Pavel Florensky was a Russian Orthodox priest and scientist who wrote a groundbreaking theology of same-sex love in the early 20th century. He was executed on Dec. Florensky is recognized as one of the greatest Orthodox theologians of the 20th century. He also wrote about the ancient rite of adelphopoiesis known as brother-making or same-sex union. Pavel Florensky Wikipedia.
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Pavel Florensky was a Russian Orthodox priest and scientist who wrote a groundbreaking theology of same-sex love in the early 20th century. He was executed on Dec. Florensky is recognized as one of the greatest Orthodox theologians of the 20th century. He also wrote about the ancient rite of adelphopoiesis known as brother-making or same-sex union. Pavel Florensky Wikipedia. Florensky also excelled as a mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, linguist, art historian, and philosopher, so he is considered a polymath or Renaissance man comparable to Leonardo Da Vinci.
To some he is also a saint and martyr because Florensky was sent to forced labor camps and executed during the Soviet anti-religious purges of the s. His roommate Troitsky was the original beloved friend to whom the letters are addressed. But the friend is kept anonymous. He traces this theme like a golden thread through Holy Tradition, from David and Jonathan to Christ and John , the pairing of the apostles, the pairing of saints in hagiography and liturgy, the prevalence of monks living in twos in Byzantine and Coptic monasticism, patristic encomiums to friendship that have an almost romantic quality about them, and finally—evolving out of monastic practice and adapted to lay needs—a fully developed rite of brother-making that precedes by a century or two that of marriage.
Slavic professor Richard F. All dyadic friendships in his discussion are same-sex unions. And this is what is significant theologically, even for our own era.
Florensky decenters heterosexual marriage in his presentation of ecclesiality in order to privilege pairs of friends. He moves the discussion of Christian life away from the union of the flesh to the union of the spirit. Marriage is understood as a remnant from pagan life, now blessed by the church; friendship is inherently Christian.
Florensky was an art historian as well as a theologian, so he carefully chose the illustrations and designed the book itself to be a work of art. These images are preserved in the English translation. The frontispiece at the beginning of the book shows a same-sex pair of angels in a loving embrace. Recent research shows that he even wrote anti-Semitic material under a pseudonym. His father was a railroad engineer from a family of Russian Orthodox priests, and his mother came from Armenian nobility.
He spent most of his childhood in the city of Tbilisi formerly Tiflis , located in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Her book provides most of what English readers know about his friendship with Troitsky. Gifted in math from an early age, he had no religious upbringing but experienced a profound mystical connection to nature. In , the year-old Florensky had a spiritual crisis that led to his religious conversion.
He had a dream of being buried by impenetrable darkness through which a thin ray of light or sound brought the name of God.
This conversion experience redirected his life. His immediate family was surprised and embarrassed when he got involved in the church. Florensky studied mathematics at Moscow University, graduating with honors in He was offered a position on the mathematics faculty, but rejected it to enter seminary. One year ahead of his friend, Troitsky was the son of a country priest from the village of Tolpygino in the Kostroma region of western Russia. The pair shared a dormitory room and dreamed of sharing a contemplative life together in an izba Russian log hut deep in the forests of Kostroma, surrounded by books and art.
Their committed relationship is described in slightly different ways by two contemporary writers on LGBTQ spirituality. Their dream of a quiet life together as a male couple did not come true. He was stabbed to death outside his school on Nov. God be his judge! In August he wed Anna Mikhailovna Giatsintova — , a teacher from a peasant family and sister of a university friend.
They went on to have five children together. Florensky joined the Moscow Theological seminary faculty and was ordained an Orthodox priest on April 24, In addition to teaching, he began service as priest in a nearby rural parish. Naturally the Russian Revolution of had a huge impact on Florensky, ushering in a new regime that sought to eliminate all religion.
The previous Tsarist government, which was affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church, was dismantled and replaced with official state atheism by the Soviet Union. Their main target was the Russian Orthodox Church. The government shut down the Trinity-St. Florensky shifted his research interests and began working for the state on electrification, electrical engineering and other scientific subjects. But he still insisted on wearing his clergy cassock and pectoral cross even when he was teaching, working with Soviet scientists and lecturing at science conferences.
He was briefly arrested in , then released and allowed to continue his scientific work for five more years despite Stalinist purges.
Pavel Florensky, , shortly after his arrest Wikipedia. In February he was arrested on false charges of seeking to overthrow the state and sentenced to 10 years of corrective labor in Siberia. Eventually he was sent to the notorious Solovki gulag, a labor camp in the former Solovetsky Monastery on the White Sea, just below the Arctic Circle. Nevertheless Florensky ministered to fellow prisoners and did scientific research on the local seaweed.
