This subject is clear when it comes to Catholicism who explicitly forbids contraception and encourage natural family planning.

Then most protestants do not forbid the use of contraception.

However when it comes to Eastern Orthodoxy, it seems that there is a smoke in the air, and nobody has a clear position. Orthodox Christians don't have a central catechism like the Catholic Church does, so that only further complicates things.

Does Eastern Orthodoxy have a position at all when it comes to contraception?

(My guess would highly be that they forbid it.)

  • It should be noted that each Eastern Orthodox Church is autonomous and the response may vary between the different Orthodox Churches.
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 7, 2021 at 6:34

2 Answers 2


According to the Orthodox Church In America contraception is only permitted when danger or hardship would come to the family as a result of birth of a child as seen here on their website

The voluntary control of birth in marriage is only permissible, according to the essence of a spiritual life, when the birth of a child will bring danger and hardship. Those who are living the spiritual life will come to the decision not to bear children only with sorrow, and will do so before God, with prayers for guidance and mercy. It will not be a decision taken lightly or for self-indulgent reasons. According to the common teaching in the Orthodox Church, when such a decision is taken before God, the means of its implementation are arbitrary. There are, in the Orthodox opinion, no means of controlling birth in marriage which are better or more acceptable than others. All means are equally sad and distressing for those who truly love. For the Christian marriage is the one that abounds with as many new children as possible.

  • "as many new children as possible" or as many as God wants?
    – Geremia
    Jun 19, 2020 at 1:13
  • As many as possible is what the quote says.
    – Kris
    Jun 19, 2020 at 1:16

Does Eastern Orthodoxy approve the use of contraception?

Generally speaking most Orthodox Churches would have a similar stance as the Catholic Church on this issue, but this subject matter has not been raised to an official level of teaching.

It should be noted that each Eastern Orthodox Church is autonomous and the response may could in fact vary between the different Orthodox Churches.

The norm of church organization

The Orthodox Church is a fellowship of “autocephalous” churches (canonically and administratively independent), with the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople holding titular or honorary primacy. The number of autocephalous churches has varied in history. In the early 21st century there were many: the Church of Constantinople (Istanbul), the Church of Alexandria (Africa), the Church of Antioch (with headquarters in Damascus, Syria), and the churches of Jerusalem, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Albania, Poland, the Czech and Slovak republics, and America.

Here follows the position of the Greek Orthodox Church on it’s position regarding contraception.

[The Greek Orthodox Church and position regarding birth control

The Christian Orthodox Church has 100-150 million baptized members worldwide. Its official position on fertility regulation is little known among nontheologians. The Christian Orthodox Church is resolutely opposed to all attempts to permit induced abortion, and has been since its earliest history. In the 4th century the aborting woman was considered in the same category as a murderer, and the position was reiterated through the centuries in the canons of the Church. However, the common practice of Church members differed greatly from the official position. During the Roman period and the 1st years of the Christian era, abortion and the exposure of newborns were very common. Many of the earlier arguments in favor of abortion that were countered by the Church are still offered. The liberalization of abortion legislation in the US was opposed by American Christian Orthodox Church members. The Church's position on contraception is less well known than its stand on abortion. Several official publications have condemned family planning, regarding it as a form of prostitution within the family and as a sin. The official position of the Greek Orthodox Church was set forth in an encyclical written in 1937, which recommended abstinence as the only legal method of avoiding conception. The position of the Christian Orthodox Church on abortion and contraception is fundamentally identical to that of the Roman Catholic Church. Because the position of the Christian Orthodox Church on birth control, which has been fixed for centuries, has not been officially debated and has not been communicated to the members, it has not fully guided daily life. One might suppose that members of the Christian Orthodox Church are freer of church control of their fertility behavior than are Catholics.

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