We are happy to announce that the Presbyters in the Late Antique West Project is again present at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds. We organize two sessions on Tuesday, 3 July:
Session 517, Tuesday 3 July, 09.00-10.30
Social Sciences Building: Room 10.05
- The Canonical Legislation on the Families of Clergy, 4th-7th Centuries – Stanisław Adamiak (University of Warsaw).
- Enforcing Sexual Continence in the Households of Married Clergy – David Hunter (University of Kentucky).
- A Nestorian Monastery at Hura and its Regional Context – Daniel Varga (Israeli Antiquity Authority).
Session 617, Tuesday 3 July, 11.15-12.45
Social Sciences Building: Room 10.05
- Slaves and servants in clerical households in the early middle ages – Lisa Bailey (University of Auckland).
- Monks and Monasteries in Late Antique Egypt: Between Household and Estate – Joanna Wegner (University of Warsaw).
- Presbyters in the Tituli in Fifth Century Rome: Patrons and Clients – Michele Renee Salzman (University of California at Riverside).
Here are the abstracts of the papers:
The Canonical Legislation on the Families of Clergy, 4th-7th Centuries.
The existence of the wives and children of the clergy was an obvious fact in the life of the ancient Church, although the continence was strongly recommended for the bishops, presbyters and deacons at least since the end of the fourth century. The canonical registration tried to regulate the lives in the households of the clerics. The presence of “external women” was prohibited there. The children of clerics were expected to behave in an exemplary way. Many of them followed their fathers in the service of the Church, and became clerics or consecrated virgins. It helped to ease the conflicts regarding the property left by the clerics.
Enforcing Sexual Continence in the Households of Married Clergy.
The topic of my paper would be the problems raised in the households of married clerics by the appearance and gradual enforcement of a requirement of permanent sexual continence for the higher clergy (bishops, presbyters, and deacons). Although legislation limiting the sexual activity of married clerics began to appear in the late fourth century, clergymen were usually required to remain living with their wives, or, at least, to provide them material support. A variety of sources, from the canons of western synods to the histories of Gregory of Tours, attest that serious problems arose from this arrangement and a variety of proposals were made to deal with these difficulties.
A Nestorian Monastery at Hura and its Regional Context
An impressive Byzantine monastery was exposed in a salvage excavation along the road connecting Beer Sheva and the Dead Sea.
The structure was divided into a number of halls and a dining hall. Beautiful mosaic floors were exposed in the prayer hall and dining hall.
The prayer hall was paved with a colorful leaf design. The dining hall mosaic included floral depictions, geometric shapes, amphorae, baskets and birds. Four Greek dedicatory inscriptions were integrated in the mosaic carpets. They mention the names of the monastery abbots and the date of the laying of the mosaics, dating to the second half of the 6thcentury CE. The multi-ethnic and multi-lingual composition of the dwellers of the coenobium at Hura is perhaps reflected in the decision to render one of the inscriptions in two languages, Greek and Syriac.
It seems that the monastery, located near a Byzantine settlement, was an urban monastery, one in a series of monasteries along the road that connected Transjordan with the Berosabba Valley and served several different Christian groups.
Slaves and servants in clerical households in the early middle ages
Clerical households, like all other elite early medieval households, were full of slaves and servants who kept the buildings clean, the rooms lit, and the inhabitants fed. Unlike other servi, however, the men and women who performed these acts did so in an environment in which service to God was praised as the highest morality, and in which performing demeaning tasks could be a sign of sanctity. This paper argues that serviin clerical households were therefore considered different, and that they were potentially elevated by their service.
Monks and Monasteries in Late Antique Egypt: Between Household and Estate
Questions of economic organisation and management make only rare appearances in the corpora of monastic literary writings from late antique Egypt, but they are not entirely absent. The economic aspect of late antique Egyptian monasticism, however, has been increasingly explored mainly following the progress of Greek and Coptic papyrology. Documentary texts related to monasteries in the Nile Valley dated to the 6th–8th c. allow us to see communities of monks as economic units which display a great variety of functional arrangements. The communication will focus on examples of these arrangements in an attempt to understand their functions in sustaining the communities within rural socio-economic networks. The issues addressed will touch upon such matters as the scale and origin of monastic property and the resulting organisation of managerial tasks within the communities.
Michelle Renee Salzman
Presbyters in the Tituli in Fifth Century Rome: Patrons and Clients
The titular churches of Rome (tituli)began as privately funded ecclesiastical foundations by wealthy lay and clerical patrons in post-Constantinian Rome. The bishop-focused Liber Pontificalisunderscores the complex of aristocratic and priestly patronage and administration behind Rome’s titular foundations and their finances.
A reconsideration of the evidence for the donations and financial oversight of the 29 fifth century titular churches in Rome leads me to argue that regardless of the original circumstances of these foundations, the tituli were only nominally part of the bishop’s church and remained semi-autonomous in terms of liturgy and financial matters. Not only were the presbyters the real administrators of these foundations and in control of its finances to a large degree, a good many of them gained influence in the church, as demonstrated by their networks of familial and aristocratic connections. A new prosopography of the families and aristocratic patrons associated with the titular priests included in a famous subscription list to the acts of a synod held in Rome in 499 demonstrates the strength of the networks of presbyters, and shows the strategies that presbyters used to ensure their on-going influence in fifth century Rome. In many ways, the presbyters ran their households as did their aristocratic patrons and contemporaries; they made marriage alliances for family members, and acted as patrons of the church.