SAINT OF ANTINOUS
WE honor Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich of Russia (August 27, 1858- June 15th, 1915) as a Saint of Antinous for his courage in openly living his homosexuality in an age and in a society which condemned and persecuted gays.
He was the bisexual cousin of Tzar Nicholas I and Godfather of Tzarevich Alexei.
His first homosexual experiences occurred in the Imperial Guards. The Grand Duke made great efforts to repress his feelings. But despite his love for his wife, he could not resist the temptations offered to a person of his exalted state.
He claimed in his diary that between 1893 and 1899 he remained away from the practice of what he called his "main sin."
Yet by the birth of his seventh child, he had become a steady visitor to several of the male brothels of St. Petersburg.
In 1904 he wrote in his diary that he "ordered my coachman...to go, and continued on foot past the bath-house. I intended to walk straight on... But without reaching the Pevchesky Bridge, I turned back and went in. And so I have surrendered again, without much struggle, to my depraved inclinations."
By the end of 1904, he became somewhat attached to an attractive young man by the name of Yatsko.
"I sent for Yatsko and he came this morning. I easily persuaded him to be candid. It was strange for me to hear him describe the familiar characteristics: he has never felt drawn to a woman, and has been infatuated with men several times. I did not confess to him that I knew these feelings from my own personal experience. Yatsko and I talked for a long time. Before leaving he kissed my face and hands; I should not have allowed this, and should have pushed him away, however I was punished afterwards by vague feelings of shame and remorse. He told me that, ever since the first time we met, his soul has been filled with rapturous feelings towards me, which grow all the time. How this reminds me of my own youth."
A few days later, he and Yatsko met again, and a relationship developed between the two.