CONTRACEPTION AND
THE EASTERN ORTHODOX

By JAMES LIKOUDIS


Mr. Likoudis writes to the Editor of the "New Oxford Review", correcting questionable assertions published in an article by that periodical in its November 2003 issue concerning contraception.
The following letter was published in the January 2004 of the "New Oxford Review".





Letter to the Editor
New Oxford Review
1069 Kains Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94706

Dear Editor,

The article "Looking Eastward" by Charles A. Columbe was interesting for noting the need to know both the Eastern Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox better if the long-hoped for reunion between the Catholic Church and our separated Eastern brethren is to take place.

There were a few mistakes, however:

  • The sack of Constantinople took place in 1204, not 1203.
  • It is "Palamism", not "Palamasism" that gave rise to a bitter controversy among Byzantines in the 14th century.
  • It is not true that all the Eastern Orthodox churches condemn contraception as a sin.

The well-known theologian John Meyendorff wrote that:

"Straight condemnation of birth control... has never been endorsed by the Orthodox Church (sic) as a whole, even if, at times, local Church authorities may have issued statements on the matter identical to that of the Pope... The question of birth control... can only be solved by individual Christian couples".

Fr. Stanley Harakas, Professor of Orthodox Ethics at Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, Mass., has also declared:

"Many Orthodox theologians believe that Birth Control methods may be used by Orthodox Christian couples when the other purposes of marriage are also respected".

Interestingly, both of the above theologians are quoted approvingly in Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris' volume "Introducing the Orthodox Church", which is "a handbook designed for those desiring to embrace Eastern Orthodoxy".

Sincerely yours,
— James Likoudis,
P.O.Box 852,
Montour Falls, NY 14865




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