3. The Community of Citizens

In the last chapter, we discussed some of the ways that the church maintained cultic boundaries and rhetorically emphasized its exclusivity. We now turn to a consideration of just what the catechumens were doing as they pursued baptism. Many have sought to answer this question with the cognitive and psychological models discussed in the Introduction. Such approaches, however, tend to downplay if not entirely ignore the fact that the process of Christian initiation had a very heavy communal focus. [1] The people who sought these rites did so in large part because of their desire to become members of a Christian community that was becoming more and more visible as a significant part of the world of Late Antiquity. This community established a robust hierarchy and insisted on the ability of that hierarchy to mediate the connection between people and God. Shrouding Christian doctrine and practice in a cloud of secrecy before ritually revealing it under controlled circumstances offers a clear manifestation of that hierarchy. This chapter addresses additional facets of Christian hierarchy and the role that it played in reinforcing the authority of the clergy. However, one cannot rightly understand the Christian community merely by looking at the top levels of its structure. Catechesis served the important function of creating new members of the community, of integrating them into the church. This chapter also discusses the makeup of the community and looks at the way in which hierarchy served to integrate a broad range of people into a coherent community.
A city made up of citizens is Theodore’s preferred metaphor for describing the community of the church in his Catechetical Homilies. In attempting to express the profound nature of the catechumens’ decision to pursue baptism, Theodore returned regularly to the idea that they were about to undergo initiation into a heavenly kingdom. He appealed to Galatians 4.26 and Hebrews 12.22–23 as the source of this concept. [2] In each passage, the authors refer to the existence of a heavenly Jerusalem. This city, established by the risen Christ and populated by angels, stands as the future hope of the Christian, and Theodore urged the diligent pursuit of citizenship in this city. Though Theodore genuinely stresses the heavenly nature of this city, he also carefully noted the relationship between the heaven city and the earthly community. Turning again to scripture for his justification, Theodore cited Matthew 16.18–19, in which Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven and the authority to bind and loose things both on earth and in heaven: “He showed in this [passage] that he granted to the church the power that any one who becomes related to it should also be related to heavenly things, and any one who becomes a stranger to it should also be clearly a stranger to heavenly things.” [3] Theodore thus related the earthly Christian community to the heavenly kingdom of God, with clergy taking up Peter’s position as heads of the church with authority over its earthly and heavenly manifestations. Furthermore, Theodore insisted in this context that the pursuit of heaven required the pursuit of the earthly community as well. Though catechumens were well on their way in seeking integration into the church, Theodore still stressed to them the importance of attaining full citizenship.
In order to understand catechesis, we must first understand the nature of the Christian community and what it meant to pursue citizenship in that city. While this may seem to be a rather straightforward issue, one ought to be a bit careful when it comes to making assumptions about the matter. Historians of Late Antiquity have followed their sources in emphasizing certain types of Christian religious figures. The bishop looms very large indeed in such literature. [4] We have considerable bodies of literature from individual bishops in numerous genres: letters, sermons, and theological treatises, among others. These are the sorts of characters about whom one can write a proper biography. They often acted on a grand stage within both ecclesiastical and state politics and left a considerable literary legacy. Similarly, holy men and women receive a great deal of attention. They have not tended to leave us texts, but their enigmatic lifestyles piqued the curiosity of many a late Roman biographer and, as a result, the literary record provides ample source material to inspire a lively scholarly literature. [5] Occasionally individual lay Christians also make an appearance. The most prominent representatives in this category are pilgrims, but wealthy lay donors are also worthy of note. [6]
These extraordinary examples, however, make up only a fraction of those actively engaged in late antique Christianity. Surrounding each bishop were many presbyters and deacons, particularly in the larger cities of the empire. The varied activities of the church demanded a considerable number of workers. Alongside the cultic function of the church stood educational, charitable, and judicial activities. Throughout all of these activities, the social structures of the church played significant roles. The various official positions held and the ways in which power was exercised and delegated through these positions highlight important aspects of the day-to-day life of the church. Each of these components of the church’s activities deserves extensive study. However, the scope of this project does not allow such comprehensive treatment of these matters. Rather, this chapter will bear these multiple conditions and activities in mind as it focuses on material central to the church in Antioch towards the end of the fourth century with the aim of providing the immediate context for Theodore’s catechetical sermons.

The Higher Clergy

Our discussion begins with the most prominent figures in the late antique church, the higher clergy. They appear regularly in our sources, but these sources demonstrate an inconsistency in the terminology used to describe the clergy. As it turns out, the terms used of the clergy prove illustrative of the ways in which they presented themselves and how the laity interacted with them in negotiating their engagement with the heavenly city. The sources contain one set of terms that comes out of New Testament scriptures and another set largely absent from those texts. The latter emphasizes the language of priesthood, with all of the attendant ideas of a professional ritual class that performs rites on behalf of the laity. The consideration of the variety of terminology will thus help us as we consider the place of the clergy, laity, and catechumens within the community.
The late fourth-century sources particular to Antioch used a varied terminology when discussing the ranks of the higher clergy. [7] In his commentaries on the so-called Pastoral Epistles, Theodore used only the language contained in those epistles to discuss the clergy: Greek episkopos (ἐπίσκοπος), presbyteros (πρεσβύτερος), and diakonos (διάκονος). [8] While he recognized that the Pauline hierarchy reflected in this terminology only distinguished two offices, overseers/elders and deacons, he interpreted these epistles according to the three-office system current in his day in which overseers held a position higher than elders. [9] The compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions also used the language of the Pastoral Epistles throughout his treatment of clerical activity as well. [10] However, in addition to that language, he made extensive use of priestly language. [11] In connection with a range of duties, he applied to clerics the Greek term for priest, hiereus (ἱερεύς). The Theodosian Code, compiled in Latin, followed a similar set of conventions when discussing Christian clergy. Though the term cleric (clericus) appears most frequently as a general term for all of the Christian clergy when indicating no specific position in the church, more specific terminology also appears there. The laws sometime clearly distinguish episcopi and presbyteri, but several laws refer to both bishops and presbyters as priests, sacerdotes. [12] Thus a certain ambiguity of terminology appears in the sources on this point. [13]
Theodore’s Catechetical Homilies adopt the more priestly approach to clerical terminology. In his explanation of baptism and the eucharist, Theodore apparently used only two terms to refer to the higher clergy. The Syriac translator of this text used mšamšānā (ܡܫܡܫܢܐ‎) to translate Greek diakonos. This is the normal word for deacon, appearing consistently in the Peshitta New Testament. It is a participle of the root šameš (ܫܡܫ‎), meaning “to serve,” and thus has the same breadth of meaning as Greek diakonos, which bears the technical meaning “deacon” but also simply means “servant.” The translator used the Syriac kāhnā (ܟܗܢܐ‎) to translate the only other term that Theodore employed in this text. Kāhnā, a cognate of the Hebrew cohen, is the standard term used in the Peshitta and elsewhere to translate Greek hiereus and, as such, it must be the Greek term behind the Syriac kāhnā in this text. [14] We should conclude from this that in his instructions to baptismal candidates, Theodore characterized the higher clergy as consisting of “priests” and “deacons.” [15]
A clue to this choice of terminology in the catechesis comes from Theodore’s rare use of priestly language in his commentary on the Pauline Epistles. Theodore chose to deviate from his biblical source text and employ priestly language in the context of discussing the administration of the sacraments: “For the presbyters and the deacons alone fulfill the mystery of mysteries; some of them indeed fulfilling the sacerdotal work, others truly administering the sacrifice.” [16] The sacerdotal work of the priests is the eucharist, which Theodore refers to here as the sacrifice. But this activity is not merely connected to the “sacrifice” of the eucharist. Theodore, even though he devoted more attention to his discussion of baptism than to his treatment of the eucharist, almost never used anything other than the term hiereus when speaking of bishops and presbyters in his Catechetical Homilies. For him, the sacred mysteries of the church were simply the province of priests.
