Camaldolese History

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Camaldolese History Class. Conference #9 (Mar 2, 1984) & Conference #10 (Mar 14, 1984)

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#set-camaldolese-history-1983-84, #monastic-class-series


We are continuing today to speak of the presence of the East in the West. Last time I gave you bits and pieces of data. Perhaps these were hard to tie together. I find it rather difficult to organize them into any consistent pattern. Basically, there are two realities in the relationship between Eastern and Western monasticism which are important during the lifetime of Saint Romuald. The first reality is the presence of Eastern monks residing in the West, part of Western monastic communities, offering the testimony of their lives, of their holiness, and also of their difference, of their uniqueness, you might say, or their distinctness from


the lifestyle of Western monastics. And yet, of course, there is the oneness, there is the realization of the common vocation, as well as, of course, the one faith which everyone was convinced united East and West in that time, and they continue to be convinced of this for many centuries thereafter, even in spite of the excommunications and progressive division between Eastern and Western churches, between Rome and Constantinople. That's one side of it. The other side was the occasional presence of Western monastics in the East. Now, this was mostly an occasional presence, although there was also long-term retreats, you might say, that were conducted by Western monastics in Eastern monasteries. I mentioned the abbot of Monte Cassino, John III, who was a monk, first at Monte Cassino,


and then went East and spent six years at Mount Sinai, the monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai, and also was present on Mount Athos. And I also mentioned the existence of the monastery of the Amalfitani, monks from Amalfi near Naples. These were Latin Rite monks, and this monastery was on Athos and was part of the Athonite community. And this presence of Western monks, of even Latin monks, as a community presence on Mount Athos continued, even after the excommunications which divided Rome and Constantinople. But I think more than this, we should insist on the imponderable contribution which Eastern monasticism continued to make in the West during the time of Saint Romuald and in the


entire eleventh century, really. I'll read you a few sentences from this article from the Milenaire du Monte Athos, an anniversary volume published by Cheptogne for the Thousand Years of Mount Athos, and this article which I mentioned last time by Tricia McNulty and B. Hamilton, Basil Hamilton, Bernard Hamilton, two British scholars. The most important contribution which Eastern monks made to the Western Church is imponderable, for it consisted in their great personal sanctity of life, their presence, and their love. The high degree of spirituality which certain Basilian ascetics, perhaps the term Basilian is not quite correct, but Eastern monks attained, made them universally respected in their lifetime


and venerated as saints after their death. Thus, when Saint Simeon the Hermit came to live at Pado Lirone, he was admired for his holiness of life not only by the Latin monks among whom he lived, but also by the local Lombard nobility and he was canonized by Pope Benedict VIII within eight years of his death. The high esteem in which Greek spirituality was held by all sections of Western society at this time is apparent from the solemnity with which the funeral of Saint Saba the Young was performed in Rome in 990. The saint had died while staying in Rome as ambassador of the rulers of Amalfi and Salerno, and his requiem was attended by the chief lay and ecclesiastical dignitaries of the city, together with a whole host of lesser people, the mourners being headed by the Empress Theophano, who prostrated herself before the coffin. Theophano was the mother of Otto III, who of course we know is very closely connected


with Saint Robert. What does this mean? It means that the personal sharing of monastic life was really the most important connection between East and West at that time. Wherever there was this personal contact, you might say this personal friendship, the differences of the churches did not become divisive, did not become a problem. Where each could respect the other in his distinctness, accept the differences and build upon communion, there was a deep profit gained on both sides, but especially on the part of the West. And when this ceased, when there ceased to be the presence of Eastern monks in the West, the sense of communion began to be lost. Am I expressing myself clearly enough?


I want to insist on the importance of friendship and the importance of personal communication. We'll get into this later, but the contact between Saint Bruno of Querfurt and Saint Vladimir Kiev was on the basis of friendship, on a personal dialogue basis. And from this, and on this, they realized their communion not only in the one faith, as something to which they both dedicated their lives, but also their sharing in the mission, their sharing in the work of evangelization in that part of the world, which was the new mission territory opening up at that time. Just one thing I'd like to ask, and that is, what is the evidence for the occupation of


the Latin monastery of Mount Athos? How late is it, in fact? I gather there are some ruins visible at the end of the buildings. Yes, there is a tower. A tower is still there, and there may be a picture in this volume. I don't know. There is in one of the volumes. Yes. Monashi, Italiani a Latos. Yeah, there's the article here in this volume. And so, there is a tower still in existence. And the monastery, the community, was still inhabited in the 13th century. Yes, almost 200 years after what is usually considered the definitive rupture, the definitive cisum. There was really no great problem about difference of liturgy. McNulty and Hamilton suggest that perhaps there has been too much emphasis on the idea


of liturgical influences from the East into the Western liturgy at this time. Actually, there was a growing distinction, ramification of the two liturgies. But where there were presence, side by side, monks of both rites, each one observed, as they said, more patria, the liturgical offices as they are accustomed to do, as in this monastery in Rome, Sant'Alessio, on the Aventine, where St. Romeo was, where also St. Nilo of Rosano was, where St. Adalbert was. However, the style of the liturgical celebration in the West would perhaps appear to our eyes, if we could go back in the time machine, perhaps it would appear to our eyes somewhat more like what we can see today in a celebration of solemn, proper celebration of a Byzantine


liturgy. I am not absolutely certain of this, but it is not unlikely, for instance, that St. Romuald made the sign of the cross this way, you know, the cross from right to left, as is done still in the Byzantine Church, Greek and Slavic. The other way of making the cross, to which we Westerners are accustomed, that is, from left to right, that seemed to come in, begin around the 10th, 11th centuries, and so forth and so on. And then it was made, the issue was clarified, you might say, this question was settled by Innocent III, who decrees that the only proper way to make the sign of the cross is with the hand open, from the forehead to the heart, from the left to the right. Of course, an analytical psychologist would have great fun with this change, the West


changing its direction, as it were, no longer from the right to the left, no longer moving towards the rising sun, but now from left to the right, moving towards the Western darkness. Maybe, I don't know. One other thing, the use of unleavened bread. Assuming one is facing south, of course. Yes, but I mean the left and right are the things that one is associating here, and the left, of course, referring to the center, to the east, to the heart, and so forth and so on. Anyway, I just brought that up to say it's not important. One other thing, the use of leavened bread, the leavened bread, you know, what is used in the Latin mass, at least the law certainly was reiterated recently, is unleavened bread, flour and water.


That's it. Whereas the Eastern Church, the Byzantine Church, and I'm not too certain about the other Eastern rites, especially in communion with Rome, they tend sometimes to Latinize and so not all of them do have the use of leavened bread, but leavened bread is that with the yeast in it, you see, and that's what's used in the Byzantine rite. And that also was the more common custom in the West, and the use of unleavened bread came in later and came in after the time of Saint Romuald, really. Now, the proof of this I do not have immediately before me. I'm referring to the commentary by Father Kukharik of the Slavo-Byzantine Divine Liturgy, where he goes into the history of these differences between East and West and enjoys pointing up the fact that some of the differences are rather late. One other thing. Saint Romuald never said the creed with the phrase filioque in it.


