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Calendar of
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender

Paul Halsall (c.) October 1997

Version 3.6


This is a Calendar of saints who were, or seem to have been, gay, lesbian, transgendered or "queer" in some way.

There are over 10,000 named saints, the vast majority being early Christian martyrs and ascetics about whom little if anything is known. Popes only began canonizing in 988AD and canonization in the Roman Catholic Church was only reserved to Rome in 1170, although this was probably not made effective until the Decretals of Gregory IX in 1234. The full canonization procedure only developed in the 17th century, although it has recently been modernized. About 400 people have been canonized by the popes. Other churches, the various Orthodox churches especially, also add saints. The Anglican churches have no process of canonization, but do add certain notable figures - such as Martin Luther (Feb. 18 in the New Zealand BCP) - to their liturgical calendars.

Every saint has a feast day. Originally this was their "dia natalis", the day they died as martyrs and hence were reborn into the Lord. Not every saint is on the General Calendar of a particular church, or the general Roman Calendar, but each can be commemorated privately or by groups who wish to do so.

Historically the most important role of saints has been as intercessors. You pray to a saint for a miracle, or for the saint to pray for you. As a matter of semantics it may be noted that there is nothing about "praying through saints" in Catholicism. You pray to them, "prayer" being a general term for a certain sort of address to a second party. What you are not supposed to worship a saint as a god [technically called "latreia"], but you may give a saint "veneration" [technically "dulia"]. This is just as much prayer as worship. The Angelic Salutation for instance [the "Hail Mary"] is a direct prayer to Mary. Protestants have on the whole rejected the cult of saints, but it is a powerful witness to the Catholic and Orthodox belief in the Church as a community of love that transcends life and death, time and space. In general the cult of saints became much more restricted, even in Catholic countries, after the Reformation, and religious practice became more Christocentric, more Mariocentric, and more focused on sacramental life. On a popular level, though, saints are still invoked by millions on a regular basis, especially St. Anthony of Padua as patron saint of lost things, and St. Jude as patron saint of lost causes! Saints are also important as exemplars of Christian virtue. This has probably become more important in recent years, hence Vatican searches for lay people to canonize (most new saints are still founders of religious orders, which spend much time and money on promoting the causes of their founders).

The saints here are from both the early Church - saints who gained a reputation for transgendered behavior and some same-sex paired martyrs - and, with better evidence of their "queerness", later saints whose writings or actions show some aspects of life that lesbian and gay people will recognize. Although the Roman Church no longer commemorates the saints of the Old Testament (Jewish Scriptures), I have also included some figures, with their old feast day, who play a role in lesbian and gay readings of the Bible.

As a general point, and taking a pointer from modern literary studies about the different ways different readers read the same texts, there is for many Catholics an inbuilt "queerness" to Catholicism: the distinct Christian teaching that gender is irrelevant to salvation; religious women going around with men's names; an extraordinary number of men called "Mary" (St. John Vianney for instance)!; religious clothes for men which, when it comes down to it, are dresses; and a central service which involves the men present taking communion to put another male's body in their mouth (the situation with women communicants is different of course. This is not to mention the proliferation of homoerotic pictures of the Lord as naked on the cross, of St. Sebastian, and the whole notion of transforming suffering into holiness. All this is "queerness" to the world, however far it seems from 1st-century Palestine, does seem to accord well with Jesus' stance toward the world. The downside is perhaps, that, like the queerness of male sports in which men touch and hug and spend time naked together as in no other aspect of society, a defense mechanism among some Church leaders leads to the intense homophobia of the modern institutional Church.

On the more particular point of methodology, I have tried not to falsify history here. Where suggestions have been made about saints, but I have not yet found any evidence (e.g. with St. Philip Neri) I left the saint out. Those here have some reason to be considered "queer". On the other hand it should be noted that the self-identification of "homosexual" would not have occurred to many of these individuals. But history involves an excavation and reading of what the past means for us today. Thus, while we have virtually no knowledge about St. Sebastian, he has been the subject of a homoerotic cult for so many centuries that it would be absurd to omit him. Many of the saints listed were "transgendered" in some way - and while this is certainly not the same as "gay or lesbian" - there is some connection. Modern lesbian and gay people transgress the most fundamental modern definer of gender - who you desire to have sex with. I would be interested in specific points of contention: in all cases I tried to give references and reasons [I still have to work a bit on St. John the Evangelist].

If I had restricted the list to known lesbians, gays and bisexuals, or those reasonably able to be fit into such a category, many of the figures would still be on the list. But I also included "transgendered" saints - those who were eunuchs, cross-dressers, and so on- and did this because such groups are part of the history of modern understandings of lesbian/gay/bisexual people: it is true that for the most part these days homosexuality is understood as a sexual orientation, nevertheless the cultural conception of queerness as a matter of dissonant gender identity maintains some force. It is quite reasonable to include gender dissonant saints and Old Testament figures. A particular reason for doing so, which I took care to point out, is that such gender-dissonance is specifically attacked in the Levitical and Deuteronomic Law, just as modern LGB people are attacked based on the Law, but later OT texts and Christian tradition simply nullified the law in this matter as understanding of God as a God who desires to save all developed. I do not see how this can reasonably not be held to inspire LGB people.

The analogy that might be brought to mind is saints for African Americans. We know nothing certain of St. Augustine of Hippo's race, for instance, but it seems unlikely that he would pass as "Caucasian" in modern America. We do know St. Martin de Porres was Black (or "mulatto"), but it is not clear that this was a major issue to him. With saints though, the cult is dependent on the devotees, not the saint - for instance St. Joseph of Cupertino might finds himself amazed to now be the patron of airplane pilots.

Select Bibliography

Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Canonization of Saints (available online)

Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Communion of Saints (available online)

The Calendar

Dates of Celebration taken from

NRC New Roman Calendar [from The Divine Office, London: Collins, 1974
ORC Old Roman Calendar [from Omar Engelbert, The Lives of the Saints, London: 1951]
ECUSA Episcopal Church USA [from the US Book of Common Prayer]
COE Church of England [from the Alternative Service Book/1980]
ORTH Orthodox Calendars
ARM Armenian Calendar (ref. SSU, see below)
ARAB Arabic Calendar (Ref. SSU, see below)
All West All Western Calendars
dia natalis The "birthday" of a saint - i.e. the day the saint died.

Other Abbreviations

CSTH John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, (Chicago: 1980)
OE Omar Engelbert, The Lives of the Saints, (London: 1951)
Dukakis translations from Dukakis, Megas Synaxaristes, done in various volumes by Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista, Colorado
SSU John Boswell, Same Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, (New York: 1994)

Select the feast day of each saint below in order to jump directly to
more information on that saints.

Feast Day
January 5 ORTH *St. Apollinaria/Dorotheos
January 9 ARM SS. Polyeuctus and Nearchus, martyrs
January 12 ORC/ECUSA St. Aelred of Rievaulx, abbot
January 20 NRC/ORC St. Sebastian, martyr
February 11 ORC *St. Euphrosyne/Smaragdus (Sept 25 ORTH)
February 12 ORTH *St. Mary/Marinos of Alexandria
March 7 ALL *SS. Perpetua and *Felicity, martyrs
March 10 ORC/ORTH *St. Anastasia the Patrician (or "of Constantinople")
March 15 ORC St. Longinus the Centurion (Oct 16 ORTH)
April 20 ORC *St. Hildegonde of Neuss nr. Cologne
April 21 All West St. Anselm of Canterbury, bishop & doctor
April 23 All St. George
May 8 COE/ECUSA *Julian of Norwich, mystic
May 20 ECUSA Alcuin of Tours
May 30 ORC *St. Joan of Arc
June 9 ORC *St. Pelagia/Pelagios (Oct 8 ORTH)
June 22 NRC/ORC St. Paulinus of Nola, bishop
June 29 NRC St. Paul the Apostle (June 30 ORC)
July 17 ORTH *St. Marina/os of Antioch (July 20 ORC as St. Margaret)
July 20 ORTH *St. Marina/Marinos of Sicily
July 20 ORC *St. Wilgefortis
July 21 ORC Daniel the Prophet [0T] (Dec 17/18 ORTH)
July 21 ORTH SS. Symeon of Emesa and John
August 11 dia natalis Cardinal John Henry Newman
August 28 All West St. Augustine of Hippo, bishop & doctor
September 11 ORTH *St. Theodora/Theodoros of Alexandria
September 21 ORTH St. Edward II, King of England
September 23 ORC *St. Thekla of Iconium (Sept 24 ORTH)
October 1 ARAB St. Bacchus, martyr
October 7 ORC SS. Sergius and Bacchus, martyrs
October 9 ORTH *St. Athanasia/Athanasios of Antioch
October 29 ORTH *St. Anna/Euphemianos of Constantinople
November 1 All West All Saints
November 9 ORTH *St. Matrona/Babylas of Perge
December 14 ORC St. Venantius Fortunatus, bishop
December 14 NRC/COE St. John of the Cross, priest and doctor (Nov 24 ORC)
December 17 ORTH The Three Young Men [OT] (also Dec 18)
December 20 ORTH *Ruth and *Naomi
December 24 ORTH *St. Eugenia/Eugenios of Alexandria
December 24 ORTH SS. Protus and Hyacinth, martyrs
December 27 All West St. John the Evangelist
December 29 ORC David the Prophet [OT]

Saints - feast days as yet undetermined

With Readings and Bibliography

January 9 ARM SS. Polyeuctus and Nearchus, martyrs

Two early martyrs who were paired together by early Christians as a same-sex couple, and invoked as such in the "adelphopoiia" ceremonies, recently discussed by historian John Boswell as indicating a Christian tradition of exclusive and publicly recognized same-sex unions. St. Polyeuctus had a huge church, modeled after the Temple of Solomon, built in his name in 6th century Constantinople.

