Sexual scandal and the clergy: A medieval blueprint for disaster

Dyan H Elliott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Once upon a time in the early fifth century there was a holy man named Sylvanus, the bishop of Nazareth. Sylvanus was a good bishop with a reputation for sanctity. So imagine the shock of a noble matron when she found Sylvanus under her bed, presumably planning to take her by force. The woman called out in alarm, and Sylvanus responded with a string of foul language loud enough to wake the neighborhood. When the outraged public drove Sylvanus from their midst, he was forced to seek refuge at the tomb of his friend, St. Jerome. The crowd was out for blood and armed assailants stepped forward. But Sylvanus overpowered each of them, turning the sword against its owner. Eventually the pontiff collapsed and died.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWhy the Middle Ages Matter
Subtitle of host publicationMedieval Light on Modern Injustice
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781136636486
ISBN (Print)9780415780650
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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