The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Of course, that was introduced rather early in the Western Church. We don't go into the whole theological issue and the disciplinary issue and all of these problems that have arisen on account of this Western Latin addition to the text of the creed, the Latin translation of the Creed of Nicaea Constantinople. But we do know that the first time, the very first time that the creed in its present text that is with the phrase filioque, with the word filioque added to it, the first time that this was used was at the coronation of Emperor Henry II in Rome. The first time it was used in Rome, I mean. It was used elsewhere, of course. It was in Spain, first of all. That was 10 hundred and something. Let's see now. You got me there. I'm not exactly certain whether it was just before or just after the death of Saint Romuald. So maybe 1018 or maybe 1030 something.


But anyway, it was when Romuald was a very old man. Henry was the successor of Otto III, so he became emperor in 1005 or something like that or six. And then he was crowned sometime farther down the line in Rome. Someone's pointed out to me that in fact the Bismarck Pope has actually once recited the Creed without filioque. Yes. At the commemoration. Exactly. At the commemoration of the Council of Constantinople. And he prefaced this by saying, and now I desire to say it this way, nor did the point not be missed. Which means, I think it means a great thing. I mean, it means that there is at least on our side no real theological problem, except perhaps the extent and nature of the Petrine ministry in the papacy.


But other than that, there's no reason for East and West, for Rome and Constantinople not to be one church. But anyway, you might say that the style of the liturgical celebration, the use of incense, the way the chant was chanted, would perhaps seem to us, if we could go back in a time machine, somewhat more like the style of a liturgy on Mount Athos, let us say. If I may just make one point about that. Certainly right up to the, when the Dominicans began in Paris in the early 13th century, they took over the, as he was in France, which continued until Vatican II, to include a procession with cross and dacolites for the gospel and so on. So all these rather elaborate features were certainly known in the various rites. England had at least five different liturgies. This is some of the things that many people forget.


There was no such thing as a universal Roman rite in any way. And it did receive an awful lot of elaborations in local places, which persisted even until relatively recent times. Yes, the only one of these other Latin liturgies which has remained a distinct use from that of the Roman church is of course the Milanese use or rite, which has been, you know, reformed and so forth in the light of the Second Vatican Council and a rather good work, of course, nothing to say about that. Although, of course, there was the tendency the inevitable tendency to assimilate to the Roman in the ultimate revision of the Ambrosian rite. But anyway, there was this pluralism in the West and so the pluralism between, constitute between East and West was not, did not create problems.


What are some of the characteristics of Eastern monasticism? It's very hard to pin them down because some, in some cases they simply have to be considered characteristics of monasticism, period. And of course monasticism, where does it begin? It begins in Egypt and Palestine and therefore in what is for us the East, the Christian East. But we should perhaps emphasize a few points which at the time of Saint Romuald had great importance in the monastic worldview of Eastern monks, Eastern monastics. First is the connection, the link, the close identification in their thought and in their life between the image of the monk and the image of the martyr. Because they had before them the example, first of all, of the iconodule monks. Iconodule is the opposite of an iconoclast. An iconoclast is the one who destroys these images and the iconodule is the one who venerates them.


And so the monks, some of them suffered torture, banishment and even death in order to uphold the, not only the possibility but also the duty to venerate the images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and of the other saints as part of the practice of Christian liturgy and Christian spirituality. Monk and martyr, they had this example before them. Also, the example of the monk and martyr in the mission field. This was very important, as we will see, in Saint Romuald and in his early disciples, this thirst for martyrdom. The martyr, of course, is a witness and therefore the monk also is seen as having this role within the church as a witness to the truth of Christ on many levels. Yes?


Is the doulos part of the invocation of becoming a doulo? Yes, that's right. Actually, it's the verb douline, which means to serve, to offer obsequious service to and therefore we get the noun doulos, which means serve under slave. So it's pejorative. No, no, no, nothing pejorative about it because, of course, we are told that Christ himself assumed the condition of the slave and that we are slaves of one another and so forth in the New Testament context. But certainly in the use of the word there is no shadow of pejorative connotations. So, of course, the identification between monk and martyr was not something specifically Eastern, but it was very important for the East and therefore when we see this also in the West, we see this in St. Romuald, we see his emphasis in the way he conceives and practices


the solitary life, the way he is ready to allow his disciples to go to be preachers of the Gospel and expose thus to martyrdom, the way he himself desires this and envies their lot when he hears of their martyrdom. There are a number of spiritual themes that we could touch upon in the Eastern monastic tradition. A few of them can be drawn very handily from the book by Paul Evdokimov, The Struggle with God, which was published by Paulist Press. This is an old edition which I have, 1966. I don't know if it's still in print, but certainly it's in the library here. He was not a monk, he was not a monastic, he was a married man, a great Orthodox theologian. But he had a lot to say about monasticism


because he believed very strongly in the unity of the Christian calling and therefore not that monastics should be any less than what they are, but that everyone should share in the charism of monasticism and therefore monasticism is in interior reality. He does use the expression the interiorization of monasticism, but of course monasticism, if it isn't interior, isn't itself. You start with the interiorization and then the exterior expression will depend upon your particular vocation. That of course is Professor Evdokimov's emphasis, but it does, I believe, respond to something very profound in the spirituality of Eastern Christian monasticism. There is, of course, in the ascetical life,


Christian asceticism and specifically monastic asceticism, a dialectic between effort and illumination, what I do and what I undergo, the active and the passive dimensions. And this dialectic is felt and experienced and struggled with in the East as it is in the West. But the big difference, in my opinion, for the East lies in the fact that they never really had the occasion to develop a separate doctrine of grace. It's sometimes very hard for Orthodox theologians to understand Saint Augustine because he gets all worked up about these Pelagians and about this whole problem of grace. The Orthodox did not develop a separate doctrine of grace because they felt that everything was stated quite sufficiently


in the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of the union of the two natures, the two wills, the two energies in Christ. After Chalcedon and after the working out of the post-Chalcedonian Christological debate, they felt that this was all you needed to know, this is all you really needed to say about the relationship between nature and grace. Nature is grace, but the only nature that is is graced nature. Many ways you can express it. But that certainly is the emphasis of the Christianese, which leads, consequently, in two directions. One, a great deal of confidence in personal effort. You have to sweat at being a monk, at being a Christian, at doing anything good. And yet, Evdokimov has an expression which I like very much. We do the sweating, he doesn't say it exactly this way, but I think I can restate it. We do the sweating, but God does the working. They're very conscious


of God working through my own toil, my own labor, my own effort, so that my effort is at illumination. They're not two separate moments. They're one thing. And all of this is simply a reflection of the reality of the union and the reality of the two that are united in Christ. Two natures, two wills, two energies. There is a natural created energy in Christ, or energies, the world to which there is the divine energy in Christ, the divine operation. And these are one without the other. Without division and also without confusion, even though we ourselves can never know the mystery fully, can never comprehend it. But this was all they seemed to need in order to go ahead


