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Paul was homosexual seems absurd, as it may be. After all was not he the one who condemned gay people in Romans, and elsewhere?

There is considerable debate over those anti-gay "proof -texts", but whatever the conclusions, there is much, as Anglican Bishop of Newark John Spong has pointed out, which leads one to suspect Paul might have been "queer" in some way. The fact he was never married, unusual for a Jew of his time, his companionship with a series of younger men, especially St. Timothy, his mention of an unnamed "thorn in the flesh". It should also be added that despite Paul's modern reputation for placing women lower than men, he also penned revolutionary words about the absolute equality of all believers in Christ, a complete destruction of prevailing social codes and norms that has only intermittently played out in full in Church history.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: Select bibliography Spong, John S.

Paul and early Christianity: A Psychoanalytic and Historical Study", in W. International Universities Press, , vol 4: John Chrysostom, to have been taken to serve as a eunuch, the major defined sexual minority of the ancient world, at the King of Babylon's court. Note the emphasis on the physical beauty of the four young men. He is, nevertheless, along with David one of the heroes of the Jewish Scriptures. Kathryn Ringrose has written recently on this matter, and Fr.

Helminiak reports suggestions that "eunuch" was just a general way of referring to "homosexuals" in the period, although remains merely a suggestion. More interesting has been discussion of the "favor and tender love" Daniel enjoyed with the chief eunuch. Nothing definite can be asserted, but Daniel is one of the most interesting biblical figures for gay people. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

Eunuchs and Gender in Byzantium", in Gilbert Herdt, ed. His Life was written in the seventh century by Leontios of Neapolis. This Life is interesting for this Calendar on any reading! The story itself is about a same-sex relationship. Symeon, with his mother, and John, with his new wife, meet on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. They become friends and "would no longer part from each other". In fact they abandon their families and go together to dedicate their lives to God.

I the monastery they first join, they are tonsured by the abbot who blesses them together Krueger , This seems to refer to some early monastic version of the adelphopoiia ceremony. George both Symeon and John are referred to as the "pure bridegrooms nymphoi of Christ" Krueger Both men express concern that older ties of family may hold their "brother" back Krueger The two men then leave the monastery and live together as hermit for twenty-nine years.

There is no suggestion that they had a sexual relationship, but that they were very much a same sex couple. After all those years the Life moves to the next part of the story - Symeon's activities in Emesa as a "Fool for Christ". The extent of the relationship is revealed at this point. John is not keen for Symeon to leave. He says to Symeon ".. Please, for the Lord's sake, do not leave wretched me…. Rather for the sake of Him who joined us, do not wish to be parted from your brother.

You know that, after God, I have no one except you, my brother, but I renounced all and was bound to you, and now you wish to leave me in the desert, as in an open sea. Remember that day when we drew lost and went down to the Lord Nikon, that we agreed not to be separated from one another.

Remember that fearful day when we were clothed in the holy habit, and we two were as one soul, so that all were astonished at our love. Don't forget the words of the great monk…Please don't lest I die and God demands an account of my soul from You. He urges John to pray with him.

After which this scene occurs: But whenever Symeon said to him 'Turn Back, Brother', he heard the word as if a knife separated him from his body, and again he asked if he could accompany him a little further.

Therefore, when Symeon forced him, he turned back to his cell drenching the earth with tears. There is no question, I think, that what we have here is a description on an intense and emotional same-sex relationship which cannot be reduced to "friendship". The story is awash with marital and sexual imagery and references.

So how did these saints maintain a place [a small place it must be admitted - there was no extensive cult] in calendars of saints? There are a number of considerations. First, the relationship although "erotic" [based on "desire"] is not presented as "sexual". Second, although later Roman Catholic authorities in the Tridentine Church did recognize the issues involved with "particular friendships", it is open to question whether late antique and Byzantine writers could have done as much.

For Greek's what we call "homosexuality" was subsumed under the rubric of "pederasty" - an unequal and often temporary relationship between an older and a younger man. Relationships based on spiritual equality and lifelong commitment did not fit the model.

