Mourners at Clayton’s Greek Orthodox Church in Melbourne, Australia, have accused a priest of yelling at congregants to vote against same-sex marriage in an upcoming national mail-in poll. The priest oversaw a memorial service for a deceased lesbian who had reportedly committed suicide after struggling to accept her sexual identity.
As upset congregants left the service, some shouting disagreements at the priest, the priest allegedly advocated shooting homosexuals, although some attendees dispute that allegation.
The service in question took place on Sunday, Sept. 3 (Father’s Day in Australia), 40 days after the deceased woman took her own life. According to the website news.com.au, “The passing of 40 days following the death of a loved one is observed in Orthodox culture.”
In a now-deleted post on the Greek Mums and Bubs Facebook page, congregant and friend of the deceased Liz Tasiopoulos wrote:
The priest was screaming at us [that same-sex marriage] was blasphemy. He pointed out everyone was to vote no. Then one lady stood up and said, “I’ll vote yes.” The priest (said), “shame on you.” She walked out, and then we all did as the girl we were there for was gay.
As we walked, the priest said that all gays should be shot. He was yelling at us all standing in the rain. The comments were so hurtful I couldn’t stop crying.
A young man was in tears. I tried to console him as he had only just had the courage to come out. I told him, “God loves you, we love you, ignore him,” while the priest was screaming at us that it’s blasphemy.
I can’t fathom this much hate on Father’s Day as (the deceased woman’s) father was having to listen 40 days after he laid his only daughter to rest.
I’m so disgusted by all of this that I will never return [to] church again.
Some congregants who attended the tumultuous service say that the priest didn’t advocate shooting homosexuals but instead proclaimed in Greek, “My mouth is my gun.” Tasiopoulos stands by her claim however and no other social media commenters reportedly opposed her claims of the presiding priest’s comments on same-sex marriage.
Tasiopoulos’ claim follows reports of another Orthodox priest in Australia, Father Eleftherios Tatsis of Red Hill church, comparing gay people to spoiled fruit that rot others around them. Congregants also accused Father Tatsis of encouraging others to shoot homosexuals, though Tatsis says he never advocated any such violence.
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