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Monastic History Class, John Cassian




Today's lecture will be on John Cashen, and you should have read four books of the Institute. Tomorrow we'll finish John Cashen, if I don't do it today, and we'll do Caesarius and Aurel. So next week, you have another, the last assignment in volume one of the reader, which is the life of St. Columban. It's only a part of the life of Columban. And because the novitiate outing is next week, I will teach Monday and Wednesday next week. So Monday you need to have St. Columban's, the part of his life, read for that day. At that point, you have all but four or five reading


assignments already finished in the course. It's like you're two-thirds through. Even though it's only the first volume, it's two-thirds of the entrance. We have, according to my, the last time I taught this class, according to the last time I taught this class, we're halfway through because there are only 30 tapes for the last class. I'm not quite sure that's true. We may have more tapes this time. But anyway, we're doing well. I think I will finish it before I go to Italy in May, the end of May. A few words about bibliography, on-source material. We have in our John Cashin section, and remember, John Cashin is extremely important for monasticism. We're with one of the greatest


and most important to Western monasticism we're treating today, and certainly extremely important for Benedict himself. In the John Cashin section of the library, 236, right after Augustine, we have some things in various languages. We have secondary works, so works on John Cashin. We have one in French, one in Italian, one in English. The one in English is just excellent. It's by the top Cashin scholar in the world, Chadwick. So this will give you an idea of what that looks like. We have also there a three-volume set of Cashin's works in Italian. And in the Source Chr├ętien,


we have both the conferences and the institutes in three volumes. One of them's 109, the other one's 54, something like that, 42, the complete works of John Cashin. Again, for those of you who know French, you get to English, there's problems. We don't have a complete set in English. Oh, by the way, while I was in Italy last summer, I picked up a new translation that's out in Italian of the Institutes of the Synomia. It's really quite excellent. In English, we have this from the Paulist series, and in here you find some of the conferences. You know, here you have Chadwick again. Chadwick's always there. He does the introduction, and then somebody else did the translation. And you have the most important conferences,


they're here. 1, 2, 9, 10, 18, those are all very important. Yeah, 9 and 10 are on prayer. Very important. Also in this, just speaking of John Cashin on prayer, Cistercian Studies, maybe 10 years back, you have John Main doing a two, three-part series on John Cashin and prayer in English. Are you all familiar with this volume? We have it in the bookstore. If you want your own copy, just get permission. Grab one. But again, you don't have the whole thing there. Yeah. Do we have a complete institution? No. I'll get to that in a minute. I'll get to that in a minute. Yeah. Here, this is also in the bookstore, Western Asceticism,


editor at Owen Chadwick. And in here, you have some sayings of the Desert Fathers, you have conferences of Cashin, and then the Rule of St. Benedict translated. And in here, again, you have conferences 1, 9, 10, 18, and three more. So, one or the other of these. One or the other of these would be good to have. This is the old standby, huh? This is a volume 11 of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, the second series, the blue one. In this, and this is a British end-of-the-century, turn-of-the-century translation. It's rather stilted. But in here, you get the complete conferences and institutes, except for three of them, because they're about wet dreams and monks


who have boys in their cells and anything with sex. The Anglicans left that out. So, we don't have that. You remember Terence from last year, Terence Cardon? Terence Cardon did translate those three into English, and my former abbey published them at their press, and we have copies of those in our library to fill in the spots. But the problem is, oh, by the way, for anybody who wants their own copy of this, there has been one for two years, a used copy, sitting in the back room of Black Oak in Berkeley. It's just sitting there. It's not expensive. If you want your own copy, get permission again from your formation person, and it'll be picked up for you. Another nice thing about this volume is you have the life of Saint Martin in English, complete here. Do you remember who wrote that?


Yeah, who wrote The Life of Martin of Tours? Very good. So, S.S. So, Peaches Severs. And this volume gives you that and Cassian. We also have the full Life of Saint Martin in French in the Swiss Christian series also, just so you know. What's the problem? Why don't we have a good modern translation in English? Cistercian Studies evidently has been given two full translations of the works of Cassian, and they've been rejected for whatever reasons. It hasn't come into print yet. All the institutes and the conferences evidently have made their way to Cistercian Studies or Cistercian publications, and nothing's happened. And so, the whole monastic world in English is sitting there still waiting for something to happen in this regard.


