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Spiritual Guarantors At Penance, Baptism, And Ordination In The Late Antique East

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Chapter Summary

Penance in the late antique East and early Byzantium has many ramifications with respect to the concept of sinful deeds. This chapter focuses on one particular conception of penance and its ramifications: the idea of a personal relationship to God that is severed through sinful deeds but can be renewed with the assistance of others. The examples presented in the chapter are part of a larger Christian understanding of penance as an individual process of redemption that does not necessarily involve the institutional Church or require the ritual assistance of a priest or bishop. The chapter highlights relationships of obligation which shed new light on our understanding of intercessory prayer and the intercession of saints, showing that their origins lie in the social relations formed around Christian rituals: baptism as initiation into the Church, penance as its renewal, and ordination or monastic profession as its reinforcement.

Keywords: baptism; early Byzantium; late antique East; ordination; penance



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