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Lecture 10 Western Monasticism. Dr. Ann T. Orlando 24 September 2013. Introduction. Spiritual progress Early Monasticism Irish Monasticism Benedictines John Cassian and Pelagianism. The Idea of Spiritual Progress. Emphasis on how to follow the Way of Jesus - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Lecture 10 Western MonasticismDr. Ann T. Orlando24 September 2013

  • IntroductionSpiritual progressEarly MonasticismIrish MonasticismBenedictinesJohn Cassian and Pelagianism

  • The Idea of Spiritual ProgressEmphasis on how to follow the Way of JesusDevelopment of approaches to spiritualityBiblically based, usually with a highly allegorical interpretationIntended to be accessible to everyone, Frequently the basis for Patristic homiliesWell defined steps in approach to spiritual lifePilgrimagesMonasticism

  • PilgrimagesA way to become closer to Jesus and the martyrsStarted with remembrance of acts of martyrs and celebrations at their burial placesAfter Constantine, more far reachingPeople who could not give up their life to enter monasteryNeeded some special way to demonstrate their faithAlso way to atone for sinsStarts with Helena, Constantines mother, in JerusalemRemember, 5th C pilgrimage nothing like 21st C pilgrimageDangerous: very high probability of deathExpensiveVery arduous and tedious (lasting year or more)Most famous early record of pilgrimages by Egeria, 4th C womanBorn in Spain or France Spent 3 years on pilgrimageHer journal gives earliest description of liturgies in Jerusalem during Holy Week

  • Development of Christian Monasticism: Egyptian Monasticism Early 4th CDesert Monks (from Greek for solitary), primarily in Egypt: anchorites withdrawn from societyMost famous: Anthony (251-356), St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, wrote a very influential life of Anthony, example: Augustine Confessions , Book VIIICommunal monasticismMany attracted to this way of life, come together in groupsRule of St. Pachomius (286 346)Pachomius sister, Mary, established an Egyptian monastery for women with their own Rule


  • Later 4th C Monastic DevelopmentsThree Cappadocians: Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory NazianzanBasils Rule for MonksBut the smartest, most spiritual one, The Teacher, was Macrina (sister of Basil and Gregory of Nyssa) established a convent in her homeAugustine organizes his clergy in Hippo as in a monastery, writes a Rule, late 4th C

  • Early 5th C Western Monastic Developments: John Cassian (360-435)Born in France, spent time as an anchorite in EgyptBrought Pachomius Rule back with himMade it available in West in his Divine Institutes and ConferencesWrote against Augustine in the Pelagian controversyRevered as a saint in the East, but not the West

  • Whats a RulePrescribes the way of life for the communityIncludes what prayers are said whenDefines balance between work, study, prayerCommunity organization (abbot, monks, novices) and how leaders are selectedProcess for acceptance into communityHow new communities are createdRelation between community and diocese

  • 6th C European Monasteries: Religious and Educational Light in the Western DarknessBenedictines

    Irish Monasticism


  • Roman-English Frontier and Early English ChristianityJulius Caesar first to send expedition to England in 55 BCRoman influence in southern Britain, not in Scotland; Hadrians Wall built 122 ADRecall that Constantine the Great was born in EnglandRoman troops brought Christianity with them in 4th CNative English (Picts, Angles, Scots) population never convertedAfter Fall of Rome in 410, Roman troops leave England

  • Development of Early Irish ChristianityPelagius was an English monkIn fact, most of English hierarchy supported PelagiusPope Celestine (same pope who sided with Cyril over Nestorius) in 430 sent a new bishop to England and one to Ireland, PalladiusPalladius is from GaulCharged with destroying Pelagianism in England and proselytizing IrelandPalladius mission was not successful

  • St. Patrick (387-493)Born on Roman-Scottish frontier to prominent Gallic French Roman familyCaptured by Irish marauders in 406; spends 6 years as a slave in IrelandDuring this time he has a conversion experienceEscapes and returns to family in EnglandGoes to Gaul for training in priesthood Monastery of St. LerinsNoted for study of AugustineReturns to England as part of group headed by St. Germain sent by Pope Celestine after PalladiusPatrick begs to be sent as a missionary to Ireland in 433Has difficulty with Pelagian bishops in EnglandEstablished many Christian communities in Ireland, monasteries and convents St. BrigitLatin as school language in IrelandWrote numerous prayers, letters, ConfessionDied 493

  • Irish ChristianityBishops in Ireland and England did not become civil administrators after RomansNever were Roman administrators in IrelandNative pagan tribes took over in England; Romans in England were occupiers, not colonizersEnglish (Pelagian) Christianity seems to have disappeared with Roman authorities during the 5th CIreland not affected by barbarian invasions until Vikings in 800Irish communities developed around monasteries with bishop/abbot as leader: Iona is center of learningDeveloped Christian customs for 150 years nearly completely isolated from RomeDifferent calculation for EasterDiscipline (penance, private confession)Organization: abbots rather than bishopsStrong missionary spirit, founded most important Irish monastery at Iona in Scotland led by St. Columba in 563Monks from Iona evangelize Europe from 7th through the 8th CIn later 6th and early 7th C: St. Columbanus heads a mission to Italy??!!

