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"When Brothers Dwell in Unity": Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality

Stephen Morris, ""When Brothers Dwell in Unity": Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality"
English | ISBN: 0786495170 | 2016 | 277 pages | PDF | 6 MB

In the world of early Byzantine Christianity, monastic rules acknowledged but discouraged the homosexual impulses of adult males. The admission of adolescent males as novices was forbidden. John Chrysostom, the Archbishop of Constantinople (397-407), virulently denounced homosexuality but was virtually the only Byzantine cleric to do so. Canonical prohibitions of anal sex distinguish among eight possible sexual pairings, the most offensive being a husband-wife, the least offensive being two unrelated males. Other forms of male-male sex were considered little more than masturbation.

Penances traditionally attached to heterosexual sins - including remarriage after divorce or widowhood - have always been much more severe than those for a variety of homosexual acts or relationships. Just as Byzantine churches have found ways to accommodate sequential marriages and other behavior once stridently condemned, it is possible for Byzantine Christianity to make pastoral accommodations for gay relationships.

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Tags: Brothers, Byzantine, Christianity, Homosexuality

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