Indeed, I would argue that this is why Byzantium could support both "adelphopoiia" ceremonies [see Boswell, SSU ], which, although more work is being done, do seem to have been common and do seem to have created real social bonds seen as familial, and at the same time law codes which unequivocally condemned "sodomy".

For us both "sodomy" between men and "same-sex" committed relationships would seem to fall under the rubric of "homosexuality.

This does not seem to have been the case for Byzantine commentators. This does not mean that it is illegitimate for modern gay people to see such relationships as relevant to modern understandings of sexual identity.

Select bibliography Krueger, Derek, Symeon the holy fool: Leontius's Life and the late antique city , series: It is certain that Newman was sexually abstinent throughout his life, nevertheless he spent most of his life with his closest friend, Fr.

Some reports [see Hillard ref. John's bed after Ambrose's death, and, certainly, stipulated in his will that he wished to be buried in the same grave as Fr. John at Rednal in the English midlands [where I fact he is buried today.

One of England's 19th-century religious leaders, John Henry Newman attempted to reform the Church of England in the direction of early Catholicism the church as it had existed in its first five centuries.

Failing in this, he eventually joined the Roman Catholic church and rose in its ranks to become a cardinal. Newman was also an educator, a poet, and a master of English prose. His "Idea of a University" and "Apologia pro Vita Sua" a defense of his life are clear-cut, powerful essays on education and religion. Newman, the eldest of six children, was born on Feb. His father was a banker. At Ealing Academy Newman mastered his lessons easily and spent much of his time editing the school paper.

He was 16 when he entered Trinity College, Oxford. Newman won a fellowship to Oriel College, Oxford, in In he was ordained a priest in the Church of England. Newman served as curate of an Oxford parish while a fellow of Oriel College. He became a leader of the Oxford Movement, which sought to bring about a renewal of catholic thought and practice within the Anglican Communion. His zeal for a church with the power and grandeur of medieval times led him to join the Roman Catholic church in He was convinced that the Protestant element in the Church of England would never accept his traditionalist views.

In Newman became a Roman Catholic priest in Rome. He joined the Oratorian order and founded congregations near Birmingham and London. Although at times his life was difficult, as he continued to write and preach, his views gradually won acceptance. He was made a cardinal in Cardinal Newman died near Birmingham on Aug.

Hillard, David, "UnEnglish and Unmanly: Touchstone, , August 28 All West St. In fact, compared to some of the anti-sex zealots of his time, he was rather moderate in seeing at least some good in sex within marriage.

At times he spoke violently against "sodomy", but as the extracts from his Confessions show, he was for a time completely in love with another man, whose death threw him into turmoil.

Odd it is to note that the most famous conversion in Christian history, after that of St. Paul, originated in one man's love for another. The bishop of Hippo in Roman Africa for 35 years, St. Augustine lived during the decline of Roman civilization on that continent.

Augustine was born Aurelius Augustinus on Nov. Although his mother, St. Monica, was a devout Christian, he was not baptized in infancy. His father, Patricius, a wealthy landowner, was a pagan. In his 'Confessions' Augustine wrote seven chapters about an incident in his early life--stealing pears from a neighbor's tree. This sin troubled him for the rest of his life. He also confessed to immoral behavior at the University of Carthage, where he was sent at the age of Augustine remained in Carthage, teaching rhetoric, until he was Then he went to Rome, taking with him his mistress and his son, Adeodatus.

His religion at this time was Manichaeism, which combined Christianity with Zoroastrian elements. By Augustine was teaching in Milan, where his mother joined him.

He came under the influence of the city's great bishop, St. Ambrose, who baptized Augustine and Adeodatus on the following Easter.

From this time Augustine lived as an ascetic. He returned to Africa and spent three years with friends on his family's estate. He was ordained a priest and five years later, in , was consecrated a bishop. He spent the remainder of his life in Hippo now Annaba, Algeria with his clergy, encouraging the formation of religious communities.

Augustine, who was ill when the Vandals besieged Hippo, died on Aug. Augustine's most widely read book is Confessions, a vivid account of his early life and religious development. The City of God was written after , when Rome fell to the barbarians. The aim of this book was to restore confidence in the Christian church, which Augustine said would take the place of the earthly city of Rome.