Select bibliography

Boswell, John, SSU, 141-44

January 12 ORC/ECUSA St. Aelred of Rievaulx, abbot

c.1110- 1167

OE: He is one of the most lovable saints. Of noble birth, Aelred first lived at the court of David, Kind of Scotland. There they thought him happy. He wrote: 'nevertheless the wound in my heart caused me unspeakable torments and I could not bear the intolerable burden of my sins". Breaking the closest ties, he resolved to leave the world. "It was then, O my God," he went on, "that I began to taste the comfort, the joy, and the profound peace which is found after seeking you and serving you".

In 1135, at the age of twenty-six, Aelred entered the Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx. Ten years later he became abbot, which he remained until his death in 1167. This monastery, where a great fervor and charity reigned, counted more than three hundred monks. Aelred who only sought "to love and to be loved", tasted pure happiness there whist making others happy. Among the writings of St. Aelred there is one in which the charms of spiritual friendship are extolled in an incomparable manner.

Aelred on the Need for Intimate Companionship

It is no small consolation in this life to have someone you can unite with you in an intimate affection and the embrace of a holy love, someone in whom your spirit can rest, to whom you can pour out your soul, to whose pleasant exchanges, as to soothing songs, you can fly in sorrow... with whose spiritual kisses, as with remedial salves, you may draw out all the weariness of your restless anxieties. A man who can shed tears with you in your worries, be happy with you when things go well, search out with you the answers to your problems, whom with the ties of charity you can lead into the depths of your heart; ... where the sweetness of the Spirit flows between you, where you so join yourself and cleave to him that soul mingles with soul and two become one.

  • The above quote taken from an online article by Daniel Sternbergh on Aelred of Rivaulx. This web page contains the only known medieval representation of Aelred.
  • See also the web maintained by the US Anglican gay group INTEGRITY, on Aelred, Patron of Integrity

    How Aelred Made it to the American Book of Common Prayer
    by Louie Crew, founder of Integrity, [email: lcrew@ANDROMEDA.RUTGERS.EDU]

    Aelred was not in ECUSA's calendar until a Roman Catholic head of history at Yale, John Boswell, wrote about him powerfully in his book Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality Boswell dwelt at length with the lesbigay positive evidence. That spurred Integrity member, the late Howard Galley, one of the major architects of the 1976 Prayer Book, to initiate the actions which finally led to Aelred's inclusion: using Aelred's own texts, Galley shaped the readings which appear in THE LESSER FEASTS AND FASTS, including this collect:

    Pour into our hearts, O God, the Holy Spirit's gift of love, that we, clasping each the other's hand, may share the joy of friendship, human and divine, and with your servant Aelred, draw many to your community of love; through Jesus Christ the Righteous, who livers and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. AMEN

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Aelred (available online)

    Aelred of Rievaulx, Spiritual Friendship, trans. Mary Eugenia Laker, (Kalamazoo MI: Cistercian Publications 1977), see esp. p. 21 on Aelred's homosexual attractions.

    Boswell, John, CSTH, 221-20

    McGuire, Brian P, "Monastic Friendship and Toleration ", in Monks, Hermits and the Ascetic Traditions, Studies in Church History 22, ed. W.J. Shiels, (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985) pp. 147-160

    McGuire, Brian P, "Looking Back on Friendship: Medieval Experience and Modern Context", Cistercian Studies 21:2 (1986), pp. 123-142

    McGuire, Brian P., Brother and Lover: Aelred of Rievaulx, (New York: Crossroad, 1994)
    In his earlier articles, McGuire, the foremost expert on early Cistercian bonding, professed to find explanations of Aelred as homosexual as "one-dimensional", but in this book he more forthrightly identifies Aelred as homosexual.

    McGuire, Brian Patrick, "Sexual Awareness and Identity in Aelred of Rievulx (1110-67)", American Benedictine Review 45(1994): 184-226
    This probably the best work of its kind out on Aelred. It is the most comprehensive, and actually covers more ground than Brother & Lover.

    Russell, Kenneth C., "Aelred, the Gay Abbot of Rievaulx", Studia Mystica 5:4 (Winter 1982), 51-64

    January 20

    NRC/ORC St. Sebastian, martyr

    d. 288

    The martyrdom of St. Sebastian, about whom little is known, has been a subject for countless artists to portray the male body. St. Sebastian was killed by multiple arrow shots, an image of suffering and redemption which provided the basis for his cult. Georges Eekhoud seems to have been the first to make the connection between the art of St. Sebastian and homoeroticism.

    Office of Readings:

    He suffered martyrdom in Rome at the beginning of the persecution of Diocletian. His tomb in the place named Ad Catacumbas on the Via Appia has been venerated by the faithful from the earliest times.

    See the website on St. Sebastian in art, with many examples.

    Select bibliography

    Eekhoud, Georges, "Saint Sebastien dans la peinture", Akdemos 1 (Feb 15 1909), 171-75

    Jarman, Derek, director, Sebastiane, Film, UK, 1977

    Le Targat, Francois, Saint-Sebastién dans l'histoire de l'art depuis le XVe siécle, (Paris: Paul Vermont, 1977)

    Le Targat, Francois, Saint-Sebastién: Adonis et martyr, (Paris: Editions Persona, 1983)

    Saslow, James M, "The Tenderest Lover: Saint Sebastian in Renaissance Painting: A proposed Iconology for North Italian Art, 1450-1550", Gai Saber 1:1 (Spring 1977), 58-66, and response by Wayne Dynes, Gai Saber 1:2 (Summer 1977), 150-51

    March 7 ALL *SS. Perpetua and *Felicity, martyrs

    d. 203

    Office of Readings:

    Died in the persecution of Septimus Severus in the year 203 at Carthage. There is an impressive narrative of their martyrdom in existence, partly written by the saints themselves and partly by a contemporary writer.


    The popularity of the story of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas...was largely dues to the appeal of love between two women. Five Christians were martyred together at Carthage on March 7, 203, suffering death at the hands of wild animals and the sword, but only Perpetua and Felicitas captured the fancy of the Christian community, apparently because of the tale of the two women comforting each other in jail, suffering martyrdom together as friends, and bestowing upon each other the kiss of peace as they met their end, charmed the tastes of the age.

    Select bibliography

    Internet Medieval Sourcebook: The Passion of Perpetua (full text available online)

    Boswell, John, CSTH, 135

    Boswell, John , SSU 139-141

    Castelli, Elizabeth, "`I Will Make Mary Male': Pieties of the Body and Gender: Transformation of Christian Women in Late Antiquity", in Julia Epstein and Kristina Straub, eds. , Body Guards: The Cultural politics of Gender Ambiguity, (New York: Routledge, 1991), 29-39

    Dronke, Peter, Women Writers of the Middle Ages: A Critical Study of Texts from Perpetua to Marguerite Porete, (New York: Cambridge UP, 1985)

    Lefkowitz, Mary R. "Motivations for St Perpetua's martyrdom", Journal of the American Academy of Religion 44 (1976) ,417-421

    Miles, Margaret, Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1989; pb New York: Vintage, 1991), 53-77

    Pettersen, Alvyn L., "Perpetua - prisoner of conscience", Vigilae Christianae 41:2 (1987), 139-53

    Rossi, Mary Ann, "The passion of Perpetua, everywoman of late antiquity", in R. Smith and J. Lounibos, eds., Pagan and Christian anxiety, (1984), 53-86

    Scholer, David M., "'And I was a man': the power and problem of Perpetua", Daughters of Sarah 15 (September-October 1989), 10-14

    March 15 ORC St. Longinus the Centurion (Oct 16 ORTH)

    A number of unnamed figures in the New Testament have been given names - for instance the women who wiped the face of Christ as he went to be crucified is known as "Veronica". The centurion of Matthew 27, who utter the words "truly this is the son of God", has long been celebrated as the martyr Longinus in both Orthodox and Roman churches. For this entry I am conflating him with the Roman soldier of Matthew 8:5-13/Luke 7:1-10 who approaches Jesus so that this "servant" might be cured. I think that this was done in the past, but am still searching for more information.

    As Fr. Johh O'Neill has pointed out recently, there are several aspects to this story which might lend it to a gay reading. In the first place it seems somewhat odd that a centurion would be so caring about a slave, caring enough to risk ridicule by approaching a Jewish miracle worker for help. The underlying Greek text intensifies this suspicion of a possible homosexual relationship. Tom Horner, author of David Loved Jonathan: Homosexuality in Biblical Times, points out that in Matthew, the earlier account and directed to a Greek-speaking Jewish audience, the word for servant is "pais" - which means "boy", but can also mean "servant", and, given the rather greater than average concern for a servant demonstrated by the centurion, can also mean "lover". The word "pederasty" for instance derives from "pais". Luke, who was writing in a much more Greek milieu changes the word "pais" to the much more neutral "doulos" ("servant" or "slave"), presumably aware of its homosexual implications to any reader with a Greek cultural background. Jesus, clearly, does not condemn the centurion in this story of faith.

    One interesting point here is that at every Catholic mass the communicants say the words of this centurion immediately before communion - the modern English slightly distorts the Latin - " Lord I am not worthy to receive you under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be cleansed".


    And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, Mat 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. Mat 8:7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. Mat 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. Mat 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. Mat 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. Mat 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.