If it weren't for the Italian and French, we'd have to go right to the Latin basically. Well, there's of course that stilted English version, which you have in your reader. You notice how the English is a bit stilted. It's understandable, but I mean it's... What we need is a good, authoritative, critical text in modern English that would really fill in a lacuna for monastic studies. But evidently it's been done, and we don't know why. One of them evidently... Barnabas Ramsey is the one. He was at the archipelago giving a retreat while I was there, and I talked to him about it. He's one of them also. Benedicta Ward. And they called her word shabby. Benedicta Ward. That's what Barnabas Ramsey said about this. They can put all this past. Yeah, yeah. Well, it's got a good introduction. That's what we need. We need a good, critical text in modern English.


So I don't know where that's going to go. Terence Carden has been toying with the idea, because he's been so angry about this for going on two decades now. But he'll probably do it himself. He is a Latinist. He has a master's in Latin. So he could very conceivably do it himself. In Italy, my theologian, Erwin, permitted St. Cassian. Ah, yes. They say St. Cassian, no? Cassian, yes. Ah, Casa Cassian, not St. Cassian. Cassian. Yes, yes. But in the West, in the Western Church, not the same. In the Eastern Church, very big say to the Eastern Church. We'll talk about why. Ah, interesting. Casa Cassian. Casa Cassian. Wonderful.


Does anyone know where Cynthia is? Who the Scythians were? Anyone? Up around Russia? Yeah. They were on the northern shore of the Black Sea. In general, this is an ancient tribe we're talking about, an ancient tribe. By the time of Cassian, they had moved down and got more territory. And so they moved into what is Hungary, Turkey, all of it, and into the Balkans. So the Scythians moved and intermingled. And so they were in the Balkans by the time of the 4th century. We know from one Latin phrase used from a secondary source referring to Cassian, that he was born in Scythia Minor. So we know he's from the Balkans. Not everybody accepts that as gospel truth.


But it certainly makes sense because of the background he brings to monasticism. The Balkan, the Roman provinces in the Balkans, had a good reputation for education. For Greek and Latin studies. And the province of Scythia, if he were from there, which many scholars accept, it would make sense of why he came to Bethlehem to be a monk already quite proficient in Greek and Latin, Greek literature and Latin literature. He came highly educated. And he brought that with him. And all of this that he brought with him has perplexed the scholars who don't accept necessarily that he came from Scythia, from the Balkans.


Those who do, it makes perfect sense because of the situation there at that time. I don't understand why they don't accept it. If they think Gennadius of Marseille is just lying or doesn't know what he's talking about, I suppose. But it seems to me you need some proof to say that. Chadwick has no problem with it. What was the ethnic group? Garon? O'Garon? Probably Roman. In the Roman province, yeah. People who moved out. Yeah, but I don't know if there was a mixed blood. I don't think they know that. There could very well have been. The Scythians were in the blood mixture there. Around 380 there. So when he was about 25 years old, he entered the monastic life in a synobium near Bethlehem. Now we've already talked about the Bethlehem monastic foundations.


He wasn't there very long. He had an itch. And his itch was to see what's going on in Egypt. To see what's going on in Nitrea and Cetus. And so he and a friend of his, Germanos, or Germaine, St. Germaine, got permission, reluctantly, from their superior in Bethlehem to take off on this trip through Egypt to visit the holy monks there, the Anchorites and Cenobites, and see what's going on, and then to report back. I think the permission was given reluctantly because the superior probably had the good intuition that this was going to take maybe years. And it did. After a prolonged stay, which wasn't according to the original plan,


they returned to Bethlehem because they thought, we've been doing this for years, and they are mad at us, and we don't really have permission to keep doing this. We'd better go back and make our peace, and see if they'll let us come back. They went back to Bethlehem. They talked themselves into a permission to return to Egypt with an open-ended permission to travel around the monastic foundations of Egypt. Remember, all of this is going into Cassian's memory bank. I mean, he's gathering experiences, sayings, that's going to be his life's work as far as publishing goes. So the superiors gave him permission, and they went back. Quote, We hastened to our monastery at a time when we were confident of obtaining permission to return to the desert.


