Homosexuality is a "perversion of the human existence" and Thessaloniki’s annual gay pride festival is a “disgrace and a challenge”, one of the country’s leading Orthodox bishops has said.
Asked to comment on the Thessaloniki Pride event, which takes place on Friday and Saturday, Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki said “Do not give dogs what is holy”, a line from the gospel of Matthew.
The cleric, known for his homophobic and nationalist outbursts, continued:
"Show respect that my position and life is wholly dedicated to the church and the people and respect the fact that I’m well behaved, so don't associate me with this disgrace. Enough. This is a perversion of the human existence."
He said that he may attend a vigil by Christian organisations on Friday evening at the city’s cathedral against the Pride event, the third to be held.
At the city's first pride festival, in 2012, about 50 people threw eggs and plastic bottles of water at the 400 people participating in the event, which Anthimos had also publicly condemned.
Last weekend's annual gay pride rally in Athens passed off without incident.
In November, Anthimos' fellow bishop, Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, said homosexuality was the "most disgusting and unclean sin" and "a unnatural aberration not even observed in animals".