with their ascetical life without feeling that they were depending too much upon themselves. Another important characteristic of Eastern monasticism, characteristic of those times and of our own time is that all monasticism was essentially a lay phenomenon. There were priests in monasteries, but not monasteries of priests. Now, with St. Romuald and before him, of course, with Benedict of Ania, with the Carolingian monasticism, we find the process of clericalization which goes pari passu, the same pace as the institutionalization of monasticism. That's very significant for Western monastic history. It became the custom that all monks would just naturally go through their program and end up deacons and priests. St. Romuald was a priest. Abbot Garry felt it was important for him to be ordained in order that he might do good


for the church and for his fellow monastics. And most likely he simply supposed, you know, this concept of this style of monastic life. And we find, of course, immediately after Romuald, both at Camaldoli and at Vallumbrosa, which is over the mountain towards Florence. The founder of Vallumbrosa was, of course, at Camaldoli briefly before he went there. We find the development of lay brothers. That is, of these laborers under vows, the non-priests who were then in a separate category a second class within the monastic life. But the monks, the real monks, the choir monks, were all supposed to be ordained. Now this never happened in the East. It's not true of Eastern monasticism today. A father, a monastic father, a hieron for the Greeks, staritz for the Russians,


is most likely not a priest. Maybe a priest, maybe not. It doesn't matter. It isn't of any great significance. Seeming the new theologian perhaps carries it a bit too far, but I don't think he can be called, he can be accused of error in this. He does insist on the importance of the confession of sins to a holy man. And if this holy man doesn't happen to be a priest, it doesn't make any difference. Confess your sins to him. And if the priest is dissolute, then stay away from him. He exaggerates a bit. But that's really very much in the spirit of Eastern monasticism. One consequence of this was that there was really no need for a challenge to monasticism on the part of lay ascetics who were not monastic. You find in the West,


and you find it more and more after St. Roviel, the phenomenon of lay ascetics who were definitely not monastic. They were moving back from the monastic as as institutionalized in the West. Almost in challenge to it. Could you give us some examples of lay, would they be in communities or would they be aramidical? They could be anything, really. There was an enormous variety of ascetical experiences that popped up like mushrooms all over Europe. And they still exist to a certain extent. Certainly, they existed at the beginning of the century and the early years of the century. Now, of course, with the full modernization of even Mediterranean Europe, Italy and so forth, you don't see this hardly ever. But up until the Second World War, you found hermits all over the hills near Spoleto and Apulia, Southern Italy.


Crazy old men, some of them, go off and stay by themselves and live according to their own judgment, perhaps something more like Serabites than true Christian ascetics. Be that as it may, it doesn't make any difference. Actually, there's a renewal in France and also in Spain. In Spain, I remember Boniface saying every year or so, they all get together and there's hundreds and hundreds of these hermits that get together. There's a whole movement under the renewal of hermits. I met one in South France in a cave where there was a Benedictine monk. Yeah, of course, when he was a Benedictine monk, that puts a little different... I mean, you had this monastic hermitism all over the place. Romulus is part of that. You see monks


who are monks and then become hermits. That's one thing. Monserrat founded about the same time in Comaldoli, has always had its hermits up in the groves above the monastery. Still has them. So that's something that is more or less a normal administration. What is significant, though, was the existence of a kind of a lay asceticism which almost challenged monasticism as a corporate reality, which may be true today. But I think the whole thing, the scene is different today, so perhaps too much overlap of these two situations would not be terribly helpful for us to understand the 10th, 11th centuries. And the kind of spontaneous lay asceticism, hermitism, if you wish, more or less solitary. Sometimes they had these little shrines, mountain shrines. Blessed Virgin of the People would be coming up the hill every day or something to pray there, something like that. Or they were alone a lot of the time, or they went wandering


and gossiping all over the village and so forth. But at all events, this phenomenon, which existed certainly in Italy up until the Second World War, is something very different from both the monastic hermit and modern revivals of various forms of spiritual life which we find today. Surely the most outstanding example, unfortunately it's too late, is St. Francis of Assisi, who is very, very explicit right to the end of his life. He doesn't intend to have a monastic revival. Yes, yes. Yes, I was going to mention that right now. Of course, there is a kind of a subtle tension there because he does allow his own experience to flow back into the institution so that you find the immediate institutionalization of Franciscanism, and therefore in a way the betrayal of the charism of St. Francis himself, of his own personal charism. But that's inevitable, I think.


By the time of St. Francis, the Western Church has that way to go, another way. The other forms of asceticism are sometimes tolerated, sometimes venerated, but they're outside the mainstream. But the point I want to make is that this... Why didn't you get a St. Francis of Assisi in the East? Of course, you had many saints of that spirit in the East. You have many people like that today. But you never really got a St. Francis of Assisi in the East if you didn't need him. St. Seraphim has much of the Franciscan in him, you know. He didn't need to found the friars behind her. He didn't need to do that because there was, and there remained in the Eastern monastic context a greater flexibility, a greater toleration of individual peculiarities, greater movement, perhaps. And above all, I think, this... It remained a lay reality,


a reality of the people of God. Lay does not necessarily mean ignorant, doesn't mean uneducated, doesn't mean deprived of something. It means, refers to laos, the people of God. It's interesting, too, to see that within the Anabaptist radical Reformation, there was a great deal of lay, cenobitic impulse. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. It's interesting to situate that and see that it was not a singular challenge, that this challenge had been all along in the West. All along. We're talking about after the 10th century, of course. And you see another example of this in the Waldensians. Pieter Waldo, in about... How many years? About a century after St. Francis, right? Yes. Okay. Very much in the spirit of St. Francis, but... And also community, celibate, itinerant, evangelistic. And yet, now the tension


was such that the Waldensians went off on their own, and there was a rupture of communion with Rome, and later, of course, they did adhere to the Protestant Reformation, mostly in its Swiss expression. They are now affiliated with the Methodists. Now, they still exist, the Waldensians still exist in Italy, and some of them are remembering the fact that they began as a quasi-monastic or ascetical movement. Their pastors, of course, are all married men, almost always. But especially with the example of Thésée, you find them asking themselves, Well, at once upon a time, we were like that. Why can't we do that again? But anyway, it almost demanded a rupture there, at that point. I wonder why. Why? I don't know. It simply was like that. The West took on this compactness, this... Was there development in Québécois? Yes, yes.


The triumph from the point of view of the Franciscans was the triumph of Innocent III, wasn't it? Yes. Just doing that very... He was just concerned with that very stage of economic development in the West, which made it necessary to integrate Franciscanism somehow into this. Yes. And I think, perhaps to the day of his death, Francis never understood what had happened. No. It seems to be conceivable that he never understood. That's true. The development of canon law as an autonomous discipline, that's one other thing, we're in the thick of it. First with Peter Damian to a certain extent, but above all with Gratian, a hundred years after St. Romuald. Most often, if you see a chronology of the Middle Ages, the only Kamal Dali's monk named is likely to be Gratian. This monk in Bologna, very beautiful, ascetical figure.