    Luke 7:1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. Luke 7:2 And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. Luke 7:3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. Luke 7:4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: Luke 7:5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. Luke 7:6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Luke 7:7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. Luke 7:8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. Luke 7:9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. Luke 7:10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

    Select Bibliography

    Horner, Tom, Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality in Biblical Times, (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1978), 122

    McNeill, John, Freedom Glorious Freedom, (Boston: Beacon, 1995), 132-136

    April 21

    All West St. Anselm of Canterbury, bishop & doctor


    from Compton's Online Encyclopedia, (AOL, Downloaded 7/22/94)

    ANSELM OF CANTERBURY (1033?-1109). In the late Middle Ages the attempt to use philosophy to explain Christian faith was called scholasticism. The founder of scholasticism was St. Anselm, a man who combined the careers of philosopher, theologian, monk, and archbishop. Anselm was born at Aosta, Italy, in about 1033. In his youth he resisted family pressure to enter politics and obtained a classical education instead. In 1057 he entered the Benedictine monastery at Bec, in northwestern France. In 1078 he became the abbot there. As Anselm's abilities and great learning became known, Bec became one of the leading schools of philosophy and theology. While on inspection tours of monasteries in England, Anselm had been befriended by King William I. In 1093 William I's son and successor, William II Rufus, appointed Anselm archbishop of Canterbury. His term of office was an unhappy one, for he immediately became involved in one of the major conflicts of the time--the investiture controversy. At issue was whether a king had the right to invest a bishop with the symbols of his office. On this issue Anselm resisted both William II and his successor, Henry I. The matter was finally resolved in Anselm's favor by the Westminster Agreement of 1107. He lived only two more years, dying on April 21, 1109.

    Anselm is remembered principally as one of the great theologians in the history of the Roman Catholic church. His main works--the 'Monologium' (Monologue), the 'Proslogium' (Addition), and the 'Cur Deus Homo?' (Why Did God Become Man?)--were outstanding attempts to use reason to explain belief. He was canonized a saint in 1163 and declared a doctor of the church in 1720.

    He was canonized by Pope Alexander VI in 1492 and proclaimed a doctor of the Church by Pope Clement XI in 1720.

    Anselm as a Gay Saint?
    Paul Halsall

    I make no claims about Anselm's sexual practices, but I am sure he was what we would now call gay.

    I. Anselm had emotional relationships with Lanfranc and then a succession of his own pupils. He would address his letters to his "beloved lover" [dilecto dilitori]. Here is a sample:

    "Wherever you go my love follows you, and wherever I remain my desire embraces you...How then could I forget you? He who is imprisoned on my heart like a seal on wax- how could he be removed from my memory? Without saying a word I know that you love [amor] me, and without my saying a word, you know that I love you." [Epistle 1.4; PL 158:1068-69]

    Or again:

    "Brother Anselm to Dom Gilbert, brother, friend, beloved lover... Sweet to me, sweetest friend, are the gifts of your sweetness, but they cannot begin to console my desolate heart for its want of your Love." [Ep. 1.75, PL 158:1144-45].

    refs. from John Boswell's CSTH.

    It is worth mentioning also, that St. Anselm was one of the first saints to address Jesus as mother, a practice and spirituality later taken up by Julian of Norwich.

    There have been long running arguments among academics about Anslem's sexuality. On one side, John Boswell was quite explicit in arguing for this; on the other Sir. Richard Southern and Glenn Olsen reject such an interpretation. Brian McGuire is probably the most important scholar working on Anselm these days. For many years, well aware of the possible anachronism of calling any pre-modern individual "gay" or "homosexual", McGuire was not pinned down on the issue. Recently, however, he has argued that it is appropriate to see Anselm as "homosexual", if we are to use such terms.

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Anslem (available online)

    Boswell, John, CSTH, 218-20

    Bynum, Caroline Walker, Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages, (Berkeley: 1982)

    McGuire, Brian P., "Love, Friendship and Sex in the 11th Century: The Experience of Anselm", Studia Theologia 28 (1974), pp. 111-155

    McGuire, Brian P., "Monastic Friendship and Toleration in Twelfth Century Cistercian Life", in W. J. Shiels., ed., Monks, Hermits and the Ascetic Tradition, Studies in Church History 22, (London: 1985)

    Olsen, Glenn, "St. Anselm and Homosexuality", Anselm Studies (1988) [Article by a conservative Roman Catholic scholar who denies Anselm can be considered as homosexual.]

    April 23 All St. George

    St. George is, along with St. Nicholas, without any question among the most popular of all saints in history. The odd thing is that nothing whatsoever can be established about him as a historical figure. Indeed the among earliest references to this cult in the West involve papal condemnations of the myths surrounding him.

    So how can George be included in a list of "queer" saints. For two reasons - iconographic and textual.


    No one reading early texts about George can fail to be impressed by the explicit homoeroticism in them. George at one stage is about to marry, but is prevented by Christ. As the text said "[George] did not know that Christ was keeping him as a pure virginal bridegroom for himself". (Budge, 282) Later on after mind-boggling escapades [George is killed and resurrected a number or times in his myths], Christ welcomes George into Heaven with bridal imagery: - "And the Lord said to the blessed George, Hail, My George! Hail beloved of myself and of My Angels…I swear by My right hand, Oh my beloved one that I will establish a covenant with thee that when thou shalt bow thyself upon thy spiritual face in heaven and shall come with all they congregation to worship the holy Trinity, all the saints know thee by reason of the honour which I will show thee, O My beloved… " (Budge 320-21).

    In these texts, here from Coptic versions, George is presented as the bridegroom of Christ. Bridal imagery is quite common in discourse about Christ, but usually male saints are made into "brides of Christ" [see Carolyn Walker Bynum's work on this], but with George a same sex marital imagery is used.


    George is among the most common subjects of religious art. His iconographic type is fixed - he is a young beardless warrior. It is worth noting that some commentators have seen appeal of this figure as androgynous. Here are the comments of Christopher Walter, a recent commentator on the cult of George:-

    'There can be not doubt that [George] had an exceptional affective appeal, difficult perhaps for us to grasp, since the Byzantines have not bequeathed us many empirical descriptions of their feelings. Some reconstruction can be tentatively undertaken….Thomas Matthews has studied the affective attitude of the Byzantines towards their icons and the saints represented on the icons. `One was supposed to fall in love with these saints.' Or elsewhere: 'The involvement of the Orthodox beholder with his painted images was complete…The believer entered a world of images in a war the modern view of paintings cannot accomplish". However, empathy as a characteristic of human psychology, must keep pace with development and changes in artistic media. It may not be amiss therefore to quote James Baldwin's description of a budding actor in a film. It seems to me to give some insight into the way that a Byzantine saw an icon of St. George:`…The face of a man, of a tormented man. Yet, in precisely the way that great music depends, ultimately, on a great silence, this masculinity was defined and made powerful by something which was not masculine. It was not feminine either and something….resisted the word androgynous. It was a quality to which numbers of persons would respond without knowing what it was that they were responding. There was a great force in face and a great gentleness…It was a face which suggested, resonantly in the depths the truth about our natures'" (Walter, 320)

    In addition to all the above, George is patron saint of scouting, chosen as such by Baden Powell. There is a webpage for George, Patron of Scouts!

    Select bibliography

    Budge, Earnest Wallis, The Martyrdom and Miracles of St. George of Cappodocia: The Coptic Texts, (London: D. Nutt, 1888)

    Bynum, Caroline Walker, Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages, (Berkeley: 1982)

    Walter, Christopher, "The Origins of the Cult of St. George", Revue des études byzantines 53 (1995), 295-326

    May 8 COE/ECUSA *Julian of Norwich, mystic

    1342- c. 1417

    Mother Julian qualifies as transgendered for her name, if nothing else. But that is not her main interest for lesbian and gay people. Mother Julian was one of the foremost English mystics of the middle ages. As a young women she had series of intense visions, or "showings" as she said, of Jesus. She then lived as an anchoress, a sort of local hermit, for the rest of her life meditating and writing down he meditations on these visions. There is a pretty poor modern English version put out by Penguin, but the edition in the Classics of Western Spirituality Series is well worth the extra cost. Julian, although no feminist, experienced God directly as "our mother", and experienced God as pure love. She also saw Jesus as a loving mother, full of warm and care for her children. Julian's immensely attractive spirituality emphasize that God love's human beings, and that in the end "all will be well, and all shall be well, and all will be well". In her awareness of the motherhood of God, in her emphasis on God's love and manifest intention that "every kind of thing will be well", Julian's spirituality has the called many who have encountered it back to a joyful Faith. And a Faith that is not joyful hardly seems worth the effort.

    Chapter 60 (from Long Text of "Showings")

    "The Mother can lay her child tenderly to her breast, but our tender Mother Jesus can lead us easily into his blessed breast through his sweet open side, and show us there a part of the godhead and of the joys of heaven with inner certainty of endless bliss. And that he revealed in the 10th revelation, giving us the same under standing in these sweet words which he says: See how I love you, looking into his blessed side, rejoicing"

    Chapter 31 (from Long Text of "Showings"), a passage Julian referred back to repeatedly,

    "And so our good Lord answered to all questions and doubts which I could raise, saying most comfortably: I may make all things well, and I can make all things well, and I shall make all things well, and I will make all things well, and you will see yourself that every kind of thing will be well"

    Chapter 11 (from Short text of "Showings")

    "Thus I chose Jesus for my heaven, whom I saw only in pain at that time. No other heaven was pleasing to me than Jesus, who will be my bliss when I am there; and this has always been a comfort to me, that I chose Jesus as my heaven in all times of suffering and of sorrow."

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Juliana of Norwich (available online)

    See the Julian of Norwich homepage, which includes a link to an icon of Mother Julian, as well as much written material.

    Julian of Norwich's Revelations, an online article by by Gretchen Denlinger.

    Julian of Norwich, Showings, trans. Edmund Colledge and James Walsh, (New York: Paulist Press, 1978)

    May 20 ECUSA Alcuin of Tours

    c. 735- 804

    An Image of Alcuin is available.

