Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/372

This page needs to be proofread.


BASIL


322


BASIL


contains the prayers of the prothesis, of the anti- phons, of the httle entrance, and of the trisagion, the lessons, and the prayers of the ectenes and of the tatechumens. The Mass of the faithful begins with the two prayers of the faithful, and contains the prayer of the great entrance, the prayer of the Offer- torj-, which is expressly ascribed to St. Basil, the kiss of "peace, the Creed, and the Anaphora. The Ana- phora proper, starting «-ith the Eucharistic Preface followed by the Sanctus, embraces the preparatory prayers for the Consecration, the Consecration itself, the Epiclesis or invocation of the Holy Ghost, the Great Intercession for the living and the dead, the Lord's Prayer, the inclination. Elevation, Com- munion, thanksgiving, and dismissal.

GoAR, ^vxo\6ytov sire rituale grtrcorum (Venice, 1730); Brightman, Liturgies Eastern and Western (Oxford, 1906) I. prints the Barberini MS., p. 309, the prayers of the mod- ern liturgy, p. 400. Tr. will be found in: Brett. A Collection of the Principal Liturgies (London. 1S3S). and Swainson. The Greek Liturgies (Cambridge. 1SS4); Neale, History of the Holy Eastern Church (London. 1850); Probst. Liturgie des vierten Jahrhunderts und deren Reform (Miinster. 1893); Renaudot, Liturgiarum orientalium coUectio (Frankfort, 1847). J. F. GOGGIN.

Basil, Rule of S.\int, — I. Under the name of Basilians are included all the religious who follow the Rule of St. Basil. The monasteries of such religious have never possessed the hierarchical organization which ordinarily exists in the houses of an order properly so called. Only a few houses were formerly grouped into congregations or are to- day so combined. St. Basil drew up his Rule for the members of the monastery he founded about 356 on the banks of the Iris in Cappadocia. Before forming this community St. Basil visited Egypt, Palestine, Coelesyria, and Mesopotamia in order to see for himself the manner of life led by the monks in these countries. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, who shared the retreat, aided Basil by his advice and experience. The Rule of Basil is divided into two parts: the "Greater Monastic Rules" (Regute fusius tractata-. Migne, P. G., XXXI, 889-1052). and the " Lesser Rules " (Regula; brevius tractatae, ibid, 1051- 1306). Rufinus who translated them into Latin united the two into a single Rule under the name of " Regulie sancti Basilii episcopi Cappadocise ad monachos" (P. L., GUI, 483-554); this Rule was followed by some western monasteries. For a long time the Bishop of Caesarea was wrongly held to be the author of a work on monasticism called "Con- stitutiones monasticffi" (P. G., XXXI. 1315-1428). In his Rule St. Basil follows a catechetical method; the disciple asks a question to which the master replies. He limits himself to laying down indisputa- ble principles which will guide the superiors and monks in their conduct. He sends his monks to the Sacred Scriptures; in his eyes the Bible is the basis of all monastic legislation, the true Rule. The questions refer generally to the virtues which the monks should practise and the vices they should avoid. The greater number of the replies contain a verse or several verses of the Bible accompanied by a comment which defines the meaning. The most striking qualities of the Basilian Rule are its prudence and its wisdom. It leaves to the superiors the care of settling the many details of local, individual, and daily hfe; it does not determine the material ex- ercise of the observance or the administrative regu- lations of the monastery. Poverty, obedience, re- nunciation, and self-abnegation are the virtues which St. Basil makes the foundation of the monastic life.

As he gave it, the Rule could not suffice for any- one who wished to organize a monastery, for it takes this work as an accomplished fact. The life of the Cappadocian monks could not be reconstructed from his references to the nature and nimiber of the meals and to the garb of the inmates. The superiors


had for guide a tradition accepted by all the monks. This tradition was enriched as time went on by the decisions of councils, by the ordinances of the Emperors of Constantinople, and by the regulations of a number of revered abbots. Thus there arose a body of law by which the monasteries were regulated. Some of these laws were accepted by all, others were observed only by the houses of some one coun- try, while there were regulations which applied only to certain communities. In this regard Oriental monasticism bears much resemblance to that of the West; a great variety of observances is noticeable. The existence of the Rule of St. Basil formed a principle of unity.

II. The Mon.\steries of the East. — The monas- teries of Cappadocia were the first to accept the Rule of St. Basil; it afterwards spread gradually to all the monasteries of the East. Those of .Armenia, Chaldea, and of the Syrian countries in general pre- ferred instead of the Rule of St. Basil those observ- ances which were known among them as the Rule of St. Anthony. Neither the ecclesiastical nor the imperial authority was exerted to make conformity to the Basilian Rule universal. It is therefore im- possible to tell the epoch at which it acquired the supremacy in the religious communities of the Greek world; but the date is probably an early one. The development of monasticism was, in short, the cause of its diffusion. Protected by the emperors and

Catriarchs the monasteries increased rapidly in num- er. In 536 the Diocese of Constantinople contained no less than sixty-eight, that of Chalcedon forty, and these numbers continually increased. Although monasticism was not able to spread in all parts of the empire with equal rapidity, yet what it probably must have been may be inferred from these figures. These monks took an active part in the ecclesiastical life of their time; they had a share in all the quarrels, both theological and other, and were associated with all the works of charity. Their monasteries were places of refuge for studious men. Many of the bishops and patriarchs were chosen from their ranks. Their history is interwoven, therefore, with that of the Oriental Churches. They gave to the preaching of the Gospel its greatest apostles. As a result monastic life gained a footing at the same time as Christianity among all the races won to the Faith. The position of the monks in the empire was one of great power, and their wealth helped to increase their influence. Thus their development ran a course parallel to that of their Western brethren. The monks, as a rule, followed the theological vicissi- tudes of the emperors and patriarchs, and they showed no notable independence except during the iconoclastic persecution; the stand they took in this aroused the anger of the imperial contro- versialists. The Faith had its martyrs among them; many of them were condemned to exile, and some took advantage of this condemnation to reorganize their religious life in Italy.

Of all the monasteries of this period the most cele- brated was that of St. Jolm the Baptist of Studium, founded at Constantinople in the fifth centurj'. It acquired its fame in the time of the iconoclastic persecution while it was under the government of the saintly Hegumcnos (abbot) Theodore, called the Studite. Nowhere did the heretical emperors meet with more courageous resistance. .A.t the same time the monastery was an active centre of intellec- tual and artistic life and a model which exercised considerable influence on monastic observances in the East. Further details may be found in " Prescrip- tio constitutionis monasterii Studii" (Migne, P. G., XCIX. 1703-20), and the monastery's "Canones de confessione et pro peccatis satisfactione" (ibid, 1721- 30). Theodore attributed the observances followed by his monks to his uncle, the saintly .\bbot Plato,