A term of Greek origin (from deuteros, second), which in later Greek and in 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 is found also in Pachomian Rules and Lives. The deuterarios did not have a specific range of activity; his role consisted in substituting for a given monastic dignitary. At the DAYR ANBA SHINUDAH, a deuterarios who was the deputy of the superior has his presence confirmed for the as well as in a liturgical text and a of a manuscript dated 1112 (both texts published by Crum, 1905, nos. 154, 489).

Apart from the Pachomian monasteries, the occurrences of the term deuterarios are rare. The title was used in the monastery of DAYR at Saqqara. It also appears in Wadi Sarjah. P. Cauwenbergh mentions the appearance of the title in inscriptions from a monastic center of Al-Mina (1914, p. 121). Finally, deuterarios occurs in a list, of unknown origin, of monastic officials dating from the sixth and seventh centuries (Crum, 1909, no. 224).

The small number of texts in which the term deuterarios or its Coptic counterpart appears should not incline us to the conclusion that the deputy of the superior was a rarity in monastic centers. Probably in the majority of such centers, the superior had formally recognized deputies who either went without titles or used others such as pronoetes, dioiketes, and so forth. In a document published in Koptische Rechtsurkunden des achten Jahrhunderts Djeme (Crum and Steindorff, 1912, no. 106), two officials bear the title sygkathedros together with the “great proestos.” In another text, the same functionaries are described as PROESTOS (Schiller, 1932, no. 4). It is not by coincidence that the majority of the concerning the title deuterarios comes from with clearly defined rules in which the organizational structures were more distinctly regulated and “named.” We can presume that the deputies of the superior were often stewards especially as regards everything connected with economic matters.


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  • . Catalogue of the Coptic in the Collection of the J. Rylands Library. Manchester, 1909.
  • Crum, W. E., and H. I. Bell, eds. Wadi Sarjah Coptic and Greek Texts. Huniae, 1922.
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