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01 August 2013

Vasil Popovici (1815 – 1905) monk.

Vasil Popovici spent most of his life as a monk in the Orthodox Monastery at Țibucani in north east Romania. Revered as a mystic, it was only at his death that he was discovered to be female-bodied.
  • "Popovici, Vasil" in Randy P. Conner, David Hatfield Sparks & Mariya Sparks. Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Lore. London: Cassell, 1997: 270.

There are a couple of score of Christian saints who were revealed to be female-bodies, many but not all were revealed only at death.   The classic account is in the Appendix to Marie Delcourt’s Hermaphrodite: Myths and Rites of the Bisexual Figure in Classical Antiquity , 1956.  I have generally not featured these because it was not possible to pin down the stories to a specific time and place, and so it seems more likely that the tales are legends rather than history.

In this case we have a specific monastery and precise birth and death dates.   However, as we are given no other details of Popovici’s life; the tale matches the legends exactly; Conner, Sparks & Sparks give no source reference, it is quite likely that Popovici is also a legend.

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