Serbia Up in Arms Against Sodom, Guided by Orthodox Church

Originally appeared at: Global Orthodox

New anti-LGBT protests rocked Belgrade Sunday evening.  They were provoked by  Serbian opposition parties and international rights groups denouncing a decision by President Aleksandar Vucic to cancel next month’s pan-European LGBT EuroPride event. LGBT activists said they would ignore the ban and go ahead with the pride parade in Belgrade, scheduled for Sept. 12-18.

At a news conference on Saturday Aleksandar Vucic announced the decision to cancel the EuroPride celebration. Serbian president said EuroPride parade - a pan-European LGBT event hosted by a different city ever year, this time scheduled to take place in Belgrade in the middle of September - would be "postponed or cancelled" because of "recent tensions with former province Kosovo", as well as energy and food issues.  “At this moment the state is pressured by numerous problems," Vucic said. "… you just can’t do it all at the same moment, and that's it. I am not happy about it but we can’t manage.”

The decision came after thousands of people marched August 14 to protest against the planned LGBT event. Protesters carried crosses and icons of Christ, the Theotokos, and saints, chanting prayers and shouting slogans: “We don’t want gay parades and Western occupation!” “We won’t give up our holy sites!” They also carried banners which read: “Hands off our children!”

The U.N. office in Serbia said it was concerned about the announced ban, saying it would jeopardize “the right to freedom of assembly as guaranteed by the Serbian Constitution.” The opposition groups said they would go ahead with the event, despite the President’s decision.

The opposition’s statement gave rise to another wave of anti-EuroPride protests. Thousands of Orthodox Christians hit the streets in Belgrade Sunday evening in a procession to warn against holding EuroPride, despite the Serbian authorities' decision to cancel the event and “to save Serbia”. They then gathered outside the St Sava cathedral, dedicated to the most revered Serbian Saint. 

LGBT EU Membership Test

Serbia is formally seeking European Union membership. Yet, the EU authorities are not too happy with the strong influence of the Orthodox Church in the Balkan country.

Serbia, it seems, just cannot pass a “tolerance” test, which is – holding a gay pride parade “nicely”, like most EU candidates did. The first two Belgrade Pride marches, in 2001 and 2010, were marred by violence. Since 2014, the parade has been organized regularly, yet with extensive law enforcement presence.

Three years ago, according to the AFP report, members of the European Pride Organizers Association chose Serbia’s capital to host the annual event, “hoping it would represent a major breakthrough for a Slavic country that is traditionally conservative and under a strong influence from the Orthodox Church”. This time the LGBT attempt seems to have failed again.

Addressing the crowd on Sunday, Serbian Orthodox Bishop Nikanor hailed the authorities' decision to reverse "the desecration of our country, our Church and our family". Bishop Nikanor said the faithful were ready to take to the streets again to "put themselves before those who intend to destroy the values of Serbia".




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