Monastic History

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Monastic History Class, Byzantine Monasticism, Orthodox Monasticism




Okay, what we want to do today is to take a quick look at Byzantine monasticism, Slant Orthodox monasticism. I don't have a lot to offer you. There isn't a lot written in a systematic way. There's a lot of histories of various communities, Quasi-Histories, books on St. Catharine, for instance. It's a lot of interesting stuff, but an overall historical approach to Eastern monasticism, no. There isn't a lot of it. So what I've pieced together is a general thrust for you, and with some indications if you're interested in private research, I can give you some sources. This is going to take about 15 minutes, by the way. And then we're going to move into the 15th century and look at what's happening in different parts monastically in Europe, just before, and a little bit during, the Reformation.


We're going to move very, very quickly afterwards, because with the Reformation, and then with the secularization, and Napoleon, and the Italian situation, monasticism is going to go down, to dribble, just down to nothing until the 19th century. The 19th century and 20th century can easily be capped at the end. I won't be cutting out any of my notes, but it's going to seem like we're just rushing. We are going to finish in April. Even missing four classes, we'll finish in April. We were just talking in the formation committee, and I announced there that this class would end by the end of next month. We only have three more classes after tomorrow, and that will finish the course. That is, the 20th, which is a Wednesday, that will be the next class, after tomorrow. So you have a whole three weeks off, basically. And the 21st, we won't have class, because that's going to be a recreation day in April,


as Robert tells me. So the 27th, the 28th, the next week, are the last classes. So just so you can look ahead. I guess there's another course starting up. I don't know when. I think this month, in fact, the Contemplative Prayer Center, I understand it's going to begin with John, because they're going to get his stuff out of the way before he flies back east for a month. So I think we've got, like, three weeks of John, starting pretty soon, regarding contemplative prayer. This isn't the official announcement. I think it's going to be on Tuesdays, just so you can sort of have that in the back of your mind. We've got group plans. A group talk course will go from person to person. That's a discussion. Oh, yeah. That's right. It's going to be, there are presentations going to be given by Bruno, John, Aylred, I understand, and Robert, and maybe Joseph Long. I don't know how busy he is regarding his books.


Byzantine monasticism. Just some generalities. Basically, there are two strains of Byzantine monasticism that you should be aware of. And after that, we'll talk about two shades of Byzantine monasticism. The two strains, historical strains, are the ones that come through Maximus the Confessor, St. Maximus the Confessor, and the one that comes through St. John Climacus, famous for the ladder of the Byzantines. Right. So the scale of perfection, the ladder of the Byzantines, it has various titles. I'm just going to keep bouncing back and forth, so I maybe want to keep two columns here. Because they're going to be quite different from one another. Whereas, the strain that stands from Maximus is an intellectual strain.


So they're a head-driven monasticism. The other one, through John Climacus, is written in the Bible. So a scriptural approach, not academic intellectual approach. So, back to Maximus. If his thrust is going to be intellectual, and his school is going to have an intellectual thrust, how do they look upon progress? Progress comes through gnosis. The more knowledge you gain, knowledge, the closer you are to your monastic goal. Ah, what is the approach of John Climacus? Well, just think of his book. The ladder, step by step, reaching towards perfection, going through all the virtues. This sounds like John Cassian. Same type of approach. Not so much up here, but in here.


In Equality. Okay, back to Maximus. With Maximus you get the great mystery. Almost like the mystery of God, and the mystery of life, and existence, and monasticism, the whole thing is this great abyss. Great abyss. And with John Climacus' group, his strain is more concerned with, not so much this abyss of mystery, or anything like that. They're concerned with the heart, not the head. And so their whole approach is going to be very ascetical. Down to earth, working with the body, and keeping yourself conditioned spiritually, physically, and moving in that way. Not into this magnificent... I'm not putting down the head trip, I'm just making a stark contrast. I presume we're all in between this. Between these two, in our general approach.


With Maximus the Confessor, monastically speaking, you get the whole thing of divinization in the Eastern Church. Well, in the monastic strain, you're going to find a divinization that is our whole Christian monastic life, according to the school of Maximus, is a process of being divinized. Mystically divinized in this life. Becoming more and more like God. And part of God. With John Climacus and his tradition, life itself is not so much a divinization as it's resurrection life, already anticipated. So you live as if you're in heaven now. You live vividly, a very... an approach that's very incarnational,


but almost angelic at times, angelism that we had in the desert, where it sort of gets unreal at times. Yeah. That would be more their approach. With Maximus the Confessor's strain, the whole divinization project is a matter intellectually, and of course with your being, surrendering to God to the point that you just become all fire. And so the monastics that are in this strain tend to be the ones in the Eastern Church that you hear about the light phenomenon, how they would come out and just shimmer and shine. And that was seen as a gift of the Holy Spirit. It still is. A lot of this thing about, we have the gift of tears, well they have the gift of light. And their holy ones in this particular monastic tradition are the ones that usually talk about that way.