    Alcuin was a leading figure in the Carolingian renaissance of the late 7th and early 8th centuries. The poet, who was a teacher also, knew his students by pet names such as "Cuckoo". It is sometimes asserted that Alcuin's writings reflect classical models, and were exercises rather than representations of his own thought. What must be noted is that there were many possible classical models to imitate - it is why a writer chooses some and not others that is interesting.


    A distinctly erotic element...is notable in the circle of friends presided over by Alcuin at the court of Charlemagne. This group included some of the most brilliant scholars of the day (Theodule of Orleans, Anglibert, Einhard, et al,), but the erotic element subsisted principally between Alcuin and his pupils. Intimates of this circle of masculine friendship were known to each other by pet names, most of them derived from classical allusions, many from Vergil's Eclogues... A particularly famous poem is addressed to a pupil whom Alcuin calls "Daphnis" and laments the departure of another young student, "Dodo", who is referred to in the poem as their "cuckoo"....The prominence of love in Alcuin's writings, all of which are addressed to other males, is striking... One expects hyperbole in poetry, but even in Alcuin's prose correspondence there is an element which can scarcely be called anything but passionate. He wrote to a friend (a bishop...):-

    "I think of your love and friendship with such sweet memories, reverend bishop, that I long for that lovely time when I may be able to clutch the neck of your sweetness with the fingers of my desires. Alas, if only it were granted to me, as it was to Habakkuk [Dan. 14:32-38], to be transported to you, how I would sink into your embraces,...how much would I cover, with tightly pressed lips, not only your eyes, ears and mouth, but also your every finger and toe, not once but many a time."

    And here is a poem by Alcuin

    "Lament for a Cuckoo"

    O cuckoo that sang to us and art fled,
    Where'er thou wanderest, on whatever shore
    Thou lingerest now, all men bewail thee dead,
    They say our cuckoo will return no more.
    Ah, let him come again, he must not die,
    Let him return with the returning spring,
    And waken all the songs he used to sing.
    but will he come again? I know not, I.

    I fear the dark see breaks above his head,
    Caught in the whirlpool, dead beneath the waves,
    Sorrow for me, if that ill god of wine
    Hath drowned him deep where young things find their graves.
    But if he lives yet, surely he will come,
    Back to the kindly nest, from fierce crows.
    Cuckoo, what took you from the nesting place?
    But will he come again? That no man knows.

    If you love sings, cuckoo, then come again,
    Come again, come again, quick, pray you come.
    Cuckoo, delay not, hasten thee home again,
    Daphnis who loveth thee longs for his own.
    Now spring is here again, wake from thy sleeping.
    Alcuin the old man thinks long for thee.
    Through the green meadows go the oxen grazing;
    Only the cuckoo is not. Where is her?

    Wail for the cuckoo, every where bewail him,
    Joyous he left us: shall he grieving come?
    let him come grieving, if he will but come again,
    Yea, we shall weep with him, moan for his moan.
    Unless a rock begat thee, thou wilt weep with us.
    How canst thou not, thyself remembering?
    Shall not the father weep the son he lost him,
    Brother for brother still be sorrowing?

    Once were we three, with but one heart among us.
    Scare are we two, now that the third is fled.
    Fled is he, fled is he, but the grief remaineth;
    Bitter the weeping, for so dear a head.
    Send a song after him, send a song of sorrow,
    Songs bring the cuckoo home, or so they tell
    Yet be thou happy, wheresoe'er thou wanderest
    Sometimes remember us, Love, fare you well.

    [trans. Helen Waddell, in Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse]

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Alcuin (available online)

    Coote, Stephen, ed., The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse, (Harmondsworth: Allen Lane, Penguin, 1983), 112-114

    Boswell, John, CSTH, 188-191

    May 30 ORC *St. Joan of Arc


    and *La Rousse
    and *Catharine de La Rochelle

    An Image of Joan of Arc is available online. See also another image.

    Joan, who was executed at the age of 19, lived, as Marina Warner notes, one of the most classically heroic lives of any woman in history. She is the national heroine of France. She also refused to wear women's clothes and had her hair cut in the typical male "basin" style of the day. Even during her trial she insisted on male attire, an insistence which angered her prosecutors.

    from Compton's Online Encyclopedia, (AOL, Downloaded 7/22/94)

    JOAN OF ARC (1412?-31). One of the most romantic figures in European war history was Joan of Arc, a peasant girl who saved the kingdom of France from English domination. She has also been called the Maid of Orleans and the Maid of France. When she was only 17 years old, Joan inspired a French army to break the English siege of the French city of Orleans and to win other important victories. Joan of Arc (in French Jeanne d'Arc) was born in the village of Domremy, in the Meuse River valley, probably in 1412. She was the daughter of a wealthy tenant farmer. From her mother she learned how to spin, sew, and cook, and also to love and serve God. She spent much of her time praying in church. For almost 100 years France and much of Europe had been fighting in what became known as the Hundred Years' War. The English occupied much of northern France and the Duke of Burgundy was their ally. Because the impoverished French king, Charles VII, had not yet been crowned, he was still called the Dauphin (See Charles, Kings of France). Reims, where the coronation ceremonies for French kings had been held for 1,000 years, was in enemy hands (See Reims). The valley where Joan lived was constantly overrun by armies and guerrilla bands.

    Joan was only about 13 when she first saw a heavenly vision. She later claimed that St. Michael had told her to be a good girl, to obey her mother, and to go to church often. For some time, however, she told no one of the visions. When St. Catherine and St. Margaret commanded her to journey to the Dauphin in order to inspire his armies to clear the way to Reims for the coronation, she told her parents and others. Her father refused to let her go. Joan's visions continued to command her. Her friends, who believed that she was truly inspired, secured boy's clothing and a horse for her. Several rode with her on the long trip to the Dauphin's court at Chinon. Perhaps as a test, the Dauphin made one of his courtiers pretend to be the king. Joan, however, went directly to the true king and greeted him. The Dauphin and his councilors were not entirely convinced of her mission, however. Months of doubt and indecision followed while she was questioned. Slowly an army was gathered. The Dauphin equipped Joan with armor, attendants, and horses. A special banner was made for Joan to carry into battle. On one side were the words "Jesus Maria" and a figure of God, seated on clouds and holding a glove. The other side had a figure of the Virgin and a shield, with two angels supporting the arms of France. When the army at last moved toward Orleans, Joan was not its commander, but her presence inspired the soldiers with confidence. At Orleans, after Joan disapproved of the plans made for entering the besieged city, her own plan was adopted. From the city she led a series of sallies that so harassed and discouraged the English that they withdrew. In one of the skirmishes Joan was wounded. On May 8, 1429, the victory was celebrated by the first festival of Orleans. The army entered Reims on July 16. The next day the Dauphin was crowned king as Joan stood by with her banner. A decision was made to attack Paris, but the new monarch's hesitation and indecision prevented Joan's soldiers from concerted attack. Nevertheless, Compiegne and other nearby towns were taken. A French attack on a Paris salient was driven back and Joan was again wounded. Charles VII disbanded his army for the winter and retired southward. Through the cold months Joan chafed at royal delay. In the spring she returned to Compiegne, now besieged by forces of the Duke of Burgundy. On May 23, 1430, Joan, on a sortie into the Burgundian lines, was separated from her soldiers and captured.

    Trial and Execution

    As a prisoner at Beaurevoir, she attempted to escape, but was injured in the leap from the donjon tower. Later she was sold to the English, who vowed that she would be executed. They removed her to Rouen, where she was held in chains. Although the English wanted Joan's death, they desired her to be sentenced by an ecclesiastical court. The Burgundian- controlled University of Paris provided the charges of heresy and witchcraft. It also provided some of the members of the court. Other members came from areas under English occupation. Chief of the court was the bishop of Beauvais. Joan was handed over to this bishop on Jan. 3, 1431. The sittings began on February 21 and continued intermittently for months. Joan's appeal to be sent before the pope for judgment was denied. On May 23 she was condemned to be burned unless she recanted. She had been held for many months in chains, threatened with torture, and harassed by thousands of questions. In spite of all this, she had maintained her shy innocence, often confounding her oppressors with simple, unaffected answers to tricky questions. Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, she said, still counseled her.

    Faced with death in the flames, she recanted, but many historians think she did not understand what was meant in the statement of recantation. As a result of her submission, her punishment was commuted from death to life imprisonment. This leniency enraged the English, however, and it was not long before she was accused of relapsing from her submission. On May 30, 1431, when she was only 19 years old, Joan was turned over to civil authority and burned to death at the stake.

    Charles VII had made no effort to save Joan. Some 25 years later he did aid her family to appeal the case to the pope, and in 1456 a papal court annulled the judgment of 1431. On May 16, 1920, Joan of Arc was canonized a saint by the Roman Catholic church.

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Joan of Arc (available online)

    There is an interesting web site devoted to original texts and later discussions about Joab of Arc.

    Marina Warner, St. Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, (London: 1981, pb. Penguin, 1985), esp. 149-59

    Charles T. Wood, Joan of Arc and Richard II: Sex , Saints and Government in the Middle Ages, (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1988)

    June 22 NRC/ORC St. Paulinus of Nola, bishop


    and Ausonius

    Paulinus of Nola was an important figure in the Christian Roman Empire. Although he was married, he was also passionately in love with his fellow Christian and teacher, the writer Ausonius. There is an element of copying classical homosexual poetry in these verses, but they clearly indicate a relationship distinct and more erotic than "friendship". Later in life Paulinus distanced himself from Ausonius, a victim perhaps of a narrowing view of sexual ethics. The poem that follows is one of the most beautiful love poems ever written, by a man, to a man

    "To Ausonius"

    I, through all chances that are given to mortals,
    And through all fates that be,
    So long as this close prison shall contain me,
    Yea, though a world shall sunder me and thee,

    Thee shall I hold, in every fibre woven,
    Not with dumb lips, nor with averted face
    Shall I behold thee, in my mind embrace thee,
    Instant and present, thou, in every place.