They had put up some feelers, and they got the word that, yeah, they could get permission. And we first paid our respects properly to our elders. Next, we revived their former love in their minds, love of us, as out of the ardor of their love they had not been at all softened by our very frequent letters to satisfy them. And in the last place, we entirely removed the sting of our broken promise, and we returned to the recesses of the desert of Skete, as they themselves forwarded us with joy and comfort to Saba. So he's a little bit of a politician. So he's in the desert of northern Egypt, and something happens in 399. What happens in 399? The attacks by... The attacks by...


399. 400. This is the most crucial thing to Cassius, knowing Cassius. The originist controversy. Remember old Theophilus? Theophilus is the patriarch there. He sides with the originist monks. Again, who are arguing with the others, saying... There's a certain group of monks who are saying, we are anthropomorphists. We are out here to physically face God in the desert. Face to face. Physically. In flesh. And the originist monks are saying, this is too far out. This is too far out of left field. That's not what we're about. Anthropomorphism is sick. It shouldn't be your whole thing, and it's wrong to have it at all. Theophilus agrees.


Theophilus gets surrounded by anthropomorphists who threaten to lop off his head to be scriptural. To lop off his head, and he, within one night's crisis, completely changes his opinion, comes out the next day, condemns the other side, in order to save his skin. From that flows a massacre, an exodus, and a complete exile of all the originist monks in the desert. He is not wearing a white hat. Very shadowy character in monastic history. Anyway, Cassian and Germanus go in the exile,


and they take off to Constantinople. Does anyone know who's in Constantinople at this time? St. John Chrysostom. Patriarch of Constantinople. He has his own problems. And he takes these fellows and some others in, under his wings, and he ordains Cassian, a deacon, Germanus, a priest, and puts them basically in charge of the archdiocese of Constantinople, the patriarchy. Although he's the religious figure, Cassian is taking care of the moneybags, he's the treasurer, and Germanus is high also in pastoral work in Constantinople. At a point, not too far down the line,


John Chrysostom gets in problems with his own people in Constantinople, and in ecclesiastical circles. Again, you can hear you've got another controversy going on. And it involves burnings, exile, fighting death over religious opinions, and political realities. And so John Cassian and Germanus go off to see the pope on behalf of John Chrysostom to plead his case in Rome. While he's doing this, Cassian, that is, makes a good friend of a person in Rome


who is going to be the future Pope Leo the Great. Either Innocent, who is pope at that time, or Bishop Proclus of Marseille ordain Cassian a priest at this point. And Cassian, whatever happened to the mission, he performed the mission of John Chrysostom for John Chrysostom but never went back there. And the urging of the Bishop of Marseille and the pope, who want to have monastic foundations in the west of what will be France, and now is Gaul, like they have in Egypt. And he finds in Cassian, of course, somebody who's been there, who has education,


who is articulate, who is a born leader and a spiritual abbot. He's perfect for the job. Cassian moves to Provence, so moves to southern France, southern Gaul, and begins a monastic life. This Bishop Castor of Apt asks Cassian to build a monastic foundation for his area, so that monasticism, there are pockets of monastics at this time, but there's not a regularized, certain way to live monasticism with documents, with evidence from the east of how they're doing it and all that. This is what Bishop Castor wants. So, Cassian funds for Bishop Castor


two monasteries, one for men, one for women, sometime before the year 420. So within his first ten years, or nine years in Gaul, he's making more foundations, other than the one he himself is living. This is the St. Victor of Marseille, this twin monastery, St. Victor of Marseille. And in answer to the needs of his monks and his nuns, as well as at the instigation of people like Bishop Castor, who want something in print, Cassian takes on the task, during some time during these years, what we can say is difference of opinions, which years he published what. But before 428, we get the institutes first, the institutes of the synovia being published.


And then he writes the conferences of his recollections of dialogues with these old Abbas in the Egyptian desert, and Abbas with Abbas, and some stories from the desert tradition that he had written down, and put them into that format. Basically to bolster this, in a way, by writing in a way that captures the imagination, that people are going to love to listen to, and yet catch what's being given, and catch the theological meat that's being given there. By using the same type of literature that we have coming out of the Egyptian experience itself, only in more of a story form. So it's a lot like what the Lozeg history was, or Palladius, or Rufinus were doing. Like a storytelling,


rather than just collections of sayings. At the request of Pope Leo, Leo also wants him to continue doing all this. Get things down, get it organized, we need it in the West, this is great. His friend who became Pope Leo the Great, God says, I've got a problem here. This problem comes from Bishop Nestorius, and his movement, Nestorianism. And I need you to, for our territory here in the West, write on the incarnation, so that we can fight off any influence from this Nestorian conflict that's going on in the East. Alright, does anyone remember what Nestorianism is about? That God could be born again. Exactly. So what they did was they were kind of, they were nixing,


