The article examines the ethical responses of the Christian communities of the first centuries to the challenges of the Antonine Plague and the Plague of Cyprian. During these times, the institutionalization and development of the Christian church took place, and thus the strategies of its social service and behavior in the conditions of acute social crises and trials were developed. Already during the first epidemics, the Christian communities showed a radically different attitude to the sick and sufferers than was accepted in the society of that time. This attitude was based on Christian love and charity, self-sacrifice and service to others. The Christian communities offered unique examples of attitudes to the value of human life, its meaning, as well as to death and the culture of dying. Such behavior has become an impressive testimony to the viability and truthfulness of the Christian religion. This distinguished Christianity among other religions of the time, attracted people’s attention and became one of the factors in the significant growth of its adherents. Our hypothesis is that it was at that time that important patterns of the Church’s response to the challenges of rapidly spreading infectious diseases were developed. Understanding these patterns clarifies not only the interaction of religion and medicine today, but also the essence of Christianity.



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