    Yea, when the prison of this flesh is broken,
    And from the earth I shall have gone my way,
    Wheresoe'er in the wide universe I stay me,
    There shall I bear thee, as I do today.

    Think not the end, that from my body frees me,
    Breaks and unshackles from my love to thee;
    Triumphs the soul above its house in ruin,
    Deathless, begot of immortality.

    Still must she keep her senses and affections,
    Hold them as dear as life itself to be,
    Could she choose death, then might she choose forgetting:
    Living, remembering, to eternity.

    [trans. Helen Waddell, in Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse]

    An Epigram by Ausonius [c. 310-390]

    Epigram No 62

    Glad youth had come they sixteenth year to crown,
    To soft encircle they dear cheeks with down
    And part the mingled beauties of thy face,
    When death too quickly comes to snatch your grace.
    But thou'll not herd with ghostly common fools,
    Nor piteous, waft the Stygian pools;
    Rather with blithe Adonis shalt thou rove
    And play Ganymede to highest Jove.

    [in Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse]

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Paulinus of Nola (available online)

    Coote, Stephen, ed., The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse, (Harmondsworth: Allen Lane, Penguin, 1983), 110-112

    Boswell, John, CSTH, 133-134

    Waddell, Helen, Medieval Latin Lyrics, (New York: 1948), 289-94

    June 29 NRC St. Paul the Apostle (June 30 ORC)


    At first glance, the argument that St. 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". and, possibly, his disdain for some types of exploitative homosexual relationship in his period, all raise questions, questions which cannot be answered it must be admitted, about his sexuality. 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.

    2 Cor 12:7-11

    And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 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: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 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: for when I am weak, then am I strong. I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

    Gal 3:26-28

    For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 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: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Select bibliography

    Spong, John S., Rescuing the Bible for Fundamentalists, (San Francisco: HarperSanFranciso, 1991)

    Tarachow, Sidney, "St. Paul and early Christianity: A Psychoanalytic and Historical Study", in W. Muensterberge, ed., Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences, (New York: International Universities Press, 1955), vol 4: 223-81

    July 21 ORC Daniel the Prophet [0T] (Dec 17/18 ORTH)



    The prophet Daniel was understood by Byzantine commentators, including St. 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.

    Dan 1:1-20

    In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his 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: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. 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: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 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: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. 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: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. 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: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 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: therefore stood they before the king. 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.

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on The Book of Daniel (available online)

    Helminiak, Daniel, What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality, (San Francisco: Alamo Square Press, 1994)

    Ringrose, Kathryn, "Living in the Shadows: Eunuchs and Gender in Byzantium", in Gilbert Herdt, ed., Third Sex, Third Gender, (New York: Zone, 1994), 85-110

    July 21 ORTH SS. Symeon of Emesa and John

    Symeon the the "Holy Fool" of Emesa supposedly lived in the sixth century. 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 139-141, 142). This seems to refer to some early monastic version of the adelphopoiia ceremony. As with St. George both Symeon and John are referred to as the "pure bridegrooms (nymphoi) of Christ" (Krueger 141). Both men express concern that older ties of family may hold their "brother" back (Krueger 144).

    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." (Krueger 148)

    These words fail to move Symeon, who insists on going. He urges John to pray with him. After which this scene occurs:- "After they had prayed for many hours and had kissed each other on the breast and drenched them with their tears, John let go of Symeon and traveled together with him a long distance, for his soul would not let him be separated from him. 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." (Krueger 149-50)

    [From this point on the Life concerns Symeon's activities in Emesa].

    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: Transformations of the Classical Heritage, XXV, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996)

    A review by me of Krueger's book is available online at BMCR.

    August 11 dia natalis Cardinal John Henry Newman


    [Cause in process in Rome]

    John Henry Newman, the most prominent 19th century-convert to Roman Catholicism, is best known for his writings, especially his superb spiritual biography, Apologia Pro Vita Sua. It is certain that Newman was sexually abstinent throughout his life, nevertheless he spent most of his life with his closest friend, Fr. Ambrose St. John. Some reports [see Hillard ref. below for rebuttal] state that he lay all night on Ambrose St. 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. St. John at Rednal in the English midlands [where I fact he is buried today.]

    from Compton's Online Encyclopedia, (AOL, Downloaded 7/22/94)

    NEWMAN, John Henry (1801-90). 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. 21, 1801, in London, England. 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 1822. In 1824 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 1845. He was convinced that the Protestant element in the Church of England would never accept his traditionalist views. In 1847 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 1879. Cardinal Newman died near Birmingham on Aug. 11, 1890.

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Newman, John Henry (available online)

    Chadwick, Owen. Newman. Past Masters. (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1983)

    Faber, Geoffrey, The Oxford Apostles, (London: 1933)
    The first book to take seriously the homoeroticism of the Catholic movement in the 19th century - pp. 32-35 presents Newman as a sublimated homosexual.

    Hillard, David, "UnEnglish and Unmanly: Anglo-Catholicism and Homosexuality", Victorian Studies 25 (Winter 1982), esp. 183-186

    Woodward, Kenneth, Making Saints, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990; pb. Touchstone, 1990), 355-73

    August 28 All West St. Augustine of Hippo, bishop & doctor


    Augustine has often been held responsible for the aggressive anti-sex stance of much of western Christian history, chiefly because of his linking the transmission of original sin with sexual activity. 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.

    [In the passage below note that Orestes and Pylades were famous homosexual lovers.]

    from Compton's Online Encyclopedia, (AOL, Downloaded 7/22/94)

    AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (354-430). The bishop of Hippo in Roman Africa for 35 years, St. Augustine lived during the decline of Roman civilization on that continent. Considered the greatest of the Fathers of the Church in the West, he helped form Christian theology (See Fathers of the Church). Augustine was born Aurelius Augustinus on Nov. 13, 354, at Tagaste in the Roman province of Numidia (now Souk-Ahras in Algeria). 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 16. Augustine remained in Carthage, teaching rhetoric, until he was 29. 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 386 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 396, 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. 28, 430, before the town was taken. 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 410, 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.

    From Augustine, Confessions
    [from electronic text archives at CCAT.SAS.UPENN.EDU]

    Here describing his relationship with a man

    Book 3: 1:

    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.

    Book 4: 6-8

    In those years when I first began to teach rhetoric in my native town, I had made one my friend, but too dear to me, from a community of pursuits, of mine own age, and, as myself, in the first opening flower of youth. 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: for, from the true faith (which he as a youth had not soundly and thoroughly imbibed), I had warped him also to those superstitious and pernicious fables, for which my mother bewailed me. 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: for he was refreshed, and restored. 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: but she knew not what to answer me. 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.

    Book 4: 10

    ...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: and I imagined it would speedily make an end of all men, since it had power over 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 was my life a horror to me, because I would not live halved. And therefore perchance I feared to die, lest he whom I had much loved should die wholly.

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Augustine - Life (available online)

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Augustine - Works (available online)

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Augustine - Teaching (available online)

    Schlabach, Gerald W., Friendship as adultery: Augustine and original sin an online article discussing the interrelationship of friendship and eroticism in Augustine.

    Boswell, John, CSTH, 135

    Brown, Peter R. L., Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, (London: Faber; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967)

    September 21 England St. Edward II, King of England


  • Image of Edward II
  • Worcester Cathedral, location of Edward II's shrine
    Edward II was king of England from 1307 to 1327. He was deposed in a rebellion led by his adulterous wife, and ultimately killed in Berkeley Castle. He was famous for his love of a number of men, most important Piers Gaveston, and later Hugh Dispenser. Although one modern historian has challenged the idea that he was erotically involved with these men, there is little doubt that Edward was, despite his marriage and children, predominantly homosexual. What is much less well known is that Edward's tomb (which still survives) in what is now Worcester Cathedral was a center of pilgrimage; that, despite the common knowledge of his sexuality, he was popularly regarded a saint and wonderworker for over two centuries; and that his successors [especially his great grandson Richard II] fought to get him canonized in Rome. This official canonization was not forthcoming. This is not surprising since the politics of canonization meant that very few saints from the British Isles were canonized in the 14th and 15th centuries [a total of 4 in fact, see, Weinstein and Bell, Saints and Society, (Chicago: 1982), p. 167: Italy saw 127 new saints in the same period, France 18, and Germany 11]. Edward thus belongs with a group of English saints, including Thomas of Lancaster, who had popular cults with local ecclesiastical support, but no Roman approval.

    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.

    [from Roll of Arms of the Princes, Barons and Knights who attended Edward at the Siege of Caerlaverock]

    Edward was completely in love with a young Gascon called Piers Gaveston. Gaveston was exiled by Edward I (Edward II's father), and was the occasion of massive rows between father and son. Edward II's first act on becoming king was to recall Gaveston, and to make him Earl of Cornwall . 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. 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.r

    Other sources at the time understood what was going on: when Gaveston was recalled, once chronicler wrote "Anon, he had home his love Piers of Gaveston...and did him great reverence and worshipped him and made him great and rich..."; the chronicler of the Abbey of Meaux condemned Edward for being "to much given to sodomy". [for refs. see Bingham, p. 54] Historians such as Bingham note that it is not explicitly noted that Edward was sexually active with Gaveston, but the circumstantial evdience is strong. 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:
    Great Alexander lov'd Hephaestion,
    The conquering Hercules for Hylas wept,
    And for Patroclus stern Achilles droop'd.
    And not kings only, but the wisest men;
    The Roman Tully lov'd Octavius,
    Grave Socrates wild Alcibiades.

