•  
  •  
 

Title

Responsibilities of the Church Steward in the Light of The Canons of Pseudo-Athanasius

Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0673-510X Hołasek Andrzej

Abstract

The office of a steward was known in Egypt back in the time of the Pharaohs. It appears that in the East, this function first emerged in the structures of the Egyptian Church. The Canons of Pseudo-Athanasius, which probably come from the first half of the 5th century, show the author’s views on how the church stewards fulfilled their duties. Pseudo-Athanasius not only outlined the criteria to be met by these administrators, but also indicated the date by which, in his opinion, they should be solemnly appointed. In addition, this source informs us how these church administrators were supposed to fulfill their obligation to collect and secure church property for the Church’s charitable activities. The author emphasized that the steward played a key role in how efficiently actions in support of the poor were implemented, however, he also observed that these tasks were fully dependent on the will of the local bishop. Pseudo-Athanasius also devoted considerable attention to the important problem of the dishonesty of some administrators. Therefore, he postulated that the vaults and granaries should be secured with seals by a commission and that they be opened in the same way. The author had an interesting idea to create a reserve in the treasury, which, in the event of a cataclysm or other calamity, would provide food for the community. Undoubtedly, the Canons of Pseudo-Athanasius are an extremely valuable source that deepens our knowledge about the work of church stewards at that time. There are numerous indications that the author included his own observations in them. However, it should be remembered that the description of the steward’s duties presented here is a model proposition, therefore, in order to obtain a more complete picture, it should be confronted with other sources from the era.

Keywords

Canons of Pseudo-Athanasius, Egyptian Christianity, Church steward, management of ecclesiastical property, charity activities, artaba, xenodochium, Church treasure

References

Basilius Caesariensis, Epistula CL, [in:] Saint Basil, Letters 59–185, trans. R.J. Deferrari, Cambridge Mass.–London 1928 [= Loeb Classical Library, 215].

Les Canons de Saint Athanase, [in:] H. Munier, Mélanges de litterature copte, “Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Egypte” 19, 1920, p. 238–241.

The Canons of Athanasius of Alexandria, ed. W. Riedel, W. Crum, London 1904.

Concilium Chalcedonense – 451, [in:] Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Generaliumque Decreta, vol. I, ed. G. Alberigo, Turnhout 2006, p. 125–151.

Coptic Text the Canons of Athanasius of Alexandria, trans. W.E. Crum, [in:] The Canons of Athanasius of Alexandria, ed. W. Riedel, W. Crum, London 1904.

Ioannes Chrisostomus, In Epistulam ad Romanos, [in:] Patrologiae cursus completus, Series graeca, vol. LX, ed. J.-P. Migne, Paris 1862, col. 385–682.

Sozomène, Histoire Ecclésiastique, vol. IV, trans. A.-J. Festugière, B. Grillet, Paris 2008 [= Sources chrétiennes, 516].

Theophile d’Alexandrie, [in:] P.-P. Joannou, Discipline générale antique (IVe–IXe s.). Les canons des Pères Grecs, vol. II, Roma 1963, p. 259–273.

Anatolios K., Athanasius. The Coherence of His Thought, London–New York 2004, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203008904

Bagnall R.S., Egypt in Late Antiquity, Princeton 1993.

Benaissa A., A Bishop, a Village, and the Nomination of a Church Steward, “Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik” 171, 2009, p. 175–180.

Brakke D., Athanasius and the Politics of Asceticism, Oxford 1995.

Brakke D., Canon Formation and Social Conflict in Fourth-Century Egypt: Athanasius of Alexandria’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter, “The Harvard Theological Review” 87.4, 1994, p. 395–419, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816000030200

Canavan J.E., Charity in the Early Church, “Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review” 12, 1923, p. 61–77.

Chrostowski W., [rev.:] Mowy przeciw arianom I–III, Atanazy Wielki, przeł., red. Przemysław Marek Szewczyk, Kraków 2013 – “Collectanea Theologica” 83.2, 2013, p. 228–231.

Coquin R.G., Canons of Pseudo-Athanasius, [in:] The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. II, ed. A.S. Atiya, New York 1991, p. 458–459.

De Mieroop M. van, A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000–323 BC, 2Oxford 2007.

Heijer J. den, History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, [in:] The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. IV, ed. A.S. Atiya, New York 1991, p. 1239–1242.

