Saints Sergius and Bacchus - Nominee

Unknown - 303

Sergius and Bacchus were young Roman nobles and high ranking legionnaires in the Roman army stationed in late third century Syria. Their refusal to enter the Temple of Jupiter and make an offering revealed them to be closeted Christians. The men were arrested, chained, and paraded through the streets in women’s clothing in an unsuccessful effort to humiliate them. Sergius and Bacchus were then separated and beaten so severely that Bacchus died. That evening it is said that Bacchus appeared as an angel in military garb to Sergius and told him not to despair and that they would soon be reunited. Sergius remained steadfast in his refusal to recant his faith in Christ, was tortured and beheaded. The particularly close bond between the two men has been emphasized since the earliest accounts. The oldest record of their martyrdom describes them as erastai (Greek for “lovers”), and some scholars believe that they may have been united in the rite of adelphopoiesis (brother-making), a form of early Christian same-sex marriage. The tomb of Saint Sergius became a famous shrine and for nearly a thousand years Sergius and Bacchus were the heavenly protectors of the Byzantine army. They are still venerated throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East, where Christian Arabs regard them as patron saints. Today they are invoked by Gay people and anyone persecuted or marginalized by the authorities for daring to follow their heart and conscience. The martyrdom of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus has been largely forgotten by the modern institutional Church, though they are recognized as martyrs by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. Their feast day is observed on October 7th.

Saints Sergius and Bacchus Painting

Demography

Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White Middle Eastern

Faith Construct Catholic

Nations Affiliated Syria Italy

Era/Epoch Antiquity/Ancient History (beginning of recorded history-476 CE)

Field(s) of Contribution

Military

Religion

Commemorations & Honors

Sergius and Bacchus Feast Day Celebrated on Oct. 7 in the West

Venerated as Saints in the Fifth Century

Gay Franciscan Iconographer Robert Lenz Icon of Sergius and Bacchus First Displayed at Chicago’s Pride Parade (1994)

Authorship

Original Biography Author
Victor Salvo
Biography Edited By
Owen Keehnen
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell