Saturday, January 20, 2018

SAINT SEBASTIAN


ON January 20th the Religion of Antinous honors SAINT SEBASTIAN who, despite being a Christian martyr, has been identified by homosexuals of all beliefs over the centuries as a symbol of our persecution and suffering.

Sebastian was an officer in the Imperial Guard of Emperor Diocletian, and he was a Christian.

In 302 A.D. Diocletian subjected the Christians to a brutal persecution, and it was during this period that Sebastian was "outed" to the Emperor as a practicing Christian.

When asked to sacrifice before a pagan altar, Sebastian refused and  was sentenced to death. He was tied to a column before Mauritanian archers, who shot him with arrows...but to no effect. 

Sebastian was strengthened by his faith, and did not die. He was finally clubbed to death in front of Emperor.



Homosexuals over the centuries have looked to Sebastian as a patron saint. 

His manner of death, which is like an affliction of Eros, and the sight of the beautiful young soldier plumed with arrows, has moved our hearts over the ages more than all other Christian saints.

In the Middle Ages, he was said to have power over the plague. And during the Black Death, his popularity grew among the penitent flagellants.

His image was a favorite subject of homosexual artists during the Renaissance who were fascinated by the erotic charge of his death. 

During the early 19th Century he was taken up as the model for homosexual suffering and persecution, some writers even claiming that he was the young lover of Diocletian and that his martyrdom had a jealous, sexual subtext.

In our time, the power of St. Sebastian over the Plague has made him a spiritual force in the fight against AIDS. And so we recognize his sanctity as the patron saint of homosexuals and as a protector from our modern plague.


 We consecrate him to the Religion of Antinous and offer our own quivering-hearts as a target for his thousand arrows of love.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT'S HADRIAN OPERA
TO PREMIERE IN OCTOBER IN TORONTO



THE long-awaited opera about Antinous and Hadrian by Rufus Wainwright will have its world premiere in October 2018 with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, it was announced today.

The opera by Wainright and Daniel McIvor, entitled "Hadrian," which explores the relationship between Roman Emperor Hadrian and the young Antinous, will run October 13–27 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre.

Peter Hinton will direct a cast that includes Thomas Hampson as Hadrian and renowned tenor Isaiah Bell as Antinous, with Karita Mattila as Plotina.

Wainwright and MacIvor's Hadrian (October 13-27) is a major draw for the company's 2018/19 season. 

The piece marks playwright/actor MacIvor's first libretto (the text of an opera) and Wainwright's second opera, following his 2009 Prima Donna. 

Their piece tells the story of the Roman emperor and his young lover Antinous, who was deified after his mysterious and premature death.

Between the Wainwright factor and Hadrian's subject matter, it's fair to say that this world premiere comes with a lot of hype.

Wainwright has offered the promise of something provocative:

"I think in our modern world," he says, "among younger audiences especially, there's a hunger for a sort of spectacle that the opera world thinks is no longer relevant."

The COC rounds up a fascinating cast of big names (Thomas Hampson, Karita Mattila and Ben Heppner ... who will venture out of retirement for the occasion) and rising stars Isaiah Bell (pictured at right) as Antinous and Ambur Braid as Hadrian's wife, Sabina.

"What's interesting about the story of Hadrian is he was actually in love with Antinous, who was another man," Wainwright says

"And he was persecuted for it. A lot of the same problems that exist today with homophobia and so forth were very much present back then," he adds.

Wainwright is the gifted Canadian singer/songwriter/musical man about the world who has forged a unique career in mainstream contemporary music as an original, quirky, thinking person's pop star. And he's not new to the world of opera.

"Prima Donna," his 2009 debut, which told the story of an aging opera singer attempting to make a comeback, has been presented in Manchester, London, New York, Toronto and around the globe, to reviews that roamed from the enthusiastic ("a love song to opera," wrote The Times of London) to the outraged (The New York Times called it "an ultimately mystifying failure") – the quality of reaction being determined, more or less, by the closeness of the reviewer to the world of classical music.


Wainwright started talking about Hadrian around the time he was serenading his mother with the opera's overture in early 2010.

As his mother, Kate McGarrigle, faced her final days in January, 2010, Wainwright played his latest composition for her at the family piano ... the overture to his new opera about Antinous and Hadrian.

What attracted him to Hadrian was the power of the story Wainwright wanted to tell. 

