TORONTO, August 29, 2003 ( – A statement released this month by the Orthodox Church of Canada (Ukrainian Autocephalous Mission Archeparchy & Standing Episcopal Conference of Orthodox Bishops) condemns the notion of same-sex marriage.  The teaching entitled, ““In the Image of God’ A Statement of Affirmation on Holy Marriage”, notes that the “Orthodox Christian teaching and practice respecting Holy Marriage – in particular as drawn from the Holy Scriptures – is absolutely clear that God designed the man-woman union and this archetypal relationship is the only one that should be blessed and sanctified by the Church through the ages.”  To equate any relationship, other than that of a man and woman, with marriage is “contrary to Orthodox Christianity,” says the document.  The statement calls on all Orthodox Christians to stand firm in their opposition to any societal recognition of homosexual unions, marriage or otherwise. “Orthodox Christians are called to give unfaltering witness to the moral truth and to the holiness of marriage and family life in their entirety. In situations where homosexual unions are already recognized in the civil sphere or where they have been given the equivalent status and rights belonging to marriage, our faithful must be adamant, unwavering and certain in their opposition,” it says.  The document, signed by Vladyka Yaroslaw, Archbishop-Primate of All North America and Archbishop of Toronto, as well as ten other Orthodox bishops, warns that the church may face trouble due to its stand but is ready to accept the consequences of standing for the truth.  “Though we may, indeed, face many challenges and perils because of our position in these matters, we are reminded that ‘if Christ be for us who can be against us.’”“The Orthodox Church of Canada draws a clear distinction between the homosexual condition and homosexual acts,” says the statement.  “Homosexual acts are a ‘misuse’ of the gift of sexuality and are – like all others including adultery, fornication, incest, etc. – sinful and morally wrong.” The document continues, that for those persons with homosexual inclinations – and all humanity that struggles with sin, “the Church offers to those who truly seek a turning away from sin, various spiritual instruments for conquering these passions.”  See the full statement at: