Russian Orthodox & Queer

Today while checking out my web statistics, I found a search that had led someone to my site that I decided to use myself.  Lo and behold, an interesting entry over at The Homodox Confessions came up:

Russian Orthodox and Queer: A Testimonial in the Form of a Letter on the Feast of the Apostles, 29 June 2010

Victor de Villa Lapidis avatarMy hat is off to Victor de Villa Lapidis for his letter, sharing some of the trials of being gay and Orthodox while also fanning the embers of hope through the remembering of Russia's queer[1] Orthodox sons:  Soloviev, Gogol, Brianchaninov, Leontiev, Tchaikovsky, Florensky...

As someone who did not grow up in the Orthodox faith and has not embraced this historic church primarily in reaction to her treatment of the LGBTQ community, I look with respect to those like Victor who have maintained communion, enduring the injustices while finding ways to speak out -- even if that means using a pseudonym to do so.

The other day at school I spoke with one of my peers, a Romanian Orthodox student with a penchant for Maximus Confessor.  When I told him that I'd proposed to study the intersection of queer theology and Eastern Orthodoxy, there was a moment of quiet surprise.  I found myself explaining that I study Orthodoxy as an outsider, and thus live in less fear of the explosive nature of my proposal.  We laughed, perhaps to cover the dis-ease.  But it is at moments like these, when I talk with an Orthodox Christian or read blogs like Victor's, that I feel a certain unrest: a familiar tug that occasionally beckons me to go check out the local Orthodox community...

It is not chic in most halls of the academy these days to speak of one's own theological commitments (or lack thereof), but it seems to me that the myth of objectivity has been thoroughly discredited by this point.  So let me say openly, I admire much in Eastern Orthodox theology and find it useful to the work of the one holy, catholic and apostolic church in the world.  It would be fantastic to find ways to work together with my Orthodox brothers and sisters on constructive theological projects.

[1] remembering that "queer" means more than a sexual preference/orientation or our contemporary concept of "gay," which would in some cases be rather anachronistically read into these stories...

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