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Re: Saints Sergius and Bacchus[edit]

This article could be improved with the inclusion of an image. There is a c. 7th Century image which, it has been suggested by Boswell et. al., shows the Adelphopoiesis of Saints Sergius and Bacchus. In other words, it may show marriage or something analogous to marriage - though this view is not uncontested.

Unfortunately, as a Novice Wikipedian, I have no no idea how to get an image into the article (my eyes really hurt after 8 solid hours of trying) and this image is found no where in Wikipedia Commons. Any guidance anyone?

When I learn how to upload this image, which already exists on the Wikipedia entry for the aforementioned saints, I will do so, assuming that the author(s) of this article on Adelphopoiesis feel it's appropriate. Otherwise I won't.

Hail True Body 16:41, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Historical Information[edit]

Is there any historical accounts of this practice? There should surely be some writings about it.

There seems to be very little amounting to the history -- not even a date range. All it is about is some bloke going on pedantically about the translation of the term. 22:01, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

It seems the article spends more time refuting Boswell than it does supporting any scholarly research into what it actually was. --Eddylyons (talk) 20:20, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Hostile Tone[edit]

This now has a hostile against the hypothesis that it's analogues to same sex marriage. Changes like "historian" to "gay activist" is undermining language. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:26, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

The "thesis" section is highly critical of Boswell's work, and doesn't even resemble a neutral tone. This section is really an extension of the "Criticism" section, and a proper "thesis" section needs to be written. I might be able to get to it next week (as this is something I actually know something about for once), but in the mean time, I'm going to stick a NPOV tag for the whole page, as it appears to have all been written with a strong anti-gay bias. --~WarrenSensei 13:20, 13 January 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by WarrenSensei (talkcontribs)

To be sure, many scholars and reviewers are hostile to Boswell's thesis -- because of the bad scholarship he uses to support it. However, to claim that the criticisms are "written with a strong anti-gay bias" is utterly anachronistic. A "gay" identity did not exist during the periods under consideration in Boswell's book. As Boswell himself notes, "neither St. Paul nor his readers had any concept of 'homosexuality' as a sexual identity" ('Same Sex Unions', p. 220, n.4). The outrage and hostility, as far as I can see, are directed at Boswell's mistranslations and tendentious arguments -- and it is not exactly surprising to see careful scholars and experts respond in this fashion. Furthermore, to claim that people have a problem with Boswell's (apparently willful) errors because they are "anti-gay" is simply an argumentum ad hominem. Even if such people are "anti-gay", their criticisms of Boswell's book may nonetheless be quite correct. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:42, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

The preceding remark illustrates precisely the sort of hostile and arrogant attitude towards Boswell that characterises this article, presumably from a heterosexual man with insufficient understanding of human nature. In case you hadn't realised it, homosexuality is an affective and erotic disposition existing across cultures (and across species). Homosexuality as such never can be an anachronism, although certainly gay identity changes with time and has been variously suppressed. For us who are gay, homosexuality is nothing less than ontological. Of course rites of adelphopoiesis are implicated in homosexuality. It is a question of anthropology and, I would say, of ontology. These unions might indeed have involved genital expression of some kind (not necessarily sodomy by the way); that cannot be excluded, unless on some flimsy and very dualistic notion that they were purely "spiritual" (what a platitude). The "outrage and hostility" about Boswell's conclusions really is a disinclination to believe that homosexuality is normal and natural--in this age and every age. And that I find frankly pathetic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:19, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Oh come on. that's not what he said. It's the concern with identity and the concept of "sexual orientation" that is modern, not homosexual attraction per se. Of course homosexual attraction has always happened, but it was never thought of as a defining characteristic of a person. The word "homosexual" wasn't coined until 1892; St Paul wouldn't have had in mind "gay people" as such when he wrote the things he did; that's the anachronism.Moon Oracle (talk) 21:35, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

In The interests of Fair representation I could cope with the hostile tone if it wasn't for the fact that the Pobratimstvo pages have disappeared; this page has long battled over the interpretation of Adelphopoiesis esp by Boswell, whereas the Pobratimstvo page presented [parts of] the liturgy for the reader to return their own conclusions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:07, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

I just wanna say[edit]

I just wanna say that Adelphopoiesis is not similair to gay marriage. I see it as a parallel to the sworn-brotherhood, or anda in Mongol culture.