Certainly the story of the Emperor Hadrian has plenty to offer contemporary audiences. Quixotic, domineering and visionary, Hadrian represented the end of the Classical era in Roman history, a fascinating period when the influence of Greek ideas began to predominate in Roman society, changing its political landscape in significant ways.

Wainwright adds, "And then there's Antinous, essentially the male equivalent to Helen of Troy ... though we know he actually existed and exactly what he looked like. At one point he was neck and neck with Christ in terms of cult status after disappearing in the Nile. Imagine what a different world that would have been if he had lived!"

Wainwright explains, "When I first discovered the story of Hadrian, I was instantly struck with the idea of transforming this historical subject into operatic form. 

"Both its intimate nature and wild grandeur seemed perfectly suited for what opera does best: creating a hyper-illustration of the dark inner lives of people up against formidable outer circumstances while at the same time musically careening through the jagged and surreal dimensions of what lies in between. 

"No other theatrical form truly refracts life into myriad vibrantly bright colors as much as opera does, and the tale of Hadrian, arguably Rome’s greatest ruler, is a diamond perfectly cut for such a task.

"I could go on and on exploring all the fascinating ideas which swirl around the subject of my second opera. But I am a composer, and therefore my armchair intellectual reach should be superseded by the music … music that I hope you enjoy."

NEW HADRIAN EXHIBITION OPENS
IN HIS FAVORITE CITY ATHENS



HADRIAN loved all things Greek (especially Antinous) and Athens was his favorite city.

Now an exhibition entitled "Hadrian! Savior and Builder," dedicated to the emperor, will feature at the newly restored Fethiye Mosque in Athens’ Roman Agora this week.

The exhibition opens on Wednesday and is being organized by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Athens.

A wealth of material on Hadrian’s architectural and infrastructure works which benefited Athens during Roman rule will be on display.

Hadrian was an avid admirer of Greek culture and he visited the city three times as Roman ruler. At the same time he brought important state reforms.

The new exhibition also features artifacts from Athens itself, influenced by the spirit of Hadrian.

Fethiye Mosque was built in the second half of the 17th century when Athens was under Ottoman rule. It is located in the northern part of the Roman Agora, near the Tower of the Winds, built on the ruins of a three-aisled basilica of the Middle Byzantine period.

Since 1834, when Athens became the capital of the Greek state and until the first decades of the 20th century it was used as a military bakery. Since then it has been used mainly as a warehouse for antiquities discovered in the excavations of the Agora and the Acropolis.

In the autumn of 2010, the Ministry of Culture decided to empty the building of the various antiquities and launched a renovation project.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

ROBOTS TO PROBE MYSTERY 'VOIDS'
DETECTED DEEP IN THE GREAT PYRAMID



USING cosmic particles called muons, and possibly tiny robots, scientists hope to figure out what created two mysterious voids inside the Great Pyramid.

Possibilities range from a new burial chamber to a sealed-off construction passage.

In November 2017, scientists using an imaging method based on cosmic rays have detected a mysterious and very large chamber-like "void" in the Great Pyramid of Khufu.

Researchers announced the discovery on today but said they did not know the purpose, contents or precise dimensions of what they are calling a "void" or "cavity" inside the pyramid.

To peer inside the pyramid, the scientists used an imaging technique called muon tomography that tracks particles that bombard Earth at close to the speed of light and penetrate deeply into solid objects.

They said the newly discovered "internal structure" was at least 100 feet (30 meters) long, and located above a hallway measuring about 155 feet long (47 meters) called the Grand Gallery, one of a series of passageways and chambers inside the immense pyramid.

The researchers said it constitutes the first major inner structure found in the Great Pyramid since the 19th century.

"What we are sure about is that this big void is there, that it is impressive, that it was not expected by, as far as I know, any kind of theory," said Mehdi Tayoubi, president and co-founder of the HIP Institute in France, one of the leaders of the study published in the journal Nature.

"We open the question to Egyptologists and archaeologists: what could it be?" added Hany Helal of Cairo University.

The findings come from a project called Scan Pyramids that relies on non-invasive scanning methods to probe the internal structure of the pyramids of ancient Egypt's glorious Old Kingdom period and understand how they were built.

"We are not doing this mission in order to find hidden cavities," Helal said.

