Subscription Login to verify subscription
Journal Content

Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Wealth and Commerce in Eastern Christian Thought

Wilson Whitener, Alexander W. Salter


Markets create material prosperity. But does that increase in wealth come with a spiritual cost? The Eastern Orthodox church has long maintained a tradition of thought that is skeptical about wealth and warns of the effect it may have on the state of one’s soul. More recently, some contemporary Orthodox theologians have also begun to turn a critical eye toward activities and institutions associated with wealth, namely commerce, trade, and markets. In this article, we will argue that this need not be the case. Drawing upon multiple sources, including pre-Chalcedonian church fathers such as St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, and St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Holy Scripture, and the monastics, we argue that one can distinguish between moral perspectives about wealth and commerce. Specifically, we call attention to an underappreciated tradition of Patristic thought that maintains a cautious optimism about commerce.

Wilson Whitener and Alexander W. Salter, "Wealth and Commerce in Eastern Christian Thought," Journal of Markets & Morality 26, no. 1 (2023): 105-125

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.