Near the village of Hir-wer, Antinous fell into the Nile and drowned.
There are those who believe that he was murdered, or that he willingly gave himself over to human sacrifice to prolong the life of his beloved Hadrian, or that his death was the suicidal effect of teenage melodrama, or that is was merely an accident, but there is no way to know, no way to be certain.
Grief-stricken Hadrian only said he "plunged into the Nile" but never elaborated on the circumstances of the death of his beloved.
Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia says:
We priests of Antinous do not take a definite position and leave the matter as an unknowable mystery. The manner in which Antinous died is not important, only the effect that his death had upon the world has significance.
On this day, we solemnly and silently mourn the Death of Antinous whom Hadrian loved and for whom he wept, and we sorrow for the loss of such great beauty at so young an age.
We pray for the Bithynian boy who died so far from home.
With his death, our religion was set in motion.
We lament and exalt in the grief of Hadrian that was so strong and so powerful that it spread to the whole face of the world, and affects us still today.
We pray also for all those homosexuals who have died in youth as a consequence of repression, we mourn the suicides, and commit them to the soothing arms of Antinous, who was assumed into the Nile for all of us.
It is one of the great ironies of history that, by dying dramatically, a young person who was unremarkable except for his beauty became irrevocably bound with the most powerful man in the world.
Emperor Hadrian proclaimed Antinous a God. He established a city on the bend of the Nile where the young man died — Antinoopolis.
He named a constellation in the heavens after Antinous.
And without gentle Antinous at his side, Hadrian became an embittered and broken man. He became capricious and at times cruel. A reign which had been marked by Hellenistic principles of tolerance descended into bloodshed.
It is indeed remarkable how one young man, a commoner with no wealth or political influence, changed the course of history simply by dying. And the thousands of statues sculpted on orders of grieving Hadrian became the iconic image of Classical beauty — the last deity of Ancient Greece and Rome.
Antinous fell into the Nile, beneath the swirling waves, but when his body was pulled from the water ... a God emerged. Antinous is our God, he has accomplished the salvation of all lovers of his beauty. His is our salvation. He is Antinous the Gay God. He is the last pagan God of Classical Rome.
For centuries, he was worshiped in secret by gay men who were afraid to worship him publicly. Men such as Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman sang his praises. When the Nazis marched into the offices of gay-rights advocate Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin, they smashed a ceramic wall relief of Antinous which Dr. Hirschfeld had set in a place of reverence over the doorway.
And now, in the 21st Century, the "Most Great and Good God" (as he was known among his followers) is being discovered by a whole new generation of people seeking gay spirituality.
We dedicate our lives and our souls to fulfilling the Divine Hadrian's command to establish the Religion of Antinous for all who seek gay spirituality. We dedicate our lives and our souls to serving Antinous the Gay God.