Similar language also recurs throughout the Apostolic Constitutions. This text refuses to allow women to baptize because it would be “contrary to nature [for them] to be allowed to perform the office of a priest.” [17] Likewise, in rejecting the baptism of heretics, the compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions argued, “But those who receive polluted baptism from the ungodly will become partners in their opinions. For they are not priests.” [18] Therefore, bishops and presbyters were considered priests in part because baptism was reserved for them. [19] Priestly language also bore a connection to ordination. Those who were not themselves properly ordained were not to usurp this authority, and even then presbyters might only ordain certain lower clerical offices, the higher offices being limited to the bishops. [20] The Apostolic Constitutions contain detailed regulations regarding who may lay hands upon whom for the purpose of ordination. [21] Here again, one encounters a priestly role set aside specifically for bishops and presbyters.
This priestly language denoted mediation and functioned to set apart a hierarchy designed to ensure the proper establishment of order in the church. In order to reinforce and enhance their position in the church, bishops and presbyters applied the old covenant economy to their new context and appealed to the maintenance of proper apostolic authority for justification of this development. According to the compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions, the apostles declared, “we distributed the functions of the high-priesthood to the bishops, those of the priesthood to the presbyters, and the ministration under them both to the deacons; so that the divine worship might be performed in purity.” [22] Thus the compiler advanced the argument that hierarchy of rank reflected hierarchy of service. The bishop held the top position of the high priest. The presbyters worked under him to support his labors, and the deacons served them both as they ministered to the congregation: “But the weighty matters let the bishop judge; but let the deacon be the bishop’s ear, and eye, and mouth, and heart, and soul, that the bishop may not be distracted with many cares, but with such only as are more considerable.” [23] In keeping with this, the male laity were often instructed to direct their concerns to the bishop through the deacons, and the female through the deaconesses. [24] The use of priestly terminology aimed at enhancing honor and prestige. As such, it gave the bishop one more tool he could use to consolidate his authority. [25] But this concern for order and authority manifested itself in numerous other ways as well. The following discussion will treat several of the central activities in which the higher clergy engaged. It will highlight the positions various members of the clergy held in the church and begin to outline further the nature of their authority.

Clergy as educators

Education was a clerical task of central importance. Bishop and presbyters alike put considerable effort into the regular preparation and preaching of sermons to their congregations. We have many sermons that John Chrysostom delivered before his elevation to the rank of bishop. Likewise, the fact that Theodore delivered his Catechetical Homilies in Antioch means that he had not yet been made bishop of Mopsuestia. Theodore interpreted the command in Titus 1.5 that Titus establish presbyters in the cities as being for the purpose of insuring the presence of those “in the order of the clerics who teach what pertains to common usefulness.” [26] Furthermore, 1 Timothy 3.1 contains the requirement that the bishop ought to be “able to teach.” Here Theodore distinguished two types of teaching that the bishop needed to master. He had to be able to teach both the dogma of piety and sound doctrine. [27] As the Apostolic Constitutions put it, the bishop was a new Moses, both a teacher and a giver of laws to the community. [28]
This ministry of the bishops and presbyters provided one of the foundations for their status of high honor in the church. Indeed presbyters were worthy of double honor because of their ministry in the word and doctrine. Theodore interpreted this teaching from 1 Timothy 5.17 with the following: “And so the blessed apostle evidently places the work of doctrine before all other works.” [29] The compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions explained the honor in which the bishop was held with reference to the presence of God in the preached word: “For where the doctrine concerning God is, there God is present.” [30]
The dual nature of this teaching, exposition of piety and doctrine, as well as the presence of God in the preached word, meant that the preacher had to be pious himself. By the time Theodore was addressing his baptismal candidates, this aspect of the ideal bishop was a staple of the way people wanted to think about bishops. [31] The position had come to entail considerable power, and there was always the threat of the ambitious bishop or presbyter who had his own position and influence in mind when he acted as bishop. [32] People were uncomfortable with the idea that the teaching authority of their priests might be misused. The bishop and the clergy who served under him had to cultivate a demonstrable sanctity if they were to exercise their ecclesiastical prerogatives effectively. Theodore even saw an educational motivation for this life of virtue. He explained that the reason for the cleric to pursue purity was “so that you might offer yourself as an example to the faithful before whom you direct your life, instructing how it is necessary to conduct oneself, so that on account of these actions of yours, you might present the testimony of your life to each of them.” [33] His commentary on Titus 2.7–8 further explained that this type of public life would be a source of credibility for the preacher. A life of sanctity would have a pedagogical function, both teaching by example and reinforcing the credibility of the preacher.

Christian discipline

This credibility had ramifications for ministry apart from the pulpit as well. An example can be found in discussions of the clergy as judges. The compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions gave considerable attention to the judicial function of the clergy. The bishop was to use his honored position to act as an impartial judge in all matters pertaining to the life of the church. He should settle disputes between members of his congregation, punish sinners, and restore the repentant. The perception of purity and morality stood at the heart of the bishop’s ability to perform these duties from a position of authority.
Our authors located the purpose of this judicial power of the bishop in the maintenance of discipline in the church. However, in portraying the bishop as judge, they preferred the image of the good shepherd. They held that a strong notion of proper pastoral care should guide the bishop in his exercise of judicial authority. A shepherd wielded his staff for the protection of his flock, through teaching and the denunciation of heretics, but also for the purpose of herding his flock through confession, penance, excommunication, and restoration. [34] Theodore further examined one aspect of this through another metaphor that he offered in the catechesis: the priest as physician.
Since you are aware of these things, and also of the fact that because God greatly cares for us he gave us penitence and showed us the medicine of repentance, and established some men, who are priests, as physicians of sins, so that if we receive in this world through them, healing and forgiveness of sins, we shall be delivered from the judgment to come—it behooves us to draw nigh unto the priests with great confidence and to reveal our sins to them, and they, with all diligence, pain and love, and according to the rules laid down above, will give healing to sinners. [35]
One such rule that Theodore laid down in the course of commenting on 2 Timothy 2.25–26 was that an offender should be given two opportunities to repent and then be cut off. This shepherd was to be a strong protector who carried out his duties with as much authority as compassion.
Of course, the ideal of Christian discipline being carried out by the bishop as a function of his position as head of the local church must be supplemented by another very present reality. The emperor Constantine had granted to Christian clergy the power to hear cases that would have otherwise been directed toward secular courts. [36] At least some bishops attempted to see this as a natural extension of their church discipline and to use the opportunity to address the hearts and minds of congregations that often struggled with the finer points of Christian ethics. [37] But this task could be tedious and often engaged priests in matters with which they did not wish to concern themselves. Therefore, while this imperial grant of power potentially gave the clergy considerable influence in local matters, it could also be very disruptive of other aspects of their ministry, particularly their study of scripture. The service they performed as judges seems to have been in rather high demand. This duty effectively called upon the bishop to act as an arbitrator whose decision had the force of law. [38] This judicial activity also required a good reputation for impartiality and honest dealing. As a result of this judicial role, the bishop or his clerical representatives held a place of prominence both within the church and outside of it.