Muon particles originate from interactions between cosmic rays from space and atoms of Earth's upper atmosphere. The particles can penetrate hundreds of yards (meters) into stone before being absorbed. Placing detectors inside a pyramid can discern cavities within a solid structure.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

GOLDEN GREEK GOD ON THE GO



OUR Flamen Antonius Subia was amazed today when he was commuting to work and saw Antinous beaming at him from the side of an organic produce delivery truck in Hollywood, California.

"I saw HIM this morning!" Antonius said. "I really needed a good sign ... thank you, Antinous, sometimes I just need to know you're there!"

The Antinous motif is one of several emblazoned on the fleet of trucks operating for the GOLDEN GREEK FRESH organic produce company.

The trucks got their Antinous style make-over recently, so Antonius is among the first people to see it.

The trucks deliver produce to food retailers throughout the Los Angeles and Orange County area.

That means HOLLYWOOD TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS worshipers can expect to see their God on the highways and byways of their city.

Monday, January 15, 2018

ANTINOUS IN HIERAPOLIS
CITY OF SACRED PROSTITUTES



IT was on this day in January of the year 130 AD that the Imperial entourage of Hadrian and Antinous arrived in the sacred city of Hierapolis in Asia Minor (Turkey) on what would be one of the last festively upbeat stops on the emperor's fateful final tour of his sprawling empire.

Hieropolis was the City of the Sacred Prostitutes, including gay prostitutes.

Today only scattered ruins remain, including those of the amphitheatre which was built in honor of the Divine Hadrian's visit in late 129 and early 130. 


But in its heyday, Hierapolis was a city of 100,000 inhabitants and was noted for its fine temples and, above all, for its healing thermal springs ... hot springs which to this day continue to draw people seeking healing relief.

Apollo was the chief god of Hierapolis, along with Pluto, whose healing energies fed the miraculous thermal springs which were famed throughout the Roman Empire.


But the most extraordinary temple in this Sacred City of Temples was indeed the Temple of Astargis, a Hellenized form of Astarte-Venus.

The Temple was famous (or "infamous" in the view of early Christians) for its sacred prostitutes, the "hierodules", who were priestesses of the love goddess.

The Bible mentions Hieropolis briefly as an iniquitous site of whoredom and wickedness, an obvious reference to this Temple. The Christians did their worst to convert the city. Paul came here. 


And the Apostle Philip proselytized in this city for three years before finally being stoned to death. He was buried in Hieropolis.

Recently, archaeologists identified the Plutonium (Pluto's Sacred Cave) as the legendary  GATEWAY TO HADES of ancient mythology.

Like the thermal waters seething in the Plutonium, Hieropolis was a seething hotbed of religious turmoil.

Hadrian and Antinous arrived in Hierapolis to a joyous welcome.


Because of his devotion to the Goddess Venus, Hadrian most certainly would have visited the Temple that was the center of a large, wide-spread cult ... the Temple of Astargis, a Hellenized form of Astarte-Venus ... the temple of the sacred gay prostitutes known as "hierodules."

The temple was an imposing edifice whose portals were flanked by towering phallic sculptures. Inside, the temple catered to every sexual persuasion.

Yes, there were also homosexual sacred prostitutes, who likewise served the goddess to the best of their ability.

Flamen ANTONIUS SUBIA believes the connection between their office and the function of Antinous as the lover of Hadrian may have facilitated his initiation into their cult. Thus, Antinous may have been an Honorary Sacred Prostitute.

In the words of Antonius: "We honor the ancient cult of Astargis out of love for Antinous, and seek to embrace and understand the function of the hierodules."

Sunday, January 14, 2018

WE HONOR YUKIO MISHIMA
'THE LOST SAMURAI'


ON January 14 we mark the anniversary of the birth of one of modern Japan's most famous, controversial, and mysterious gay personalities ... and a saint of Antinous.

Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) is regarded as one of 20th-century Japan's most prolific writers, and was the first postwar Japanese writer to achieve international fame. 

Nominated on three occasions for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and author of no less than forty novels, essays, poems, and traditional Japanese kabuki and noh dramas, Mishima’s contribution to Japanese literature was indeed profound.

His samurai-inspired ritual "seppuku"suicide by "hara-kiri" (literally stomach cutting, or disembowelment) and beheading on November 25, 1970, at the young age of 45 marked the end of a life that represented for some, a protest against a post-war Japan that seemed to have lost its traditional identity and values under the tide of mass consumerism, and cultural and political Westernization.

