Salary (Lat. salarium, salt-money, salt being part of the pay of the Roman soldier), an annual or periodical payment for services. Nothing like the provisions of the Levitical law, for the maintenance of the clergy, was known in the primitive Church. The duty, however, of the Church to maintain her religious teachers is implied in the New Test. "The workman is worthy of his meat," says Christ (Mt 10:10), to which the apostle appeals,"Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel" (1Co 9:14). In the apostolic age the maintenance of the clergy consisted merely in the supply of their personal wants (2Co 11:7-8; Php 4:16-18). There were probably in early times no fixed stipends for the ministers because the Church did not possess property; and when at length specific provision was made for the support of the clergy, it was not by any ordinance of the Church, but by the law of the State. Fees paid to the clergy for services rendered were called sportoe, sportella, and sportule; probably in allusion to the bringing of the first fruits in a basket, sportula. They were not the same as the jura stole, surplice fees (q.v.), which were unknown in the primitive Church. It was an established rule that no fees should be received for religions services. The first departure from it began with the celebration of religious ordinances in a private manner, in which the individual, at whose request this private celebration was performed, was required to pay something as an equivalent for the public and voluntary oblations that would otherwise have been made. So far as the clergy of the primitive Church can be said to have had any salary, it was paid, either according to their necessities or according to some general rule, from the treasury of the Church, which was supplied chiefly from voluntary contributions. Various rules were, from time to time, given for the distribution of funds. One required that they should be divided into three equal parts, one of which was to be paid to the bishops, another to the clergy, and the third was to be expended in making repairs, etc.
In the 4th century the Church and clergy came into the possession of real property. By a law of Constantine in the year 321, the clergy were permitted to receive donations and bequests. Liberal grants were also made by Constantine and by Gratian, Theodosius the Great, and other emperors. By other means also the revenues of the Church were enriched: 1. On the demolition of heathen temples by Theodosius the Great and his sons, the proceeds were applied to the benefit of the clergy, or appropriated to religious uses. 2. On the same principle, the property belonging to heretics was sequestrated. 3. The property of such clergy as died without heirs, and of all who relinquished their duties without sufficient cause, became the property of the Church. 4. The Church was made heir-at-law of all martyrs and confessors who died without near relations. 5. By tithes and first fruits, which, however, were unknown until the 4th or 5th century. Chlarlemagne first required the payment of tithes by statute law, and enforced the duty by severe penalties. His successors confirmed and completed the system of tithe by law which was subsequently introduced into England and Sweden. In the Eastern Church the support of religion was never legally enforced, but was urged as a religious duty, and tithes were paid as a voluntary offering. See Coleman, Christ. Antiquities, p. 148 sq.