He lived in a cell all the time with his books all around him. He never went out of his monastery. We don't even know very much about him. Such was his self-effacement. And yet he was the one who canonized canon law. He was the one who made canon law a discipline, an ecclesiastical discipline distinct from theology. No longer was the canon a rule of life proceeding from the faith, but it became something almost autonomous, but naturally linked to theology. Subordinate to it, but distinct from it. And that is something where we are in our history. So we kind of flow back into this Western monastic tradition, and yet symbolically, of course we know Kamal Dali represents something earlier and something more universal, something Eastern. One other thing that is characteristic of the East,


and especially from the time of St. Simon the New Theologian, their contemporaries remember, is this kind of Jesus-hesychasm, which isn't necessarily the technique of the Jesus prayer. This is a point which I had to make in my book about Simeon, who has been denied the title of hesychast because he never talks about the Jesus prayer. But just look at his prayers. If they aren't Jesus prayers, I don't know what is. The technique is something that comes at its appropriate moment in history and is not at the center of the whole hesychastic movement. This Jesus-hesychasm, I must insist, is not only Basilian, Eastern, but it is also very much Benedictine. St. Bernard did not invent a kind of a monastic spirituality centered around the divine humanity of Jesus.


If we look in the life of St. Romuald, we find this marvelous prayer, this almost charismatic type of prayer of St. Romuald. Care Jesu, benigni Jesu, melmem dulce. We can't even translate my sweet honey, Jesus, my sweet honey. We don't talk like that. But he did. And this unspeakable outpouring of love for Jesus, which is so characteristic of the spirituality of St. Romuald, the spirituality of Simeon the New Theologian, that is one point where West and East here very much come together. And this divine humanity, this devotion to the humanity of Jesus. Well, let's not use the term devotion. This hesychasm of Jesus, of the human, of the divinely human, is the way of monastic salvation. Not only for St. Bernard, but for St. Romuald and for Simeon the New Theologian. We should contrast this. The contrast here does not


come between East and West. It becomes a contrast between the current of the heart mysticism present in East and West, but especially in the East, in the Evagrian homilies, in Isaac of Nineveh, before him, Ephraim of Syria. And contrast this with the originist, Evagrian strain, the Desert Fathers. Certainly the Desert Fathers. Origin and Evagrius with their wrong view of human nature, with their error, with their anthropological heresy. And their kind of asceticism, their kind of monasticism, is, I think, they have wonderful insights. Psychological insights and the ways of prayer and asceticism are very important. And therefore Evagrius has always been quoted in the East, even if his name was hidden under somebody else's name. But certainly, this represents a side current, whereas the mainstream of the monasticism


of the time of St. Romuald in the East, as in the West, was this mysticism of the heart. And Romuald represents it very much. Now, Western monasticism, Western spirituality did continue, but in a different way. We find the increasing concretization, making concrete of the humanity of Jesus, perhaps losing track with the glory of the Divine Savior, losing track, to a certain extent, with the other mysteries which are so important for the spirituality of St. Romuald as for the Christian East. The mysteries, the kind of twin mysteries of the end and beginning of the Christian year in the Byzantine calendar, that of the transfiguration of Jesus in August, that of the exaltation of the Holy Cross in September, these two mysteries were very important for Romuald and his followers. And here is another example


where we find a very deep closeness with the Christian East. Later, the Christmas epiphany cycle would tend to dominate more and more the spirituality of the West. And, of course, we find with St. Francis the crib, we find the Vesepio, the creche, being fashioned into lifelike form and therefore separated, once for all, from the liturgy. Not that the liturgy doesn't have any room to exist in this spirituality, but certainly we find here something very, very different from both the Jesus eschatism of Romuald, and I include Bernard also, and the Jesus eschatism, this, which is nothing very different from that of the East, a great difference between this and what came later in the West, the different kind of devotion to the humanity.


What would you say, is there something, I think perhaps you have a question, or might correct this, I'm stating a point rather strongly, perhaps exaggerating a bit. It seems to me your point is perhaps better sustained if we remember, Don Wilmer, I'm quite sure, correctly showed that there's no case for thinking that the Jesus, the permitted Jesus hymns are connected with St. Bert, they're all English. I've been through the manuscripts myself, and certainly the oldest one which is Jesu memoria. I think the word memoria in that first phrase is extremely important because that connects you with the Basilian stream at once. Exactly. It very, very invoices the idea of memoria. Why is memoria distinctly similar? Because St. Basil is very insistent on the memory of God, and this is really one of the features of the Jesus prayers. It's not only that it brings forward the humanity you can touch, but it's also the memory of God, which in the soul. And memory almost


in a more Semitic concept of making present anew by the celebration of the reality in the mystery. Yes, yes. A much more liturgical sense. Perhaps we would have, if we're talking about memory. It's not a question that's memorial. No, I don't think it is. I think it's dead, definitely monastic. This is what's so striking as I say that it's not the famous theologians. It's a popular image. It may have been Aaron, of course, who could have written it. But at any rate, it's the case for its being able as it would be easier to make than that. There's no continental tradition which competes with this. And incidentally, of course it occurred to me when you were talking about Romulus' prayers, the obvious English hermit example is Richard Rowland, who does talk just that kind of language. Later, of course. And there we're already in the 14th century. Yes, already in the 14th century. But the continuity of this is very, very striking. Britain, by the way, continued to have important contacts with the East even when these ceased


on the continent because of political problems. Let's see now. The monastic... Another dimension of Eastern monasticism which is very important, Evdokimov insists on it, that the monastic repeats both the kenosis, if you wish the kenosis, of the word, that is the self-emptying of the Son of God, assumes the condition of the slave, and the answers which Jesus gives to the tempter. And of course, this is very familiar to us even in our Western treatments of the vows, the three temptations, according to Matthew, corresponding to the three fundamental vices, and therefore to the three vows of the religious life, poverty, chastity, obedience. But beyond this rather


numerological association, there is the sense that the monastic is in the situation first of the word who empties himself, and also of the word who subjects himself to temptation in the desert, and answers the tempter with the word of God. Holiness is always identified with self-abasement, even with making oneself ridiculous in the eyes of the pious and devout, which is something that both Peter Damian and Bruno Querford insist that St. Romuald did, and he delighted in doing it. And in this, perhaps, Romuald is very much like certain Eastern saints, making a fool of yourself for the sake of Jesus, without, of course, violating your conscience or provoking sin on the part of others. But if they're going to say something bad about you, go the whole way. Holiness and self-abasement, which also places asceticism, the ascesis of the spiritual life, in a different sense than perhaps we might have. There is an ascesis of the spiritual life, which means that spirituality itself must be purified,


which means that perhaps the process of renunciation, of detachment, of depouillement, of stripping, must take place at the highest levels of spirituality and in the most lofty spiritual activities. Not too much tears, not too much fasting, not too much prayer. Otherwise, humility turns into a vice and becomes pride, and the devil comes back in through the back door. The East has always been very conscious of this, perhaps because the East has not been too worried about what we would call Pelagianism, go right ahead and throw yourself into the effort of the spiritual life. At the same time, there always were the reminders of the need to purify spirituality itself, lest it become a form of self-exaltation. But they express this very often with the identification of the monastic, both with the word as self-emptying, assuming the condition


