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DiakoniaRe-Interpreting the Ancient Sources$
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John N Collins

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195396027

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396027.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 April 2021

The Early Servant Church

The Early Servant Church

(p.63) 3 The Early Servant Church

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

If the instance already discussed in Mark bears but dubious testimony to the existence among early Christians of the modern notion of “diakonia”—and leaves us with an intriguing problem of interpretation—to what extent do the others instances echo, to use Lemaire's phrase, the loving attitude of the master? Since the 12th century, the cardinal deacons of Rome have taken their titles from ancient churches that have the word “diaconia” in their name, as in Diaconia San Teodoro. Much earlier, according to the Liber Pontificalis, Pope Fabian (236–50) had divided the city into seven administrative regions under seven deacons who were responsible for temporal administration and for the implementation of the “frumentatio” or relief of the poor. Because the words “deacon” and “diaconia” are cognate, the opinion was, at least from the time of Baronius and as late as E. Hatch, that the “diaconiae” were the centers from which the deacons had distributed this relief. At the end of the last century, however, L. Duchesne showed that a connection is not sustainable.

Keywords:   Rome, deacons, diakonia, diaconiae, diaconia, Liber Pontificalis, relief, poor, service

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