Dictionary of Christian Antiquity


NUN A member of a female religious order living under vows of chastity and asceticism. With the dissemination of Christian ideals in the apostolic age, many widows and virgins separated themselves from society to worship God, initially in seclusion and later in communal groups (cf. 1 Tm. 5:9-10). Cenobitic conventual monasticism can therefore be said …

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DIGAMY A practice of remarriage after the death of one’s spouse. In the event of the dissolution of Christian marriage through the death of either spouse, the surviving partner may, if desired, be married again in the church. Nevertheless, it is not strongly recommended by the church, in harmony with the Apostle Paul’s teaching. The …

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ABSTINENCE Refraining from eating some or all kinds of food. Abstinence differs from orthodox fasting in that abstinence is not subject to the rules governing fasting. The practice, originally a form of penitence, dates from the Old Testament (Lv. 11), where elaborate prohibitionary rules were prescribed. These were later abrogated in the New Testament, but …

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