The care of the poor

Another important aspect of church administration and pastoral care was the reception and distribution of offerings. [39] The compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions appealed to Old Testament notions of offerings to the temple and priests in discussing Christian gifts to the church: “Wherefore you ought to love the bishop as your father, and fear him as your king, and honor him as your lord, bringing to him your fruits and the works of your hands, for a blessing upon you, giving to him your first-fruits, and your tithes, and your oblations, and your gifts, as to the priest of God.” [40] Shortly after this he included an explanation of how Christians could keep the implicit command of Matthew 5.20: “Now herein will your righteousness exceed [that of the scribes and Pharisees], if you take greater care of the priests, the orphans, and the widows.” [41] Thus the model at work was one in which the congregation brought to the bishop their offerings, which the bishop then used for the care of the needy within the community.
Episcopal finances, however, could be a tricky matter in Late Antiquity. The distinction between the private wealth of the bishop and the finances he managed in his official role as bishop was not always entirely clear. [42] Many bishops and other clergy as well came from wealthy and influential families. [43] The tax exemptions for clergy were clearly an incentive to seek ecclesiastical office and, as a result, the financial motivations of those seeking ordination were a matter of some scrutiny. Bishops sometimes built elaborate martyr shrines, church buildings, or episcopal residences, to which they might even ostentatiously associate their own name. One such case is evident from a church just outside the city of Antioch. An inscription dated to the 420s captures the efforts of the Antiochene clergy to connect themselves to the beautification of a piece of sacred architecture through the addition of mosaic floors: “Under the most holy and venerable bishop Theodotus and the presbyter and administrator Athanasius, this mosaic of the faithful came into being and this work also came about on account of the deacon and assistant Akkiba.” [44] Such building projects had been a part of ancient notions of the wealthy spending their personal finances on the improvement of their city, and these activities were generally interpreted as such and considered welcome. [45] Nevertheless, members of a bishop’s congregations could feel that this expenditure ran contrary to the spirit of financial contributions to the church, which the clergy usually spoke of as money given for the care of the poor. Those critical of bishops (for financial or other reasons) often found that they could effectively slander a bishop by pointing out his expenditures and claiming that he neglected the needy within their congregation. [46] As a result, the bishop had a clear interest in consistently presenting himself as actively engaged in the care of the poor and disengaged from the affairs of the world. Rhetoric and reality surely met somewhere in the middle, with bishops often managing far more wealth than they spent on the care of those dependent upon the church for support. Nevertheless, high profile expenses on hospitals, famine relief, and the redemption of captives, as well as regular support of widows, orphans and the virgins of the church, argued strongly for the philanthropic use of church finances. John Chrysostom claimed that the church in Antioch supported three thousand widows and virgins in addition to many who suffered ill health or poverty. [47] Bishops used these practices to cultivate their role as advocates for a wide range of late Roman people. In doing this, they helped elevate the status of the bishop and his clergy in the life of the city. [48]

The Minor Clergy

This account of clerical activities reveals a very active ecclesiastical organization firmly working to assert itself in late antique society. However, the clergy in late fourth-century Antioch contained far more than the bishops, presbyters, and deacons of the higher clergy. [49] Theodore noted that the lesser orders do not appear in 1 Timothy and was concerned to explain their absence: “These [sub-deacons and readers] had been added to the grades of the functions which were held in the churches, as a matter of necessity; on account of the usefulness of [their] service, because, on account of the multitude of those believing, necessity demanded that afterwards they ought to be fulfilled through others.” [50] Thus Theodore imagines a situation such as that recounted in Acts 6. When the apostles were distracted from their teaching ministry because of a need to serve food, they appointed and ordained deacons who could fulfill these duties. Theodore saw a very pragmatic explanation for the proliferation of clergy. As the church grew, so did the needs of the church. Three offices were no longer enough to meet the liturgical demands of larger congregations. The higher clergy created lower ordained orders to aid in the divine service.
Theodore’s sub-deacons and readers do not, however, exhaust the ecclesiastical offices of the late antique church. The Apostolic Constitutions also mention the offices of singer (ōdos), porter (pulōros), minister (hypēretēs), [51] confessor (homologētēs), [52] exorcist (eporkistēs), [53] virgin (parthenos), [54] widow (chēros), [55] and orphan (orphanos). [56] From among these, the readers, singers, porters, and ministers, are specifically called clerics, klerikoi. [57] The Theodosian Code likewise refers to the offices of exorcist [58] and sexton (kopiata) [59] as clerics. The specific concern in the Code is the extension of tax benefits to clergy. Legally, in the eyes of the state, all of the people who held these positions had established roles in the church, which required them to be free from onerous tax liabilities. Thus there was considerable consensus about these groups and the important role they played in the management of church affairs. Even though the remaining positions of widows, orphans, and virgins are never singled out in ecclesiastical or legal sources as actually being clergy, they are very strongly associated with the clergy. Particularly in the Apostolic Constitutions they repeatedly appear interspersed in hierarchical lists with those offices that are defined as clerical. [60]
The tasks assigned to the majority of these ranks are quite clear from the names they bear. Thus readers and singers performed their duties in conjunction with the divine liturgy. The same was true of porters, although they may have been active throughout the week as the church remained open for prayer twice daily. [61] Confessors and exorcists would have served at various times and without specific relation to the weekly liturgy. However, exorcists did play a crucial role in the baptismal liturgy. The process of catechesis generally entailed numerous exorcisms, and the catechetical homilies of both Theodore and John Chrysostom discuss at some length the exorcisms preceding baptism. [62] At first glance, the inclusion of virgins, widows, and orphans seems largely oriented towards the system of social welfare within the church which existed primarily to maintain these marginalized groups. In a system of divine reciprocity, the church cared for them, and they prayed for the church, its clergy, and its ministries. But the widows, orphans, and virgins also played an interesting role in the divine service, to which we will return shortly.

Hierarchy and Delegation

We can see in both the ecclesiastical and legal literature that the clergy of the late fourth century had clearly moved well beyond the two or three office system of episkopoi, presbyteroi, and diakonoi. A combination of sacerdotal privilege and an emphasis on maintenance of proper order among the people of God had led to the adoption of priestly language by the presbyters and the bishop. Those at the top ruled over the church in a position of supreme authority and acted as God’s representative on earth. The bishop ruled over the church, settling disputes among believers and warning his congregation to seek justice within the church lest they air the grievances of Christians before the pagans and bring the church into disrepute. The bishop trained his congregation in doctrine and piety through example and sermon. He taught about the person and work of Christ and, in turn, urged that this teaching should inform every ethical decision his congregation might make. Likewise, the bishop held the place of prominence in Christian worship, particularly the administration of the sacraments, those mysteries that acted as a sign and seal upon the people of God.
