WORSHIPERS on both sides of the Atlantic joined hands via Skype in ceremonies celebrating Emperor Hadrian's birthday at the Hollywood Temple of Antinous ... rites which continued into early Sunday.
Flamen Antonius Subia had issued a global invitation via social networks for participation in Saturday evening's ceremonies commemorating the 1,939th anniversary of the birth of Hadrian.
"We honor Hadrian because without him there would be no Religion of Antinous," Priest Antonius told the worshipers who had gathered in Hollywood with live participation from adherents elsewhere in the USA as well as in Mexico and Europe.
"Hadrian loved Antinous with all his heart and with all his soul. And yet, when Antinous died he could have kept Antinous in his heart to treasure alone for all eternity," Antonius said.
"But instead, he shared Antinous with the world," he added, raising his hands toward images of Hadrian and Antinous on the temple's sacred altar.
"He issued an imperial command that temples to Antinous be erected throughout the Empire," the Hollywood high priest explained, "and that statues, busts and sacred images of Antinous be created to perpetuate his memory."
Even in the darkest times after the Fall of Rome, Antinous continued to serve as a beacon for homosexuals through the centuries.
"Antinous was revered by gay people throughout the centuries, even in the Killing Times when gays were burned and persecuted, even during the Gay Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis ... and also as gay people continue to suffer today," he said.
"Instead of keeping Antinous locked in his heart, Hadrian shared a portion of Antinous with us," Antonius added, speaking in English and in Spanish for participants in Mexico City.
"He permitted us to share in his loving relationship with Antinous, and in doing so, he forever changed the way gay people have seen themselves," he told the congregants.
Officiating at the Hollywood Temple as others took part via Skype, Antonius lighted incense and offered libations in celebration of the birth and life of Hadrian and his unprecedented step to deify his gay lover ... the ultimate Classical deity.
"He was the most powerful man in the world, who loved Antinous so much that he declared him a god," Antonius told worshipers.
"He did that as representative of Zeus on Earth, emblem of the ruler of the Cosmos, the great eagle," Antonius added.
"Hadrian is the bringer of order out of chaos, founder of our religion," he went on. "He is the divine lover of Antinous ... our model ... and our God."
Future interactive ceremonies will be announced in advance.