The Greek Orthodox Church has an official prayer devoted for gender reassignment despite its vociferous opposition to trans equality laws.
The reading published in the 1980s entitled 'A Prayer at the Giving of a New Name Upon Modification of Gender' asks God's blessing on the person undergoing transition and says,'for the biological alteration of nature is a wondrous work of Your all-powerful right hand and Your inscrutable will'.
It is likely to cause embarrassment to the current leadership who have been outspoken in their opposition to Greece's new legislation to allow people to legally change their gender on all official documents.
Greek Orthodox leaders have urged churches to ring funeral bells every day to mourn the new policies.
Clergy have threatened excommunication in light of the laws and the Bishop of Piraeus said: 'Anyone who votes for the law need not set foot in the Greek Orthodox Church again,' according to the Pappas Post.
But the prayer was written by the highly respected Metropolitan Timotheos, who served in the 1980s as Metropolitan of Nea Ionia and Philadelphia, a populous Athenian district. It is published in the prayer book alongside hundreds of others to mark a variety of occasions.
An English translation of the prayer reads:
All-good and greatly compassionate Lord, above [all conceptions of] being and divinity, Who alone exists eternally and without change: "He who is" unto the ages; Whose glory is incomprehensible and Whose mercy is immeasurable; Who created the entire human race to dwell over the entire face of the earth; and Who honored the human being with Your image, newly shaped in form and beauty from a rational soul and dignified body; Who made male and female and gave to each its own appearance and substance; Who knows the weakness of our nature and knows the name and age of each; Who gives each a name to be distinct, distinguished in their own appropriate gender, personality and worth.
Master, Yourself acquiring our infirm and impoverished blend [of soul and body] in Your saving dispensation, accept at this time Your servant (new name, if applicable) as You accepted Peter the first Chief [of the Apostles], formerly Cephas, son of Iona, to whom You gave the keys to the Kingdom of the Heavens; [as You accepted] Paul the Renown, formerly Saul, whom You showed to be the Herald of the Gospel by a revelation and a chosen vessel.
Likewise, send down upon [Your servant] Your heavenly grace upon undergoing the organic modification of gender, for the biological alteration of nature is a wondrous work of Your all-powerful right hand and Your inscrutable will, and amazed by this new and astounding work, we confess Your grace, we herald Your mercy and, declaring Your magnificence, we glorify Your indescribable love for humanity.
Grace Your servant (name) in Your sanctification and make HIM (or "HER") worthy to keep HIS (or "HER") own vessel without stain and blameless, likewise guarding the pledge of baptism inviolate and undefiled, and as a child of light, advancing in Your precepts and completing HIS (or "HER") remaining years, ascribing glory to You all the days of HIS (or HER) life.
By the intercessions of Your All-pure Mother, the radiant Archangels, the Honourable Forerunner and Baptist John; the holy glorious and all-famed Apostles, and all Your saints. Amen.