When Brothers Dwell in Unity: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality

This book was brought to my attention recently and I thought that it deserved to be shared with a wider audience. Same sex relationships are not an area that I feel at all confident commenting on, but what we all do know is the importance of them in Greek and Byzantine society, with many emperors having openly gay relationships.

“When Brothers Dwell in Unity”: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality was witten by Stephen Morris and published by McFarland. Reviews have been positive

“I found the book refreshing and courageous. It puts the status of homosexuality within the Byzantine tradition carefully in context. A sound piece of historical writing. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. Morris engages the topic with objectivity, courage and grace. Fearless in dealing with sensitive subjects, its pastoral conclusions are insightful and helpful for discussion of the subject within all Christian churches, not just Orthodox Christianity.” —Wendy Mayer, Australian Catholic University

“Advocacy, autobiography, and scholarship combine in this a fascinating study of homoeroticism in the Byzantine and Orthodox worlds. Morris also sheds welcome further light on the adelphopoiesis or “brother-making” same-sex unions in premodern Europe.” — Mathew Kuefler, author of The Manly Eunuch: Masculinity, Gender Ambiguity, and Christian Ideology in Late Antiquity

“Original and significant… [Morris argues] that the Orthodox Church can recognize the adelphopoiesis rite known from Byzantine times as a recognition of same-sex civil marriage and supports [his] argument convincingly throughout the book by drawing on the parallel of ecclesiastical recognition for second and third marriages, with historical antecedents that reach back to the 9th century.” — Claudia Rapp, Professor of Byzantine Studies (University of Vienna); author of Brother-Making in Late Antiquity: Monks, Laymen and Christian Ritual (Oxford, 2016)

You can buy the book on Amazon UK here: “When Brothers Dwell in Unity”: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality

Further information on the author, Stephen Morris’ website and the McFarland site.

About proverbs6to10

Interested in Byzantium and Patrick Leigh Fermor
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8 Responses to When Brothers Dwell in Unity: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality

  1. Kathisma says:

    “…with many emperors being openly gay.” Such as?

  2. Maria says:

    This is a grave distortion. “Brothermaking” is not the same as gay marriage. The stance of the Orthodox Church has always been and will always remain that the bona fide sacrament of Matrimony (marriage) is ONLY between a man and a woman. Stop trying to impose this politically correct 21st Century agenda onto the ancient world!

  3. liturgysea says:


  4. Sarapion says:

    Et tu, Brute? Book sounds like an interesting attempt to consecrate sin using the most deviant, narcissistic, and power hungry figures in history as de-facto “poster children” for the standards of what the historical church “accepted.”

  5. proverbs6to10 says:

    I thought this one might provoke some debate which is always good!

  6. Sabrina Messenger says:

    There were rumors that Michael, the son of the emperor Theophilus and empress Theodora had a gay relationship, but I think it was just a way for his detractors to attempt to discredit him.

  7. Deacon Nicholas says:

    Uh, no, debate is not “always good.” Not when it challenges long-accepted and settled doctrine by suggesting that these things are up for, well, debate.

  8. proverbs6to10 says:

    Ah yes. And the sun rotates around the earth.

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