of the slave and becoming obedient unto death on the cross, and Jesus in the desert responding to the tempter with the word of God. Why does the monastic read the word of God? Why does he meditate on scripture in order that he might have the power of the word within him to respond to the tempter? Respond above all to the temptations to turn his spiritual life, to turn his monastic life into a form of self-aggrandizement. Again, all of these things that I mentioned as characteristic of Eastern monasticism can be shown to be present in the West in abundant literary references, but I do think that we can see a certain shade of distinction here. We can see a certain series of emphases which are also present in St. Francis, and also present in these early followers of his, It seems ironic that the West


was so shaken and formed by Augustine's debate with Pelagius and Julian of Aclanum about the... Very good. So, welcome to Newcomer. There are tapes of these other talks leading up to this one, so you might want to listen to the tapes just to fill in the gaps if you wish. You all have now the... You all have this translation which is still in process of being edited and revised. It's a new translation of The Life of Five Brothers by St. Bruno Bonaparte of Cuerva. We will talk about this probably next time. We will have plenty of time to read these pages. This is, of course,


not the whole thing. The first few chapters, about a third of the whole book. What we need to do now is pick up where we left off with St. Rongold and rather rapidly bring ourselves up to the time at which the story of this Life of the Five Brothers begins. Now, this, as you know, was written while St. Romeo was still alive, and so it's extremely important for our understanding of his life and mission, of his work, and also it's important as a counterbalance, you might say, or a corrective source in reading The Life of St. Romuald by St. Peter Damian. Peter Damian wrote his Life of St. Romuald


fifteen years, as he himself says, after the death of St. Romuald. We will put it around 1042. This was written around 1004. This is not to say that The Life of St. Romuald isn't extremely valuable. Certainly yes, but since there are a number of points which are obviously a bit inaccurate, it's important that we have controls in order to understand and read and profit from The Life of St. Romuald by Peter Damian. We also must realize that The Lives of the Saints were not written in the Middle Ages as a purely scholarly treatise, a scholarly historical treatise. The concept of science, of historiography, of course, did not exist for people in those days. At least, it did not exist in the way, according to the concepts and the methodology which we have today.


There was always much more at issue than simply telling the story of a saint. The concern was to draw upon the example of this saint as a way of speaking to real needs, spiritual and others, of the time in which a particular life was written. So, we need to understand that St. Peter Damian was speaking to his own time and from his own situation, according to certain needs which he saw at hand. Bruno of Quirford, writing about 40 years before Peter Damian, had other concerns. Of course, it was not his concern to write the full life of St. Romuald, since St. Romuald hadn't yet lived his full life. Yet, we do have considerable information. Aside from what is just said about St. Romuald, we have considerable information


in this text about what was the spirit that motivated St. Romuald and what kind of monastic life he did live and why he lived it that way. But we left St. Romuald at Cusha. So, I was right in that pronunciation. I thought it might be something like that. This priest we had here a few days ago, Fr. Angel, who is from Navarro, but he lives in Catalonia, in Barcelona, and so he told me that Cusha is the correct pronunciation of the place of the Abbey of St. Michael, where St. Romuald was for a number of years. For, I believe, ten years. Now, we're not absolutely certain of the chronology there. We know when St. Romuald went there, in the year 978. We do not know the exact year of his departure. And yet, it seems


that all indications and all clues of various documents do converge and indicate 988 as the most probable date of his departure from Cusha, his return to Italy. So, St. Romuald was there, most likely, for ten years. That, in fact, is the longest time he spent in any one monastic place during his monastic career. So, it wasn't a very important time for him. Romuald's years at Cusha were, most likely, the happiest years of his life. That's what I think. He didn't tell me, but that's what I think. He probably felt that here, at last, he had found his place and fulfilled his vocation. But Romuald was the kind of person who never finds his place in this life, and his vocation was to be fulfilled not in a quiet, semi-hermetical life in the enclosure of a great abbey,


but in constant wandering, in founding and reforming monastic communities, and in making a certain mark, especially through other men, on the future of Europe and of the Church. I think it would be good to remember, for every one of us, every monastic, every Christian with a particular vocation to a consecrated life, it's always good to remember that the consecrated life, the monastic life, is full of surprises. And we think we know what our vocation is, and yet we have a lot to learn. And I have always felt that to be a good axiom, that the only way you can be absolutely certain that you've found your vocation is when you're dying in your robes. How many


who we have here, members of the community, well, only one member of the community is buried here, Fr. Gregory. He died in his robes after many years of struggle with his own vocation. He died in his robes because he wanted to. I say this because I felt a certain concern and affection for him, having met him when I first came here. But his life, I'm sure, was a great mystery for him, for himself, and a great surprise, as was his passing. He was only, what, fifty-five, fifty-three, or something like that when he died. We've got to expect that. It happens to us all. Now, we mentioned last, we talked last week, it was a very interesting conversation, what emerged about the spirit of Eastern monasticism and this influence, which it did have upon the Western Church,


upon Western monasticism at the time of St. Romuald. We do not need to document a specific influence of Byzantine monasticism upon St. Romuald because we know that these influences were very widespread at his time. And so he was simply receptive to something that was in the air all around him in the late 10th century. However, I think it's important to note that the turning to the East, to the Christian East, Eastern monasticism, is really a way of returning to the original inspiration of the rule of St. Benedict after the ambiguity of a certain Carolingian monasticism, which perhaps excessively spiritualized monastic life, eliminating the dimensions both of work and of prophetic witness. These two elements are often mentioned as points which seem to be overlooked somewhat in the Carolingian and also the Cluniac


monastic reforms. The great emphasis upon the liturgical offices and sacred reading, not as study, as intellectual work, but as Lectio Divina. The de-emphasis upon manual labor as a certain departure from the original inspiration of the rule of St. Benedict and the reintroduction of both work and the idea of a prophetic monasticism can be seen as part of the contribution of this renewal which came from Eastern influences. Now, this is speaking in very general terms, and I don't want to push this idea too much. It isn't true that at Cluny nobody did any work. They did work, except that work was not seen as a terribly important, you know, as essential for every single individual monk for every day of his life. There were days


where they didn't all go to work, and then there were other days where they had very little work. Manual labor, there were those in the monastery who did the manual labor, and the monks spent long, long hours in prayer. So it was a very spiritual monasticism, a very contemplative monasticism. There's nothing uncontemplative about liturgy. That's a latter-day prejudice which comes in, and it's completely contrary to the monastic tradition. But also work is a contemplative exercise, and this re-emphasis which the contact with the East brought actually was itself a reminder of something that is original to Western monasticism, to the Rule of St. Benedict. Romuald drew on what was most valid, humanly and evangelically speaking, and most truly Benedictine in his experience at Cushant. He set aside, Romuald set aside what was perhaps provisionally and locally conditioned in both the Byzantine experience


and in the Pluniac reform, and thus lived, even as a hermit, a life which, I'm convinced, St. Benedict himself would have recognized as wholly in accord with his Rule, in spite of Romuald's accentuation of the solitary experience. It's an accentuation, it's not an exclusivism. No one could be more Benedictine than Romuald, although his way of life was not by any means the only kind of Benedictine life, or even Camovili's life, as far as that's concerned. Monks of Camovili never were terribly concerned to imitate St. Romuald's in every point, certainly not in his itinerant lifestyle. What is so very Benedictine about St. Romuald? First of all, the centrality of Christ's love put nothing before the love of Christ. And even that other admonition put nothing before the work of God, which we also find in the Holy Rule. That also is very much


very dear to St. Romuald. We find him always with the psalter in hand. We find him singing the psalms. I don't know whether he had a good voice or not, but he sang. He did his best. But they go hand in hand. St. Benedict says put nothing before the love of Christ. In another place it says put nothing before the work of God. It's because the love of Christ and the work of God are very closely entwined, and one represents the other, which is not to say that the only way of loving Christ is singing the psalms of the choir. Of course not. But the two go very much together, and the two go very much together in the life of St. Romuald too. One, another aspect of Romuald's life, his experience looking at his life as a whole, talking more specifically about his experience at Kushan, is the balance of prayer, work, and fasting, fasting or vigils or whatever these penitential exercises.


