Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/519

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463

ANCIENT 463 ANCONA tyrant, and thoroughly selfish; niggardly in its grati- tude to those lofty souls whose lives are entirely de- voted to its betterment without regard to its praise or censure. It pursues as rebels, and derides as fools, those who shake off its yoke and scatter to the winds its riches, honours, and pleasures. In its extreinest isolation, the life of the Christian anchorite is no Nirvana. The .soul occupied with divine thoughts freed from all ilistracting cares leads an existence most consonant to man's rational nature, and con- .-iiiiucntly productive of the highest type of happi- ne.-is obtainable on this earth. Moreover, no matter how deeply the hermit buries himself in the thicket or wilderness, he is always within ea.sy reach of the call of charity. Kirst of all, kindred spirits will seek him out. Ilundreils of cells will cluster about his; his experience will be invoked for the drawing up of rules of order and for .spiritual guidance; in short, his hermitage is gradually transformed into a mon- astery, his solitary hfe into the cenobitic. If he again longs for solitude, and plunges deeper into the desert, the same process will begin, as we sec in the case of St. . thony of Eg-pt. Furthermore, though these saintly men have tiirown off the yoke of the world, they remain subject to the authority of the Church, at whose command, in critical times, they have issued forth from their retirement, hko fresh reserve forces, to strengthen the dispirited ranks of her spiritual army. Thus did . tliony (-'.S(}-,'556) come to .lexandria on the appeal of .Vthanasius; thus did the sons of Benedict, and Homuald, and Bruno, and Bernard, do yeomen's work in the medie- val struggle with barbarism. Indeed, it would be difficult to point out a single great champion of Christian civiUzation who was not trained to the spiritual combat in the wilderness. The chief resorts of the earliest of these fugitives from human society were the vast deserts of Kgypt ami Syria, whose caves and tombs soon housed an incredible number of Christian ascetics. The first attempts at self-discipline by tliis untutored host were sometimes crude, and tinctured with Oriental fanaticism; but before long the authority of the Church and the wise maxims of great spiritual masters, notably Pachomius, Hilarion, and Basil, fashioned them into a well disciplined army, with distinct aims and methods. Soon the rule obtained, that those only should be authorized to live solitary lives who had previously spent a time of probation in a monastery, and had Dcen permitted by their abbot to withdraw. Between the monks, who lived and worked in common (the so-called cenobites) and the hermits, who pa,ssed their lives in absolute soli- tude, there were many gradations. Some lived in separate cells and met only for prayer, some for meals, some only on Sundays. The strangest form of asceticism was that adopted by the Stylitcs (q. v.), men who lived for years on the tops of high columns, from which they exhorted and instructed the awe- stricken populace. CViming to more modern times, canonists distinguish four different species of Hermits: (1) Those who have taken the three monastic vows in some religious oriler approved by the Church. Such are the Hermits of St. .ugustine, the Hermits of St. Jerome, etc. (2) Those who live in conmion with a form of life approved by the bishop. {'■i) Tho.se who without vows or community life adopt a peculiar habit with the approval of the bishop, and by him are deputed to the service of a churcli or oratorj'. (1) Those who, without any ecclesiastical authority, adopt the "habitus eremiti- cus" and live under no rule. To obviate possible abu.ses on the part of this last cla.s.s of hermits, the Holy See has at different times i.ssued stringent leg- islation, which may be read in Benedict XlV "lie Sj-n. Diocc." VI, iii, 6, or in Ferraris, " Bibliotheca", J. v. "Eremita". James F. Louohlin. Ancient of Days, a name given to God by the Prophet IJaniel, vii, 9, 13, 22, in which he contra.sts His eternal powers with the frail existence of the empires of the world. It is from these descriptions of the Almighty that Christian art derived its gen- eral manner of representing the first person of the Holy Trinity. Ancient of Days is expressed in Aramaic by 'At!q i/omin; in the tlreek Scptuagint by iraXaiis Tjfupuf, and in the 'ulgate by Antu/nuii dicrum. A. J. Maas. Ancient Order of Hibernians. See Hibkr.nians. Ancilla Dei. — In early Christian inscriptions the title anciltu Dei is often given to a deceased woman. From the meaning attached to this term in the Middle Ages it has sometimes been as.sunied, without .sufficient proof, that the persons .so qualified in the first a^c of Christianity were consecrated virgins. The mscriptions containing this formula are of two clas.ses: one, in which it is merely stated that a given person was ancilla Dei; the other, from which it is clear that this title was sometimes fiven to persons who certainly were not religious, t is with the latter cla-ss that we are concerned. The former class is the more numerous, but one of the latter is quite explicit. This informs us that a certain monument was erected by a husband to his wife, whom he styles Dei ancilla — " (Laur)cntius Rufine coiugi Dei anci(lla;) . . ." (De Uossi, Roma Sott.,IlI,p. 11, n. 4). In a Roman inscription of the first quarter of the si.xth century a certain Guttes is referred to iis ancilla Dei, and it is further stated that she was nonnes — "in presence of the nun Guttes, a handmaid of God" (sub prescntia. nonnes Guttes ancille Dei). This reference proves that even in the sixth centurj', ancilla Dei was a title not peculiar to religious; the author regarded it as neccssarj' to state explicitly that she was nonnes (Cabrol, Diet, d'areh. chriit., 1992). From the pontificate of St. Gregorj' the Great (500-1)04), however, only nuns, as a rule, were qualified by this title: "aneillas Dei quas vos Grxci lingua monastrias dicitis" (Greg. M. Ep., vi, 23). Leci.ercq in Diet, d'archiol. chrit., col. 1973; De Rossi, Roma Solleranea (Rome, 18G4-77). Maurice M. H.ssett. Ancona, Ciuiaco d', an Italian antiquarj', whose family name was PizzicoUi, b. at Ancona about 1391; d. about 1455 at Cremona. During voyages of com- merce throughout the Orient he collected a great store of inscriptions, manuscripts, and other anliijui- ties, returning in 142G after having visited Rhodes, Beirtjt, Damascus, Cyprus, Mitylene, Thessalonica, and other places. He enjoyed the patronage of Kugenius I , Cosmo de' Medici, and the Visconti of Milan. In 1443 he visited Morca in Greece, where he copied inscriptions mentioned in the correspond- ence of Filelfo, Traversari, Leonardo Aretino, and others. He is accounted the best equipped, most learned, and accurate worker in the province of epig- raphy during the period of the Renaissance. His accuracy in copying ancient inscriptions is said by De Ro.ssi (op. cit. below, 377) to be "the chief credit and undying glory of Ciriaco". Most of his manu- scripts have lieen lost; those published after his death arc "Itinerarium" (Florence, 1742); "Epi- grammata repcrta per IlljTicum a Kyriaco Anconi- tano" (Rome, 1(>()4), the latter very rare. Mazzu- chelli mentions other works in liis "Scrittori d'ltalia (s. v.). TiRABOSCHI. Sliiria delta LfU. llat., VI, 5. For an ex- haustive account of Ciriaco'.s travels and cpiKrapliical labours see De RofWl. Inscriplionet Chrisl. Urbis Roma, VII sac. antiquioTca (Konin, ISSS), II, 356-87. Thom.s Walsh. Ancona and TTmana, an Italian diocese in the Archdiocese of Ancona, comprising ten towns in the province of Ancona. It is an importart seaport