you're jealous again. Jealous. I'm not jealous. Jealous. Okay. The next, the Theotokos, the title given to Mary, Theotokos, they say absolutely not. Absolutely not. So what they in effect end up with, with Nestorianism, is you have Jesus, two persons. Two persons. Not two nature, two persons. And the one Mary gives birth to is not God. He's not God. Okay. Unfortunately, Cassian accepts the commission and writes this as his terrible work. And these are wonderful. He's monastic, he's in his own element. But he's starting to write dogmatic theology and it's just, it's not good. It's not good. But he did it in favor of the Pope, St. Leo. We don't need to go into Nestorianism, huh?


This isn't a dogma class. Let's just say that Nestorius lost. And even though he went into exile, he died, a certain group of bishops who followed him or for political reasons didn't want to align themselves with Rome or would do anything in order to fight others. You have so many of these conflicts. They formed their own church, the Nestorian church, whose language is, take a stab, it still is today, Syriac. Syriac. And this Syriac church is the main Christian, let's say, Christian with the quote marks, church that moves into Persia for a long time, the Iran connection. And it is also the church that goes


much farther east to India. And you have the Malabar Rite. Originally the Syriac language, the whole thing. And are they still Nestorians? You still have rites that come from that. And you have, I don't know how big a Nestorian church is such, but you have pockets of that. Within those rites, they still believe that theology in general? Not the rites that are connected with our church, no. But you have some offshoots. I'm no expert on present-day Nestorian church, but I know that there are pockets where it still exists. And their only thing that was, their big thing was this dogmatic thing. But if you say something like that, that Mary gave birth not to a divine person, that's going to have effects on just about everything


if you think about it. How you define a sacramental life, how you define anything, it's going to have a profound effect. This is at the core of the whole thing. And that's why it was so heinous to others, because it was just, I denied the whole, why we even had a church. Anyway, he got caught up in that. Later on, John Cashion, after his death, as I mentioned before, got caught up in another controversy, and that is in the Pelagian controversy. He didn't get caught in the Pelagian controversy as such. But after these people were dead and gone, you had a resurrection of the whole thing called the semi-Pelagian controversy. So that people were saying,


hey, there's this whole middle ground between Augustine and Pelagius, and there are people who are promoting things that are sort of moving towards Pelagius, and they should be condemned too. It's basically friends and cohorts of Augustine, champions of his theology. Well, Cashion, there are things he says that would sound semi-Pelagian. And he got, among others, got labeled at the Council of Orange, got condemned for semi-Pelagianism, whatever that means. There are many theologians today who say that we're all semi-Pelagians. If you try to define semi-Pelagianism, we're all there, especially since Vatican II. But it's because of that that John Cashion was never canonized in the West. It was because he got caught up in that unfortunate, after his death, unfortunate semi-Pelagian controversy.


But in the East, he's a great saint, a great saint. When I was in Venice, the churches in Venice have crazy, pazzo schedules when they open, when they close. And every time I went to San Cassiano to get, we have a brother, Cashion, in our community, Cashion. And I wanted to get him an icon or a holy card or something. And every time I went there, they were closed. And they had crazy hours to begin with. It's like five, they open five to 7.30 at night and maybe one hour in the morning. Other than that, we walked up. And every time I had a chance to be there, when it was open, they had changed for that day. I never visited San Cassiano. But in places like Venice and Romagna,


you find a lot of Eastern influence. And so they will have San Cassiano in Venice, even though he's not a Western saint. There's that strong Eastern influence and has been all through the centuries on church life in Venice and other cities. Patriotic there. Anyway, he was never canonized in the West. Great patriarchal saint in the East, however. If you read his works, you will find lots, lots of quotations from scripture, lots of the Saints of the Desert Fathers, things that he quotes that were among collections that were already going around. John Chrysostom, I have a whole list here of people he uses, the fathers of the church,


he uses in his works. Very erudite man. Did a wonderful, wonderful work for the development of monasticism in the West. He also came with a classical education, so he had read Cicero, Plato, he was very big on origin, and Evagrius Ponticus. Basically, his connection with Evagrius is never mentioned by him, even though Evagrius is his great hero. Why? Think back to 399. Evagrius died in 399. He died just before the originist controversy blew up, and monks started killing one another,


