Friday, March 23, 2018


THE cycle of the March Equinox is Sacred to the Great Mother of the Gods, and to her divine lover-son Attis, who dies and is reborn at this time of year.

Persephone returns from the underworld, and the verdure returns to the face of the Earth.

The death of Attis is symbolic of the fruit flowers that appear at this  season and then fall away, making room for the ripening fruit.

It was celebrated in Rome with the introduction of a great pine tree that was carried into the Temple of Magna Mater.

An image of the dead Attis was carried on a bier and hung from the tree which was decorated with purple ribbons and violet flowers.

On the Day of Blood, the priests performed austerities including the  self-castration of new priests, and the bloodletting of the old priests  to the accompaniment of drum and cymbal music.

After the Day of Blood, when Attis was said to have risen again, the festival turned to joy and elation and was known as the Hilaria.

The final part of the sacred days was the day of cleansing, when the image of the Great Mother, a black stone encased in silver, was taken to the river Arno and washed by the priests.

Flamen Antonius Subia says:

"The five-day cycle of the Equinox ... the Mithraic Mysteries and all the other remembrances ... are all contained in the Death and Resurrection of Attis, the beautiful boy, who severed his own testicles and died giving his blood to the bosom of the earth ... but did not die."

Thursday, March 22, 2018


IN March of 130 AD, the inner circle of Hadrian's court, with a light escort, visited PALMYRA in what is now Eastern Syria, near the northern Iraqi border.

Palymra was an ancient buffer state between the Roman and the Persia Empires, which had now been at peace for many years.

Palmyra was therefore a mixture of both cultures, with its own, ancient Assyrian and Hittite blood beneath the surface.

According to Marguerite Yourcenar, Antinous was initiated into the Cult of Mithras while at Palmyra to the displeasure of Hadrian who was already an initiate, and perhaps an influential leader of the secret cult because of his position as Pontifex Maximus.

Flamen Antonius Subia says:

"Coming after the Zoroastrian sanctification in Armenia, and given the Phrygian aspect of the Mithraic cult, and the proximity to the Persian border, and the end of the transition from the Age of Taurus to the Age of Aries, which the cult revealed, we celebrate the initiation of Antinous into the mysteries of Mithras and their cosmic revelation."

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


HERE's your chance to pay tribute to Antinous with your own special artistic or athletic talents ... and to compete for prizes ... in keeping with the ancient tradition of holding Games in honor of Antinous.

The 4th Sacred Games of Antinous in the modern era will be held 21 August 2018. Applications for entries are being taken now.

Antonius Subia announced opening of the Games and initial plans for the competition during a global phone and Skype conference call involving modern-day priests and adherents of Antinous on three continents.

The virtual-reality conclave was held in conjunction with ceremonies at the HOLLYWOOD TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS celebrating the Equinox.

"Everyone has heard of the Ancient Olympics, but there were other Games held in antiquity," Antonius told the celebrants gathered at the Hollywood Temple and internationally via Skype.

"And among the most famous were the Games of Antinous, which were called the Megala Antinoeia ... the Great Games of Antinous," Antonius said. "These were Sacred Games which were held in Antinoopolis, Bithynia and in Mantinea."

The most famous Games were held at Antinoopolis, the city founded by Emperor Hadrian in Egypt at the spot along the Nile where Antinous had drowned in the year 130 AD.

The competitors were primarily young men called Ephebes. 

In Antinoopolis these included swimming and boat races in the Nile.

But the Antinous Games were unique in that they also included competition in the arts and music. 

The over-all winner was consecrated as the living embodiment of Antinous and given citizenship in Antinoopolis, with an all-expense-paid life of luxury and adoration. 

He was worshiped in the temple as the representative of Antinous, the emblem of youth and masculinity. He was the Divine Ephebe.

The Great Antinoeia, as the Games of Antinous were called, were held for hundreds of years. 

But little was known of the actual competitions until a fragile papyrus was deciphered recently which revealed some intriguing and somewhat shocking details about the Games of Antinous of the year 267 AD and two wrestlers named NICANTINOUS AND DEMETRIUS.

The Games of Antinous faded into obscurity ... but have been revived in the past decade by us. They are held every four years during the cycle of the blooming of the ROSY LOTUS OF ANTINOUS AFTER THE LION HUNT in August.

This is the IV ANTINOEIAD of the modern era, and entry is open to everyone wishing to honor Antinous with their own artistic, academic or athletic talents.

"These Games are open to all ... regardless whether you are gay and regardless of gender," Antonius said.

"You can submit any form of artistic endeavor ... poems, paintings, videos or literary works. But you can also submit dancing, running or other physical effort ... as long as you provide documentation of your performance art," he explained.

Prizes will be awarded to winners, details of which are to be unveiled on this blog in coming days and weeks as the deadline approaches.