During the Middle Ages the book gave strong support to the theory that the church was above the state. Augustine's writings on communal life form the 'Rule of St. Augustine', the basis of many religious orders. EDU] Here describing his relationship with a man Book 3: For this cause my soul was sickly and full of sores, it miserably cast itself forth, desiring to be scraped by the touch of objects of sense.

Yet if these had not a soul, they would not be objects of love. To love then, and to be beloved, was sweet to me; but more, when I obtained to enjoy the person I loved, I defiled, therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I beclouded its brightness with the hell of lustfulness; and thus foul and unseemly, I would fain, through exceeding vanity, be fine and courtly.

I fell headlong then into the love wherein I longed to be ensnared. My God, my Mercy, with how much gall didst Thou out of Thy great goodness besprinkle for me that sweetness? For I was both beloved, and secretly arrived at the bond of enjoying; and was with joy fettered with sorrow-bringing bonds, that I might be scourged with the iron burning rods of jealousy, and suspicions, and fears, and angers, and quarrels. He had grown up as a child with me, and we had been both school-fellows and play-fellows.

But he was not yet my friend as afterwards, nor even then, as true friendship is; for true it cannot be, unless in such as Thou cementest together, cleaving unto Thee, by that love which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us. Yet was it but too sweet, ripened by the warmth of kindred studies: With me he now erred in mind, nor could my soul be without him. But behold Thou wert close on the steps of Thy fugitives, at once God of vengeance, and Fountain of mercies, turning us to Thyself by wonderful means; Thou tookest that man out of this life, when he had scarce filled up one whole year of my friendship, sweet to me above all sweetness of that my life.

Who can recount all Thy praises, which he hath felt in his one self? What diddest Thou then, my God, and how unsearchable is the abyss of Thy judgments? For long, sore sick of a fever, he lay senseless in a death-sweat; and his recovery being despaired of, he was baptized, unknowing; myself meanwhile little regarding, and presuming that his soul would retain rather what it had received of me, not what was wrought on his unconscious body.

But it proved far otherwise: Forthwith, as soon as I could speak with him and I could, so soon as he was able, for I never left him, and we hung but too much upon each other , I essayed to jest with him, as though he would jest with me at that baptism which he had received, when utterly absent in mind and feeling, but had now understood that he had received.

But he so shrunk from me, as from an enemy; and with a wonderful and sudden freedom bade me, as I would continue his friend, forbear such language to him.

I, all astonished and amazed, suppressed all my emotions till he should grow well, and his health were strong enough for me to deal with him as I would. But he was taken away from my frenzy, that with Thee he might be preserved for my comfort; a few days after in my absence, he was attacked again by the fever, and so departed. At this grief my heart was utterly darkened; and whatever I beheld was death.

My native country was a torment to me, and my father's house a strange unhappiness; and whatever I had shared with him, wanting him, became a distracting torture. Mine eyes sought him every where, but he was not granted them; and I hated all places, for that they had not him; nor could they now tell me, "he is coming," as when he was alive and absent.

I became a great riddle to myself, and I asked my soul, why she was so sad, and why she disquieted me sorely: And if I said, Trust in God, she very rightly obeyed me not; because that most dear friend, whom she had lost, was, being man, both truer and better than that phantasm she was bid to trust in. Only tears were sweet to me, for they succeeded my friend, in the dearest of my affections. Wretched I was; and wretched is every soul bound by the friendship of perishable things; he is torn asunder when he loses them, and then he feels the wretchedness which he had ere yet he lost them.

So was it then with me; I wept most bitterly, and found my repose in bitterness. Thus was I wretched, and that wretched life I held dearer than my friend.

For though I would willingly have changed it, yet was I more unwilling to part with it than with him; yea, I know not whether I would have parted with it even for him, as is related if not feigned of Pylades and Orestes, that they would gladly have died for each other or together, not to live together being to them worse than death.

