I was recently reading a book review on the writer Coleridge in The Weekend Australian by Dr Karalis which got me thinking about another subject that Dr Karalis has made a splendid contribution to, namely, the production of an outstanding biography on Patrick White’s lifelong partner, Manoly Lascaris.
White died in 1990 while Manoly only left us a few short years’ ago. Lascaris was a great and fascinating man. He was White’s best friend, lover and mentor over the span of an extremely productive and courageous lifetime.
The other key factor about Manoly Lascaris was that not only was he a Greek, or, indeed, a Greeek Australian, but he was a devotee of many of the rituals and customs of the Greek Orthodox Church.
What is undeniable is that the romantic, sexual and creative relationship between 1973 Nobel laureate, Patrick White and Manoly Lascaris was a highly successful and enduring one.
From my own personal perspective, and looking at the broader circle of friends and acquaintances that I have been associated with in the Greek-Australian community, I have witnessed the phenomenon, on a surprisingly large number of occasions, of married Greek men permanently leaving their wives for other men.
I concede that the dissolution of these once “respectable” marriages have caused much anguish for the partners, children and (often), the grandparents involved, but I have noted the continued and on-going strength of the subsequent gay unions.
It is time that the legal sanction of civil same sex marriages in the broader Australian community is legislated.
According an inferior symbolic status to same-sex unions such as, gay ‘unions’ or ‘partners’, even if all financial, superannuation and institutional privileges are provided for gay couples, to be an unacceptable.
The Ancient Greek viewpoint on gay relationships, as expounded by Plato and Socrates ran aground, particularly with the New Testament zeal of St Paul, (a man who never met Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth), who managed to make his way to places such as Salonika and Verroia.
St Paul and the New Testament seem to discount and ignore the magnificent evocation of sexuality in the Old Testament’s Song of Songs.
Christianity, whether Catholic, Evangelical or Eastern Orthodox, has maligned and deliberately smeared the character of same-sex love and sexuality.
One of the two greatest novelists living in Australia is of Greek extraction and is proudly gay. I won’t even mention his name simply because his deserved fame and accolades have arisen entirely from his craft and not his sexuality.
Finally, a word on the Jewish tradition, particularly the strand of Progressive strand of Judaism, that I have a great affinity for, even though it cops a perennial scalding from the Orthodox and Conservative strands of Judaism.
In a groundbreaking book, Whose Torah?, Rabbi Rebecca Alpert openly notes that in the USA, Progressive Judaism openly supports gay marriage, the ordination of gay Rabbis, as well as the marriage of transgender couples.
The tidal wave endorsing gay marriage will topple the last bastions of conservatism and that includes the Greek Orthodox Christian Church, an institution that bizarrely glorifies Ancient Greek heritage (Alexander the Great) while burying its head in the sand over the aforesaid icon’s undoubted bisexuality.
This phenomenon was never made clearer than when the Greek Archbishop of the United States of America described Barack Obama as the greatest leader since Alexander the Great. The aforesaid Archbishop gave Jesus, St Paul and everyone else in the Greek liturgical canon a complete snubbing.
Our forebears embraced straight and gay sexuality. They did not strait-jacket sexuality in the manner that the Greek variant of Christianity does.
In Ancient Greece, Eros and beauty were treasured, as the recently completed Parthenon Museum has clearly demonstrated to us all. By turning our heads away from sexuality, dancing and life, we stare bleakly at Thanatos.
It’s time for action.
Theo Giantsos is a freelance journalist who regularly contributes to NKEE.