and exiling, and dividing one another. Evagrius is arch-originist. This whole thing with originism is much overblown than it should have been. I mean, originists got tagged with everything Blackhat could think. Originists were the demons. Cassian had to be very careful, and so he would not make any references to Evagrius at all, even though his basic theological approach to monasticism was Evagrius. Hope, line, and sinker. But he could not use the same certainly he didn't use any references, and he could not use the same terminology, because it was terminology that the anti-originists would grab onto, whether or not they were translating


or theologizing. They were looking for terminology, originist terminology. And so, words like apatheia, he couldn't use them. Apatheia is an originist word. It goes far back than origin, but it doesn't matter at this point. And so he, even though he used apatheia, what does the other thing mean? Disinterest. Diminishing desire. Good, good. Okay, so he believed that. I mean, it's part of his theory too. So he changed the word. He changed the word. And what is the classic word that comes out of Kashin? Classic phrase, excuse me, that comes out of Kashin, right down to our own monastic purity of heart. Exactly. If you want to think Kashin, think purita, purity of heart. That's right at the core of where Kashin is.


And that whole prayer of the heart comes to us through Kashin. Prayer of fire, I mean. The prayer of fire, O God, come to my soul. It comes to us through Kashin, via the desert of Egypt. And that whole fire and heart at the core, pure heart, is absolutely central to the understanding, theological monastic understanding of what Kashin is all about. Quote, regarding Evagrius. This is from Chadwick, who else? Evagrius was the principal teacher of Kashin, the chief authority for his ascetical doctrine. The influence of others, of Origen, Jobon, Basel, Chrysostom surely, must not be underestimated. But the general lines of the ascetical ideas which Kashin propagated to the Western Church are found in Evagrius. As far as


the spiritual life is concerned, there are in the institutes and conferences few ideas which cannot be paralleled by similar or related ideas among the writings of Evagrius. While in Kashin's most characteristic doctrines, the influence of Evagrius is absolutely noticeable. So, in your memory banks, if you remember anything from today's lecture, just remember Kashin, purity of heart, Evagrius. Remember those two. And just as a memory device, and you'll be able to connect yourself to basically to what you need to remember about Kashin. What did the institutes, you've read four of the institutes today, what did the institutes give? What are they doing? Basic outline for a beginner.


Or the setting up of a monastery. Yeah. This is a basic fundamental theory of why one would come to monastic life and how that should be structured to meet the needs of those people. So it gives you a sort of and it's not, you know, it's not like looking at a carefully outlined schema or something like that. And yet at the same time, there's this quasi-systematic approach. Practical. Yeah. Because basically, what he's doing here is meeting all kinds of needs of these people coming to his new monasteries in Gaul are saying, well, why? What? Because they're, you know, they're just beginning. And he's just doing his foundations and what he knows, he knows from a couple years living in Bethlehem and running around with all these avas and getting all kinds of theory in his head. And so he's got to get practical. And that's what he does


with the institutes. Notice that in reading the institutes, you should have noticed that practicality, for one thing, is if you want to compare what Cassian writes to what you find in the desert literature, you're going to find Cassian trying to make things a little more practical for people living in a place where there's winter and woods and barbarians, etc. I mean, it's a whole different bag. And with Cassian, and this is another key word for Cassian, and it's through Cassian, basically, that this word comes into Benedict and his rule and Benedictine monasticism. Cassian finds a way to I'd like a nice word here. Balance. Balance. Moderation. Same thing. Moderation.


Cassian, moderatio is another key word for Cassian. He's trying to balance the austerities, the extreme life that they lived in those Egyptian deserts, with present-day needs in future France, in Gaul, and in western lives. How do we balance these two and get a monasticism that's going to last, be real, and yet not drive everyone away? And that's what Cassian is about with the Institutes, and somewhat with the conferences, too. With the conferences, though, he's trying to give more spiritual underpinning to all of the work he did here. He's trying to, like, fill in the blanks with good spiritual theology and the tradition, the monastic tradition that underpins why we do what we do. You didn't read the conferences today, did you? It was just four books a week? Yeah. But some of you have read


at least some of the conferences before, yeah. Highly recommended that if you're going to read anything outside your reader during this course, to read John Cassian. So important to Benedict and to western monasticism. While we're here, before I go into a little bit more analytical stuff regarding his works, does anybody want to say anything or reflect on what you did read for today? It was four books from the Institutes. Were there one, four, nine, or ten? One, two, nine, or ten? Probably nine and ten because we're on prayer. I have so many things marked, I don't know.


