Leitourgia and the Poor in the Early Christian World

Susan R. Holman

in The Hungry are Dying

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139129
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834310 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

 Leitourgia and the Poor in the Early Christian World

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This chapter provides a broad overview of the poor in the early Christian world, and especially considers their relationship to the liturgies (Greek “leitourgia”) of religious and civic practice. It explores examples from Graeco‐Roman euergetism, the Roman food schemes of annona (the grain dole) and alimenta, Jewish philanthropy, including soup kitchens, and early Christian texts about charity ranging from the New Testament to the sixth century. It concludes that early Christian responses to help the poor drew heavily from the general cultural concept of liturgy in late antiquity.

Keywords: alimenta; charity; christian; euergetism; Graeco‐Roman; Jewish philanthropy; liturgies; poor; Roman grain dole; soup kitchens

Chapter.  18504 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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