For enquiries and submissions, contact us here:


EXCERPTS from the new opera by Rufus Wainright about Hadrian and Antinous will be performed tonight in Cincinnati Ohio ahead of its worldwide premiere in Toronto in October 2018.

The opera ... simply titled HADRIAN ... with a libretto by Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor will have its world premiere as the opening production of Toronto's Canadian Opera Company's 2018 season.

Wainwright and MacIvor have been selected to be in Cincinnati as part of the Opera Fusion: New Works program, a collaboration between the Cincinnati Opera and University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music's Opera Department.

Excerpts will be performed at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Tickets are sold out, but you can listen via the the Cincinnati Opera Company's LIVE STREAMING site.

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."


ADONIS was the most beautiful boy that ever lived, so beautiful that Venus fell totally in love with him and forsook all her love-joys in order to follow him on his hunt through the forests of Mt. Lebanon.

But Adonis was unmoved and completely rejected her advances. She became infatuated and abandoned herself to the boy who only cared to hunt.

Mars was jealous of his rival, and outraged to see Venus subjected to desperation and lust, so he contrived to lure Venus away by having Mercury recall her to her neglected duties, because without her influence to temper the raging schemes of her Erotic son, there was no love in the world.

While she was away, Mars transformed himself into a wild boar and let Adonis pursue him through the woods.

The God of War suddenly charged the young God of Beauty and disarmed him, and with a deadly kiss, gored Adonis in the groin sinking his razor tusk between his perfect white legs.

When she returned, Venus found her beloved boy dead and cut her hair in mourning, she immortalized his soul as a flower, and made the river that bears his name flow red.

The love between Venus and Adonis was unfulfilled, her adoration for him was unreturned because Adonis had no care for women, and he preferred his hunting dogs to her gentle caresses.

Only the War God Mars had his way with Adonis, though motivated by jealousy and rage, it was a violent sexual attack, for which all the world must mourn, because in the savagery of the Lust of Mars, the world was forever robbed of the beauty of Adonis.

Flamen Antonius Subia says:

"We venerate Adonis and seek his shadow in the gardens of human beauty. Antinous is the 'Adonis of the Underworld' ... our perfect desire who flees from our embrace ... but we, like Venus, never abandon him to his endless hunt, and caress his cheek even though our hands can never touch him."

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


WHEN the Sun enters the Sign of Aries at the March Equinox, we honor Antinous in his special guise as Antinous/Mars.

Mars, God of War, son of Jupiter and Juno, father of Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, was the divine spirit of the Roman Army whose legions subjugated the world.

His power ran like molten steel in the blood of Romans who he made them invincible.

The ram was sacred to him, and thus the sign of Aries was devoted to him, as it was in the early spring, after the fields were sown and before the harvest that the men went to war.

Originally Mars was an agricultural deity, whose duty was to protect the fields from marauders. But he soon became an aggressive conqueror, whose sacred spears were ritually shaken by the Flamen Martialis when the legions were preparing for war.

He had twin sons who accompanied him and went before the armies in battle, their names were Phobos and Deimos, fear and panic.

He was the illicit lover of Venus, and it is said that they were the co-creators of Rome who through war brought love and peace to the whole world. It was in this spirit that Hadrian worshipped the pair.

Mars is the great spirit of masculinity, the violent, courageous power of the male sex, the penetrator and subjugator.

His emblem, an iron spear, is a symbol for the phallus, and so it is that Mars is the great potent Phallus of Man, the impregnator.

In this sense he is venerated as the warrior within all men, and as our most extreme, animalistic, carnal, aggressive nature.

He is the conqueror of winter, the dominator of spring, the protector of life, and the bringer of death.

He is war and fury, selflessly courageous, for the protection of the weak and for the defeat of the strong.

Mars never surrenders, and this is why Venus is so mad with lust for him, and why we adore him as our protector.

Monday, March 19, 2018


ON March 19 the Religion of Antinous honors Robert Mapplethorpe, Saint of Antinous.

In 1990, the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center and its director were charged with "Pandering Obscenity" after an exhibition of Mapplethorpe?s photographs. 

They were eventually acquitted but the event fueled a national debate over federal funding of the arts in the United States. 

The debate, which has affected American art ever since, focuses on whether tax dollars should be spent on projects which political conservatives deem objectionable. Specifically, the debate is over whether gay-theme art should be funded.

Robert Mapplethorpe died from AIDS in March 1989, at age 42, one year before his art spawned the controversy, so he was only able to speak through his photographs.

His subject matter portrayed homosexually charged images of nude men.

The controversy that Robert Mapplethorpe sparked exposed the double standard by which homosexual art is judged against heterosexual art. He revealed that nudity is most "obscene" to non-gays when it involves males.

We proclaim his sainthood to be heroic and dedicated to Antinous, because Robert Mapplethrope beautifully photographed a plaster statue of Antinous (shown at left), indicating that he must have known our God and in some way loved him.