When Brothers Dwell in Unity:
Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality
Were men joined in a "brotherhood," like matrimony, by the Orthodox Church?
“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... Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down," writes Wendy Mayer of the Centre for Early Christian Studies (Australian Catholic University) one of the world's leading authorities on John Chrysostom and co-author of John Chrysostom: The Cult of Saints and The Homilies of John Chrysostom -- Provenance. Reshaping the Foundations.
She goes on to say, “Fearlessly and unprejudiciously delves into not just historical approaches to homosexuality, but a much wider range of sexual relations and unions within the Orthodox Christian past… engages the topic with objectivity, courage and grace; a timely book in light of current debate about marriage equality.
"I found the book refreshing and courageous. It puts the status of homosexuality within the Byzantine tradition carefully in context. The suggestion that John Chrysostom’s stance was the result of personal experience of sexual abuse is novel and insightful. A sound piece of historical writing."
“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 )
"Daring in its scholarly advocacy, Stephen Morris' "When Brothers Dwell in Unity" challenges us to reimagine, most creatively, some of the very fundamentals of Christian identity, namely orthodoxy and sexual orientation(s), and most importantly, he reminds us that the relationship between these two concepts need not be colored in hues of intolerance." -- Chris DeWet, Associate professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies (University of South Africa; author of Preaching Bondage: John Chrysostom and the Discourse of Slavery in Early Christianity)
Listen to the interview with Stephen about When Brothers Dwell in Unity on Byzantium and Friends podcast here.