Tag Archives: hospitality

Healing hospitality in the early church


This will be the last post from Guenter B.
Risse’s Mending Bodies, Saving Souls: A History of Hospitals (Oxford University Press, 1999). In these excerpts from chapter 2, “Christian Hospitality,” Risse sketches the events and ideas that shaped the church’s commitments to providing healing spaces in its earliest centuries.

[Page numbers listed at the beginning of each paragraph. To see other posts from Risse's book, put his name in the search box near the top of the right column of this blog.]

69           “Late in the year 499, the ‘Blessed City’ of Edessa in southeastern Anatolia, with an estimated population of about 10,000, experienced a great crisis. Frequent wars in the surrounding countryside four years earlier had already destroyed entire villages and ruined the fields. This situation was blamed for an epidemic of boils and swellings during which many inhabitants apparently went blind. By the fall of the year 499, agricultural failures in the surrounding rural areas multiplied due to swarms of locusts devouring the remaining crops. Continue reading