But in me there had arisen some unexplained feeling, too contrary to this, for at once I loathed exceedingly to live and feared to die. I suppose, the more I loved him, the more did I hate, and fear as a most cruel enemy death, which had bereaved me of him: Thus was it with me, I remember. Behold my heart, O my God, behold and see into me; for well I remember it, O my Hope, who cleansest me from the impurity of such affections, directing mine eyes towards Thee, and plucking my feet out of the snare.

For I wondered that others, subject to death, did live, since he whom I loved, as if he should never die, was dead; and I wondered yet more that myself, who was to him a second self, could live, he being dead. Well said one of his friend, "Thou half of my soul"; for I felt that my soul and his soul were "one soul in two bodies": And therefore perchance I feared to die, lest he whom I had much loved should die wholly.

Augustine and original sin an online article discussing the interrelationship of friendship and eroticism in Augustine. A Biography , London: Edward II, King of England Despite the recent portrayal of Edward in the most demeaning terms in the fallacious movie Braveheart contemporaries described Edward thus: He was of a well-proportioned handsome person Of a courteous disposition, and well-bred, And desirous of finding an occasion To make proof of his strength.

He managed his steed wonderfully well. Gaveston was exiled by Edward I Edward II's father , and was the occasion of massive rows between father and son. All sources report that the king was obsessed with Gaveston, who prevented others reaching the king's ear. The king preferred Gaveston's company to all others, including that of his wife, Isabella of France.

The anonymous author of the Vita Edwardi Secundi wrote: I do not remember to have heard that one man so loved another. Jonathan cherished David, Achilles loved Patroclus. But we do not read that they were immoderate. Our King, however, was incapable of moderate favour, and on account of Piers was said to forget himself, and so Piers was accounted a sorcere.

In particular the linking of Edward with both David and Jonathan, and especially Achilles and Patroclus is noteworthy. One might recall here the famous verses of Christopher Marlowe about Edward in his eponymous play: The mightiest kings have had their minions: Marlowe, Edward II , Act 1: In a successful rebellion led by Isabella and her lover Mortimer succeeded in deposing Edward, and his son Edward III , was crowned king in January For the next few months Edward II was kept in a variety of prisons until he was murdered sometime in September , his death being announced on September Contemporary chroniclers merely report that he had died, but soon other stories came to the fore.

The chronicler Murimuth wrote: Many persons, abbots, priors, knights, burgesses of Bristol and Gloucester were summoned to view his body, and indeed superficially examined it, nevertheless it was commonly said that he had been slain as a precaution by the orders of Sir John Maltravers and Sir Thomas Gurney. Within a few years, Ranulph Higden indicated how Edward had died: Isabella retired to Castle Rising in Norfolk where she lived in comfort.

She was buried as a Poor Clare. No-one else was brought to justice. The shrine became a center of pilgrimage, visited by various members of the royal family, but also by many local people. Although Richard II was unable to secure papal canonization, Edward II was seen sympathetically by the people and his cult was preserved by popular pilgrimages until the Reformation. Although a failure as king, Edward II was well liked by many, was known to be both courageous and to have a sense of humor.

Moreover, he was vigilant in observing impartial Royal justice. For the people, his reign was less onerous than that of his famous father - there was less taxation, and less conscription - all required by Edward I's "glorious" wars. The period was fairly prosperous to boot. So here we have perhaps the most famous of English homosexual [or bisexual] kings, a man who was popularly known as such, also regarded for centuries as a saint, and whose shrine was the focus of pilgrimage.

Weidenfeld and Nicolson, A straightforward and well illustrated history of Edward's life and reign.

Discusses his role as a saint. Chaplais, Pierre, Piers Gaveston: Oxford University Press, Seeks to show that the relationship between Edward and Gaveston was not homosexual. The work is a careful examination of documents, but is marred by an explicit homophobia, and has convinced few reviewers e. The first 32 pages document Edward's relationship with Gaveston.

The Cult of Thomas of Lancaster Ph. Sergius and Bacchus, martyrs d. Saints Sergius and Bacchus were two Roman soldiers and lovers. As John Boswell has shown recently they were invoked repeatedly in the middle ages in the blessing of ceremonies of union for couples of the same sex. They were arrested and humiliated for being Christians. Bacchus was killed first, and then a few days later, Sergius. Their joint "passion" calls them "erastoi" - that is "erotic lovers", and after he died, Bacchus offers himself to Sergius as the prize for Sergius' martyrdom.

