Today the leadership of the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America and the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of New York and New England issued the following statement:
“…speaking the truth in love…” Ephesians 4:15
On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling disallowing bans on same sex marriage throughout the United States. The Coptic Orthodox Church affirms and reiterates her Christian faith, expressed clearly in the Bible, by the Church Fathers, and in Canon law, that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. We are thankful to live in a democratic society which recognizes and protects both the freedom to exercise religion as well as the freedom to express beliefs; we pray that the Court’s ruling does not diminish these fundamental rights.
While this is a time for prayer and earnest reflection regarding our society and the various cultural influences to which we are exposed, we emphasize that this ruling does not – and will never – alter our faith, our doctrine or our Tradition. As witnesses to the Christian sacrament of marriage instituted by Christ and upheld by the Church, we remain resolutely committed to its historical expression of the union of one man and one woman in matrimony, as “they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-6). This mystery affected by God is foundational to civilization (Genesis 1:27,28).
This is not a time for judgment or condemnation, nor is it a time for fear, but for prayer, repentance and the revival of the perfect, biblical model of marriage. We are called to witness to our Lord’s precious teachings through our own example and, at all times, with love, humility and kindness. The Church remains steadfast in her enduring mission of serving those in spiritual, emotional or physical need. We pray for our neighbors, communities, and leaders, that God would grant us all wisdom. This is the ministry of the Church as established by Jesus Christ, passed on to the Apostles, preserved by the Fathers, and witnessed within the life of the Church today.
As our Lord reminds us in the Gospel of St. Matthew: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). May our heavenly Father grant us the courage and wisdom to shine His light before men for the glory of His Holy Name. And, may God continue to bless our great nation and all its people.