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Deep Pencil - The blog of Morgan Bell (author of Sniggerless Boundulations)


You have entered the random thinking space of Morgan Bell. These are my musings, things about my life written either off the top of my head or in a completely calculated fashion. This is where i flesh out writing ideas and discuss my life and my opinions.

Author bio: Bellís short story "It Had To Be Done" was first published in the Newcastle Writers Group Anthology 2012, and her short story "Midnight Daisy" was published by YWCA Newcastle in 2013 as part of the She: True Stories project, with live readings on ABC 1233 in February 2014 and Newcastle Writers Festival in April 2014. Bell contributed a short story to the 2014 Hunter Speculative Fiction Anthology called ďThe SwitchĒ which is based on Germanic folklore. It is due to be published in May 2014 alongside award-winning authors such as Margo Lanagan and Kirstyn McDermott. In March 2014 Bell's short story "Don't Pay The Ferryman", an anti-travel piece, was shortlisted for the Hunter Writer's Centre Travel Writing Prize 2014. Sniggerless Boundulations is Bell's debut collection of fifteen stories, touching on themes fear, time, aging, anxiety, and jealousy. The work is experimental in form and length, including flash fiction and vignettes, and is an examination of the horrors of life.

Sergius and Bacchus: the Gay Catholic Saints

October 3rd 2008 16:58
Sergius and Bacchus were soldiers in the Roman army. They were secret Christians. But they were open lovers.

Sergius and Bacchus were third century Roman soldiers who are commemorated as martyrs by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. They were severely punished in 303, with Bacchus dying during torture, and Sergius eventually beheaded.

They were officers of troops on the frontier, Sergius being primicerius, and Bacchus secundarius. According to the legend, there were high in esteem of the Caesar Maximianus on account of their bravery, but this favour was turned into hate when they acknowledged their Christian faith.

When ordered to enter the Temple of Jupiter to participate in a sacrificial ceremony to the god, they refused. For this act of defiance, the lovers were stripped of their arms and badges of rank, and humiliated by being dressed in women's clothing and led through the public streets.

When examined under torture they were beaten so severely with thongs that Bacchus died under the blows. Sergius, endured further suffering due to torture. The legend tells of him having to run eighteen miles in shoes which were covered on the soles with sharp-pointed nails that pierced through the foot. He was finally beheaded.

Erastai means "lovers", and in the oldest text of the martyrology of Sergius and Bacchus they are described as "erastai", or lovers.

Agape means "love", divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love.

Adelphopoiesis was the name for the ceremony same-sex unions between men performed by Christian churches in pre-modern Europe. Literally translated it means "brother making" and it is considered by academics to be a marriage of likeness.

During the Middle Ages, the relationship of Sergius and Bacchus was considered an exemplar of compassionate union, and possibly even marriage, based on agape and mutual respect. They were joined in Adelphopoiesis and they were described as Erastai

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15 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Norm

October 3rd 2008 21:19
You learn something new everyday.

Comment by Lola Tahlulah

October 4th 2008 00:35
Wow. I didn't know about this at all! Great information. I'll be telling their story to everyone I know! Thanks!

Comment by RubySoho

October 4th 2008 01:26
Openly gay? Secretly Christian? My how times have changed.

Comment by alt_ed

October 4th 2008 03:49
the one on the left is kinda cute to!

Comment by Morgan Bell

October 4th 2008 05:00
hi Norm,
oh the joys of Orble!

hi Lola Tahlulah,
theres plenty more trivia where this came from!
i think this ones a really interesting story though!

hi Ruby,
i guess back in the day Christianity was viewed as a dangerous cult . . . homosexuality however was just love so it was encouraged!

hi Troy,
i reckon Roman soldiers would have been pretty fit!

thanks for the comments everyone!

Comment by Kleonaptra

October 4th 2008 06:01
What a great post! I know there are stories like this in history, and its nice to see one 'out'.

Comment by Morgan Bell

October 4th 2008 06:06
hi Kleo,
thanks for the enthusiasm!
i thought it was a great story too - well not all the torture of course, but the ancient traditions with regards to same-sex pairings!

Comment by Anonymous

April 1st 2009 20:00
If you look for homosexuality I suppose you will find it. But the preconceived notions of a modern culture coupled with bad history, a bad understanding of the Greek language, and an ignorance of the early Christian Church won't change the fact that Sergius and Bacdhus were not gay! Our modern world can't conceive of love without sex, brotherhood without sexuality - and certainly not itimacy in the context of chastity. Yet it exists. It existed then and it exists now! May the all-pure and chaste Sergius and Bacchus be venerated unto the age to come, and may we be called to a higher manner of living through their intercessions.

Comment by Morgan Bell

April 1st 2009 23:28
hi anonymous,
are you denying they were described as "Erastai"?
are are you claiming that word has a different meaning?

Comment by alt_ed

April 2nd 2009 12:43
By 'anonymous' you mean David right? I always thought, given his 'lifestyle' choices, and all those young boys frequenting his caravan...

Comment by RubySoho

April 2nd 2009 12:56
Why do people insist on worshiping chastity and virginity? What so shameful about sex that we have to exalt people that we think couldn't possibly have fucked each other because only dirty people fuck? Seriously, I'm hitting the wall here. It's the same old thing. When is the human race going to get over this ridiculous attitude toward the very thing that allows us to continue our own pathetic existence? Not only did Sergius and Bacchus most likely do the deed, I'm pretty certain Mary must have fucked Joseph at least once.

Comment by alt_ed

April 2nd 2009 13:01
C'mon Ruby... I'm sure even you would agree it's in the best interest of the community at large for EVERYONE to deny any sexual relation's with David.

I'm pretty sure Mary fucked him though- with her 10" strap-on! hahaha David Sings "I got fucked by a girl and I liked it. I hope the G-man don't mind it..."

Comment by KittKatt

September 22nd 2009 21:05
Thank you for a beautiful post. I'm a lesbian Christian author who is very interested in GLBT saints, and am starting my own blog series about them. You wrote an excellent summary of this classic couple.

Comment by LX Murdy

October 13th 2009 11:17
Hi !
I like what you have written here. It sounds very similar to the claims made by John Boswell, which, unfortunately, have been questioned by many other historians. The one point that I really want to know about is this 'erastai' point. If the two were in fact known as 'erasti' then it does add a huge question over the Catholic position on homosexuality.

The Adelphopoiesis, however, was probably not a same-sex union, but rather a sort of adoption process. To 'make brothers' would most likely be the same sort of 'brother' that Jesus is reported to have had in the N.T. - not brothers as in sons of the same mother and/or father, but more like close companions, or cousins. The rite still exists today in some eastern churches. This is the point mainly contended by other historians, but none that I can find have addressed the 'Erastai' claim.

Is your source John Boswell, or did you find another? And do you know the name of the text which he refers to? It would be pretty easy to check his translation on it, especially the term erastai which is used in many other ancient Greek texts and has a pretty clear meaning.

Comment by Anonymous

December 22nd 2009 04:39
Look at the original Greek text, it doesn't state that they were lovers at all. Why all the hype about sex? Who really cares what people do or don't do in the bedroom. That is not the be all and end all. Get on to more important matters. Like, what did these men do for Christ?

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