When same-sex marriage was a Christian rite...
supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 10 years ago
Interesting find...

http://www.christianity-r...nrite.html



A Kiev art museum contains a curious icon from St. Catherine's Monastery on Mt. Sinai in Israel. It shows two robed Christian saints. Between them is a traditional Roman `pronubus' (a best man), overseeing a wedding. The pronubus is Christ. The married couple are both men.

Is the icon suggesting that a gay "wedding" is being sanctified by Christ himself? The idea seems shocking. But the full answer comes from other early Christian sources about the two men featured in the icon, St. Sergius and St. Bacchus,2 two Roman soldiers who were Christian martyrs. These two officers in the Roman army incurred the anger of Emperor Maximian when they were exposed as `secret Christians' by refusing to enter a pagan temple. Both were sent to Syria circa 303 CE where Bacchus is thought to have died while being flogged. Sergius survived torture but was later beheaded. Legend says that Bacchus appeared to the dying Sergius as an angel, telling him to be brave because they would soon be reunited in heaven.

While the pairing of saints, particularly in the early Christian church, was not unusual, the association of these two men was regarded as particularly intimate. Severus, the Patriarch of Antioch (512 - 518 CE) explained that, "we should not separate in speech they [Sergius and Bacchus] who were joined in life". This is not a case of simple "adelphopoiia." In the definitive 10th century account of their lives, St. Sergius is openly celebrated as the "sweet companion and lover" of St. Bacchus. Sergius and Bacchus's close relationship has led many modern scholars to believe they were lovers. But the most compelling evidence for this view is that the oldest text of their martyrology, written in New Testament Greek describes them as "erastai," or "lovers". In other words, they were a male homosexual couple. Their orientation and relationship was not only acknowledged, but it was fully accepted and celebrated by the early Christian church, which was far more tolerant than it is today.

Contrary to myth, Christianity's concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual.

Prof. John Boswell3, the late Chairman of Yale University's history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the "Office of Same-Sex Union" (10th and 11th century), and the "Order for Uniting Two Men" (11th and 12th century).

These church rites had all the symbols of a heterosexual marriage: the whole community gathered in a church, a blessing of the couple before the altar was conducted with their right hands joined, holy vows were exchanged, a priest officiatied in the taking of the Eucharist and a wedding feast for the guests was celebrated afterwards. These elements all appear in contemporary illustrations of the holy union of the Byzantine Warrior-Emperor, Basil the First (867-886 CE) and his companion John.

Such same gender Christian sanctified unions also took place in Ireland in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, as the chronicler Gerald of Wales (`Geraldus Cambrensis') recorded.

Same-sex unions in pre-modern Europe list in great detail some same gender ceremonies found in ancient church liturgical documents. One Greek 13th century rite, "Order for Solemn Same-Sex Union", invoked St. Serge and St. Bacchus, and called on God to "vouchsafe unto these, Thy servants [N and N], the grace to love one another and to abide without hate and not be the cause of scandal all the days of their lives, with the help of the Holy Mother of God, and all Thy saints". The ceremony concludes: "And they shall kiss the Holy Gospel and each other, and it shall be concluded".

Another 14th century Serbian Slavonic "Office of the Same Sex Union", uniting two men or two women, had the couple lay their right hands on the Gospel while having a crucifix placed in their left hands. After kissing the Gospel, the couple were then required to kiss each other, after which the priest, having raised up the Eucharist, would give them both communion.

Records of Christian same sex unions have been discovered in such diverse archives as those in the Vatican, in St. Petersburg, in Paris, in Istanbul and in the Sinai, covering a thousand-years from the 8th to the 18th century.

The Dominican missionary and Prior, Jacques Goar (1601-1653), includes such ceremonies in a printed collection of Greek Orthodox prayer books, "Euchologion Sive Rituale Graecorum Complectens Ritus Et Ordines Divinae Liturgiae" (Paris, 1667).

While homosexuality was technically illegal from late Roman times, homophobic writings didn't appear in Western Europe until the late 14th century. Even then, church-consecrated same sex unions continued to take place.

