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To the Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Diocese of the West:

This morning we received the news that the Supreme Court of the United States asserted the right for persons of the same sex to be married throughout the country. Their decision, however, in no way alters the teaching of the Orthodox Church on the subject of Christian marriage. And, while our doors are open to everyone who seeks the Kingdom of God, our understanding about human persons and the family remains unchanged. There is no blessing for such unions in the Orthodox Church.

I would draw your attention to the Synodal Affirmation on the Mystery of Marriage of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America on the subject of marriage and human sexuality for further reading. This document was issued exactly two years today (June 26, 2013). READ DOCUMENT

In addition, all the faithful are encouraged to re-read the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA 2013 Statement On Marriage. READ DOCUMENT

Christian marriage is challenged in many ways in our times. Same sex marriages represent only one such challenge. The common practice of cohabitation, even among those who consider themselves to be Orthodox Christians, is another, and perhaps even more serious, symptom of the denigration of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

As we struggle to uphold and preserve what we have received from the Holy Apostles and Fathers of the Church, let us also show compassion to all our neighbors, not forgetting our calling to make Christ and His love manifest in this place and at this time.

Archbishop of San Francisco

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