When it came to teaching and the administration of the sacraments, however, the priests clearly had their role as well. Through this activity they alleviated the daily burdens of the bishop and maintained the life of the church whenever the bishop was forced to travel. The matter of travel is an important one and deserves further consideration. We saw above that Theodore explained the proliferation of clergy with an appeal to the growth of the church during the fourth century. Perhaps just as important in this context was the fourth-century growth of the mobility of the clergy. When the Council of Nicaea was called together in 325, no event quite like it had ever taken place in the prior history of the church. Gathering Christian bishops from so great a geographical range essentially required imperial patronage and access to the cursus publicus, the imperial postal system used to transport information, tax revenues, and state officials around the empire. The grant of this privilege to bishops traveling for church councils opened a whole new era in episcopal mobility. Ammianus Marcellinus noted sarcastically that the only thing Constantius achieved through encouraging the episcopal use of the cursus publicus was the crippling of the postal system. [63] This is surely an overstatement, but there is no doubt that bishops travelled extensively in this period. From a wide variety of sources we know of nearly 120 church councils that took place during the fourth century. Some of the larger councils saw upwards of 400 bishops in attendance, not to mention the priests and deacons who would have attended as aids. [64]
These numbers are quite high and suggest considerable travel, but it is still difficult to know just how often bishops would have been away from their sees. Fortunately, Othmar Perler has done a thorough study of the travels of Augustine, which can help give some details for at least one late antique bishop. [65] During his thirty-four year episcopacy between 396 and 430, Augustine made at least one trip away from Hippo almost every year. Furthermore, the years he failed to travel are concentrated toward the end of his episcopacy when he was already somewhat advanced in age. Most of the trips he took were for rather local matters, but he was very often in Carthage, a trip of some 150 miles, which could keep him away from Hippo for a considerable amount of time. The occasions for such travel extended far beyond attendance at church councils. Augustine travelled to engage in doctrinal disputes with Donatists and Pelagians, to give assistance to other local congregations, to help dedicate a martyr shrine or basilica, and to take part in the ordination of other bishops. These trips could be as short as several weeks, but on at least four occasions he was away from Hippo for almost five months, and the trip he took in 419–420 lasted the better part of a year. [66] This glimpse into the travels of Augustine demonstrates that the absence of a bishop from his see in the course of his normal duties could be a frequent occurrence. Church councils occasionally recognized the absent bishop as a problem and attempted to regulate the movement of bishops. [67] Add to this the suggestion of rather large groups of bishops who spent considerable time in Constantinople attempting to ingratiate themselves at court, and the impression of absent bishops becomes stronger still. [68]
This alone should help make sense of the numerous clerical positions discussed in our sources. With the bishop often away from his see, the church would have required an active and rather extensive group of presbyters and deacons to carry on the many ministries of preaching, administering the sacraments, and caring for the poor. This activity must have occurred, but it very often took place behind the scenes. Our sources usually stress instead the activity of the bishop, as if his role as overseer meant that he was the only actor involved. However, Wendy Mayer has recently argued that just the sort of activity we are suggesting can be seen in the case of John Chrysostom. [69] She looks at the correspondence Chrysostom maintained while away from Antioch as bishop of Constantinople, particularly while in exile from his see. It indicates strong, enduring relationships with elite citizens of Antioch, particularly with wealthy and influential women in the church. In addition to these relationships, we see that Chrysostom expressed deep concern for missionary work among pagans in Phoenicia and hoped to insulate this ministry from the hostile forces that secured his exile from Constantinople. Mayer argues that the strength of these connections to Antiochene people and activities are related to Chrysostom’s active engagement in pastoral care while he was still a presbyter in Antioch. His preaching ministry there is well known, but Mayer is able to connect this to a much broader ministry and paints a picture of Chrysostom acting in some ways as the de facto bishop of Antioch as the bishop Flavian aged in the years just before Chrysostom was called to Constantinople.
All of this suggests a healthy practice of delegation, which we should expect for purely logistical reasons, even if it can be difficult to locate precisely in our sources. [70] When we are able to tease out the reality of managing a large corporate body like a metropolitan church in Late Antiquity, we can begin to comprehend the multitude of tasks and actors involved. The bishop was indisputably at the head of this corporate activity but he required a considerable amount of assistance to carry out his numerous duties. Many sources seek vigorously to reinforce this hierarchical notion of church structure. Consider this section from Book Two of the Apostolic Constitutions in which the compiler expands upon the elevated status of the bishop:
But he who is above all these is the high priest, the bishop. He is the minister of the word, the keeper of knowledge, the mediator between God and you in your service toward Him. He is the teacher of piety; and, next after God, he is your father, who has begotten you again to the adoption of sons by water and the Spirit. He is your ruler and governor; he is your king and potentate; he is, next after God, your earthly God, who has a right to be honored by you. [71]
This passage clearly gives priority to the bishop and his supreme position in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. As high priest he was elevated to a position just below God. The compiler imagines him “next after God” in a continuum running from the Father right down through the church. This continuum progresses through the ranks of many of the clergy: presbyters, deacons, sub-deacons, and deaconesses. Immediately preceding this section, he discussed the roles and duties of the readers, singers, and porters. More surprising, however, is the inclusion of widows, orphans, and virgins: “Let the widows and orphans be esteemed as representing the altar of burnt-offering; and let the virgins be honored as representing the altar of incense, and the incense itself.” [72] Just as priests, in particular the bishop, had been connected to the sacrificial cult of the old covenant, here virgins, widows, and orphans at the lower end of the hierarchy were connected as well. Without them, the bishop would not have been able to collect offerings. Indeed it was because of his care for these groups that the bishop legitimately requested and received the donations of the congregation. Inasmuch as the people gave offerings, they were caring “for the least of these” [73] who, through the giving and the receiving, became a sweet fragrance unto the Lord. [74] Thus even those who held ecclesiastical positions at the lower end of the church hierarchy had their essential role to play in the church’s service, both its service to God and to the needy of the congregation.
These figures also had their parts to play in the process of catechesis. Bishops and presbyters preached and taught baptismal candidates and were engaged, along with deacons, in the rituals of initiation. [75] However, we would do well to consider baptismal sponsors in this context as well, even though the sources never suggest that they were clergy. The sponsor could be any baptized person from among the laity and the sources do not mention any ordination to this position. [76] However, the sponsors definitely provided another essential link in the hierarchical chain. Baptismal sponsors accompanied the person desirous of baptism and both submitted their names to the church’s registrar together:
A duly appointed person [the registrar] inscribes your name in the Church book, together with that of your sponsor, who answers for you and becomes your guide in the city [of God] and the leader of your citizenship therein. This is done in order that you may know that you are, long before the time and while on earth, enrolled in heaven, and that your sponsor who is in it is possessed of great diligence to teach you, who are a stranger and a newcomer to that great city, all the things that pertain to it and to its citizenship, so that you should be conversant with its life without any trouble and anxiety. [77]
This practice symbolized the fact that in registering along with the convert, the sponsor was acting as his or her surety. John Chrysostom used precisely this language in his catechetical homilies when he described the baptismal sponsor as an anadechomenos. [78] In origin, this is a legal term used to denote a third party in a legal action or contract who acts as a guarantor. The situation described is analogous to the co-signing of a loan in modern practice. [79] Chrysostom described this relationship in rather intimate terms as he explained to the candidates what he expected of their sponsors: “They ought to show their paternal love by encouraging, counseling, and correcting those for whom they go surety.” [80] Here we can see the ideal sponsor actively engaged in the scrutiny of the catechumen’s life and providing assistance in the requisite doctrinal training. Several times in his discussion of baptism in his first sermon, Theodore stresses the importance of the co-registration and the gravity of the sponsor undertaking such a role. He also addresses the sponsors directly, suggesting that their task includes accompanying the catechumens to church for the sermons that instruct them and helping them to memorize the creed. It is difficult to know just how zealous the sponsors actually were. The fact that both Chrysostom and Theodore address them during their catechetical sermons indicates that they were committed enough to join catechumens daily to aid them in their pre-baptismal instruction.
