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Greece's Orthodox Church says it will send a letter of protest to the archbishop who heads the church in the US after he baptised the children of Norwegian celebrity fashion designer Peter Dundas and his partner, Evangelo Bousis.
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presided at the 9 July ceremony near Athens while in Greece on a private visit. Dundas and Bousis have a son and a daughter born via surrogacy.
Dundas, who has designed red-carpet and performance outfits for leading artists including Beyoncé, Ciara and Mary J Blige, agreed to have his children baptised as Orthodox, the religion of his partner. Bousis is of Greek heritage.
In a statement published on its website on Tuesday, the governing Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church said it would send letters of complaint to the US church leader as well as to the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is based in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Greek Orthodox Church does not recognise same-sex unions. Greece allows same-sex couples to enter into legal cohabitation agreements but does not allow same-sex marriages.
Archbishop Elpidophoros did not immediately respond to the Greek church's objection. His official Twitter account featured an excerpt from a July 2 speech in New York in which he spoke out about the need for religion to heal divisions in society.
“Every person, no matter who they are, or what they have done – for better or for worse – is worthy of God’s love. And if they are worthy of God’s love, then they are worthy of our love, too,” Elpidophoros said. “The Church will never reject anyone on the basis of their personhood.”
The Holy Synod complaint was made in response to a letter to the church leadership from Metropolitan Bishop Antonios of Glyfada. He granted permission for the baptism of Dundas and Bousis' children but said he did not know the ceremony involved a same-sex couple.
“His Eminence the Archbishop of America acted unilaterally, on his own initiative and in an improper manner, in the full knowledge that these children (of God) do not belong to our (religious) family,” Antonios wrote.