a1 Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge CB2 3HU; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article re-examines the development of the chorepiscopoi using hagiographic sources in Syriac. These suggest that more peripheral regions of the Roman world, such as Osrhoene, with an ‘open frontier’ with local pagans, retained these subepiscopal structures into the sixth century. Furthermore, these structures fostered the independent activity of the parts of the institutional Church in defiance of their bishops in times of disagreement over doctrine. This localised emphasis explains in turn the defence of ascetic customs that had once been categorised as heteropraxy.