Well don't, this isn't the place to debate that. Especially if youare n't going ot sign your posts.Kairos 08:26, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

The article shouldn't say that there is homosexual romance involved in Adelphopoiesis unless they can prove that. Christians believe that homosexual sex is an abomination.-- (talk) 21:10, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Although Kairos is right, shouldn't the article be changed to avoid being biased toward the view Adelphopoiesis is gay marriage?-- (talk) 19:22, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
I think this might have been practiced by the Russian Orthodox Church centuries ago, but to say that it was a form of homosexual marriage seems ludicrous and I'm sure is quite offensive to believers. (talk)
If you read the article carefully you'll see that it doesn't say that it was a form of homosexual marriage. It does however discuss several different interpretations of the rite, proposed by various "scholars".--rossb (talk) 18:18, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Ok, fine. The point is that this article is mainly devoted to one very specific interpretation, namely adelphopoiesis as a sexual union according to John Boswell, rather than adelphopoiesis as such. To me this seems like a very extreme and controversial view that should be no more than a footnote in the main article. Perhaps, a separate article "Adelphopoiesis as a sexual union" should be written. (talk) 05:28, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree. The article goes into too much detail explaining only one interpretation. There should be more details concerning the criticisms and alternative interpretations. They should be more accessible to the casual reader. -- (talk) 03:44, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

John Henry Newman and Ambrose St. John[edit]

Some gay activists, such as Peter Thatchell, have argued that John Henry Newman was gay because of his friendly relationship with Ambrose St. John. However, given Newman's resolute advocacy of Catholic clerical celibacy, it would certainly be more prudent to characterize this as a latter-day form of adelphopoiesis, just a spiritual relationship between two very Christian men. One could even argue that Newman was homophobic, since he held the pro-chastity epistles of St. Paul and other scriptures to be inerrant, and since he was quite likely a sacerdotal virgin, which in itself indicates a hostility to all forms of sex and related sins. ADM (talk) 02:05, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

This post demonstrates the problem with Boswell and his critics. Alan Bray synthesizes their paradoxical positions in his work The Friend. Adelphopoiesis did not exclude the sexual or romantic. Indeed, the incredible intimacy and affection implied by the union would make it quite a natural place for sex and romance. This fact is not contradicted by the fact that sex and romance did not define the institution. That is, two men in love would make themselves brothers, but two men made brothers would not necessarily be in love. So a dichotomy between a romance and adelphopoiesis is false. An adelphopoiesis is no more evidence of a non-sexual relationship than it is of a sexual one. This is where critics of Boswell become anti-gay. They would have us accept that gay relationships are primarily sexual and do not have all the elements of other male bonds. They fail to recognize the fine line between truly platonic adelphopoiesis and a consummate romance between men. (talk) 20:50, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Disconnect general article on the term from Boswell's work[edit]

This article should be reorganized so that there is a general section at the top about the term and practice, followed by sections about the various scholarly opinions on the topic. At currently written, this article is really an article about one scholar's work on the subject. That is not a neutral discussion of the headword.

TraceySwans (talk) 14:49, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

done TMLutas (talk) 19:45, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

I agree, this article should be first and foremost about the practice itself - it's obvious the practice existed - with historical documentation and analysis which may include a controversy section to briefly describe the modern day disputes concerning the practice, leaving the bulk of Boswell's et al work on the practice documented on their respective wiki pages accessed by links in this article. (talk) 05:03, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Massively undue weight[edit]

This article is absurdly preoccupied with the WP:FRINGE opinion of a single author, to the extent that it has stopped being about the original topic. All mention of Boswell and his theory should be limited to a single section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Horseshoes Jones (talkcontribs) 05:43, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Edited to begin with longer historical and religious descriptions of the tradition, removing also some repetition in the section on the Boswell controversy (which, since it has really initiated popular attention to the concept of adelphopoiesis, still arguably needs extra space within the article.----Kentigern Pavlos


