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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/524

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MONASTICISM


470


MONASTICISM


and so on, portioned out to each by the abbot, of" which the profit bclonped to the monastery (St. Basil, I'. (;.. XXXI, lOlt), 1017, 1132, etc.; Marin, op. cit., 132-13.5). ^I^n who already know an innocent and pRilitable craft may continue to exercise it as monks. Some pracli.scd medicine fur the good of the commu- nity. Nor were the .■i1u<ly of tlieology and the arts of calhgraphy and painting Tieglectcd. Mona.steries had libraries, and monks wrote tiieologii'al works and hymns. In St. Theodore's time llie Stuthim monas- tery was famous for its library and tlie beautiful liand- writing of its monks (Theodore, "Orat.", XI, IC; in P. G., XCIX). There was a scale of puni.shments ranging from special fiusts and prayers or thed7rfiiXo7la — that is, privation of the abbot's blessing — to the dipopi<rfM6s or .solitary confinement and exconmiunica- tion from all common prayers and the sacraments. The jjunishmcnt for fornication was excommunication for fifteen years (cf. the "Epitimia" ascribed to St. Ba.sil in M. P., XXXI, 1305-1314). A monk who had proved his constancy for many years in the com- munity could receive permission from the hegumenos to practise the severer life of a hermit. He then went to oecupv a solitary cell near the laura (St. Basil's Rule, P. G., XXXI, 1133). But he was still counted a member of the monastery and could return to it if he found solitude too hard. At the court of the Patri- arch of Constantinople was an official, the Exarch of the monks, whose duty it was to supervise the monas- teries. Most other bishops had a similar assistant among their clergy.

Celibacy became an ideal for the clergy in the East gradually, as it did in the West. In the fourth cen- tury we still find St. Gregory Nazianzen's father, who was Bishop of Nazianzos, living with his wife, without scandal. But very soon after that the present East- ern rule obtained. It is less strict than in the West. No one may marry after he has been ordained priest (Paphnutius at the first Council of Nica?a maintains this; see the discussion in Hefele-Leclercq, "Histoire des Conciles", Paris, 1907, I, pp. 620-624; the first Canon of the Synod of Neoctesarea in 314 or 325, ib., p. 327, and Can. Apost., xxvi. The Synod of Elvira about 300 had decreed absolute celibacy for all clerks in the West, Can. xxxiii, ib., pp. 238-239); priests al- ready married may keep their waves (the same law ap- plied to deacons and subdeacons: Can. vi of the Synod in Trullo, (592; .see "Echos d'Orient", 1900-1901, pp. 65-71), but bi.shops must be celibate. As nearly all secular priests were married this meant that, as a gen- eral rule, bishops were chosen from the monasteries, and so these became, as they still are, the road through which advancement may be attained. Besides the communities in monasteries there were many extraor- dinary developments of monasticism. There were always hennits who practised various extreme forms of asceticism, such as binding tight ropes round their bodies, very severe fasting, and so on. A singidar form of asceticism was that of the Stylites {arvXirai), w^ho lived on columns. St. SjTneon Stylites (q. v.) began this practice in 420.

From the time of Constantine the building and en- dowment of monasteries became a form of good work adopted by very many rich people. Constantine and Helen set the example and almost every emperor afterwards (except Julian) followed it (Marin, "Les moine.s de Constantinople", chap. i). So monasteries grew up all over the empire. Constantinople espe- cially was covered with them (see the list, ib., 23-25). One of the chief of these was Studion (XroiiSiov) in the south-western angle of the city, founded by a Roman, Studius, in 402 or 463. It was occupied by so-called "sleepless" (dKolfiriToi) monks who. diWded into com- panies, kept an unceasing round of i)rayer and psalm- singing day and night in their church. But they were not a .separate order; there was no distinction between various religious orders. St. Theodore, the great de-


fender of images in the second Iconoclast persecution, became Hegumenos of Studion in 799 (till his death in 826). His letters, sermons aiul constilulions for the Studite monks gave renewed ideals and influenced all Byzantine monasticism. During this jieriod a great number of decrees of synods, ordinances of patri- archs, emperors, and abbots, further defined and ex- panded the rule of St. Basil. Many Eastern synods draw up among their canons laws for monks, often merely enforcing the old rule (e. g. the Synod of Gan- gres in the middle of the fourth century. Can., xix, etc.). St. John Chrysostom (cf. Montalembert, "Histoire des Moines d'Oecident", Paris, 1880, I, 124), the Patriarch John the Faster (d. 595: Pitra, "Spi- cilegium Solesmense", Paris, 1852, IV, 4U)-444), the Patrianh Nicephoros (d. 829: ib., 381, 415), and soon, down to I'holius (Hergenrothcr, "Photius", Ratisbon, 1807, II, 222-223), added to these rules, which, col- lected and commentetl in the various constitutions and lypika of the monasteries, remain the guide of a By- zantine monk. Most of all, St. Theodore's "Consti- tutions of Studion" (P. G., XCIX, 1703-1720) and his list of punishments for monks (ib., 1734-1758) repre- sent a classical and much copied example of such a col- lection of rules and principles from approved sources. St. Basil's mother and sister had formed a community of women at Annesos near the settlement of the men. From that time convents of nuns spread throughout the Byzantine Church, organized according to the same rule and following the same life as that of the monks with whatever modifications were necessary for their sex. The convents were subject to the jurisdic- tion of the bishop or patriarch. Their spiritual needs were provided for by a priest, generally a priest -monk, who was their "ghostly father" (irrci'/iaris^s nar^p). The abbess was called iiyov/x^fiacra.

Lastly, during this period the monks play a very important part in theological controversies. The Patriarch of Alexandria, for instance, in his disputes with Constantinople and Antioch could always count on the fanatical loyalty of the great crowd of monks who swarmed up from the desert in his defence. Often we hear of monks fighting, leading tunjults, boldly at- tacking the soldiers. In all the Munojihysite troubles the monks of Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and the capital were able to throw the great weight of their united in- fluence on the one side or the other. During the Acacian schism (482-519), while the whole Byzantine Church broke communion with Rome, only the "sleep- less" monks of Studion remained Catholic. On the whole, the monks were generally on the Catholic side. During the Iconoclast persecution they were so deter- mined against the overthrow of the holy pictures that the Iconoclast emperors made the abolition of mo- nasticism part of their programme and persecuted people for being monks just as much as for worship- ping images (see Iconoclasm). Especially the great Studion monastery at Constantinople had a tradition of unswerving orthodoxy and loyalty to Rome. They alone kept communion with the Holy See in the Aca- cian schism, they were the leaders of the Image-wor- shippers in Iconoclast times, and their great abbot St. Theodore (d. 820) was one of the last defenders of union and the pope's rights before the great schism.

(3) From the schism to modern times.' — The schism made little difference to the inner life of the Byzan- tine monasteries. Like the lower clergy and the peo- ple they quietly followed their bishops, who followed the patriarchs, who followed the Oecumenical patri- arch into schi.sm. After that their life went on as be- fore, except that, having lost tlie advantage of inter- course with the West, they gradually drifted into the same stagnation as the rest of the Orthodox Church. They lost their tradition of scholarship, they had never done any work in pari.shes, and so they gradu- ally arrived at the ideal that the "angehc life" meant, besides their immensely long prayers, contemplation