Nine, spiritual projection. Nine and ten are basically the same. Any questions, any observations? One that I have is, I thought it was particularly horrifying about the father and his child coming and beating the child and stuff like that to prove the father's detachment. That sounds like something, where does that sound like that came from? She knew. Exactly. It sounds a lot like what you'd expect in Egypt. It's rather extreme. And you find a little bit of that in Cassian. He liked it in Egypt. He thought it was great.


Not necessarily practical, but great stuff. Okay, I'm going to continue, but if you have anything to say, just break in. One thing to remember about the conferences is that he's getting this material, some of it from Abbas who are Arabidical, and some of it are Abbas who are Cenabitical. This is important to know in Cassian. Basically, there are five stages. This is according to a scholar Leroy et Leroy Leroy and Julien Julien Leroy. He's a Cassian scholar. If you look at Cassian,


there are basically five stages to his writing career. How he went about formulating what he was writing. And that is the first stage are the first four books of the Institutes. And that gives you traditional doctrine for Cenabitical life. Well, the second stage, obviously, is going to be the rest of the Institutes. So books five to twelve. And that, he, Leroy calls just all the elements of asceticism in general. So you write the whole gamut of asceticism. So he gives you Cenabitical doctrine, and then the asceticism that underpins that Cenabitical life. Then when you get to the Conferences, he says the third stage is the first twelve books of the Conferences


are the traditional Aramidical doctrine. I was giving that other side of the pendulum. And the next, well, books thirteen to eighteen are a continuation of that, but you can, he says you can tell if you do word analysis and style analysis that it's at a different time, and he's somewhat modifying the Aramidical doctrine. So he puts, for that reason, he puts it in two stages. And the last stage are books eighteen, probably nineteen to twenty-four, and that is back to Cenabitic doctrine. Now,


in the writings of Cassian, there were seven Cenabitic Abbas whom there's seven Cenabitic Abbas, Oterium, seven Cenabitic Abbas that he quotes and that he gets his monastic stuff from, monastic meat. And for those Abbas, you know, if you read the conferences, read what they say and what's between the lines, you understand that for these seven Abbas, these Cenobites, the two monastic types, that is the Cenobite and the Aramite, are two very different animals. Two distinct vocations. You're a Cenobite, that's a Cenobitic vocation. You're a Hermit, that's an Aramitical vocation. Quite different. They're different professions.


They're not two stages on the same monastic journey. But, not but, not quite yet. The anchorite Abbas whom he quotes and whom he treats in his conferences, there's 30 of them, and they basically agree with the Cenobitic opinion. That is two different animals, not two stages. Ergo, scholars say, when you read Cation, and when you read him and get the sense that he's talking about two stages in the monastic life, that is that


Cenobitism is like a prelude you go through, like a long edition you go through before you become a Hermit. That that bias, and you will find it in Cation, is not, it doesn't come from these anchorite Abbas, it doesn't come from these Cenobites, it's pure Cation. It's Cation's own bias that he adds to the tradition. Well, it's a forming tradition. But that was his own influence. Well, you're going to see this in later, it's important to know that because you see it in later writing, you see it in even mentioned in the types of monks in the rule. You even, you can read it between the lines in various rules that are going to come along in the West now. And this is Cation's own evidence, his own influence that he puts into the doctrine. That it's really not two distinct ways but, because you


read both messages there and you wonder who's saying what, what's going on here? What are other important elements in Cation's spirituality? I have a question about that. Would that still be prevalent? Is the difference between East and West that the East was still considered two different, would that remain a prejudice, that the East was considered two different locations and the West would consider them parallel? I don't know, in the East, you know, they're a lot more flexible in the sense that you have people doing all kinds of things. Or doing this for a while and then coming back in and going out and living in a cave. Um, I mean, if you even think to Athos, you know, you've got Zenobia, but Hermit's attached to the Zenobia and then you have you have Eremites, but these groups of Eremites


