Sergius and Bacchus: the Gay Catholic Saints
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