Thursday, July 27, 2006

from the website of the Moorish Orthodox Church

One of the seminal figures in the elaboration of the "gay church" movement in the 1950's and 60's, and one of the earliest exponents of that which would - decades later - come to be known as Liberation Theology was Michael Itkin, later known by his religious name of Mar Mikhael and canonized by the Moorish Orthodox Church in America as Saint Mikhael of California (Feast Day, May 6th). In a time and an age when homosexual persons were marginalized and oppressed by the Church as much as by the forces of the traditional social order, Mar Mikhael took a selfless stand in defense of his people and their rights and for the rights of all the oppressed and for social justice generally.

The idea of an Old Catholic/Independent Orthodox ministry specifically to Queer folk was intorduced by Bishop George A. Hyde, presiding bishop of the Eucharistic Catholic Church, in around 1946. The first divine liturgy celebrated by that jurisdiction specifically for Queer folk took place on Christmas Eve of 1946, in the Cortton Blossom Room, a gay bar in Atlanta, Georgia, with 85 people in attendance. Hyde led the small group for many years, officially announcing its existence and mission in 1954, in "One" Magazine, the periodical of the Mattachine Society. That announcement attracted many followers, including one Michael Itkin, whom Bishop Hyde first licensed to ministry in 1955 and then ordained to the priesthood on May 6, 1957."

Much more about the trial and tribulations of this 'turbulant priest' to be found at this website

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