and just single solitary people off anywhere it's not a I don't know, it's not a big thing, as big as it is in the West, the whole controversy. What's the difference? How are they connected? How would this kind of thing affect Ron's future? Would this be his influence from the East, or just his getting back to, well, the beginning of humanity? Romuold Romuold's doing, Romuold's into everything. You know, I mean he's Romuold founded so many monastic foundations, it's incredible. Some of them were Zenobia, some of them were Hermitages, some of them were like little parishes. And then he was interested in missions besides, you know. I'm just translating now the life of Peter Damian. Peter Damian is the one who was the one who makes all the foundations


off of Fonte Avalon. And within the first year or two of being prior, he's making a whole bunch, he takes a whole group of monks, it's like they're going out picnicking. And they travel, they're on their horses, and he swaps them all here and they build a synovium, and he puts two here and they start the Eremites, and it's just crazy. These are historical places. I mean, this isn't just fantasy. These are actually famous monastic foundations. That's how they started. Sort of like shuffling a deck and dealing, you know. And they were all there. Synovium, the whole thing. So, you know, our own Kamaldolese experience is such a mixed bag and everything's there. It's hard to say. I don't think it was a big thing for Romuald himself to like have one higher than the other or... No.


It's just all part of the gospel vision of Romuald, of people living community together or alone together. Or, doing a little bit of it, you know, he himself would flow in and out of communities and out into the marsh, the swamp for a couple years, come back and no one recognized him. And then he'd live in community and then he'd go found six more hermitages and, you know, what an incredible charismatic... Well, this was a charismatic time. You've got Francis just coming around the corner, you know. What an incredible time this was. These three centuries here. From the 10th, 11th, 12th centuries. My goodness. They were into everything. I think where it really gets gets to be... Historically, it gets to be a matter of polemics later on rather than earlier.


The polemics come when you have new orders coming about and reactions against the aramidical or against too much active stuff or whatever. And that whole polemic periodically comes to the surface and there's a bunch of froth and bubbles and then it goes under and you have two more ways to live, you know. But it would seem, though, at the same time, one should say, though, it would seem that historically, at least among the Cenobites, in the West, there's always this lingering between the lines, sometimes not just between the lines, but very unsubtle suspicion of hermits. And on the other side, lingering, polemical, we are the hermits the highest


type battle cry that periodically comes through the aramidical from the aramidical side. So obviously there was some fighting going on about these things. What's the best way, the healthiest way to be a monk? But I think all along it's really honest to say that all along you have everything going on all over the place. Even though at certain historical moments the Cenobites are much more numerous, almost always have been monastically, you still have very strong authentic pockets of Laura style monasticism going on. Often when these reform movements that start, and we're going to see those right around Romuald's time, a little bit before and a little bit after, all these various, and a lot of them become congregations within our own Benedictine order. Gwalbert,


Sylvestrians, there's a whole group of them, Celestines, they all start out, almost all of them start out aramidical. Aramidical. So there's that fervor, that aramidical fervor that stirs up reformation, and let's go back to as primitive as we can get and really live this thing. And then down the line is the polemics and the church needs and we shouldn't be doing something that's always part and parcel of things. So it's an ongoing dialogue. We're still in that, aren't we? I mean, most of our foundations come, all these foundations in Italy, they're all hermitages except San Gregorio in Rome, which obviously is a student aid, and the mother house down the hill. All the rest are hermitages.


Napoli's a hermitage. Even though Fonte Avalona doesn't look like a hermitage, it's a hermitage, it was a different way to build it. Montejose, Garda, Bardolino, all hermitages. And yet you have their hermitages, yes, but they live both cenobitically and hermitically. It's always a mixture. They have active apostolates. The whole thing is there. Evidently it always was. At our height, at our height, we were an incredible force in the church, and we had foundations everywhere. Just in Venice, we had four or five big foundations and at the center of our general lived at the island of San Michele for, I don't know how long


it was centered there, but it was the head of our order and on the island of Murano we had two, if not three, hermitages. Just the island next one over, the one that's famous for blowing glass, that type of thing. We were all over the place. And yet they were active, contemplative, missionary, the whole thing going on. I'll finish tomorrow on Cassian and then hopefully do Cesare's Oral as well. We'll finish our look at Gaul at this time. I'll play it back. Oh, okay, next time I go up to Sister Orca, you have to ask her number. She doesn't want it out.


I want to go to Epiphany and have a little snack.