Another contemporary source on baptismal sponsors is the pilgrim Egeria. She strengthens our understanding of the role of the sponsor by indicating that the absence of a sponsor made it difficult for a person even to be accepted for baptism. [81] In other words, the church relied on these lay members to attest to the acceptance of Christian ethical norms as a sign of a serious intent to live the Christian life. Without this, the bishop and presbyters hesitated to accept someone into the group of the baptismal candidates. The gravity of the scene described by Egeria fits well with Chrysostom’s use of legal language. When the bishop scrutinized the catechumens and heard testimony from their sponsors, he literally held court:
The bishop’s chair is placed in the middle of the Great Church, the Martyrium, the presbyters sit in chairs on either side of him, and all the clergy stand. Then one by one those seeking baptism are brought up, men coming with their father and women with their mother. As they come in one by one, the bishop asks their neighbors questions about them: “Is this person leading a good life? Does he respect his parents? Is he a drunkard or a boaster?” He asks about all the serious human vices. And if his inquiries show him that someone has not committed any of these misdeeds, he himself puts his name down. [82]
This scene of catechumens seeking to be numbered among the baptismal candidates of the church bears all the potential dread of appearing before a secular magistrate in a matter of law. The architectural setting of the Great Church displayed the prominence of the institution and the regal presentation of the bishop and his clergy thoroughly reinforced their status within the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The day-to-day interaction between candidate and sponsor was likely rather mundane, but those who became catechumens must have been pleased to have such guarantors to see them through this trial. Egeria’s use of the language of fictive kinship further enhances the sense of intimacy and comfort within the context of this rather high-pressure scrutiny.
Even in simply presenting themselves as candidates for baptism, the catechumens came face to face with the imposing hierarchy of the Christian clergy. Such a hierarchical understanding of the church might appear inconsistent with Christian scripture that urged the radical equality of Galatians 3.28, where Paul argued that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” [83] Likewise, the reference to the church as “a royal priesthood” in 1 Peter 2.9 might also seem out of keeping with this view of the church. [84] But the compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions found a solution to tensions between the potentially egalitarian message of Christianity and the tiered ecclesiology of the church through seeing the earthly hierarchy of the church as a reflection of the divine hierarchy:
For let the bishop preside over you as one honored with the authority of God, which he is to exercise over the clergy, and by which he is to govern all the people. But let the deacon minister to him, as Christ does to the Father; and let him serve him without blame in all things, as Christ does nothing of Himself, but does always those things that please His Father. [85]
The submission of the deacons and, by extension, the congregation to the bishop was analogous to the submission of the Son to the Father. [86] In this way, the ontological equality of Christians urged by the gospel could coexist with the economic hierarchy within the clergy and throughout the church. Though the bishop was “next after God,” the image suggested by this passage is one of a continuum that runs from God himself, through the clergy, and on to the laity and catechumens. Thus, this hierarchy, which might appear to distance and divide, was actually constructed to bind the church together, integrating each member into the whole through the delegation of episcopal authority and the distribution of appropriate roles. Our sources suggest an abundance of activity as the clergy served the congregation through liturgy, teaching, disciplining, and collecting charitable donations. If the servants were this numerous, how great must the numbers of those served have been? This point is open to question. The important thing to consider in this particular context is one of proportion rather than size of population. The very large number of clerical and semi-clerical offices suggests that a significant portion of Christians in Antioch held some sort of definable position or office in the church. The proliferation of clerical positions in Theodore and the Apostolic Constitutions suggests a similar concern.
R. A. Markus has argued that the influx of new converts challenged the identity of Christians with the result that they urged “a contraction in the scope … allowed to the ‘secular’” and “a tendency to absorb what had previously been ‘secular’ into the realm of the ‘sacred,’ turning secular into ‘Christian’ or dismissing it as ‘pagan’ and ‘idolatrous.’” [87] Markus concerns himself with a certain kind of negative self-definition and delineation in which post-Constantinian Christians involved themselves. The sources discussed in this chapter show a slightly different understanding of this tendency. They are no less concerned with delineation, but at the same time they show a strong inclination toward a positive statement of Christian identity that fully and officially attached a great many people to the Christian church. The result was a vigorous hierarchy with a strong sense of authority that actively sought, through that very hierarchy, to incorporate Christians into the body of the church. The catechumens who sought baptism wanted this attachment and the benefits, both sacred and secular, it had to offer. Through pursuing an image of sanctity, caring for the poor, and cultivating their priestly prerogative, bishops worked to articulate the idea of their church as the means of approaching God. The access that he and his clergy provided was desirable and it drew people to the bishop’s community. That people sought access to the holy outside of the strict hierarchy of the church and the person of the bishop only confirms the desirability of divine access he offered. Alongside this, however, we must take note of the fact that bishops increasingly had the ear of the emperor and were able to provide benefits from him. Because of their liturgical role and their persuasive claims to sanctity, bishops were able to exercise their freedom of speech (parrhēsia, παρρησία) before the emperor for the benefit of their community. [88]
This was a community that catechumens found compelling and to which they wanted to join themselves. As they approached baptism, the candidates became enmeshed in the social world of this community. Assigned baptismal sponsors who acted as their advocates and guides, they began an elaborate process of being acculturated to a new community and a new way of relating to a prominent institution within the life of the late antique city. Certain pieces of epigraphic evidence even suggest that something similar took place in Antioch’s rural hinterland, where we catch a glimpse of a careful process of negotiation between clergy and laity. For example, it seems that baptisteries were built only when it was thought that active ministry and the presence of clergy could be sustained in a region. In other words, an established community was seen as a prerequisite for proselytism in the Antiochene countryside. When this activity did go ahead, we can see that the Christians of these regions then went on to appropriate Christian phrases and symbols in very personal ways. [89] All of these texts and material remains show a deep concern for the process by which the church made new Christians and delineated them from those outside the church. Above all, the evidence shows the considerable effort necessary to incorporate people into the ecclesiastical structures of the community in meaningful ways.