At St. John Lateran in Rome (traditionally the Pope's parish church) in 1578, as many as thirteen same-gender couples were joined during a high Mass and with the cooperation of the Vatican clergy, "taking communion together, using the same nuptial Scripture, after which they slept and ate together" according to a contemporary report. Another woman to woman union is recorded in Dalmatia in the 18th century.

Prof. Boswell's academic study is so well researched and documented that it poses fundamental questions for both modern church leaders and heterosexual Christians about their own modern attitudes towards homosexuality.

For the Church to ignore the evidence in its own archives would be cowardly and deceptive. The evidence convincingly shows that what the modern church claims has always been its unchanging attitude towards homosexuality is, in fact, nothing of the sort.

It proves that for the last two millennia, in parish churches and cathedrals throughout Christendom, from Ireland to Istanbul and even in the heart of Rome itself, homosexual relationships were accepted as valid expressions of a [Christian] god-given love and commitment to another person, a love that could be celebrated, honored and blessed, through the Eucharist in the name of, and in the presence of, Jesus Christ.

"... in the evening the youth came to him [Jesus], wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan." -The Secret Gospel of Mark, The Other Bible, Willis Barnstone, Editor, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984, pp. 339-342.



Source:

1. ColfaxRecord.com; Retrieved 6 Jul 2009, 1830 PST [ http://www.colfaxrecord.c...91429.html ]

2. Saints Sergius & Bacchus, Roman martyrs. Their Catholic feast day is October 7th. Catholic Encyclopedia [ http://www.newadvent.org/...13728a.htm ]

3. John Eastburn Boswell (American Council of Learned Societies); Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, Random House, June 1994
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supporter
Posted by Kelly (+2804) 10 years ago
There you go again Richard; trying to confuse people with the facts.
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supporter
Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
A very powerful bit of research, Richard.....
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Posted by sdg (+38) 10 years ago
Another interpretation of the Christian rituals in Boswell's book is stated by Robert L. Wilken - Professor of the History of Christianity, University of Virginia, and the author, most recently, of The Land Called Holy: Palestine in Christian History (Yale)

The following are quotes from this webpage -
http://www.fordham.edu/ha...wilken.asp

On an initial reading these rituals appear similar to marriage ceremonies. They refer to the joining of two people in life-long relationship, they speak of a bond of peace and love and oneness of mind, they include ritual actions that parallel those of marriage ceremonies. Yet there are certain features of the rituals that are unlike marriage ceremonies. For example, the texts make it clear that the relation of the participants is spiritual not carnal ("by faith and spiritually"), there is no mention of the marriage bed, the term "marriage" is not used (as it is in marriage rites), the biblical readings are different from those used in marriage ceremonies, several of the rites, significantly, indicate that the relationship is that of an "elder" to a "younger," and the persons joined in the ceremonies are males.

A very telling bit of evidence that these are not gay marriage rites and that medievals knew the difference between these rituals and marriage ceremonies occurs in an eleventh-century manuscript from the Greek monastery at Grottaferrata in Italy. The relevant section is titled "rite for the making of a brother." Included under this heading is a litany, a prayer by the priest, followed by another "prayer for the making of a brother. " Immediately after this prayer a rubric is appended: "Then shall they kiss the holy Gospel and the priest and one another, and the service is ended." Next there is a heading similar to that at the beginning of the section "rite for the making of a brother." This heading reads: "Ecclesiastical Canon of Marriage of the Patriarch Methodius" and it is followed by a prayer for the blessing of the "bond of marriage." This in turn is followed by another rubric which reads: "After this prayer the priest shall place the crowns on them and dismiss them."

Boswell argues that the prayer for marriage and the prayers for "making of a brother" belong to the same office, and that the phrase "the service is ended" does not mean the termination of one office but a division within the rite. In the manuscript, however, a line is drawn between the rite for the making of a brother and the prayer at a marriage rite. In a tortuous footnote Boswell tries to explain why the line does not mean a division within the manuscript. Yet the simplest explanation is that someone, while reading the manuscript, realized that prayers from different rites had been mistakenly copied together and drew a line between them to alert the reader that they come from different ceremonies.