The sharp contrasts between the country he grew up in and the Japan he died in were defining influences in his life, shaping his writings, which often questioned the new Japan and harked for a return to days of old. 

Born Kimitaka Hiraoka in Tokyo on Jan 14, 1925, he assumed the nom de plume "Yukio Mishima," cryptically interpreted as "He who chronicles reason," so that his disapproving anti-literary father would not know he was a writer. 

It was however his paternal grandmother, Natsuko Hiraoka, who was to have the most lasting impact on his life. A mere 29 days after his birth until his 12th year, Mishima was separated from his family and raised by his sophisticated yet capricious grandmother whose own background and personality shaped his character.

The young protégé was forced to live a very sheltered life in which sports, playing with other boys, and even going out in the sun were off limits. She was the illegitimate daughter of a Meiji era daimyo with familial links to the all powerful Tokugawas and was reared in a princely household, a samurai-influenced upbringing which she did not let others forget and which instilled in her, and by consequence her grandson, a reverence for Japan's past, and the samurai fascination with beauty, purity and death. 

Her noble past and yet not so noble marriage to a successful bureaucrat arguably contributed to her frustrations, characterized by violent outbursts and morbid fixations. 

Her character had a lasting yet undeclared effect on Mishima’s later works and personality, particularly the insatiable desire for perfection in the mind and body, and the terrible beauty of death at the moment of perfection exemplified by the honored cherry blossom.

Mishima's complexities were not only confined to his writings. A fluent speaker of English, Mishima wore Western clothes and lived in a Western style house while espousing a return to his country’s past values and practices. 

Much mystery also surrounds the exact nature of his sexuality, and his frequenting of gay bars such as the now defunct Brunswick bar in Ginza despite a rushed marriage at 33 which produced two children. 

Mishima's interest in homosexuality is clearly illustrated in one of his seminal books, "Confessions of a Mask" (1948) where he tells of a man who conceals his true self and sexuality behind a mask of lies and pretense. This book is regarded by many as a semi-autobiographical account of the author's own life.

According to his biographers, he had also considered a marriage proposal to Michiko Shoda, the current empress and wife of Emperor Akihito.  Biographers such as close friend John Nathan contend that the tragic writer married not for love but for respectability.

At the earlier age of 30, conscious of the inevitability of aging, and desiring bodily "perfection," he embarked on a strict bodybuilding regime that lasted for the rest of his life. 

His longing for a return to a spiritual Japan which respected the bushido (way of the warrior) code inspired his expertise in karate and kendo, martial arts that he contended allowed one to experience the border between life and death. 

His extreme nationalist credentials were most notably illustrated in his founding of the Tatenokai (Shield Society) in 1968, a small private army of mostly university students dedicated to the bushido code and the protection of the emperor and the martial discipline of pre-Meiji era Japan. 

This dedication was not to Hirohito per se, whom he had criticized for "dishonoring" the war dead by surrendering, and for renouncing his divinity after World War II, but rather to the symbolism of the emperor system for traditional Japan.

On November 25, 1970, carrying with him a longing for a return to lost samurai values, and an obsession with a purifying and beautiful death, Mishima and four of his Tatenokai followers, entered the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) headquarters in Ichigaya and attempted a coup d’etat which they hoped would awaken the Japanese from their spiritual and political slumber. 

Stepping out onto a nearby balcony, Mishima was ridiculed and jeered as he attempted in vain to rouse the present JSDF members below him to his cause. Realizing the hopelessness of his efforts, the "Lost Samurai" went back inside for his final act of drama.

Positioning himself in traditional Japanese manner on the floor of the office which they had seized, Mishima proceeded to ritually disembowel himself with a “tanto” (a small sword), exclaiming “Long live the emperor” just before a pre-ordained “kaishakunin” (the one chosen to decapitate Mishima) and later one other, made an initially botched but ultimately effective attempt at beheading the famed author.

Debate surrounds Mishima’s motivations. Attempting a coup d’etat with only four other people was almost certainly going to be a failure. Comments made to Western journalists about hara-kiri in his writings some years earlier might be more insightful.

At that time, the author claimed that "spiritually, I wanted to revive some samurai spirit. I did not want to revive hara-kiri itself but through the vision of such a very strong vision of hara-kiri, I wanted to inspire and stimulate younger people."