One must keep in mind the nature and structure of this community when considering catechesis in late fourth-century Antioch. Initiation into the Christian church entailed initiation into a social network that manifested itself in multiple ways. The Christian community understood ostensibly mundane matters, such as the maintenance of systems of social welfare and justice, as part of a spiritual hierarchy connected to God through the ranks of the clergy and particularly the person of the bishop. Thus the intimate relationship between the baptismal sponsor and the catechumen began the process of rightly relating that person to the community in all of its intricacies as a conduit to God, as well as to other forms of earthly power. The opportunity to obtain citizenship in this city, to return to Theodore’s language, with all of its rights and responsibilities surely played a significant role in convincing people to become Christians. The incremental participation of catechumen, candidate, and full initiate, along with sincere attempts by the church at incorporation along the way, enabled people to feel themselves persuaded by Christianity. I borrow this phrase, “feel persuaded,” from the title of a useful essay by Chad Kile, which presents a compelling case for the serious consideration of social networks in attempts to understand Christianization. [90] While this observation certainly points in the right direction, Kile too strongly critiques earlier models for having any significant cognitive component in their approach to Christianization. [91] The acculturation aimed at through the catechetical process placed significant emphasis on instruction and culminated in the conversion rites of baptism and the eucharist. These activities presented regular opportunities for the community to communicate its values to those about to join it and must not be overlooked. At this point, we will turn to the presentation of theology and consider Theodore’s approach to the teaching of the creed.


[ back ] 1. On the importance of social relations and patronage networks in early Christian conversion, see Crook 2004; Kile 2005; and Stark 1996.
[ back ] 2. WS 6.23–24. See, also, Theodore Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians 4.26.
[ back ] 3. WS 6.23.
[ back ] 4. See Rapp 2005.
[ back ] 5. See Brown 1998; as well as Hayward and Howard-Johnston 1999.
[ back ] 6. See Frank 2000; and R. D. Finn 2006.
[ back ] 7. For the historical development of the Christian clergy in the early Christian period, see Schöllgen 1998; and Faivre 1977.
[ back ] 8. As Theodore’s commentaries on these epistles are preserved in Latin, our translation uses the equivalent: episcopus, presbyter, and diaconus.
[ back ] 9. Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy 3.8.
[ back ] 10. The Apostolic Constitutions is a book of church order purportedly penned by the apostles themselves. In actuality, it is a text compiled from earlier sources such as the Didascalia and the Didache. Since the late nineteenth century, many dates and locations have been suggested for this compilation. In the introduction to his recent critical edition, however, Metzger (1985:61–62) argues convincingly that it belongs roughly to the 370s and was compiled in or near Antioch. Thus it holds direct relevance for the consideration of church hierarchy in late fourth-century Antioch.
[ back ] 11. See also Canons of the Council of Sardica 20.
[ back ] 12. Theodosian Code 16.1.3 and 16.2.31.
[ back ] 13. Rapp 2005:26.
[ back ] 14. ܟܗܢܐ‎ occasionally means “presbyter,” as in the phrase ܩܫܝܫܐ ܐܘܟܝܬܟܗܢܐ‎, “presbyter, that is, priest”; see Payne Smith 1879, 1:1683. However, the central role of the bishop in the Eucharistic service makes it highly unlikely that Theodore is suggesting that only the presbyter administers this sacrament. Likewise, the denominative verb ܟܗܢ‎ can mean “to be a priest,” “to celebrate Holy Communion,” or even “to serve as a deacon,” Payne Smith 1879 1:1683–1684. While the celebration of communion would be most associated with the bishop, this should not be used as a basis for seeing this word as anything other than a translation of ἱερεύς. Since the holder/holders of this office are set off from the deaconate, that meaning cannot apply here either. In only one passage (WS 5.93), when making direct reference to the participants at the Council of Nicaea, did he employ the Syriac term ܐܦܣܩܘܦܐ‎, a transliteration of Greek ἐπίσκοπος.
[ back ] 15. I will consistently use “priests” when the sources I am dealing with use the ambiguous hiereus, sacerdos, or kōhnō. When they have episkopos or episkopus in mind, I will employ the more precise “bishop.” Likewise, I will use “presbyter” for presbyteros, presbyter.
[ back ] 16. Theodore Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy 3.14–15: “Nam mysterii ministerium presbyteri implent et diaconi soli; alii quidem eorum sacerdotale opus implentes, alii ver sacris ministrantes.”
[ back ] 17. Apostolic Constitutions 3.9: Εἰ δὲ ἐν τοῖς προλαβοῦσιν διδάσκειν αὐταῖς οὐκ ἐπιτρέπομεν, πῶς ἱερατεῦσαι ταύταις παρὰ φύσιν τις συγχωρήσει; τοῦτο γὰρ τῆς τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἀθεότητος τὸ ἀγνόημα θηλείαις θεαῖς ἱερείας χειροτονεῖν, ἀλλ’ οὐ τῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ διατάξεως.
[ back ] 18. Apostolic Constitutions 6.15: Οἱ δὲ παρὰ τῶν ἀσεβῶν δεχόμενοι μόλυσμα κοινωνοὶ τῆς γνώμης αὐτῶν γενήσονται. Οὐ γάρ εἰσιν ἐκεῖνοι ἱερεῖς.
[ back ] 19. Aposotolic Constitutions 3.10.
[ back ] 20. Apostolic Constitutions 8.46. On the offices to which a chorepiscopos could ordain someone, see Canons of the Council of Antioch 10.
[ back ] 21. Apostolic Constitutions 3.1; 8.2–3.
[ back ] 22. Apostolic Constitutions 8.46.10: Εἰ μὲν γὰρ μὴ θεσμός τις ἦν καὶ τάξεων διαφορά, ἤρκει ἂν δι’ ἑνὸς ὀνόματος τὰ ὅλα τελεῖσθαι· ἀλλ’ ὑπὸ τοῦ Κυρίου διδαχθέντες ἀκολουθίαν πραγμάτων, τοῖς μὲν ἐπισκόποις τὰ τῆς ἀρχιερωσύνης ἐνείμαμεν, τοῖς δὲ πρεσβυτέροις τὰ τῆς ἱερωσύνης, τοῖς δὲ διακόνοις τὰ τῆς πρὸς ἀμφοτέρους διακονίας, ἵν’ ᾖ καθαρῶς τὰ τῆς θρησκείας ἐπιτελούμενα.
[ back ] 23. Apostolic Constitutions 1.44: Πλὴν ἔστω ὁ διάκονος τοῦ ἐπισκόπου ἀκοὴ καὶ ὀφθαλμὸς καὶ στόμα, καρδία τε καὶ ψυχή, ἵνα μὴ ᾖ τὰ πολλὰ μεριμνῶν ὁ ἐπίσκοπος, ἀλλὰ μόνα τὰ κυριώτερα.
[ back ] 24. Apostolic Constitutions 2.28.
[ back ] 25. More mundane restrictions existed as well. For example, Canon 20 of the Council of Laodicea insists that a deacon may only sit in the presence of a presbyter or bishop if he is invited to do so.
[ back ] 26. Theodore Commentary on the Epistle to Titus 1.5: “… in ordinem clericorum suum officium implerent, per quos explicari poterant illa quae ad communem pertinent utilitatem.”
[ back ] 27. Theodore Commentary on the Epistle to Titus 3.2. For a helpful survey of the interpretation of this passage in early Christian literature, see Rapp 2005:32–41.
[ back ] 28. Apostolic Constitutions 2.32.
[ back ] 29. Theodore Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy 5.17: “Sic enim et beati apostoli videntur doctrinae opus omnibus operibus anteposuisse.”
[ back ] 30. Apostolic Constitutions 7.9: Ὅπου γὰρ ἡ περὶ Θεοῦ διδασκαλία, ἐκεῖ Θεὸς πάρεστιν.
[ back ] 31. Rapp 2005:57–66.
[ back ] 32. John Chrysostom On the Priesthood 4.1.