The article includes:

"Allan Tulchin, "Same-Sex Couples Creating Households in Old Regime France: The Uses of the Affrèrement."[11] in the Journal of Modern History: September 2007, argued that the ceremony of affrèrement in France joined unrelated same-gender couples in life long unions, who then could raise family, hold property jointly, and were in all respects the same as or equivalent to marriages in terms of law and social custom, as shown by parish records. These were not, however, contiguous with the earlier Eastern tradition, and not described in sexual terms in parallel to modern concepts of sexual identity."

While affrerement was literally "enbrotherment", this was a legal contract in France. It had absolutely nothing to do with Church ritual. This article is about "brother-making" as ritual in the East and West Church, a similarly named legal contract unrelated to religion doesn't really belong in it. It seems inserted into the article primary to make a point about same-sex unions but it doesn't contribute anything to the focus of the section, which is the union in terms of church ritual.

Honestly, it doesn't really belong in this article and the info should be moved to a history of same-sex unions or legal history of same sex-unions type article. (talk) 20:50, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Tulchin seems to find it a related issue ( ) and, as it was recorded in parish records, the church certainly at least recognized it. Its a similar enough topic that mentioning it in this article does not seem particularly far-fetched. Its not as if the entire article was rewritten to focus on it. Wickedjacob (talk) 03:02, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Ahistorical claim?[edit]

The lead of this article asserts that adelphopoiesis was meant to “unite together two people of the same sex (normally men) in church-recognized friendship.” Primary sources, however, seem to indicate a completely different story; here’s an excerpt from the old Serbian epic poem Musić Stefan, as an example:

Kad je bio čardaku na vrati,
Kob ga kobi Stevanova ljuba,
Zagrli ga, pa ga i poljubi:
»Bogom brate, Vaistino slugo!
»Višnjim Bogom i svetim Jovanom!
»Do sad si mi verna sluga bio,
»Od jako si Bogom pobratime,
»Nemoj budit gospodara moga...

Here the titular Musić Stefan’s wife, a woman, refers to Stefan’s servant Vaistina, a man, as Bogom brate (brother by God) and pobratime (adelphos). Why the discrepancy between the historical source and the article? The statement in the lead doesn’t seem to be supported by any of the non-disputed scholarly citations below, either, for what it’s worth. Vorziblix (talk) 21:22, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

The following information from a userpage discussion may be relevant: -- LWG talk 21:28, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

Hello, and sure! The poem is a folk poem, part of an epic cycle passed down via oral tradition and ultimately published by Vuk Karadžić in Narodne srpske pjesme, 1824. This specific poem is titled Musić Stefan, and concerns the Musić noble family. Translated, the part I commented on runs roughly thus:

When he was at the raised house’s doors,
He happened on Stefan’s wife,
She embraced him, then also kissed him:
»Brother by God (=adelphos), Vaistina the servant!
By the Most High God and by Saint John!
Until now you’ve been a faithful servant to me;
as you are my blood-brother by God (=adelphos),
don’t wake my lord up,
for I’ve wretchedly dreamed an evil dream...

The discrepancy with the article is that the article says that adelphopoiesis was only done between members of the same sex, whereas in this old poem a woman (Stefan’s wife) calls a man (Vaistina the servant) her adelphos! Now, this is a primary source, and a literary one at that, so directly citing it is out of the question, but there must surely be scholarly sources discussing this: did the South Slavic tradition differ from the Byzantine one, or was adelphopoiesis possible between men and women in general? Are there non-disputed scholarly sources saying that it was only done between people of the same sex? Unfortunately, I am not an expert in Orthodox Church history, and I wouldn’t know where to begin looking for the answer. I posted on the talk page in the idle hope that someone more knowledgeable than me could help resolve the discrepancy. Vorziblix (talk) 01:38, 1 October 2017 (UTC)

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