolution reads as follows: «…whereas this resolution has been triggered by the proliferation of hate speech and other series of worrying events, such as the prohibition by local authorities of holding equality and gay pride marches, the use by leading politicians and religious leaders of inflammatory or threatening language or hate speech, and the failure by the police to provide adequate protection against violent demonstrations by homophobic groups, even while breaking up peaceful demonstrations.» Moreover, an International Day against Homophobia on May 17 each year will mark our pan-European calendar. Officially, our attitudes toward sex derive from the Old and New Testament. Even to this day, the Orthodox Church remains faithful to the Biblical and traditional norms regarding premarital sexual relations between men and women – only. And since every single word in the Good Book is absolutely true, rules on fornication, adultery, abortion and homosexuality must be obeyed if we do not want places like the island of Myconos or Plaka in Athens to become filled with pillars of salt or worse. The position of the Orthodox Church toward homosexuality – unreserved condemnation of course – has been expressed by synods, canons and patristic pronouncements since the very first centuries of Orthodox ecclesiastical life. That is way back with the authors of Leviticus who proscribed homosexuality. But Leviticus also proscribes rare meat, bacon and shellfish. Last year’s wisdom is, of course, this year’s folly. No, there were no – known – viruses before Christ, were there? Anyway, as any child knows, the best prevention against the AIDS virus is – what else? – virtue. But is it? The question has been raised of possible contamination through the Communion Spoon and the possibility of changing the method of administering Holy Communion has been discussed. Other methods have been used in the past for administering the sacrament in church. In principle, therefore, the method could change again. Nevertheless, theologically, the Orthodox Church cannot accept that the sacrament would be a source of illness, since it teaches that it is a «medicine of immortality.» Anyway, to date, not one single case of the transmission of any illness has been shown empirically to have been caused by participation in the sacrament. Furthermore, one of the primary objectives of all reforms under discussion at the European Parliament is to make the functioning of the Union more democratic. Understandably, one of the first questions which must be answered by the Parliament is the following: Is it morally permissible, is it democratic, to enforce morality as such? And ought morality as such be a crime? Another important resolution of the European Parliament threatens to take «homophobic» countries to court. No, Greece was not mentioned in this context. Well, the truth is that if we want to survive we must stop giving birth to babies at the current Chinese or Indian rate. Yet this aspect has not been touched on by the Europarliament. At least for now. In an overpopulated world, the Biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply is heeded less and less. An article in the resolution on homophobia stipulates that equality and gay pride events across Europe should have nothing to fear from «possible physical violence.» Therefore the «Gay and Lesbian Film Festival» now running (until Thursday) at the Olympion Cinema in Thessaloniki should have nothing to fear from traditionalists, local Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis and his religious fundamentalist followers. But is this indeed the case? Only three days ago, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras admitted during a parliamentary debate that he was having problems combating what he called «a civil service mentality» in the police force. In actual practice and in the state of panic in which our forces of order now find themselves, what policeman could focus on his job in order to defend parading gays?