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functioned as pastors outside the usual institutional structures of the church. One of the most interesting of the Syrian pastors was Narsai, born in Persia at the very end of the fourth century. He crossed the border to attend the school of the Persians in Roman Edessa, a school possibly founded by Ephrem or his disciples after they left Nisibis when it was ceded to the Persians in 361. By 437 Narsai was head of the school in Edessa and a supporter of Ibas, the Nestorianising bishop from 435 till his death in 457. A Miaphysite bishop succeeded Ibas, and over a period oftime the Nestorian teachers in the school fled. Narsai probably went to Nisibis in 471, where he took charge of a small school that became the chief centre of the Nestorian church in Persia. The school of Nisibis developed systematic training for ministry, educating clergy, monks and teachers, as well as missionaries who ultimately founded churches in India and China. The school of Nisibis helped inspire Cassiodorus' plan to establish a school in Rome in the middle of the sixth century, and may well have been an influence on the monastery he established in southeastern Italy.

In Egypt Miaphysitism dominated after Chalcedon, even though the Mia-physite church throughout the Near East did not become fully organised till 531. Outside Alexandria the monasteries tended to dominate church life, as seems also to have been the case in the Nestorian church and was certainly true of Celtic Christianity in Ireland and the north of Britain. The gradual emergence of Coptic Christianity remains obscure. But Shenoute was the first Coptic writer we know. As a young man he entered the White Monastery about 370, becoming its superior about 388 and dying at an advanced age. His writings, which require further study, supply evidence for pastoral care not only within but outside the monasteries. The further we move from the centre of the old Roman empire, the dimmer our knowledge.

We do, however, know a good deal more about the Western development. The letters of Apollinaris Sidonius give us a vivid picture of the church in Gaul in the latter part of the fifth century. Sidonius was the son-in-law of the Gallic emperor Avitus and urban prefect of Rome in 468, and he became shortly after that date the bishop of Clermont-Ferrand. His letters not only tell us of the cession of the Auvergne to the Visigoths in 475 but also help us understand the way an aristocratic bishop exercised pastoral care as well as the complications involved in electing bishops. Should they be those who had grown up in the ranks of the clergy? Should they be, so to speak, local squires? Should they be holy people and monks? Probably about ten years after Sidonius' death, Pomerius (a refugee from North Africa) settled in Arles as a priest and a

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