Longosz S., Ksenodochium – hospicjum wczesnochrześcijańskie, “Vox Patrum. Antyk Chrześcijański” 16, 1996, p. 275–336.

Łukaszewicz A., Egipt Greków i Rzymian, Warszawa 2006.

Martin A., Athanase d’Alexandrie et l’Église d’Égypte au IVe siecle (328–373), Rome 1996.

Martin A., ‘L’image de l’évêque à travers les Canons d’Athanase: devoirs et réalités, [in:] L’évêque dans la cité du IVe au Ve siecle. Image et l’autorité, ed. E. Rebillard, C. Sotinel, Rome 1998, p. 59–70.

Mayerson P., The Sack (Σακκος) Is the Artaba Writ Large, “Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik” 122, 1998, p. 189–194.

Minnen P. van, The Rother Cities in Later Roman Egypt, [in:] Egypt in the Byzantine World 300–700, ed. R.S. Bagnall, Cambridge 2007, p. 207–225.

Munier H., Mélanges de litterature copte, “Annales du Service des antiquités de l’Egypte” 19, 1920, p. 225–241.

A Patristic Greek Lexicon, ed. G.W.H. Lampe, Oxford 1995.

Rathbone D.W., Weight and Maesurement of Egyptian Grains, “Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik” 53, 1983, p. 265–275.

Renaudot E., Historia Patriarchum Alexandrinorum Jacobitarum ad Marco usque ad finem saeculi XIII, Paris 1713.

Riedel W., Introduction, [in:] The Canons of Athanasius of Alexandria, ed. W. Riedel, W. Crum, London 1904, p. VII–XXX.

Schmidtz D., Schimpfwörter in Athanasius’ Rede gegen die Arianer, [in:] Roma Renascens. Beiträge zur Spätantike und Rezeptionsgeschichte – Ilona Opelt von Ihren Freunden und Schülern zum 9.7.1988 in Verehrung gewidmet, ed. M. Wissemann, Frankfurt–Paris 1988, p. 308–320.

Stewart R., Tinnis, [in:] The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. VII, ed. A.S. Atiya, New York 1991, p. 2269.

Suciu A., Notes on the Canons of Pseudo-Athanasius, https://alinsuciu.com/2011/07/02/notes-on-the-canons-of-pseudo-athanasius/

Voltaggio M., Xenodochia and Hospitia in Sixth-Century Jerusalem: Indicators for the Byzantine Pilgrimage to the Holy Places, “Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins” 127, 2011, p. 197–210.

Wipszycka E., The Alexandrian Church. People and Institutions, Warsaw 2015 [= The Journal of Juristic Papyrology. Supplement, 25].

Wipszycka E., L’Ascetisme féminin dans l’Égypte de l’Antiquité Tardive: Topoi littéraires et formes d’ascese, [in:] Le Rôle et le statut de la femme en Egypte hellénistique, romaine et byzantine. Actes du colloque international 27–29 novembre 1997, ed. H. Melaerts, L. Mooren, Paris 2002, p. 355–396.

Wipszycka E., Church Treasures of Byzantine Egypt, “The Journal of Juristic Papyrology” 34, 2004, p. 127–139.

Wipszycka E., Études sur le Christianisme dans l’Egypte de l’antiquite tardive, Roma 1996 [= Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum, 52].

Wipszycka E., Le Istituzioni Ecclesiastiche in Egitto, [in:] L’Egitto Cristiano aspetti e problemi in eta Tardo-Antica, ed. A. Camplani, Roma 1997 [= Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum, 56], p. 219–271.

Wipszycka E., Metrologia, [in:] Vademecum historyka starożytnej Grecji i Rzymu, vol. I–II, ed. E. Wipszycka, Warszawa 2001, p. 573–585.

Wipszycka E., Les ressources et les activités économiques des églises en Égypte du IVe au VIIIe siècle, Bruxelles 1972.

Wipszycka E., Wprowadzenie do studiów nad instytucjami Kościoła w Egipcie późnoantycznym, [in:] Chrześcijaństwo u schyłku starożytności. Studia źródłoznawcze, vol. II, ed. T. Derda, E. Wipszycka, Kraków 1999, p. 183–261.

Wójtowicz H., Gościnność wczesnochrześcijańska, “Vox Patrum. Antyk Chrześcijański” 16, 1996, p. 229–239.

First Page

281

Last Page

293

Language

eng

Share

COinS