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26 V: Hajnalka Tamás (New Europe College, Bucarest), Christian Recommendation Practices in Late Antiquity (4th – 5th Centuries AD): Canons, Authors, and Evidence from Papyri

Abstract

In the vertically structured Greco-Roman world, recommendation (referral) was an important expression of patronage, especially in terms of introduction, mediation, and problem-solving. Christianity took over and adapted the practice of recommendation to suit new realities of Christian travel and hospitality, pastoral care, recruitment and career advancement (clerical as well as ascetic), or the articulation of the local and the universal Church, among others. This paper explores the functions of ecclesiastical recommendation in Early Christian context, its complex and often ambiguous typology, with particular emphasis on the correspondence – or discrepancy – between evidence collected from extant papyri, canonical prescriptions, and examples from epistolary corpora of known authors.