[ back ] 33. Theodore Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy 4.12: “… ita ut et ipse formam te praebeas fidelibus pro quibus vitam Regis tuam, instruens quemadmodum conveniat conversari, ita ut ex ipsis actibus tuis testimonium vitae tuae hisdem praebaes.”
[ back ] 34. Apostolic Constitutions 2.41.5–7.
[ back ] 35. WS 6.123; Homélies Catéchétiques 16.151v:
ܡܛܠ ܗܟܝܠ ܕܗܠܝܢ ܝܵܕܥܝܬܘܢ. ܘܕܟܕ ܣܵܓܝ ܝ̇ܨܦ ܕܝܠܢ ܐܠܐܗܐ ܬܝܒܘܬܐ ܝ̇ܗܒ ܠܢ ܘܥܩܪ̈ܐ ܕܬܵܘܬܐ ܚܘܝܼ ܠܢ܇ ܘܐܢܫܝ̈ܢ ܐܣܘ̈ܬܐ ܕܣܟܠܘ̈ܬܐ ܐܩܝܼܡ ܟܗ̈ܢܐ. ܕܡܐ ܕܒܐܝܕܘܢ ܩܒܠܢܢ ܗܪܟܐ ܐܣܝܘܬܐ܇ ܘܫܘܒܩܢܐ ܕܚ̈ܛܗܐ. ܢܬܦܪܸܩ ܡ̣ܢ ܬܒܥܵܬܐ ܕܥܬܝܕܐ. ܒܬܘܟܠܢܐ ܪܒܐ ܙܵܕܩ ܠܢ ܕܢ̣ܩܪܘܒ ܠܟܗ̈ܢܐ ܘܕܢܓܠܸܐ ܠܗܘܢ ܚܛܗܝ̈ܢ. ܗܠܝܢ ܕܒܟܠܗ .ܫܩ̣ܠ ܛܥܢܐ ܘܚܫܐ ܘܚܘܒܐ܆ ܐܝܬ ܬܚܘ̈ܡܐ ܕܡ̣ܢ ܠܥܠ ܣܝܼܡܝܢ. ܡܩܪܒܝܢ ܐܣܝܘܬܐ ܠܡܣܟ̈ܠܢܐ. ܟܕ ܠܐ ܡܦܪܣܝܢ ܗܠܝܢ .ܕܠܐ ܘܵܠܐ ܕܢܼܬܓ̈ܠܝܵܢ. 
[ back ] 36. Theodosian Code 1.27.1–2; Sirmondian Constitutions 1. We hear most about bishops in this context, but the laws refer to clerici and sacerdotes. As such, it is not entirely clear if this was exclusively episcopal; see Rapp 2005:238.
[ back ] 37. Lamoreaux 1995:144.
[ back ] 38. Rapp 2005:242–244.
[ back ] 39. On alms collected by the bishop in the name of the poor and expectations regarding care of poor, see Brown 2001:24–44.
[ back ] 40. Apostolic Constitutions 2.34: Διὸ τὸν ἐπίσκοπον στέργειν ὀφείλετε ὡς πατέρα, φοβεῖσθαι ὡς βασιλέα, τιμᾶν τε ὡς κύριον, τοὺς καρποὺς ὑμῶν καὶ τὰ ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν ὑμῶν εἰς εὐλογίαν ὑμῶν προσφέροντες αὐτῷ, τὰς ἀπαρχὰς ὑμῶν καὶ τὰς δεκάτας ὑμῶν καὶ τὰ ἀφαιρέματα ὑμῶν καὶ τὰ δῶρα ὑμῶν διδόντες αὐτῷ ὡς ἱερεῖ Θεοῦ.
[ back ] 41. Apostolic Constitutions 2.35: Οὕτως οὖν πλεονάσει ἡ δικαιοσύνη ὑμῶν, ἐν τῷ πλέον ὑμᾶς πρόνοιαν ποιεῖσθαι τῶν ἱερέων καὶ τῶν ὀρφανῶν καὶ τῶν χηρῶν.
[ back ] 42. Canons of the Council of Antioch 24.
[ back ] 43. Rapp 2000.
[ back ] 44. Ἐπὶ τοῦ ἀγιοτάτου καὶ ὁσιοτάτου ἐπισκόπου θεοδότου, καὶ Ἀθανασίου πρεσβυτέρου καὶ οἰκονόμου, ἡ ψηθεὶς τοῦ πειστικοῦ γέγονεν καὶ τὸ ἔργον τοῦτο ἐπεὶ Ακκιβα διακόνου καὶ παραμοναρίου (Lassus 1938:33, my translation). This church also contains four additional inscriptions attributing mosaics to the bishop Flavian and his presbyters, see Lassus 1938:13, 15, 18, 39.
[ back ] 45. Brown 2001:32.
[ back ] 46. Athanasius Apology against Arius 18.2; Brown 2001:32.
[ back ] 47. Homilies on Matthew 66.3.
[ back ] 48. Brown 2001:81–84.
[ back ] 49. On the minor clergy of Asia Minor, see Hübner 2005.
[ back ] 50. Theodore Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy 3:14–15: “Illis etenim gradibus functionum qui in ecclesiis necessarium habentur, isti postea magis sunt adiecti propter utilitatem ministerii, quod propter multitudinem credentium per alteros postea impleri debere necessitas flagitauit.” See also Apostolic Constitutions 8.22.
[ back ] 51. Apostolic Constitutions 3.11.
[ back ] 52. Apostolic Constitutions 8.23.
[ back ] 53. Apostolic Constitutions 8.26.
[ back ] 54. Apostolic Constitutions 8.24.
[ back ] 55. Apostolic Constitutions 8.25.
[ back ] 56. Apostolic Constitutions 2.26.8.
[ back ] 57. Apostolic Constitutions 3.11.
[ back ] 58. Theodosian Code 16.2.24.
[ back ] 59. Theodosian Code 16.2.15 and 13.1.1. Pharr translates kopiata as “grave-digger.” Souter 1964 also gives “sexton,” which is preferred by Elliott 1978:330–331. I use sexton here because it seems unlikely that many churches needed someone for the sole purpose of digging graves. A sexton’s duties entail general property management, which could easily include grave-digging but would not be limited to it.
[ back ] 60. Apostolic Constitutions 2.26 and 8.23–26.
[ back ] 61. Apostolic Constitutions 2.59.
[ back ] 62. Theodore, especially Sermons 2 and 3 in WS 6; Chrysostom, especially Baptismal Instruction 2.12–14; and Kalleres 2002.
[ back ] 63. Histories 21.16.18.
[ back ] 64. MacMullen (2006:2–3) has provided a helpful table of the great majority of the councils mentioned in the sources between AD 253 and 553. He also mentions that if the canonical rules for holding local and regional synods had been followed, there would have been more than 15,000 councils during that period. The likelihood of that many councils having actually occurred is very low, however, and it seems sufficient for our purposes simply to point out the number of councils that we do know took place during the fourth century.
[ back ] 65. Perler 1969:436–477.
[ back ] 66. For a discussion of similar travels by John Chrysostom, see Kelly 1995:162–180.
[ back ] 67. Canons of the Council of Sardica 7, 12, 21.
[ back ] 68. Rapp 2005:265–266.
[ back ] 69. Mayer 2001.
[ back ] 70. Greer 2007:573.
