Volume 58, Issue 1, June 2018
Maria Chiara Giorda
Diakonia et économes au service de l’économie monastique en Égypte (IV e-VIII e siècles)
Despite the ideal of dispossession, absolute poverty and the total absence of links with possession and human beings which shaped the myth of the monastic desert, the monastic economy and its management were very similar to the secular economic system, in that both were organised by networks based on families.
This article tackles how and where material assets were produced and administered in Egyptian monasteries between the fourth and eighth centuries (the diakonia), and who was responsible for this function (the oikonomos). The history of monasticism is materially related to the institutionalisation of the society’s cultural and material systems of production. Consequently the economy was also transformed by monastic practices: history is linked to the definition and the successful affirmation of the figure of the oikonomos, the steward in charge of everyday life in monasteries.