The recent unanimous rejection by the influential Greek Church’s governing Holy Synod of government plans to legalize same-sex marriage is perceived as a success for Archbishop Ieronymos in navigating the perennial antagonism between the more modernizing and conservative, at times obscurantist, factions within the Hierarchy.
Opposition to the bill among senior clerics was a given, even before Tuesday’s meeting. Pressure on Ieronymos was restricted to the timing and manner of protests. However, his control over the majority of bishops and the increasing presence in recent years of younger clerics with a more educated and moderate profile meant that voices advocating for a more hardline response did not prevail.
Nevertheless, a new front emerged Thursday when Ieronymos said the Church would agree to baptize children of same-sex couples when they grow up, if they wish, effectively pre-empting a decision by the Synodical Committee for Doctrinal and Legal-Canonical Matters, which was tasked with reviewing the issue.
In response to reactions regarding the remarks, archdiocese circles attempted to downplay the matter, asserting that the archbishop did not intend to prejudge future decisions in any way. However, analysts note that he does not make statements lightly, and time will soon reveal his true intentions.