A balance of this. We are told that St. Romuald, along with John Manego, planted a garden there and cultivated their food. Not for the whole period of time Romuald was there, but certainly the initial years, and then later Romuald perhaps gave greater attention to his books in order to prepare for ordination. Prayer, work, and fasting. He did a lot of fasting, very severe fasting. He adopted the, of course, I mentioned this before, adopted the Byzantine custom of fasting five days through the week, Monday through Friday, and suspending the fast on Saturday and Sunday. This was not what he had done in Venice with Marino, but he adopted this as soon as he got to Kushan. And he kept this up for 15 years. This was his custom even after he left Kushan. He continued for a few more years after his return to Italy with this program. Until then he adopted the more Western custom of the three days and then the relaxation of fast


on Thursday, and then fasting again on Friday and Saturday. And, of course, no fasting on Sunday. So it's balance of prayer, work, and fasting as a very Benedictine element in the life of St. Romuald. And then prophetic witness in the Spirit. What we would call the more specifically and more narrowly understood charismatic aspect of the life of Romuald, of his monastic experience. There's something very Benedictine about this, I believe. St. Benedict is a legislator, but he's not the kind of legislator who was the man who calls himself the master, the famous rule of the master, upon which Benedict, of course, based his rule. Benedict does not care. He does not want to legislate every detail of the monk's life. He wants the monk to grow and become more mature and therefore more free. As we follow the rule and do our duties as monks,


then we will grow into greater freedom. Our hearts will expand and we will run in the way of God's commandment, become spontaneous. And then the prophetic outreach, the witness of the monastic, you might say this spirit of the evangelist, which emerges quite early. It emerges in the life of St. Benedict himself. He preached the gospel to the pagans around Monte Cassino, that we know. But it remained as an important theme throughout the intervening four and a half centuries between Benedict and Romulo, especially in the Anglo-Saxon monasticism, which became the source, the great founding force in the evangelization of Germany and Frisia, which is now part of Holland. St. Boniface. St. Romulo is in that line. He also is inspired by this prophetic


spiritual monasticism, which itself, although not terribly common in Benedictine history, is very important, I believe, to Benedict's spiritual outreach. Anyway, you see what I'm saying, that what seems so special in St. Romulo may really be a rediscovery, a renewal, a revival of something which is already there in the first Benedictine centuries, in the rules in that. Yes? Where, if the rule, if Romulo does refer to this evangelical and charismatic impulse of witness in a prophetic sense, where is Romulo's rule? It doesn't legislate that, of course. It's something that comes from the experience of the monks who lived that rule. In other words, Monte Cassino as a, well, as the monastery, which we're not absolutely certain, but the monastery


where the rule comes from. If Benedict of Monte Cassino was indeed the Benedict to whom the rule is attributed, then Monte Cassino is important. The early centuries of Monte Cassino are important for the history of the rule itself. But this was taken for granted by the time of St. Romulo. Everyone accepted the identification of the Benedict in the second book of dialogues, the Benedict of Mercia under Monte Cassino, with the author of the rule which is called the Rose of Bethlehem. I don't want to go into that. That's a thorny historical issue and is really not of any great importance for us at this point along the historical timeline. But certainly the Benedict of Monte Cassino did announce the good news of salvation in Christ to the pagans around him. And he was not a priest. That's a very, very solid argument from silence. In fact, St. Gregory the Great does not mention, or the author of the books of dialogues, does not mention


any Benedict as having holy orders, neither as a deacon or a priest. It's a very strong indication that indeed he was not either a deacon or a priest. Because in every other case, isn't that true? In the dialogues, it's always specified, it's always stated very clearly. So that's an argument from silence which fairly cries out. So here you do have a monk, an abbot, an abbot, a spiritual father, who also announces the word of God to the poor benighted pagans without having any special order from the church. As something that proceeds from his monasticism. As a monk. One has to refer to the history of Benedict of Nuremberg and then the subsequent history of those monasteries which were inspired rather than to the rule itself. Yes, rather than to the rule itself. But of course, the point of the rule is that not all righteousness is contained within it. The rule itself


reminds us and challenges us not to say everything in the rule and only what is in the rule. Because if we are going to observe the rule of St. Benedict, we have, first of all, to observe the last chapter, don't we? And allow our monastic horizon to broaden so as to include all of that to which Benedict, the author of the rule, refers. In other words, the rule of Our Holy Father Basil, hence all the Eastern tradition. That's a tradition as related by Cassian and others. That's a methodological term. That is methodological, but it's also fundamental to the theology of monastic life in the rule of Benedict. That is a hermeneutical key for the whole rule. That's a hermeneutical key for the whole rule. That's why, of course, there was no problem for these monks in the 10th century, monks of Pliny and others, to open up to the


spiritual riches of the Christian East. It was considered the thing to do because it doesn't seem Benedict to say we should. That's how... I mean, clearly, there's a hermeneutical key there, a methodological key there that you're pointing to in terms of... I mean, two principles. This is where Luther and Calvin differed of hermeneutical descriptors, what is not explicitly... I wonder if this isn't... I know what you mean. I know what you're referring to, but I wonder if this isn't just too technical. It's all very simple. In other words, monks took for granted that they were to follow the rule, but... The point I'm getting at is clearly there's not only a hermeneutical impulse to go to the Christian East. There's also the textual advice, go to the Communes, go to the Mothers, go to Cassius. To Basil. Right, to Basil.


Right. But this business of going on, leaving the monastery and going evangelizing the wilderness is something which... You know, it's... One would have to interpret stability in a way that would permit people to go on evangelization tours like that. I guess so. That's another step altogether. Yeah, I guess so. But the problem is stability has always been interpreted in such a way as to allow that to take place. Yeah, and that's... What comes later. In other words, this comes all after St. Paul. There's no problem for St. Ronville to want to go off to Venice to be a hermit. The abbot in the chapter gave him permission, he went. There's no problem for St. Ronville to grant permission to his disciples to go off to Poland to preach the gospel there. It's all under obedience.


But that's because stability stands under obedience. Obedience stands under conversatio morum. If you want to take the widest sense of conversatio morum. But stability as a kind of imprisonment within a monastic compound, that doesn't seem to be historically what St. Benedict himself understood, if St. Benedict, if Monte Cassino was the author of the rule. And it certainly wasn't what St. Ronville understood. And it certainly didn't come... I don't know, when did this concept come about? Tell me. I don't see that it could possibly be much earlier than the middle of the 12th century. It seems to be so abundantly clear. You can't find any single monastery before that period where the rules of Benedict was actually observed in the way in which it is looking forward. I don't think he lent people's hands in the way that what it went itself they were looking for. Let's say, I don't think he just didn't lend their hands.


