Oikonomia or “Economy” is an Orthodox concept that is probably applied more often than many Orthodox bishops would like to admit. Essentially it is a way of “managing the household” of the Church. While the Orthodox Church recognizes the authority of Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition as the main sources for what we believe, there are many instances in which situations arise or problems need to be solved, that are not answered at all, or addressed insufficiently in the Bible or the Tradition of the Church. When such situations arise, oikonomia or economy is applied. It is a merciful decision applied for the sake of the salvation of the faithful. Why can’t oikonomia be applied to gay people in the Church? Why can’t oikonomia be used to bless the union of two men or two women in the Orthodox Church? For example, if oikonomia is continuously and liberally applied to allow an Orthodox Christian to be married to a Protestant in the Orthodox Church, especially in countries where Orthodox Christians are in the minority, then why not use the same principle and permit an ecclesiastical blessing for the union of two men or two women who desire to be a “helpmate” to one another?
The Holy Fathers speak of the “letter of law” and the “spirit of the law”. Perhaps the best explanation of this idiomatic antithesis comes from the mouth of our Lord, Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospel of Luke (25:37). Christ admonishes a lawyer who tried to justify himself in eyes of the Lord, by stating that he followed every letter of law in order to receive eternal life. The well known Parable of the Good Samaritan is told by Jesus to illustrate the axiom that following the law is not what is always in the best interest of individuals. The letter of the law prescribed that Jews were not required to come to the aid of Samaritans, but the spirit of the law demanded that aid and comfort be given to those in need, no matter to which ethnic group they belonged. Therefore the one that “showed mercy” to the man who had been attacked, struck, beaten by robbers, was the one to emulate, and not the one who followed the “letter of the law”. This principle is again spoken of in the book of Romans (2:29) simply stating that a Jew is not someone who has been circumcised in the flesh, in other words someone who follows the law, but one who is circumcised in his heart, who is Jewish in his spirit and being, indicating that is very possible to be a good Jew in the eyes of God and not strictly follow thousands of years of tradition. Christ had special condemnation for those certain Pharisees that placed the letter of the law above the spirit of the law.
The Orthodox Church views its own laws, the canons, as pastoral guidelines, to be used with compassion and flexibility. Oikonomia, according to Dr. Patsavos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese “is granted by the competent ecclesiastical authority and has not so much the character of urgency as it does the character of compassion for human frailty. The character of compassion is justified by the Church’s ardent desire to prevent any adverse effects from the strict observance of the law in exceptional circumstances.” To be fair, Dr. Patsavos clearly states that economy is a temporary exercise and is to be viewed as a temporary departure from the normal precedent. I would strongly argue that numerous times when oikonomia has been applied, the temporary practice or allowance has turned into an accepted norm for the Church.
The history of the Church is replete with examples of extending oikonomia:
-the blessing to receive non-Orthodox baptized Christians into the Church, not through the usual mysteries of baptism and chrismation, but only chrismation and at times, through confession and the reception of the Holy Eucharist.;
-the blessing of marriages that allow distant relatives to be married in the Church;
-the blessing of marriages to those who have a spiritual relationship;
-the ordination of men to holy orders younger than the age prescribed in canon law;
-the blessing to celebrate a funeral for a person who has been cremated, especially in countries where this is common or proscribed by law;
-as well as the earlier stated common practice of blessing the marriage of Orthodox Christians to Monophysites, Protestants, as well as Eastern and Roman Catholics.
These are just a few example of the continued mercy extended by the Church to Orthodox Christians, with hope that such a blessing of mercy will bring the Orthodox soul, as well as the non-Orthodox soul, to salvation and eternal life in Christ. There was, is, and will always be gay people and LGBT Orthodox persons will continue to fall in love with a desire to share that love and its expression with another person. Heterosexual Orthodox Christians who are related to, or know gay men and lesbians, have come to the realization that there is no difference between the love that they have for their spouses and the love that gay people have with theirs. As more and more Orthodox gay people “come out” this trend of realization and acceptance will continue. Some Orthodox priests already understand this from their own pastoral experience and are extending oikonomia to gay men and women by offering them the holy mysteries, blessing their marriage, and attending to the spiritual needs of their partners. Instead of relying on antiquated interpretations of Scripture and applying Canons impossible to apply in the twenty-first century, it is time to ask the question in the Church: can the principles of mercy and oikonomia be extended to LGBT Orthodox Christians and allow us the grace and fullness of the holy mysteries? The answer is Amen.
 The holy fathers rejected the idea of Orthodox Christians marrying Arians or Nestorians. Today allowing Orthodox Christians to marry Protestants and Roman Catholics is de rigueur.
 This phrase is taken from the Orthodox mystery (sacrament) of marriage – crowning.
 The historic example is reception of Eastern or Byzantine Catholics into the Orthodox Church. The Lviv Sobor of 1946, blessed and orchestrated by the Moscow Patriarchate, accepted Eastern Catholics into the Orthodox Church through the mysteries of Confession and the receiving of the Eucharist.
 So be it.