    Marlowe, Edward II, Act 1: scene 4

    Edward's passion for Gaveston, and later, after Gaveston was murdered, for Hugh Dispenser, were among the factors which led to a rebellion, aided by his wife, against him. In 1327 a successful rebellion led by Isabella and her lover Mortimer succeeded in deposing Edward, and his son (Edward III), was crowned king in January 1327. For the next few months Edward II was kept in a variety of prisons until he was murdered sometime in September 1327, his death being announced on September 21. 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: - "cum veru igniti inter celenda confossus ignominioise peremptus", i.e. "He was ignominiously slain witha red-hot poker thrust into his anus", an action which both hid the murder and indicated the type of pleasure the king was supposed to have enjoyed. [For refs. see Bingham, p. 197; she argues that the stories are credible].

    In 1330, Edward III overthrew the regime of Mortimer and Isabella, and Morrtimer was executed. 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. But Edward III did build his father a magnificent shrine at what is now Gloucester Cathedral. 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. [for all this see Bingham, 198-208].

    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.

    Select bibliography

    Website: The History Behind Braveheart

    Bingham, Caroline, The Life and Times of Edward II, (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973)
    A straightforward and well illustrated history of Edward's life and reign. Discusses his role as a saint.

    Chaplais, Pierre, Piers Gaveston: Edward II's Adopted Brother, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995)
    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.g. see the TLS review)

    Vita Edwardi Secundi, (The Life of Edward II), trans. N. Denholm-Young, (London: 1957)
    Despite its title, not a "saint's life", but a well-informed account of Edward's reign. The first 32 pages document Edward's relationship with Gaveston.

    Echerd, Arthur, Canonization and Politics in Late Medieval England: The Cult of Thomas of Lancaster (Ph.D. Dissertation: University of North Carolina, 1983)

    McKisack, May, In The Fourteenth Century, (Oxford history of medieval England series), p. 445 note 2.. See also pp. 467, 494-95 on richard II's efforts to get Edward canonised by the pope.

    Messimer, Nancy, Kingship and Deposition in Fourteenth Century England., (MA Diss: St. Andrews University, Scotland, 1979)

    Phillips, Syemour, Edward II volume of the English Monarchs Series (forthcoming).

    Saul, Nigel, Richard II volume of the English Monarchs Series (March 1997).

    October 1 ARAB St. Bacchus, martyr
    October 7 ORC SS. Sergius and Bacchus, martyrs

    d. circa. 297

  • A late medieval Icon of Sergius and Bacchus is available.

  • A modern Icon of Sergius and Bacchus as gay lovers is online.

    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.

    from The Passion of St. 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!' You have been unyoked from me and gone up to heaven, leaving me alone on earth, bereft, without comfort." After he uttered these things, the same night the blessed Bacchus suddenly appeared to him with a face as radiant as an angel's, wearing an officer's uniform, and spoke to him. "Why do you grieve and mourn, brother? 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.' Hurry up then, yourself, brother, through beautiful and perfect confession to pursue and obtain me, when finishing the course. For the crown of justice for me is with you."

    Note that the full text of the Passion of Sergius and Bacchus is available online.

    updated August 1, 1994
    by Richard Oliver [email: ROLIVER@TINY.COMPUTING.CSBSJU.EDU]

    In August 1993 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. During the pre- publication discussion of John Boswell's Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe I re-posted on 5 April 1994 what I had found out about the martyrs: Some information and sources for further investigation concerning the martyred/married(?) pair, Sergius and Bacchus.

    Feastday, formerly 7 October; "cults suppressed in 1969" (The Book of Saints, 505).

    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. 290. Sergius was brought to Resapha (Augusta Eupratasiae) in Syria, where, after various tortures, he was decapitated, 7 Oct. 290.

    "The tomb of S. Sergius at Resapha was a famous shrine. In 431, Bishop Alexander of Hierapolis built a magnificent church in his honor. In 434, 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. F. 7 Oct"
    Holweck, R.G., A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints (St. Louis; London: Herder, 1924), 901

    Variations/expansions on the above life:

    "...absenting themselves when Emperor Maximian was sacrificing to Jupiter...." "Sergiopolis became one of the greatest pilgrimage centres of the East. 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, 305-6).

    "These martyrs were said to be officers of the Roman army on the Syrian frontier, Sergius being described as commandant of the recruits' school and Bacchus as his subaltern. ... 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. ... St. 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. St. Sergius was made to walk a long distance in shoes with nails thrust through into his feet, and was beheaded. ...the particulars of their passion are far from trustworthy. ...

    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., Butler's Lives of the Saints, "Oct. 7").

    Select bibliography (rev. 8/1/94)


    Acta sanctorum / collecta, digesta commentariisque et observationibus illustrata a [socios Bollandianos, societatis Iesu]. Bruxelles : A. Greuse : Socios Bollandianos, 1845-, III:833-883.

    "Passio Antiquior SS. Sergii et Bacchi graece nunc primum edita," Analecta Bollandiana, 14 (1895), 373-395. Tr. by J. Boswell in his SSU, 375-90.

    Symeon Metaphrastes, St. "Martyrium SS. Martyrum Sergii et Bacchi," Patrologia Graeca (Paris, 1899) 115:1005-1032.

    Synaxarium Alexandrinum. 2 v. in 6. edidit [et interpretatus est] I. Forget. Louvain : Secretariat du CorpusSCO, L Durbecq 1953-1963.(Corpus scriptorum Christianorum orientalium. v. 47-49, 67, 78, 90. Scriptores Arabici; Series 3; t. 18-19). I:55, 61, 62, 133; II:214


    Attwater, Donald, The Avenel Dictionary of Saints. New York : Avenel Books : distributed by Crown Publishers,

    [1981] c1965.

    Boswell, John, Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe, (New York: Villard, 1994), 153-66 [added by Halsall]

    Delehaye, Hippolyte, S.J. Les origines du culte des martyrs. 2. ed., rev. Bruxelles : Société des bollandistes, 1933, 92, 163, 186, 188-89, 206, 209-211, 213, 240, 299, 325, 357, 413.

    --------. Melanges d'Hagiographie grecque et latine. Paris : Societe des Bollandistes, 1966, 238.

    --------. The Legends of the Saints. Tr. Donald Attwater. New York : Fordham, 1962, 22.

    Grabar, Andre. Martyrium : recherches sur le culte des reliques et l'art chretien antique. 3 v. Paris : College de France, 1946, II:26 et pl. xxx:1 et lx:1.

    Guerin, Paul. Les petits Bollandistes: vies des saints, etc. 7eme ed., rev., corrigee et considerablement augmenteé. 17 v. Paris : Bloud et Barral, 1888, 12:150-151.

    Histoire des saints et de la saintete chretienne. 11 v. Paris : Hachette, 1986-88, II:238 (illus.), IV:50, V:94.

    Lucius, Ernst. Die Anfänge des Heiligenkultus in der Christlichen Kirche. Herausg. G. Anrich. Tübingen, 1908, 223.

    Piolin, Paul. Supplement aux vies des saints et specialement aux Petits bollandistes d'apres les documents hagiographiques les plus authentiques et les plus recents. 3 v. Paris : Bloud et Barral [1885- 86]. 3:222

    Stadler, J. E. Vollstaendiges Heiligen-Lexikon : oder,Lebens-geschichten aller heiligen, seligen &c.&c.; hrsg. von Joh.Evang. Stadler, und Franz Joseph Heim in Augsburg. 5 v. Augsburg : B. Schmid, 1858-.

    The Book of Saints : a dictionary of servants of God canonized by the Catholic Church / comp. by the Benedictine Monks at St. Augustine's Abbey Ramsgate. 6th ed., rev. and re-set. London : Black, 1989.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia. 15 v. New York : Encyclopedia, 1907-1914, 13:727, 728.

    Thurston, Herbert J, S.J., and Donald Attwater. Butler's Lives of the Saints. 4 v. Westminster : Christian Classics, 1988.

    Vie des saints et des bienheureux selon l'ordre du calendrier : avec l'historique des fetes / par les rr. pp. benedictins Baudot et Chaussin. 13 v. Paris :Librairie Letouzey et Ane, 1935-1959, X:191-197.

    Waddington, William H. Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie : recueilles et expliqueés. Roma : "L'Erma" di Bretschneider, 1968, n. 2124. [Photographic reprint of vol. 3 of Inscriptions recueilles en Grece et en Asie Mineure par Philippe Le Bas, Paris, 1870.]

    November 1 All West All Saints

    The Church has never claimed to have recognized all the saints, and this ancient day had long been designated for All Saints. 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. We have seen People with AIDS light up the world with their presence, before they departed for the light. The names here are a few of those who have illumined the Dignity Community in New York, but there are many others. I have given a special mention to Timothy McGinty, but he is representative rather than unique.

