Culture

Donation Of Children

DONATION OF CHILDREN A custom of giving a child up to a monastery for one of two reasons: having the child become a monk or making the child a serf of the monastery. Instances of donating children who were intended to become monks are known from literary and especially hagiographic sources. The absence of sources …

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Diaconia

DIACONIA A term of Greek origin with multiple meanings. The original sense of diaconia in classical and Hellenistic Greek was “service.” In later Greek, diaconia practically always denoted religious service of one kind or another, or bodies that had to do with such services. In later Greek texts from Egypt and in Coptic texts, we …

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Deuterarios

DEUTERARIOS A term of Greek origin (from deuteros, second), which in later Greek and in Coptic texts denotes the “deputy” of the superior of a monastic community. The term was used in Pachomian monasteries, where it denoted both the deputy of the superior and the deputy of the head of the house. Mention about them …

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Desert Fathers

DESERT FATHERS An expression describing the first anchorites. It was first used by one of the first “reporters” of these practitioners of the “flight to the desert,” PALLADIUS himself. In fact, he twice, at least in explicit terms, used a form of this phrase to designate those who chose to live in the desert. The …

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Defensor Ecclesiae

DEFENSOR ECCLESIAE A layman, usually a lawyer, charged with the defense of the interests of the church in lawsuits and in any conflicts with secular authorities. Most of the evidence for the existence of defensores ecclesiae comes from North Africa, where they are mentioned by Possidius, bishop of Calama in 403 (Vita Augustini 12). They …

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Eccage

ECCAGE The title and office of the eccage (high church dignitary) have been of national importance in Ethiopia for several centuries. Insofar as the ABUN was alien to the language and culture of the country, it was necessary for an Ethiopian dignitary to be appointed as chief administrator of the church. The Nebura’ed of Axum …

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Advent

ADVENT The ecclesiastical season immediately preceding the Nativity of Christ. In the Coptic church, this period lasts six weeks starting on 16 Hatur and ending on 29 Kiyahk. It is a period of fasting in preparation for the celebration of Christ’s coming. Throughout the month of Kiyahk, the Kiyahkian psalmodia is chanted in a manner …

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EPIGRAPHY

Epigraphy

EPIGRAPHY Definition and time span Epigraphy is the study of INSCRIPTIONS, texts that are destined for long-term visual display in public space, more rarely in the private sphere. As a discipline, it sits in between archaeology and philology. Coptic epigraphy is taken here in a broad sense to comprise the study of Christian inscriptions from …

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