The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church said on June 14 that it was opposed to the annual Pride Parade in Sofia, scheduled for June 30.
In a statement, the Holy Synod said that it was “categorically opposed to the organisation of such an immoral manifestation,” underlining its belief that homosexuality was “an unnatural passion that unconditionally damages personality, family and society.”
Bulgarian Orthodox Church has a long record of opposing events it sees as immoral, from the gay pride marches to concerts by pop stars (Madonna and Lady Gaga both, at different times, have found themselves the target of irate Bulgarian clergy.)
Its statement peppered with biblical quotes, the Holy Synod re-iterated its support for “traditional family values”, saying that “the blessed family is the basis of a healthy society.”
“We beg parents, teachers and educators not to allow their children and pupils to participate and witness this harmful demonstration, which breaches the rights of Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria and creates the preconditions for the rise of temptation, tension and conflict,” the statement said.
Annual gay pride parades have been organised in Sofia since 2008, much to the consternation of religious authorities and nationalist parties – which have in the past tried to organise competing rallies in parallel with the pride parade.
Turnout at such events has never exceeded a few hundred people, with a large number of police officers escorting the participants to avoid any attacks on them.
(Photo: Guillaume Paumier)