What these rituals solemnize is not "gay marriages" but a form of ritualized friendship between males that had been practiced in the Eastern Mediterranean since the time of Homer. In book 6 of the Iliad as Diomedes and Glaukos are about to engage in combat, Glaukos identifies himself by mentioning the name of his ancestors. When Diomedes hears the name of Glaukos' grandfather, "joy came to Diomedes.... With one thrust in the field he fixed his long spear like a pole, and smiled at the young captain, saying gently: 'Why, you are my friend! My grandfather, Oieneus, made friends of us long years ago.'" Because of their "friendship," says Diomedes, "I am your friend, sworn friend, in central Argos. You are mine in Lykia, whenever I may come.... Let those around us know we have this bond of friendship from our fathers."

In ancient Greece ritualized friendship was the only way, apart from marriage, of building alliances between cities and obligations between men. As the text from the Iliad indicates, the men who entered into such relations were married and had children. The making of a friend was accomplished through a ritual in which the one says to the other, "I accept you," "I make you my friend," or some such formula, and was accompanied by an exchange of gifts. Over time the gifts became symbolic and could be bones or clay tablets with inscriptions, sometimes divided into two parts that could be fitted together.

In the eastern Roman Empire and the Byzantine world, ritual friendship became a way of legally adopting someone who was not a member of one' s family for purposes of inheritance, or giving a person the benefits of association with a family different from one's own. On occasion in Christian monastic literature one finds warnings that monks should not participate in a ritual of "making of a brother" with someone outside of the monastery. Such unions were prohibited monks because they entangled them in relations involving money or property with persons outside of the monasteries.

These rituals were not the equivalent of marriage ceremonies. The persons who were bound by such friendship were usually married (or monks who had taken vows of chastity), and the language in the ceremonies about peace and harmony indicate that these rites were a way of joining persons or families who would otherwise find themselves at odds with each other. The love spoken of is not romantic love. Indeed in one of the prayers all the biblical examples of love refer to "spiritual love," and the biblical story of the love of two men for each other, David and Jonathan, is conspicuously absent. Further, there are clear prohibitions in medieval Eastern Christendom against homosexual activities, often imposing severe penalties. It is most implausible that the church would bless in its liturgy what it forbade in its laws.
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supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 10 years ago
One would expect a Jesuit university to interpret Boswell in a way that is favorable to current Roman Catholic teaching... which makes it suspect. Let's not forget that this same group that wants to interpret a same-sex marriage ceremony as "ritualized friendship", also attempts to translate the greek word "brothers" in Matt 13: 55-56 as "cousins" to protect their virgin birth view from discrepancy . The word is clearly brothers. Their track record of truthfulness is suspect at best.
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founder
supporter
Posted by Amorette Allison (+12288) 10 years ago
The modern Catholic Church should just avoid talking about sex all together, unless it to apologize for generations of abuse.
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supporter
Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
[b/Truer words have been spoken Amorette!!![/b]
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supporter
Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
Truer words have never been spoken Amorette!!!

sorry about the double post

[This message has been edited by howdy (5/13/2012)]
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Posted by Promise Plummer (+11) 8 years ago
This is ridiculous, I don't believe it.
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supporter
Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 8 years ago
I believe it and it's all Obama's fault!
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supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15311) 8 years ago
Well, I promise it's Plum-er true. That's why I posted links to the article, so you can check it out for yourself.
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Posted by B&M (+210) 8 years ago
Does the Bible say the "roman" church is Christian ? Or was the "roman" church part of the clergy that worked so hard at taking out the True father of the real Christian Congregation.... Jesus. Didn't Jesus say those guys were the offspring of vipers and that their father was the devil ? Considering the things they allow and promote aren't they still in the same category ?

Just Sayin !
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banned
Posted by Paul Ferdinand (+11) 8 years ago
[DELETED - SPAM]
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