[ back ] 71. Apostolic Constitutions 2.26.4: Ὁ δὲ τούτων πάντων ἀνώτερος ὁ ἀρχιερεύς ἐστιν, ὁ ἐπίσκοπος. Οὗτος λόγου διάκονος, γνώσεως φύλαξ, μεσίτης Θεοῦ καὶ ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς πρὸς αὐτὸν λατρείαις· οὗτος διδάσκαλος εὐσεβείας, οὗτος μετὰ Θεὸν πατὴρ ὑμῶν, δι’ ὕδατος καὶ πνεύματος ἀναγεννήσας ὑμᾶς εἰς υἱοθεσίαν· οὗτος ἄρχων καὶ ἡγούμενος ὑμῶν, οὗτος ὑμῶν βασιλεὺς καὶ δυνάστης, οὗτος ὑμῶν ἐπίγειος θεὸς μετὰ Θεὸν, ὃς ὀφείλει τῆς παρ’ ὑμῶν τιμῆς ἀπολαύειν.
[ back ] 72. Apostolic Constitutions 2.26.8: Αἵ τε χῆραι καὶ οἱ ὀρφανοὶ εἰς τύπον τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου λελογίσθωσαν ὑμῖν· αἵ τε παρθένοι εἰς τύπον τοῦ θυμιατηρίου τετιμήσθωσαν καὶ τοῦ θυμιάματος.
[ back ] 73. Matthew 25.40.
[ back ] 74. Leviticus 2.2 and 6.15.
[ back ] 75. See chapter four for a discussion of these rituals.
[ back ] 76. Some have suggested that ordained deacons, in their capacity as deacons, acted as baptismal sponsors, but the sources do not bear this reading. See Lynch 1986:114. On baptismal sponsors, see also Dujarier 1967.
[ back ] 77. Theodore WS 6.26; Homélies Catéchétiques 12.87v–88r:
ܗܘܿ ܕܥܠ ܗܕܐ ܣܝܼܡ ܒܟܬܒܐ ܥܕܬܢܝܐ ܡܟܬܒ܆ ܘܡܠܘܹܬ ܒܟܬܒܐ ܠܫܡܵܟ ܕܝܼܠܟ. ܐܦ ܠܗܘ܆ܿ ܕܐܢ ܣܗܕܐ ܘܐܢ ܗܕܝܐܐ ܕܗ̇‌ܝ ܡܕܝܢܬܐ ܘܕܗܘܿ ܕܘܒܪܐ. ܐܡܪܢܐ ܕܝܢ ܠܥܪܵܒܐ. ܐܝܟ ܕܐܢܬ ܬܕܥ ܕܡ̣ܢ ܟܕܘ ܡ̣ܢ ܗܪܟܐ ܒܫܡܝܐ ܡܟܬܒܬ܆ ܐܝܟܐ ܕܥܪܒܟ ܒܛܝܼܠܘܬܐ ܪܒܬܐ ܐܝܬ ܠܗ܇ ܕܠܟ ܐܝܬܝܟ ܐܟܣܢܝܵܐ ܠܗ̇ܝ ܡܕܝܢܬܐ ܘܗܫܐ ܕܫܪܘܬܝܢ ܐܬܩܪܒ̣ܬ܇ ܟܠܗܝܼܢ ܗ̈ܢܝܢ ܕܡܕܝܢܬܐ. ܗ‌ܝܿ ܘܕܗܘܦܟܐ ܕܬܡܢ ܢܠܦܟ. ܐܝܟ ܕܕܠܐ ܫܓܘܫܝܐ܆ ܘܕܠܐ ܕܘܘܕܐ ܬܬܥܝܲܕ ܒܗܘ̈ܦܟܐ ܕܡܕܝܢܬܐ ܗ̇ܝ ܪܒܬܐ܀
[ back ] 78. Baptismal Instructions 2.15–16.
[ back ] 79. Lynch 1986:106.
[ back ] 80. Baptismal Instructions 2.15: ἐπιδείκνυσθαι ὀφείλουσι, παραινοῦντες καὶ συμβουλεύοντες, διορθοῦντες, πατρικὴν φιλοστοργίαν ἐπιδεικνύμενοι.
[ back ] 81. Egeria Travels 45.4.
[ back ] 82. Egeria Travels 45.1–4. “Ponitur episcopo cathedra media ecclesia maiore, id est ad Martyrium, sedent hinc et inde presbyteri in cathedris et stant clerici omnes. Et sic adducuntur unus et unus conpetens; si uiri sunt cum patribus suis ueniunt, si autem feminae, cum matribus suis. 3. Et sic singulariter interrogat episcopus uicinos eius, qui intrauit, dicens: ‘Si bonae uitae est hic, si parentibus deferet, si ebriacus non est aut uanus?’ Et singular uitia, quae sunt tamen grauiora in homine, requiret. 4. Et si probauerit sine reprehensione esse de his omnibus, quibus requisiuit presentibus testibus, annotat ipse manu sua nomen illius.” “Mother” and “father” in this passage refer to baptismal sponsors and not biological parents. For a discussion of this matter, see Lynch 1986:98.
[ back ] 83. οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
[ back ] 84. Ὑμεῖς δὲ γένος ἐκλεκτόν, βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα, ἔθνος ἅγιον, λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, ὅπως τὰς ἀρετὰς ἐξαγγείλητε τοῦ ἐκ σκότους ὑμᾶς καλέσαντος εἰς τὸ θαυμαστὸν αὐτοῦ φῶς·
[ back ] 85. Apostolic Constitutions 2.26.4–5: Ὁ μὲν οὖν ἐπίσκοπος προκαθεζέσθω ὑμῶν ὡς Θεοῦ ἀξίᾳ τετιμημένος, ᾗ κρατεῖ τοῦ κλήρου καὶ τοῦ λαοῦ παντὸς ἄρχει. 5. Ὁ δὲ διάκονος τούτῳ παριστάσθω ὡς ὁ Χριστὸς τῷ Πατρί, καὶ λειτουργείτω αὐτῷ ἐν πᾶσιν ἀμέμπτως, ὡς ὁ Χριστός, ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ ποιῶν οὐδέν, τὰ ἀρεστὰ ποιεῖ τῷ Πατρὶ πάντοτε.
[ back ] 86. This view of the relationship between the Father and the Son may be part of the non-Nicene milieu of this text. However, this is not entirely clear. All parties involved in the theological conflicts of the fourth century recognized the importance of Christ’s statements in John 14.28 that “the Father is greater than I” and in John 6.38 that “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” They simply had different ways of understanding them. The notion of hierarchy that I describe in what follows is amenable to a variety of the positions articulated in the fourth century and need not be seen as necessarily Nicene or non-Nicene. All parties saw the Father as divine and uniquely separated from creation yet thoroughly involved with it through his Son Jesus. The main difference centered on where they chose to draw that line, between Father and Son (the non-Nicene position) or between Son and creation (the Nicene). The hierarchy described here technically works on either account. For an excellent discussion of Nicene and non-Nicene theology in the late fourth century, see Vaggione 2000.
[ back ] 87. Markus 1990:53.
[ back ] 88. Rapp 2005:264–265.
[ back ] 89. Trombley 2004.
[ back ] 90. Kile 2005.
[ back ] 91. Kile 2005 critiques Stark (p. 224) and Nock (p. 222).