Orthodox Christian Bishop Sparks Outrage by Saying Homosexuality 'Transmitted by Parents to the Child'

A priest has raised eyebrows by claiming people become gay when expectant mothers have and enjoy anal sex.

In comments that only recently became public knowledge, Church of Cyprus bishop Neophytos Masouras of Morphou told an audience in June: "It [being gay] is a problem, which is usually transmitted by parents to the child," the Cyprus Mail reported. He was speaking at a primary school in Akaki, Nicosia District, according to MailOnline.

"It happens during the parent's intercourse or pregnancy. It follows an abnormal sexual act between the parents. To be more clear, anal sex," he said.

The Greek Cypriot Orthodox prelate claimed SaintPorphyrios, who died in 1991, made the assertion in his writings.

"[Saint Porphyrios] says that when the woman likes that, a desire is born, and then the desire is passed on to the child," he said.

The bishop also stated gay men can be identified by their "particular odor," The Guardian reported.

Hitting back at the clergyman, LGBT advocacy group Accept Cyprus jokingly asked on its Facebook page: "Lesbians how are they created?"

"So, father, if the woman does oral, will the child become a dentist?" joked another social media user, according to MailOnline.

But others expressed concern at his comments.

"The problem is not this ignoramus, the tragic problem is that there are thousands who believe him," said one user.

In the wake of his comments, Accept Cyprus wrote to Cyprus attorney-general Costas Clerides, stating people had contacted them about experiencing suicidal thoughts after church officials had promoted so-called "conversion therapy."

Clerides has asked police to investigate whether Masouras broke hate speech laws, The Guardian reported.

Zacharias Theophanous, a software engineer planning to run for mayor of Nicosia in 2021, told The Guardian: "The church is very powerful in this country and its views often have a traumatizing effect on young people struggling to find their way."

Theophanous said people are subjected to conversion therapies, which have no scientific basis and which have been described as the "outright abuse of children."

pregnant, rainbow, gay, lgbt, stock, getty
A stock image of a pregnant woman holding a rainbow heart. An Orthodox priest has claimed babies become gay when their mother enjoys anal sex. Getty

Masouras is far from the first member of a religious order to make unscientific claims about topics unrelated to theology. Russian Orthodox priest Artemy Vladimirov said during a recent television interview that Charles Darwin visited him in a dream, and retracted his world-changing theory of evolution.

According to The Moscow Times, Vladimirov claimed Darwin told him: "Father, do not be tempted by my theory...I put forward this hypothesis, which I now repent. You have nothing to do with a bear or a pig."