In the Eastern Orthodox Church, in Eastern and Latin Catholic churches, and in the teaching of the Church Fathers which undergirds the theology of those communions, economy or oeconomy (Greek: οἰκονομία, oikonomia) has several meanings. The basic meaning of the word is "handling" or "disposition" or "management" of a thing, or more literally "housekeeping", usually assuming or implying good or prudent handling (as opposed to poor handling) of the matter at hand. In short, economia is a discretionary deviation from the letter of the law in order to adhere to the spirit of the law and charity. This is in contrast to legalism, or akribia (Greek: ακριβεια), which is strict adherence to the letter of the law of the church.
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