He was sentenced to execution and shot dead on Dec. His body was probably buried in a mass grave. Florensky was His individual death was part of a collective tragedy. The Trinity St. Sergius Monastery where Florensky studied with his soulmate Troitsky was reopened in It continues as a religious center to the present day. The Solovki prison camp where he stayed was re-established as an Orthodox monastery in Priest-Martyr Pavel Florensky icon, artist unknown, circulating widely on Pinterest.
There were extensive commemorations for the 70th and 75th anniversaries of his death. Some even consider him a saint and new omartyr, advocating for official recognition from the Russian Orthodox Church. His primary research interest is sexual and gender diversity in human and ecclesial life.
He serves as an editor at orthodoxyindialogue. He can be reached at peter. The icon is a mural at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in the mountains of Macedonia. Saints Theodore of Tyre and Theodore Stratelates holding hands. Courtesy of Giacomo Sanfilippo.
Florensky and S. Theodore holding hands. Traditional and alternative saints, people in the Bible, LGBTQ martyrs, authors, theologians, religious leaders, artists, deities and other figures of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and queer LGBTQ people and our allies are covered.
All rights reserved. How very sad. In my heart of hearts, I know that my relationship has been ordained by God. Absent my love of Christ and the Trinity, nothing has brought such joy and love to my soul.
My wish for all of you is that you experience such love in your own lives. To love and be loved as I have and am is to know God. After almost 40 years, the physical or sexual, if you will, aspect of this marriage of our souls is no longer important. What remains is a deep and abiding love, one for the other, that surpasses the psychical.
To diminish this gift from God is to diminish God. Troitsky, Florensky, Orthodoxy, Christ himself and his Apostles nowhere and never ever accept homosexual sexual acts, and they wont. Otherwise, they would say clearly that love is love and to love is the most important thing regardless if its hetero or homo.
This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. So it is not about love as a relationship between two people: its firstly love to God and the way He loves Us, and then love to other people.
Who loves God, obeys his commandments and doesnt sin. Troitsky and Florensky have nothing to do with sin of homosexuality romantic relationship in a way as it is between wife and husband , and the importance of freindship, also same-sex as it was something unusual is quite common between catholic and orthodox saints. Re spirit and soul,if we look at this esoterically, the soul or body electric is what sustains the body in existence, even that of animals — the animal soul or nephesh is accepted as a reality within Judaism, indeed the bible itself.
This is because it is an offence against God and relating to Holy Spirit and the union in effect amounts to a marriage. It is not possible to keep being in union with people through full penetrative orgasm without affects on the whole body electric.
Western attitudes to sex are far too athletic and materialistic and lack adequate mystical dimension and this is ultimately damaging. We undoubtedly view these figures through 21st century eyes and with our own cultural perspectives. This is still true in many places. He probably loved them and probably had an affection for their mother.
It was and is not uncommon. I sang at a wedding once— the groom was a Chinese man who was the partner of a male friend of mine. Suddenly I was asked to sing at the wedding of the Chinese partner. The new bride and groom lived in a back apartment of where the groom had been living with his lover.
Pavel Florensky and Sergei Troitsky: Russian theologian of same-sex love and his soulmate
Pavel Alexandrovich Florensky also P. Pavel Aleksandrovich Florensky was born on January 21, January 9 according to the Julian calendar in Yevlakh , Elisabethpol Governorate , into the family of a railroad engineer, Aleksandr Florensky, in the town of Yevlakh in Elisabethpol Governorate in present-day western Azerbaijan. Florensky completed his high school studies at the Tbilisi classical lyceum , where several companions were later to distinguish themselves, among them the founder of Russian Cubo-Futurism , David Burliuk. In , Florensky underwent a religious crisis, connected to a visit to Leo Tolstoy caused by an awareness of the limits and relativity of the scientific positivism and rationality which had been an integral part of his initial formation within his family and high school. He decided to construct his own solution by developing theories that would reconcile the spiritual and the scientific visions on the basis of mathematics. He entered the department of mathematics of Moscow State University and studied under Nikolai Bugaev , and became friends with his son, the future poet and theorist of Russian symbolism , Andrei Bely. He was particularly drawn to Georg Cantor 's set theory.
Pavel Alexandrovich Florensky , born Jan. In Florensky received a degree in philosophy and mathematics from Moscow University, and four years later he obtained his graduate degree from the Moscow Theological Academy, where he eventually taught. Ordained a priest in , he went into exile during the Russian Revolution. When he returned to Moscow in to resume his work, he refused to renounce or conceal his priesthood in the face of official atheism. During the reign of Stalin in the s, he was imprisoned several times and was banished to Siberia. According to Florensky, rationalistic analysis separates man from creation because it objectifies the external world rather than unifying it.