Pavel Florensky (L) and Sergei Troitsky (R), 1906, age 24 and 25
Troitsky was Florensky’s roommate at the Moscow Theological Academy and intended life-companion, and the unnamed dedicatee and addressee of The Pillar and Ground of the Truth.
Father Pavel Florensky, who in 1914 published the world’s first Christian theology of what we now call same-sex love, was born on January 22, 1882. This makes him just five and six years older than my own grandfathers. God willing, I will begin writing my doctoral dissertation—in which I examine Florensky’s text and its historical, social, cultural, and biographical context—no later than the spring of this year.
The most important primary and secondary source available in English for his theology of lifelong monogamous love between men and for his biography, respectively, are the following:
The Pillar and Ground of the Truth: An Essay in Orthodox Theodicy in Twelve Letters
See especially the letters entitled “Two Worlds,” “Friendship,” and “Jealousy”
Priest Pavel Florensky (trans. Boris Jakim)
Pavel Florensky, A Quiet Genius: The Tragic and Extraordinary Life of Russia’s Unknown da Vinci
For select excerpts from Florensky’s “Two Worlds,” Friendship” and “Jealousy” see:
A Love Letter to Sergei
Excerpts from “Two Worlds,” “Friendship,” and “Jealousy”
For my own engagement with Florensky see:
Father Pavel Florensky and the Sacrament of Love
A Brief Response to Luis Salés
A Bed Undefiled: Foundations for an Orthodox Theology and Spirituality of Same-Sex Love
A Bed Undefiled: A Partial Retraction
The Joy of Same-Sex Love
For responses to my work see:
Some Thoughts about “Conjugal Friendship”
David J. Dunn
Bourgeois “Conjugal Friendship” and American Ethnophyletism
Alfred Kentigern Siewers
Further Thoughts on Conjugal Friendship: A Response to Siewers
David J. Dunn
Sanfilippo’s “Conjugal Friendship”
Father Lawrence Farley
A Conversation on Theology, Church, and Life
Father Andrew Louth
Foreword: The Wheel Issue 13/14
Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware)
Pavel Florensky and Same-Sex Love: A Response to Giacomo Sanfilippo
Richard F. Gustafson
(Review) The Wheel Issue 13/14 – Being Human: Embodiment, Sex and Marriage, Pastoral Challenges
For an Orthodox pastoral approach to sexual and gender diversity see:
Pastoring LGBTQ Individuals in the Orthodox Church
Father Aaron Warwick
For a general reflection on human sexuality see:
Editorial: Being Human
Father Andrew Louth
If you’re an LGBTQ-accepting canonical Orthodox bishop or priest anywhere in the world, contact me in strict confidence to be added to our Special Clergy Directory.
If you’re an LGBTQ layperson requiring assistance in finding an accepting Orthodox priest, contact me in strict confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m the only person who has access to Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s email account.
See the Fifty Years after Stonewall, Sexuality and Gender, and Bridging Voices sections in our Archives 2017-19, and the Sexuality and Gender and Bridging Voices sections and Warwick Files in our Archives 2020.
Giacomo Sanfilippo (formerly Peter J. SanFilippo) is an Orthodox Christian, PhD student in Theological Studies at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, founding editor at Orthodoxy in Dialogue, former priest, father of five, and grandfather of two. He holds a BA in Sexuality Studies from York University and an MA in Theology from Regis College/St. Michael’s College, both in Toronto, is an alumnus of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, and completed the course requirements for the MDiv earlier in life at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Follow him on Twitter @GiacoSanfilippo.
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