The female clothes they were forced to wear may have been an early example of gay baiting. One thing that cannot be found among the saints is a male saint who voluntarily adopted women's clothes. Their cult was one of the most intense in the eastern Mediterranean, with a huge pilgrimage site at Sergiopolis Rusapha. The passage following, translated from the earliest passion by John Boswell, recounts Sergius' laments after Bacchus' death, and Bacchus appearance to him, promising himself as the prize of martyrdom.

Sergius and Bacchus Meanwhile the blessed Serge, deeply distressed and heartsick over the loss of Bacchus, wept and cried out, "No longer, brother and fellow soldier, will we chant together, 'Behold, how good an pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! If I have been taken up from you in body, I am still with you in the bond of union, chanting and reciting, "I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou hast enlarged my heart. For the crown of justice for me is with you.

EDU] In August when rumors about medieval same-sex "marriage" ceremonies began appearing on the Internet, out of curiosity I did a brief investigation on the martyrs, Sergius and Bacchus, who were mentioned as an inspiration for the "rite" and posted my results. Feastday, formerly 7 October; "cults suppressed in " The Book of Saints, Sergius and Bacchus, MM.

They were Roman soldiers, officers in the household of Emperor Maximian. Sergius is said to have been 'primicerius gymnasii trionum' at Trieste, and Bacchus a subaltern officer. For refusing to sacrifice to the gods, they were ignominiously dressed in women's clothing and conducted through the streets of Arabissus near Comana in Cappadocia.

Then they were scourged until Bacchus died, 1 Oct. Sergius was brought to Resapha Augusta Eupratasiae in Syria, where, after various tortures, he was decapitated, 7 Oct.

Sergius at Resapha was a famous shrine. In , Bishop Alexander of Hierapolis built a magnificent church in his honor. In , the town of Resapha was raised to the rank of an episcopal see and was named Sergiopolis.

Emperor Justinian I enlarged and fortified it. Sergius was venerated as patron of Syria. Parts of his relics were transferred to Venice, where these saints were patrons of the ancient cathedral. In the seventh century a church was dedicated to them in Rome. Many churches bore the name of Sergius sometimes with Bacchus , and his cultus was extraordinarily widespread and popular; the nomads of the desert looked on him as their special patron saint" Attwater, On their refusal they were stripped of their arms and badges of rank, dressed up in women's clothes, and so paraded through the streets.

Bacchus died under the lash. His body was thrown out on to the highway, were vultures protected it from the attacks of dogs, an incident recorded of several other martyrs. Sergius was made to walk a long distance in shoes with nails thrust through into his feet, and was beheaded. Sergius and Bacchus became the heavenly protectors of the Byzantine army, with the two Theodores, Demetrius, Procopius and George. Their "acts" are preserved in Latin, Greek and Syriac" Thurston, ed.

Socios Bollandianos, , III: Sergii et Bacchi graece nunc primum edita," Analecta Bollandiana , 14 , Boswell in his SSU, Corpus scriptorum Christianorum orientalium. Scriptores Arabici; Series 3; t. Villard, , [added by Halsall] Delehaye, Hippolyte, S. Les origines du culte des martyrs. Melanges d'Hagiographie grecque et latine. Societe des Bollandistes, , The Legends of the Saints. College de France, , II: Bloud et Barral, , Histoire des saints et de la saintete chretienne.

Supplement aux vies des saints et specialement aux Petits bollandistes d'apres les documents hagiographiques les plus authentiques et les plus recents. Bloud et Barral [ 86]. Stadler, und Franz Joseph Heim in Augsburg. The Book of Saints: Thurston, Herbert J, S. Butler's Lives of the Saints. Vie des saints et des bienheureux selon l'ordre du calendrier: Librairie Letouzey et Ane, , X: Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie: As lesbian, gay and bisexual people have realized in recent years, the AIDS epidemic has brought forth tremendous witnesses of courage and faith in the Lord and his promises.

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