Dr. Susan R. Holman has written three book on the subject of the Church, the poor, and almsgiving: The Hungry Are Dying: Beggars and Bishops in Roman Cappadocia. (2001) Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society. (2008) & God Knows There’s Need: Christian Responses to Poverty (2009). See Goodreads: Susan R. Holman’s Books & In Communion: “God knows there’s Need”
A dietitian and a theologian, she is currently a senior writer at the Harvard Global Health Institute: Susan R. Holman
So she knows her stuff. She has researched very thoroughly these subjects. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at the The Sophia Institute’s 2009 Conference entitled Lord When Did We See You Hungry? Philanthropy and Social Compassion in Eastern Christian Tradition Her keynote address was entitled “On the Ground: Realizing an ‘Altared’ Philoptokea; Cappadocian Insights.”
Now before you are thoroughly intimidated by her scholarly depth, I would like to introduce you to a humble one-page blog post in which she addresses the subject in a way that I’m sure the vast majority of readers will be comfortable with. She quotes and summarizes St. Gregory the Theologian and St, Gregory of Nyssa, fourth century bishops. These two Church Fathers, along with St. Basil the Great, were known as the Cappadocian Fathers, and were the key theologians that championed the present day version of Nicene Creed as we know it in the Orthodox Church.
And as bishops and shepherds of God’s flock they also concerned themselves with the full range of human need which they encountered personally. Their words on this crucial responsibility of almsgiving are not to be ignored. If we dare to consign them and their exhortations to an ancient time divorced from our modern situation, we simply divide the Church into then and now. We would also be dividing Christ. For just as Christ, according to the epistle to the Hebrews, is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so is the Church and her Holy Fathers and their teachings.
Read, and be challenged, and greatly edified!