always be adapted to the particular needs of those receiving pastoral care. Gregory, who had refused ordination partly because he did not think himself competent to 'ascend to rule from being ruled' (2.5), employs the analogy of the physician and sees ruling over the body of Christ as a persuasive 'art of arts and science of sciences' (2.15-16). For this reason the pastor must take account of the great diversity of those whom he seeks to guide (2.15, 28-34). Chrysostom also makes the point by using the same metaphor of the pastor as physician (2.3). Ambrose recognises the requirement in a similar way (1.148, 174, 213-14). The pastor rules and guides the people not only as a physician of souls but also as a teacher; and both metaphors imply the persuasive character of pastoral care. More than anything else rhetoric is the means whereby the pastor draws the people into the Christian spiritual and moral ideal. The pastor is the preacher. This conclusion suggests that the public character of pastoral care is central in the early church and finds its focus in the corporate and liturgical life of the church.

Pastoral care also includes the care ofthe body, and so we must turn to what we can know of the way that care was exercised. It is somewhat surprising that Gregory makes no mention of this dimension of the pastor's work in his oration. Chrysostom, however, among his other reasons for refusing ordination, speaks of 'the question of superintending widows ... or of the care of virgins' (3.16). Widows are a problem because their financial needs must be met, presumably by giving them money from the church's funds or by helping them manage their property. A second problem has to do with enrolling them in the order of widows with the provisions of 1 Timothy 5.9-16 in mind. The priest must also administer money to care for strangers, the poor and the sick. With respect to virgins the issue is guardianship more than money (3.17). We have no more than glimpses of the financial and institutional arrangements implied, but can be sure that many of those who needed assistance were somehow placed on the church's rolls. Chrysostom constantly insists upon the duty of almsgiving in his homilies, and in several places argues that the church's administration of financial help ought not to be used to excuse individual Christians from their responsibility to care for the needy.4 The financial resources administered by the churches derived not only from voluntary contributions, but also from imperial munificence. Theodoret tells us that after the Council of Nicaea Constantine instructed the provincial governors, 'directing that provision-money should be given in every city to virgins and widows, and to those who were consecrated to the divine services' (H.E. 1.10).

4 See, for example, Homily 14.3 on 1 Timothy 571

Ambrose tells us far more than Gregory or Chrysostom about pastoral care designed to meet physical needs. His advice is usually fairly general in character, and he illustrates it by scriptural examples. Giving advice is one aspect of the pastor's task, and Ambrose thinks of Solomon's judgment regarding the two women who claimed the same child (2.44-47: 1 Kings 3.16-28). Unlike money, 'advice can never be exhausted' (2.75). Hospitality is another pastoral duty, and Abraham supplies an example (2.103-8). Pastors should invite the poor (2.126), and they should be wary of attending banquets given by outsiders (1.86). They should attach great importance to distributing alms to the poor, the elderly and the infirm, and should use prudence and justice in their work (1.38-9,143-59; 2.76). Those who benefit by the distribution of food and money must include 'those who are ashamed to show their needs openly'. It is the responsibility of officers 'such as a priest or an almoner' to find such people and inform the bishop (2.69). Though Ambrose does not say enough to enable us to understand the details, it is clear that his advice has an institutional background. We can make the same judgment regarding deposits given the church to manage (1.168, 253-4; 2.144-51). Ambrose gives the specific example of a widow in Pavia whose deposit was protected by the church against a civil attempt to deprive her of it (2.150-1). Care for prisoners (1.148; 2.77) and the ransoming of captives (2.70-1) are also pastoral duties. Ambrose defends himself against those who disapproved of him 'because we had broken up sacred vessels in order to ransom prisoners' (2.136-43). Finally, pastoral work includes dealing with the recurring problem of famine (3.37-52).

The institutional dimension of the church's charitable work includes the Christian hospice. Gregory Nazianzen in his panegyric on Basil the Great speaks of the hospice Basil built on the outskirts of Caesarea in Cappadocia (Or. 43.63). This 'new city, the storehouse of piety', where the rich have stored their wealth safe from thieves and moths, is a place 'where disease is regarded in a religious light'. It is no longer possible to see 'that terrible and piteous spectacle of men who are living corpses . . . driven away from their cities and homes . . . Basil's care was for the sick, and the relief of their wounds, and the imitation of Christ, by cleansing leprosy, not by a word, but in deed.' The evidence is scanty, but we do know of hospices founded by Constantine and by Paulinus of Nola. In the early fifth century there were more than 500 hospital attendants in Alexandria.5 It seems likely that every city and monastery had a hospice of some kind. Perhaps the most important evidence is a letter (Ep. 84) Julian the Apostate wrote to the high priest of Galatia in the summer

5 Jones, The later Roman empire, II: 911.

0 0

Post a comment