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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/373

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BASIL


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BASIL


wlio first introduced them in his monastery ot Saccudium. The other monasteries, one after another, adopted them, and they are still followed by tlie monks of Mount Atlios. The monasterj- of Mount Athos was founded towards the close of tlie tenth centurj- through the aid of the Emperor Basil the Macedonian and became the largest and most celebrated of all the monasteries of the Orient; it is in reality a monastic province. The monastery of Mount Olympus in Bith\-nia should also be men- tioned, although it was never as important as the other. The monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai, which goes back to the early dajs of mona.s- ticism.haJ a great fame and is still occupied by monks. Reference to Oriental monks must here be limited to those who have left a mark upon ecclesiastical literature: Leontius of Byzantium (d. 543), author of a treatise against the Nestorians and Eutychians; St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, one of the most vigorous adversaries of the Monothelite heresy (P. G., LXXXVII. 3147-4014); St. Ma.ximus the Confessor, Abbot of Chrj-sopolis (d. 662), the most brilliant representative of Byzantine monasticism in the seventh century; in his writings and letters St. Maximus steadily combated the partisans of the erroneous doctrines of Monothelitism (ibid, XC and XCI); St. John Damascene, who may perhaps be included among the Basilians; St. Theodore the Studite (d. 829), the defender of the veneration of sacred images; his works include theological, ascetic, hagiographical, liturgical, and historical writings (P. G., XCIX). The Byzantine monasteries furnish a long line of historians who were also monks: John Malalas, whose " Chronographia " (P. G.. XCVII. 9-190) served as a model for Eastern chroniclers; Georgius Syncellus, who wrote a "Selected Chrono- graphia "; his friend and disciple Theophanes (d. 817), .4bbot of the "Great Field" near Cyzicus, the author of another "Chronographia" (P. G., CVIII); the Patriarch Nicephorus, who wrote (815-829) an his- torical "Breviarium" (a Bvzantine history), and an "Abridged Chronographia" (P. G., C, 879-991); George the Monk, whose Chronicle stops at A. D. 842 (P. G., CX). There were, besides, a large number of monks, hagiographers, hjmmologists, and poets who had a large share in the development of the Greek Liturgy. Among the authors of hymns may be mentioned: St. Maximios the Confessor; St. Theodore the Studite; St. Romanus the Melodist; St. Andrew of- Crete; St. John Damascene; Cosmas of Jerusalem, and St. Joseph the Hj-mnographer. Fine penman- ship and the copying of manuscripts were held in honour among the Basilians. Among the monas- teries which excelled in the art of copying were the StucUum, Mount Athos, the monastery of the Isle of Patmos and that of Rossano in Sicily; the tradi- tion was continued later by the mona.stery of Grotta Ferrata near Rome. These monasteries, and others as well, were studios of religious art where the monks toiled to produce miniatures in the manuscripts, paintings, and goldsmith work. The triumph of or- thodoxy over the iconoclastic heresy infused an extraordinary enthusiasm into this branch of their labours.

From the beginning the Oriental Churches often took their patriarchs and bishops from the monasteries. Later, when the secular clergy was recruited largely from among married men, this custom became almost universal, for, as the episcopal office could not be conferred upon men who were married, it developed, in a way, into a privilege of the religious who had taken the vow of celibacy. Owing to this the monks formed a class apart, corresponding to the upper clergy of the Western Churches; this gave and still gives a preponderating influence to the monasteries themselves. In some of them theological instruction is given both to clerics and to laymen. As long as


the spirit of proselytism existed in the East the monasteries furnished the Church with all its mis- sionaries. The names of two have been inscribed by Rome in its calendar of annual feasts, namely, St. Cyril and St. Methodius, the Apostles of the Slavs. The Byzantine schism did not change sensibly the position of the Basilian monks and monasteries. Their suff'erings arose through the Mohammedan con- quest. To a large number of them this conquest brought complete ruin, especially to those monas- teries in what is now Turkey in Asia and the region around Constantinople. In the East the convents for women adopted the Rule of St. Basil and had constitutions copied from those of the Basilian monks.

III. ScHisM.\Tic B.\siLi.A.NS. — The two best kno\\7i monasteries of the schismatic Basilians are those of Mount Athos and of Mount Sinai. Besides these there are still many monasteries in Turkey in Asia, of which 10 are in Jeru.salem alone, 1 at Bethlehem, and 4 at Jericho. They are also numerous on the islands of the ^Egean Sea: Chios 3, Samos 6, Crete about 50, Cyprus 11. In Old Cairo is the monastery of St. George. In Greece where there were formerly 400 monasteries, there were, in 1832, only 82, which by 1904 had increased to 169; 9 Basilian convents for women are now in existence in Greece. In Ru- mania there are 22 monasteries; in Servia 44, with only about 118 monks; in Bulgaria 78, with 193 in- mates. Montenegro has 11 monasteries and about 15 monks; Bosnia 3 and Herzegovina 11. In Dal- matia are 11 monasteries and in Bukowina 3. Hun- garj' has 25 monasteries and 5 branch houses. The schismatic monks are much more numerous in Russia; in this country, besides, they have the most influence and possess the richest monasteries. No- where else has the monastic life been so closely inter- woven with the national existence. The most cele- brated monasteries are Pescherskoi at Kieff and Troitsa at Moscow; mention may also be made of the monasteries of Solovesk, Novgorod, Pskof, Tver, and Vladmir. Russia has about 9,000 monks and 429 monasteries. There is no diocese which has not at least one religious house. The monasteries are divided into those having state subventions and monasteries which do not receive such aid.

IV. C.\THOLic B.vsiLi.\NS. — A Certain number of Basilian monasteries were always in communion with the Holy See. Among these were the houses founded in Sicily and Italy. The monasterj- of Rossano, founded by St. Nilus the Younger, remained for a long time faithful to the best literary traditions of Constantinople. The monasteries of San Salvatore of Messina and San Salvatore of Otranto may be mentioned; the monaster^' of Grotta Ferrata was also celebrated. The emigration of the Greeks to the West after the fall of Constantinople and the union with Rome, concluded at the Council of Florence, gave a certain prestige to these communities. Car- dinal Bessarion, who was Abbot of Grotta Ferrata, sought to stimulate the intellectual life of the Basil- ians by means of the literary treasures which their libraries contained.

A nimiber of Catholic communities continued to exist in the East. The Holy See caused them to be united into congregations, namely: St. Saviour, founded in 1715, which includes 8 monasteries and 21 hospices with about 250 monks; the congregation of Aleppo with 4 monasteries and 2 hospices; that of the Baladites (Valadites) with 4 monasteries and 3 hospices. These last two congregations have their liouses in the district of Mount Lebanon. St. Josa- phat and Father Rutski, who laboured to bring back the Ruthenian Churches into Catholic unity, re- formed the Basilians of Lithuania. They began with the monastery of the Holy Trinity at Vilna (1607). The monastery of Byten, founded in 1613, was the citadel of the union in Lithuania. Other houses