    Prayer for People Who Have Died of AIDS (Used at Dignity/NY Liturgies)

    All powerful . ever-living God
    you never refuse mercy

    to those who call upon you in faith
    Be merciful to your servants -
    our friends, brothers and sisters
    who endured the pain and suffering of AIDS
    and left this life expecting and believing
    in your power to save.
    You redeemed them from sin and death
    in the water of baptism.
    In their illness they served you faithfully
    by imitating the patience of their Savior, Jesus
    As they shared in his passion and death,
    may they now share in his resurrection
    and enter your reign of eternal light and life
    there to be counted among your saints forever.
    May their favor with you bring new hope to us,
    the living,
    that we may draw strength from their lives
    and become for others
    instruments of your peace and consolation.
    This we ask in the name of Jesus.
    Dios todo poderoso y eterno
    nunca niegas tu favor
    a quien te lo pide con fe'.
    Se' misericordioso con tus siervos -
    nuestros amigos y amigas, hermanos y hermanas
    que soportaron el dolor y el sufrimiento del SIDA
    y dejaron esta vida esperando y creyando
    en tu poder de salvacio'n
    Les redimiste del pecado y de la muerte
    por le agua del bautismo.
    En su enfermedad te sirvieron fielmente
    al imitar la paciencia de su Salvador, Jesucristo.
    Como participaron en su pasio'n y muerte,
    que puedan ahora participar tambie'n en su resureccio'n
    y entrar en tu reino de luz y vida eterna
    y contarse entre tus santas y santos para siempre.
    Que el favor tuyo, de que disfrutan, nos traiga une
    nueva esperanza a los vivos,
    que podamos extraer fuerza y significado de sus vidas,
    y llegar a ser para otros
    instrumentos de tu paz y consuelo
    Te lo pedimos en el nombre de to hijo, Jesucristo.

    Timothy McGinty, dia natalis July 1992

    Tim was the "golden boy". Raised in Ft. Lauderdale, he was successful at high school. college and law school. After beginning work he became ill, and supported by his friends, his parents, his lover and his colleagues embarked on a spiritual journey to Christ which he took care to make known to others who might need to know of it. Having everything material, he lost everything material, including at the end his eyesight. But through it all he lived life as a gift, a true living that inspired all. At his wake, people who came for ten minutes stayed hours. At his funeral, Kaddish, a prayer of life, was said by his lover, and the homilist called attention to the meaning Tim had given us. Referring to an incident during the 1992 Olympic Games when a runner had fallen, gotten up, and fallen again, then to be raised and carried across the line by his father, she told us what Tim, dead at 31, had taught us; that what is important in finishing the race is not who wins, or how long it lasts, but who holds and supports you to the end.

    2 Tim 4:5-8

    But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

    • Peter Seifert, dia natalis,
    • Fr. Declan Daly, dia natalis,
    • Alberto Arevelo, dia natalis, January 27 1989
    • Allan Royale, dia natalis,
    • Peter Hamory, dia natalis,
    • Gus Alexiou, dia natalis,
    • Lou Sacco, dia natalis, April 24 1990
    • Craig Huston, dia natalis,
    • Steven Smurr, dia natalis,
    • George Moran, dia natalis, Fall 1992
    • Michael Olivieri, dia natalis, June 1993
    • John Taktikos (Axios), dia natalis, October 1993
    • James Serafini, dia natalis, May 1994
    • Thomas McDowall, dia natalis, Novemeber 1995

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on All Saints' Day (available online)

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on All Souls' Day (available online)

    December 14 ORC St. Venantius Fortunatus, bishop


    Venantius Fortunatus was a poet, born c. 530 in Treviso, near Ravenna in Italy. He spent his time as court poet to the Merovingians. After visiting the tomb of St. Martin of tours at St. Hilary at Poitiers, he decided to enter a monastery. He continued to write poetry, some of which have a permanent place in Catholic hymnody, for instance the Easter season hymns Vexilla Regis and the Pange Lingua (Sing, O my tongue, of the battle). Three of four years before he died he was made bishop of Poitiers. As this poem shows, he is also a spiritual ancestor of same-sex lovers.

    "Written on an Island off the Breton Coast"

    You at God's altar stand, His minister
    And Paris lies about you and the Seine:

    Around this Breton isle the Ocean swells,
    Deep water and one love between us twain.
    Wild is the wind, but still thy name is spoken;
    Rough is the sea: it sweeps not o'er they face.
    Still runs my lover for shelter to its dwelling,
    Hither, O heart, to thine abiding place.
    Swift as the waves beneath an east wind breaking
    Dark as beneath a winter sky the sea,
    So to my heart crowd memories awaking,
    So dark, O love, my spirit without thee.

    [trans. Helen Waddell, in Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse]

    Select bibliography

    Coote, Stephen, ed., The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse, (Harmondsworth: Allen Lane, Penguin, 1983), 112

    December 14 NRC/COE St. John of the Cross, priest and doctor (Nov 24 ORC)


    St. John of Cross was one of the great Spanish mystics, whose outstanding Dark Night of the Soul is still read by all interested in Catholic mysticism. He also wrote a series of intense religious canticles. St. John, like other mystics such as St. Theresa of Avila, used the language of courtly love to describe his relationship with Christ. He also discussed, with rare candor, the sexual stimulation of prayer, the fact that mystics experience sexual arousal during prayer. With the male Christ of course, this amounts to a homoeroticism of prayer. It must be said that St. John was not entirely happy with this aspect of prayer. He was beatified by Clement X in 1675, canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726, and declared a Doctor of Church Universal by Pius XI in 1926

    Office of Readings:

    Born at Fontiveros in Old Castile in Spain about the year 1542. He was a Carmelite Friar and about the year 1568 he was persuaded by St. Theresa of Avila to be the first to go to undertake the reform of his order, which cost him much hard work and many trials. He died at Ubeda in Andalusia in 1591. he was outstanding in holiness and knowledge as his many spiritual writings testify.

    from The Dark Night of the Soul, I.4.1-2

    I.4.1...For it often comes to pass that in their very spiritual exercises, when they are powerless to prevent it, there arise and assert themselves in the sensual part of the soul impure acts and motions, and sometimes this happens even when the spirit is deep in prayer, or engaged in the sacrament of penance or in the Eucharist. These things are not, as I say, in their power; they process from one of three causes.

    I.4.2 The first cause from which they often proceed is the pleasure which human nature takes in spiritual things. For when the spirit and the sense are pleased, every part of a man is moved by that pleasure to delight according to its proportion and nature. For then the spirit, which is the higher part is moved to pleasure and delight in God; and the sensual nature, which is the lower part, is moved to pleasure and delight of senses, because it cannot possess and lay hold upon aught else, and it therefore lays hold upon that which comes nearest to itself, which is the impure and sensual. Thus it comes to pass that the soul is deep in prayer with God according to the spirit, and on the other hand, according to the sense it is passively conscious, not without great displeasure of rebellions and motions and acts of the senses, which often happens in Communion, for when the soul receives joy and comfort in this act of love, because this Lord bestows it (since it is to this end that he gave himself), the sensual nature takes that which is its own likewise, as we have said, after this manner. Now as, after all, these two parts are combined in one individual, they ordinarily both participate in that which one of them receives, each after its own manner....Now when this sensual part is renewed by purgation of the dark night which we shall describe, it no longer has these weaknesses; for it is no longer this part which receives aught, but rather it is itself received into the Spirit. And thus it then has everything after the manner of the Spirit.

    [St. John goes on to say that such arousal can be caused by the devil or even the fear that people have of such erotic feelings. In I.4.7 he discusses, apparently with some knowledge, friendships which spiritual people make with others and how these can be discerned as coming from God or from "luxury"]

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on John of the Cross (available online)

    St. John of the Cross, The Dark Night of the Soul, trans. E. Allison Peers, 3rd ed. (Garden City NY: Image/Doubleday, 1959)

    Rougement, Denis de, Love in the Western World, trans. Montgomery Belgion, rev. ed. (New York: Pantheon, 1956; pb New York: Harper, 1956), 159-64

    December 17 ORTH The Three Young Men [OT] (also Dec 18) (with Daniel)

    c. 650BCE


    Byzantine commentators were quite aware, as Kathryn Ringrose has recently shown, that Daniel and the three young men would have been take to Babylon as court eunuchs. Eunuchs are by far the most discussed sexual minorities in both the Jewish Scriptures and the New Testament. It is interesting to note that while eunuchs were excluded from the community of Israel by Deuteronomy, Third Isaiah and Wisdom both specifically include them in God's blessing. The Bible talks to itself! Isaiah rejects then provision of the law which reject the eunuch. He expands the definition of God's people beyond the patriarchal family that characterized the early history of Israel. The following passages affirms that the lord offers salvation to all, not just those in conventional heterosexual family life.

    Isaiah 56:1-8

    Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

    Wisdom 3:13-14

    Blessed the barren women...Her fruitfulness will be seen at the scrutiny of souls. Blessed too the eunuch...For his loyalty special favour will be granted him, a most desirable portion in the temple of the Lord.

    Select bibliography

    Helminiak, Daniel, What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality, (San Francisco: Alamo Square Press, 1994)

    Ringrose, Kathryn, "Living in the Shadows: Eunuchs and Gender in Byzantium", in Gilbert Herdt, ed., Third Sex, Third Gender, (New York: Zone, 1994), 85-110

    Swidler, Leonard, Biblical Affirmations of Women, (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1979), 121-123

    December 20 ORTH *Ruth and *Naomi


    Ruth was great-grandmother of King David, and hence a direct ancestor of Jesus. Although Deuteronomy 23:3 specifically states that no Moabite is to be admitted to the assembly of the Lord (a position vigorously pursued later by such nationalists as Ezra and Nehemiah [Ezra:1,2,12; 103,18,44, Neh 13:23, 25, 27-28, 30]), Ruth was a Moabite women. This is a book of the inclusivity of God's call, and another Biblical illustration of the limits of the Law.. The focus of the story is on her loving relationship with Naomi. At Naomi's suggestion, Ruth marries a kinsman of Naomi, called Boaz, but this is the perpetuate her dead husband Mahlon's line (see Ruth 4:12-14, 17). Is this a story about Lesbianism, which was not forbidden at all in the Law? Whatever the answer, it is a story of love and loyalty between two women.

    Ruth 1:16-18

    And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee:

    for whither thou goest, I will go;
    and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:
    thy people shall be my people,
    and thy God my God:
    Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried:
    the LORD do so to me, and more also,
    if ought but death part thee and me.

