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Information about monasticism

Published on January 18, 2008

Author: Dolorada


Roots of Monasticism and the Rule of St Benedict:  Roots of Monasticism and the Rule of St Benedict Christian Monasticism:  Christian Monasticism Christianity began and spread as a city religion All-consuming materialism, gross sexual promiscuity, political corruption, etc. Once the Christians figured out that they would be around for a while, they realized that it would be difficult to live the Christian life in the midst of the decadence They rejected the values of Roman society Many religious believed that Roman clergy sacrificed morality in exchange for wealth and prosperity “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” Mark 8:34 4th and 5th Centuries:  4th and 5th Centuries Christians went from being the persecuted minority to the state-affiliated majority Martyrdom disappeared for the most part and a new brand of it developed Extreme asceticism St Anthony of Egypt became the father of monasticism Established Eremitical Monasticism He went to Alexandria during the last persecution to strengthen the faith of the martyrs and probably to be martyred himself but he survived Eremitical Monasticism:  Eremitical Monasticism Small colonies of men and women who lived in the desert as hermits No way to know for sure how many there were because they wanted to have a hidden life known only to God This was a break from the traditional view of religion as an urban social existence Soon these monks and nuns were sought out as holy people and spiritual guides Saint Pachomius in Egypt His sister Mary set a convent up in 320 Evolution of Monasticism:  Evolution of Monasticism As monasticism spread to Europe it was modified because of cold winters which discouraged isolated living Dense woods with wandering Teutonic tribes also contributed to the adjustment Also, if hermits could communicate directly with god, what good was the church and its priests? St Basil opposed eremitical life because it did not provide the opportunity for charity, self-sufiecience was impossible, it led to excessive individualism Saint Basil, Bishop of Caesaria established a rule that made monasteries self-suffiecient Coenobitic Monasticism:  Coenobitic Monasticism Communal living in monasteries Experiments in Gaul, Italy, England, and Ireland St. Martin of Tours established a monastery in Gaul to convert pagan peasants In 540 the Roman Senator Cassiodorus retired and built a monastery on his estate that was intended to be a center of culture and learning and had a scriptorium Monks copied both sacred and secular texts Developed into a lasting medieval tradition St Benedict of Nursia:  St Benedict of Nursia Aristocratic Roman Family- well educated Experimented with both forms of monasticism Established a monastery in Monte Cassino between Rome and Naples Created the Rule of St Benedict which became the foundation for religious life in the Roman Church Strict discipline and regulations Eliminated excessive individualism Spend the day in prayer- Opus Dei The Rule:  The Rule Chanting and praying, manual labor, study Vows Stability- to prevent wandering Conversion of manners- improve oneself in order to be closer to God Obedience- complete surrender of will to the abbot Reveal the Roman spirit in Christianity Logic, organization, law Egalitarian- “the abbot should avoid favoritism…. A man born free is not to be given higher rank than a slave who becomes a monk.” Women and Monasticism:  Women and Monasticism Women took part in eremitical monasticism but early monasteries were for men only Soon after convents were formed where the brothers would be in charge of the material needs of the community but couldn’t eat or sleep there Double monasteries Beguines, anchorites, and anchoresses Saint Augustine:  Saint Augustine Profoundly influenced the course of western civilization Born n North Africa and attended school at Carthage Trying to find meaning in a world ridden by evil First turns to Manichaeism but gives up and turns to philosophy Inspired by the sermons of Saint Ambrose Wrote the City of God Response to the crisis of the Roman Empire like Plato’s Republic was a response to the crisis of the Athenian polis The earthy city was the opposite of the heavenly city but Christians cannot reject the earthly city The city that would rise out of the ruins of Rome would have to based on Christian principles The Church must guide the state to protect its citizens from their sinful nature A New Worldview:  A New Worldview For Socrates, individuals could arrive at standards of good and evil through reflection For Augustine, reason alone could not get us there “to live according to oneself is sin” Reason was not the enemy of faith Faith and reason integrated with revelation was the key to wisdom This sets up a new paradigm and gives the church a new mission

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