Oeconomus (steward) was the name of a special officer appointed in the middle of the 5th century to conduct the administration of Church property, in place of the earlier deacons. The steward, from the nature of his office, rose in medieval times to high importance. The bishop, by early law, was not to appoint him, but he was to be chosen by the entire presbytery. The Council of Chalcedon enacted this law, and it was afterwards confirmed by the emperor Justinian, and ratified by later Church councils. The œconomi were always chosen from among the clergy. SEE OICONOMISTS.

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