  • St. Benedict of Nursia (480-547)

    Deeply influenced by Pachomius via John CassianLived during the attempted reconquest of Western Roman Empire by Justinian the GreatEstablished an order of Monks, now known as Benedictines, governed by his RuleFounded a monastery outside of Rome, Monte CasinoSister, Scholastica, founded an order of nuns to follow the RuleMost popular religious order in West until 13th C (Dominicans and Franciscans)

  • Benedicts RuleNote that God brings good works to perfection, not our effortsFocus on Scripture, especially PsalmsA school for the Lords serviceJacobs ladder and steps of humility leading to perfect love of GodRules for abbot; how abbot is chosenOther positions in monasteryCycle of work and prayerDisciplineReception of guests

  • Late 6th and 7th Century Parallel Missionary Activities in Western EuropeParallel, independent missionary activities from Rome going Northwest and Ireland (Iona) going Southeast Irish monks in 6th and 7th Century go to France, Germany, Holland to preach Christianity; follow Rhine to Southern Germany then across Alps into northern ItalySt. Columban(us) travels extensively through Europe establishing Irish style monasteries, including one in Bobbio, Northern Italy (d. 615)His biography is written by a monk in Irish monastery in northern ItalyMeanwhile, missionaries from Rome are also trying to convert Arian and Pagan Germanic tribes in what is now FranceConversion of Chlodwech (Clovis) 496Pope St. Gregory the Great sends Augustine to England 597Pope Honorius I (625), a Benedictine, grants Monastery at Bobbio exemption from oversight by local bishopIrish refer to Pope as the Abbot of RomeDifferences between Irish and Roman Churches resolved at Synod of Whitby, 664, in favor or Roman customs

  • The Pope Who Brought the Two Monastic Movements Together: Pope St. Gregory the GreatPope St. Gregory Great (546-604)BenedictineWrote a life of BenedictReformed Roman clergy around monastic modelReformed the liturgy and Church musicEncouraged Irish monks, St. Columbanus, to found monasteries in northern ItalyEarliest extant life of Gregory written by an English nun, 8th CFeast Day is September 3


  • Map of Early Monasteries*

  • European Debt Owed to Monasteries Both Irish and Western Mediterranean monasteries preserved literacy for Europe Copying Scripture key work of monksPreserving works of Fathers important tasksPreserving Latin and Greek philosophyReplaced schools as places of learningMissionary zeal flowed out from monasteriesDemocratic institutionsPreserved and developed artOasis from turmoil of political and social disruption (dark ages) associated with fall of Roman Empire in WestDuring this lecture, a new force in the world: Islam

  • Why John Cassian is not a Saint in the WestAnswer: The Pelagian ControversyCassian, like most 4th, 5th C monks thought Augustine was wrong and Pelagius was correctThe Key PlayersMonk Pelagius, from England, d. 419 in ConstantinopleHis disciple, Julian of Eclanum, bishop in Sicily, d. 454Opposing both, Augustine of Hippo, d. 430Key ElementsFree willSinGraceJustificationPredestinationKey Biblical passages in disputed interpretation: Genesis and Romans Both Pelagius and Augustine write a Commentary on RomansKey passage: Who hardened Pharaohs heart; Romans 9:17-18 and Exodus 4-9

  • *Pelagian Controversy: IssuesFree willPelagian: humanity has total free will; as long as we know what is right we can do what is right;Augustine: yes we have free will, but our ability to know and act is darkened by sinAugustine also often means by free will a will freed from the inclination to sinSinPelagians: Adams sin was his personal sin; sin is always a willful personal act committed against God by someone who should know better and be able to do better; within our own power to avoid sinAdams sin was a disease that entered into humanity; only Gods grace can cure this disease; only with Gods grace can we really know and do the right

  • *Pelagian Controversy: Issues (cont.)GracePelagians: external enlightenment from God (e.g., Gospels) so we can know the good; also reward for doing goodAugustine: grace is needed to do goodJustificationPelagians: justified through our good works; its all up to usAugustine: only Gods freely given grace can justifyPredestinationPelagians: God does not predestine usAugustine: Because of original sin, all justly condemned (massa damnata); by his gra