He was constantly interpreted as enclosure. Yes, exactly. This is purely 19th century medicine. I'm taking it a bit too strongly. But is it even, is this concept even really Cistercian? No? I don't think it's quite Cistercian, no. I think it begins to come into the picture. It does seem to me to be... What I wanted to really go into was Cistercianism, which is more than I could wish I had said. Because I've got a very big picture of St. Gareth, which is in Norse and it's very, very characteristic of the mid-18th century. And of course, one of the things they haven't, any of these have done, is get rid of the boys. The first sign of getting towards what most people since the 19th century have been more narcissistic about is not having a school. That's the first, and that's much later than it's been. Yes. Everybody took it, but of course there are boys with other kinds


of people who don't have a school. Well, Mark, that's good. Could I take up then that point? Okay. I don't know whether we do know a great deal about what the internal life of Kusop was like. Perhaps from St. Gaul, perhaps from descriptions of Cluny or descriptions of Cluniac monasteries, we could have a fairly good idea. With regard to the boys in the monastery, monastic vocations could be divided into two kinds. There were the Neutriti, and there were the Conversi. St. Romuald was a Conversus because he entered at the age of 20. It was a very ripe age to enter a monastery. Most monks, most members of monasteries were Neutriti. That is, they grew up in the monastery. This is a matter of statistics which comes not from somebody's bright idea, but from the necrologies of monasteries. Now, necrologies of monasteries, that's the list of the department. It tells who they were,


where they came from, how old they were when they died, how old they were when they entered and when they died, and so forth. He was seven. He was seven. That could be a kind of a typical age, seven, the age of reason, you know, because the concept of a free vocational choice simply did not exist. I don't have to go back to that because that was one of the first talks we had here where I insisted on that, the extraordinary uniqueness of St. Romuald's vocation as a free vocational choice. And then, later, in the 11th century, we start to find more and more conversi, and some of them are priests already and some of them are not yet too old to go through the studies and become priests. So, St. Romuald was a rare bird in the last quarter of the 10th century. It was an unusual case. First of all, they entered the monastery at his age, a nobleman, and second,


that he was ordained at the age of 30, or thereabouts, 30-something, 35, whatever. What was life like at Cushaw? First of all, the liturgy was very important. It was not Cluniac in the sense of a dependency of Cluny, but it was inspired very much by Cluniac spirituality, and many of the observances, I'm sure, from Cluny were adapted and adopted at Cushaw. At the same time, Abbot Gary himself, who had a long reign there, was very much, very fond, very fond of the Christian East, made many trips abroad, went to the Holy Land, went to Greece, went to Mount Athos, went to Sinai. We don't know where all he went. He was on the road a lot, and the reason he was on the road was not only for devotion to pilgrimage as spiritual exercise, but also in order to gather both tangible


and intangible goods for his monastery. Tangible goods in the form of relics, above all. He brought back the crib from Bethlehem. At least, when they came to him, they said it was the crib. He brought back the bones of St. Valentine from the Vatican. At least, the Pope told him they were the bones of St. Valentine. And also other tangible goods, such as precious chalices and all. This was very important because liturgy was important because you couldn't give anything too good to the Lord. And so, that was important. And that was why Gary, and in fact, the whole Catalonian monastic renewal, 10th-11th centuries, was very open to other forms of less specifically cenobitical, or shall we say pluniac, style of life. The hermetical colonies. Montserrat was founded


in 1022, which according to my chronology would make it a little bit older than Camaldoli. Which in a way is a disappointment. We always thought Camaldoli was older than Montserrat. But anyway. And from the very start it had hermits up in the hills, up in the grottoes. And even today, as far as I know, the last I heard had hermits up there. Father General and Father Emanuele visited Montserrat just a few years ago, what, five or six years ago, for a meeting of abbot presidents of various Benedictine congregations. And they met one of these, an older monk who had retired to one of the grottoes up there. So, there were these other forms of monastic experience there at Cusha as the most natural thing in the world. I don't know what else I could say in detail other than the fact of the,


of course, the New Treaty. Most of the vocational sources were young boys who were given to the monastery by their parents. And this had a lot to do with social structures and with rules of inheritance and so forth. And there are very human reasons sometimes, but generally in a climate of faith, you know, these very human reasons could be transformed and transfigured by the grace of God into an authentic vocation. So it doesn't really, in the end, result in much worse situations than we have today where everyone enters a monastery after having made up his own mind. But have we really, and do we really have our own head on our shoulders when we decide to enter the monastery at twenty-two or twenty-five or thirty-five, or whatever? I don't know. Maybe we do, maybe we don't. And then in the eleventh century, then, you can see from the necrology aesthetic, in the monasteries you start getting the conversi. So you have men who come in, then, at the age of twenty or at the age of thirty or even older. Many of them


were priests or canons, canons regular into the monastery. Others were not priests and they entered and they just didn't go on to become the priesthood. So that was the beginning, of course, of the laybrother category. Because as conversi is not neutriti, they did not have really the opportunity to develop the skills, the practical skills that were needed in order to do all of the things that were proper to be done and necessary to be done in the liturgy. The liturgy at Cluny and elsewhere, and I'm sure to perhaps a slightly lesser degree but not that much lesser degree at Pusha was a very elaborate affair and you had to know a great number of things in order to fulfill your role in liturgical offices, you know, to be a hebdomadary and to do things and to sing properly in choir and whatnot. Generally, the conversi were given such tasks as carrying the cross, carrying the thurible and the candles and other accessory duties around the altar and were not called upon


to sing in the choir, certainly not solo or scola singing because to sing the office properly did require a great deal of training. But someone as intelligent as naturally gifted as St. Ronald Hill probably was able to learn things rapidly and although I doubt seriously whether he had any important liturgical duties during his brief three years there at Santa Polinare in classe, we do not find him singing the psalms, we learn to sing and so forth and so on. Let's see, what else could I add, Father? I don't know if it concerns me that you were talking about a couple of years ago, he was quite alive when he whispered and whispered and made such wild chants when he did go and collected all the books and all the manuscripts and everything and that's how he got that's how he went on he's in Leningrad


one of the books that Cassidore has taken from Leningrad and then he's got it on his actual home and then from Northumbria it ended up in Leningrad but that's not that's a later chapter in the yes, I think that's probably these people were don't think so they had to do it yes they were collectors let me just interject this, collectors not only of tangible but also intangible goods in other words they were observers of monastic observance they went as observers shall we say to monasteries in the earlier


chapels and museums in the east about earlier oh my goodness yes of course they go back to the very origins of monasticism you see the Pacomius was of course the more cenobitical form of more collective form of monastic life as other books citations of course St. Romuald did certain things and behaved in a certain way because Antony did Hilarion did and Benedict did references to this all through allusions and some different


