Searches: ward of the church mid 4th century, fostering orphans mid 4th century clergy, treatment of orphans 4th century christianity, orphans in the church during the mid 4th century, life in the church during the reign of constantine the great, monasteries and convents in church grounds mid 4th century, general attitudes to feral children in the mid 4th century
Setting: The city of Myra in Lycia in about 333 AD, during the reign of Constantine the Great
I'm working on a historical fantasy based on folklore about Knecht Ruprecht, a character said to accompany St. Nicholas on his December rounds in some parts of Germany. One of these legends (that I'm basing my story on) is that Ruprecht was a feral child adopted by the saint who continues to follow him around, punishing bad children while St. Nicholas rewards the good ones. I made a post about it here a few days ago. For quite a while I've been trying to find out information on what life would have been like as a child raised in the church (not necessarily with the goal of becoming a priest or nun eventually) in the 4th century. I've been able to find a few references to orphanotrophia in the 4th century which were run by religious orders and the role of the clergy in running these orphanages. Often the children became monks or nuns.
However I can't find anything that would help me answer these questions (which are mixed and probably really simple or confusing, and if they are I apologise)
1. Was it possible for a church official to take home an orphaned infant
found in the woods on the outskirts of his city and raise him himself
with help from a wet nurse if one was needed?
2. Am I right in assuming that priests in the 4th century lived at or very near the church itself so that Ruprecht would spend his childhood literally within church walls?
3. Were monasteries and convents ever located in church grounds during the 4th century?
4. What would the daily routine of a child being raised by a religious order be like? (One other character is a girl raised in one of the orphanotrophia)
5. What would the general attitude to feral children have been in the mid 4th century?
Thanks in advance for any help and sorry again if the questions are confusing!