    When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

    Select bibliography

    Boswell, John, SSU 1336

    Swidler, Leonard, Biblical Affirmations of Women, (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1979), 118-123

    December 24 ORTH SS. Protus and Hyacinth, martyrs


    Companions of St. Eugenia of Alexandria, these were two of her teachers who accompanied her on a somewhat romantic journey, and at the end were martyred with her.

    Select bibliography

    Dukakis, Megas Synaxaristes, translated in various volumes by Holy Apostles Convent, (Buena Vista, Colorado,

    various dates ), sub. Eugenia

    Szarmach, Paul E., "Aelfric's Women Saints: Eugenia", in Helen Damico and Alexandria Hennessey Olsen, eds., New

    Readings on Women in Old English Literature, (Bloomington IN: Indiana UP, 1990), 146-157

    December 27

    All West St. John the Evangelist

    1st Century CE

    The Beloved Disciple.

    The love between Christ and St. John has been seen as homoerotic for centuries. The British LGB group Quest begins its meetings with the following prayer.

    Almighty Father, your Son, by his holy love
    for his disciple John, sanctified man's love for his brother.
    We ask you to sanctify our love for one another,
    and to bless all members of QUEST wherever they are.
    Give us strength by the power of your Holy Spirit,
    to live always according to your will:
    that our needs my be provided,
    our work prospered,
    and our prayers answered.
    Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on John the Evangelist (available online)

    Boswell, John, SSU, 138-39

    Morton Smith, The Secret Gospel of Mark

    December 29

    ORC David the Prophet [OT]

    and Jonathan


    An Icon of Jonathan and David as gay lovers is online.

    The Love Story and Covenant Between David and Jonathan

    1 Sam 17:57-18:9

    And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite. And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

    [Saul's daughter also falls in love with David in chapter 18]

    I Sam 19: 1-6

    And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to allhis servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself: And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee. And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good: For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause? And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain. And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan showed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, as in times past.

    I Sam 20:1-42

    And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life? And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will show it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so. And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death. Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee. And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even. If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family. If he say thus, It is well; thy servant shall have peace: but if he be very wroth, then be sure that evil is determined by him. Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the LORD with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father? And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee? Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what if thy father answer thee roughly? And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field. And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and show it thee; The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will show it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the LORD be with thee, as he hath been with my father. And thou shalt not only while yet I live show me the kindness of the LORD, that I die not: But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David's enemies. And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul. Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty. And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel. And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark. And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the LORD liveth. But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way: for the LORD hath sent thee away. And as touching the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the LORD be between thee and me for ever. So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat. And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul's side, and David's place was empty. Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean. And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David's place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day? And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem: And he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king's table. Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die. And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done? And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David. So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame. And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him. And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee? And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter. And Jonathan gave his artillery unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry them to the city. And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.

    I Sam 23:14-18

    And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood. And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.

    II Sam 1-27

    Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance. And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also. And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord. Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword. And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD'S anointed? And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD'S anointed. And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)

    The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!
    Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon;
    lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
    lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

    Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew,
    neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings:
    for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away,
    the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil.

    From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty,
    the bow of Jonathan turned not back,
    and the sword of Saul returned not empty.

    Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives,
    and in their death they were not divided:
    they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.

    Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet,
    with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

    How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!
    O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.
    I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan:
    very pleasant hast thou been unto me:
    thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
    How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

    II Sam 9:1-13

    And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master's son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master's son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king's sons. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet.

    Select bibliography

    Boswell, John, SSU 135-36

    Comstock, David, Gay Theology Without Apology, (Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press: 1993)

    Horner, Tom, Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality in Biblical Times, (Philadelphia: Westeminster, 1978)

    OTHER SAINTS (no dates)

    Nehemiah the Cup bearer [OT]

    Fifth century BCE eunuch

    According to Neh 1:11 Nehemiah was a cup bearer to the Persian king. Extrabiblical texts and artistic representations reveal the importance of this office. From a variety of argument, chiefly references in Ctesias, most scholars have concluded that Nehemiah was probably a eunuch. A critical examination of these arguments, however, reveals that many of them are untenable or less than convincing. Though Nehemiah may have been a eunuch, we cannot assert that this was more than a possibility.

    Neh 1:11-2:6

    O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cup bearer. And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it. And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

    Select bibliography

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Book of Nehemiah (available online)

    Yamauchi, Edwin M. "Was Nehemiah the Cup bearer a Eunuch?". Zeitschrift fuer die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 92:1 (1980) 132-142

    St. Peter Ordinski


    Select bibliography

    Boswell, John, SSU 252-53

    Zozima and Basilisk of Alaska

    Zozima and Basilisk were two Orthodox monks in Alaska who seem to have had a long romantic involvment with each other - not necessarily sexual. They are in the process of "glorification" (the Orthodox "recognition" of sainthood). Their "Life" maked the importance of their relationship clear. Orthodox scholar, Nicholas Zymaris point out this couple as possible gay saints.

    From the Life

    "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if "two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone?" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11; quote shortened in original)

    Select bibliography

    Rose, Seraphim, ed. Life of Zosima and Basilisk, (Platina CA: St. Herman of Alaska Press, 19??)


    I have treated these saints as a group as their stories are often similar. These are the large number of saints who were famous for their holy cross-dressing. All of these were women, and the stories, largely but not exclusively fictional, generally have them escaping marriage or some other dreaded end by dressing as monks. This is no short term ploy, however. The women then live their lives as men (in direct contradiction to the Levitical Law which calls cross-dressing an "abomination"), some of them becoming abbots of monasteries. In such positions it is hard to imagine that they would not perform roles such as confessor. Their biological sex is only discovered after they die. It is sometimes argued that these transvestite saints did not cross-dress because they wanted to but because they had to, and so calling them "transvestites" is wrong. It is true that we know nothing of the psychology of these women, but when they dressed as man for 20 years and became abbots of monasteries, it is hard to know in what way they were being "forced" to cross-dress. These women chose to live their Christian lives as members of the opposite biological sex - it is fair to see them as "transgendered". There are no male saints, it seems, who dressed as women (with the possible exception of Sergius and Bacchus, who were forcibly paraded through the streets in women's clothes). At work here is an old notion that women are saved in so far as they have "male souls", a repeated term of praise in lives of female saints. These women's lives do show that the Levitical Law was not determinative in Christian estimations of holiness, and that modern rigid gender categories had much less role in earlier epochs of Christianity than nowadays. These saints found a place in both Orthodox and Roman calendars.

    *St. Anastasia the Patrician (or "of Constantinople") March 10th ORC/ORTH
    *St. Anna/Euphemianos of Constantinople Oct 29 ORTH
    *St. Apollinaria/Dorotheos Jan 5, 6 ORTH
    *St. Athanasia of Antioch Oct 9 ORTH
    *St. Eugenia/Eugenios of Alexandria Dec 24th ORTH
    *St. Euphrosyne/Smaragdus Feb 11th ORC (Sept 25 ORTH)
    *St. Marina of Sicily July 20th ORTH
    *St. Marina/Marinos of Antioch July 17th ORTH (July 20th ORC - as St. Margaret)
    *St. Mary/Marinos of Alexandria Feb 12th ORTH
    *St. Matrona/Babylas of Perge Nov 9 ORTH
    *St. Pelagia/Pelagios June 9 ORC (Oct 8 ORTH)
    *St. Theodora/Theodorus of Alexandria Sept 11 ORTH
    *St. Thekla of Iconium Sept 23 ORC (Sept 24 ORTH)

    See also

    *St. Hildegonde of Neuss near Cologne April 20th ORC d. 1188


    A nun who lived under the name "Brother Joseph" in the Cistercian monastery of Schoenau near Heidelberg.

    *St. Uncumber [or Wilgefortis] July 20th ORC

    A bearded woman saint, also known as St. Liverade (France), Liberata (Italy), Liberada (Spain), Debarras (Beauvais), Ohnkummer (Germany), and Ontcommere (Flanders)

    She was represented as a bearded women on a cross/

    Select bibliography on TV Saints

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Pelagia (available online)

    Catholic Encyclopedia - entry on Wilgefortis (available online)

    Anson, J., "The Female Transvestite in Early Monasticism: the Origin and Development of a Motif", Viator 5 (1974), 1-32

    Bennasser, Khalifa Abubakr, Gender and Sanctity in Early Byzantine Monasticism: A Study of the Phenomenon of Female Ascetics in Male Monastic Habit with a Translation of the Life of St. Matrona, [Rutgers Ph.D Dissertation 1984; UMI 8424085]

    Delcourt, Marie, "Le complexe de Diane dans l'hagiographie chretienne", Revue de l'Histoire des Religions 153 (January-March 1958), 1-33

    Patlagean, Evelyne, "L'histoire de la femme déguise en moine et l'evolution de la sainteté feminine à Byzance", Studi Medievali ser. 3 17 (1976), 597-625, repr. in Structure sociale, famille, chretienté à Byzance IVe-XIe siècle, (London: Variorum, 1981), XI

    Marina Warner, St. Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, (London: 1981, pb. Penguin, 1985), esp 149-63

    Possible LGBT Saints

    [more information needed on these figures, suggested by various correspondents, but without enough reason]

    January 2 ORTH St. Seraphim of Sarov d. 1833
    January 10 ORTH St. Paul of Obnora d.1429
    May 26th NRC/ORC St. Philip Neri, priest
    September 25 ORTH St. Sergius of Radonezh d. 1392
    Oct 15 NRC/COE/ECUSA St. Theresa of Avila, mystic
    Nov 14 ORTH St. Justinian [emperor]
    St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
    St. Nectarios of Aegina d. 1920