quotations just taking as an example the life of St. Romuald by St. Peter Damian which is something we'll come to much later because it is later it's after Romuald's death but you see the I don't think we could we could really talk about a rigid dichotomy between hermitical life cenobitical life even in the west in the time of St. Romuald you find something of this in the kind of specialization which emerges with the founding of both the Cistercians and the Carthusians the Carthusians go more definitely in a certain direction and crystallize in a certain form and the Cistercians monks of Citeaux tend to crystallize in a certain form whereas the monastic life preceding them and certainly that monastic life which St. Romuald knew and which he promoted was one which allowed a great wide range of expressions and observances and this


was certainly true of the Christian East it was true of the monasticism of the Holy Land Palestine you see what you did find in the East was a there was a greater codification of cenobitical life in the 8th century it's interesting that it is parallel to the Carolingian Revival in the West that was the reform of St. Theodore of Studios in Constantinople and on the heels of the Studite Reform we find the beginnings of the Lavriot or truly Cenobitical Life on Mount Athos with the founding of the Grand Lavro in 963 by St. Athanasius of Athos and yet this we do not see this as in any way you know as a setting something up in opposition to the more solitary or


even less codified forms of monastic life there was simply a need for this this was a a God was raising up by the gift of the Holy Spirit raising this up in his church the great forms of theater of studios and then Athanasius of Mount Athos and then the great monastic reforms in the west in the no one knows anything about the scenes at this time in history in the Middle Ages I don't think there's any no no one no one remembered that yeah there could possibly be some kind of very distant influence upon the origins of Christian monasticism there were in Egypt themselves itself what were called the therapeutic therapeutic which were what therapeutic yes


were a form of monastic experience of life I suppose if you want to stretch the point so there may have been but we're not even certain and certainly monastic literature Christian monastic literature seems to ignore any any other monastic experience preceding the gospel monastic Christian monasticism in the Christian monastic literature begins with the Jerusalem community as described by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles that is the model of the monastic life for Christian monastic literature they don't know anything about Buddhists they don't remember anything about Essenes or anything else that happened the later I don't know whether whether you can posit any non-Christian influences perhaps in Alexandria perhaps time of origin


perhaps there were certainly Buddhists there there's no question about it there were Hindu and Buddhist monks in Alexandria at the time of Clematis and origin but whether this was any in any way a direct influence it might have simply corroborated something that was already moving about in the Christian circles themselves I don't know how much we do know there were there were Buddhist schools in Alexandria that we know that I know I don't know of any other information that I could give you than that but the point of it is that this it's really of no importance actually you put your finger on a hollow piece of very good question because it raises I'm thinking of as recent a book as David Steinbroth's book Listening Heart where he's doing a different methodology than a


Christ-centered one he refers to the gospel but that's in a later essay but Godfrey's question raises the question whether there was apologetic reason for making the monastic impulse an explicitly Christ-centered impulse a Christ-centered vocation apologetic in response to people who might denigrate it or call it into question that naturally the response would not be an appeal to Essene or Jewish or Far Eastern or some universal human impulse for seeking God but naturally the apologetic response would be oh this is Christ-centered this is entering the Christian mind even more deeply I see what you mean apologetic reasons I would say I would say absolutely not because I don't see anything of apologetics


of that sort in the life maxim I don't see anything of apologetics of that sort in the life maxim simply not to concern but there is a concern to show that it's fully Christian which means to show that it's also fully sane that it's fully healthy I mean it says that that when they went to the Roman court and broke down the door they found this man who was neither too fat nor too thin neither too jolly nor too sad he was just wholesome he was whole he was integral he was risen you see what I mean that's precisely the apologetic wanting to inaugurate you have to have a consciousness of an adversary I don't think there was a consciousness of an adversary on that side there was the consciousness of the Aryan as an adversary to what Anthony was trying to do in an experiential way you see the apologetics come in in the defense of Catholic orthodoxy against the Aryans against the false crimes not against some other


form of monastic or ascetical or penitential life whatever it may be so I would tend to suggest that you may posit this but I find no grounding for any polemical or apologetical intent in early monastic literature I simply don't find it have you Father I can't think of a single thing I'm sure in one way probably take the William's question in this form does underestimate the sense in which you really almost totally did not accept from the special conferences any sense of Aryan consciousness at all it simply isn't real to us at all but it was terribly beautiful quite an excellence it was terribly beautiful and I'm sure you're right to say that's where the apologetic falls and it's so this seems so remote


from the response of Christians which is they hardly think about it the I don't know if there are any earlier references there perhaps are but I can think of one reference which is apologetical and polemical with regard to the the monks of India in the late 13th century early 14th century in the literature of the Jesus prayer in the second stage of hesychastic spirituality where there it is said that of course the monks of India and what not do practice something like but they completely misunderstand it now that's the only thing that I can think of in Christian monastic literature so you see this emphasis upon the continuity between the Jerusalem community and the Christocentrism of the Vita Antonia is something that is integral to the whole Christian monastic


tradition it is not something that is introduced by way of polemic or in order to meet a certain challenge but simply because it was seen as absolutely the case it's absolutely essential the Christian monastics were Christians and they were deeply Christians and they were also when they lived their life as it should be lived properly they became whole they became human in response to the area yes yes and Aryanism let's think about it for a second Aryanism isn't that also a denigration of our humanity isn't it isn't it also a denigration of our humanity denigration you know what denigration is throwing mud at our humanity Aryanism what are we talking about Aryanism what are we talking about the denial that the


son of God is truly God the denial that he was born from the womb of the Virgin Mary is truly God that is of course St. Athanasius of Alexandria's great argument if he is not God then we are not saved and our human nature is not saved the soteriological argument in favor to pull the divinity right now the same man who said that the same man who preached the gospel of Christ as something that has to do directly with the integrity and the divinization of our humanity was the one who wrote this great fundamental original text of Christian monasticism which underlies all the commodities of literature too consciously that one has


to get the cases in mind too where you've got well there's the pieces here slides to make very much of you've certainly got near the mystery of everything oh yes yes yes indeed but I think you know that that point is simply just what we must take for granted that no one had any problems you know there was there was a great continuum you might say in the area of Christian monastic observance which would go from greater solitude greater centipedical common life various forms in between of smaller communities generally though generally though the romantic notion of the


absolute solitary I wonder if it's really applicable to 10th 11th century hermitism father Leclerc says it is not evident I mean these were often two by two or one with a little group but communion is simply Christian God is God is three God is not alone with the alone God is not alone God is God is Father Son Holy Spirit all of this you know all the dogmatic underpinnings of Christian monasticism are also extremely important in our understanding of the life of these texts that we have these lives of saints these were written by Catholics these were written by men for whom orthodoxy was an issue and not simply a flag which they waved while they


had other things in their mind that had more to do with politics or economics or other things such as we have in certain pseudo orthodoxies of our own time the use of the label orthodoxy as something to really sell another kind of merchandise rather than the faith of the fathers but for them for all of these the faith of the trinity the faith of Christ through God and through man the great teaching of Chalcedon that is so present in their consciousness and how little it really seems to emerge today we have problems with it today of course we have problems with the whole thing and that so we can't simply simply go on repeating repetitive


theology is a betrayal of orthodoxy just as much as there is a betrayal of just as there is