He shone like a light, physically. People could see it, the shimmering. Okay. Back to the Climacus, your whole process there, it's not divinization so much as realized eschatology and working on the virtues and against the vices and ascetically working with your body and your soul. Your whole process there is a matter of raising your whole life up to God. Sort of like pulling yourself up physically again and again and again. You know, the hard road of ascetical practices. Back to Maximus the Confessor, the whole thing is the mind and intellect. Well, liturgy, liturgical symbology is extremely important for this because liturgy, Byzantine liturgy in this particular monastic strain


is going to just be amazed by building liturgical buildings mirroring the universe cosmically with number and form and color all set up in this cosmology. The whole thing connected with everything that exists in the whole process of divinization of the cosmos. That's going to be all in the liturgical symbols if you know what you're looking for. And they're looking for it, they want it. That ties in their whole thing. On the other hand, with the other group and it isn't that they don't have liturgical symbols it's just that the stress is more on realized eschatology. And so the liturgical symbology isn't all that as important as it is with the other strain monastically. Byzantine culture and church as a whole is into liturgical symbology but it's a matter of emphasis and where they're going with it.


For Maximus, the confessor's strain of mysticism or monastic mysticism the whole cosmos is charged with energy. That energy is the cosmic Christ. The whole thing is just shaking with the cosmic Christ, charged up in Christ. Energon. For John Climacus and his group, death to the world. This is just we're waiting to get through it. The whole thing isn't dancing the energy of the cosmos it's let's get through this thing and get it over with so we can live in communion. The intellectual one is a liturgical spirituality the spirituality for the heart one is more fuga mundi like we saw in the desert in Egypt. Get away from the world. Leave the world. For the strain of Maximus


the whole worship thing is a cosmic emphasis again. Even your worship for the other group it all ties into that life is basically live as if you were dead already and you're better off. Not denying life but don't forget that life is just a shell. Whereas the other one is getting into life and finding all that mystical energy and all the cosmic ties and all that. I'm overstressing both of them to make it clear to you the differences. Now most people would probably tend to move a little bit towards the middle but the stark contrast between those two systems to the extreme, and there are extremes would embrace those two columns. Basically then monastically there are two shades of monasticism that come through this. Because what I just gave is more mysticism


monastic mysticism because they were monastics who were working with and developing it but now how does that translate into daily monastic life in the monasteries? You get two strains because of those two schools of mysticism. One of them, one of the two strains started up in the monastery of Studios and the other one I don't have to spell for you is in Catherine's of Sinai and so you get Studite monasticism and Sinaitic monasticism and we'll find other names too that they give these two. Okay, Studios was more or less near Constantinople so it's like Constantinople or Byzantium monastic school and the Sinai, desert monasticism. Now remember, the Sinai desert one mystically, if you go back to your thing that all fits there, fuga mundi, life as death


and all of that, right in the desert tradition well they are in the desert. Okay, what you get in Studios in Studite monasticism, and this was embraced not just the monastery of Studios Studiosus Maximus the intellectual mystics their monasticism is going to envelop a large number of monasteries within the Byzantine Empire and the other ones, they have their places too so it's like two families, the Kamaldolese and then those black Benedictines The Studites have been called Neo, excuse me, N-E-O as a new Basilian so remember Basil and his monasticism these are the Neo-Basilian monks that is, remember, liturgy is important now


very liturgical, definitely Cenobitic remember Basil, he had Cenobia very Cenobitic what else was Basil known for in his monasticism? Education Hospitals, poor, orphanages all the social work, same thing for these people the Studite monastics did social work very active ministry lived in Cenobia it's the Basilian model of monasticism emphasizing what? emphasizing a liturgical lifestyle your whole lifestyle becomes liturgy and it's a process of making all things sacred as much as possible what does their approach sound like? if you're going to make your life as liturgical as possible, does it sound like you're going to be


apophatic or cataphatic? Cataphatic icons everywhere this is the monastic strain that has iconostasis here and there and big lamps and huge robes and the ministers wearing the tiaras as many images and things as possible to unite you visually with making life sacred every step, every move every act of worship is vividly, optically connecting you to the sacred that's their emphasis very very cataphatic and again, very action oriented so they have a lot to do with the people and they've got the people in those liturgies also people love icons most people do that's why the apophatics tend to be the minority in any tradition


the old death to light stuff just give me my blank wall my Zafu and I'm fine sort of like a Christian the Christian, Byzantine Christian side of the Zen what you have in Zen and Buddhism these are the Zen, the Christian Zen so what do you get in Samhain? a whole mentality, a whole desert tradition go back to the north of Egypt the whole desert tradition Cenobitic? yeah, there were some Cenobites but what was the general thing in the Egyptian desert? Hermits we're hermits solitude, silence desert spirituality emptiness we don't need all that stuff we just want the basic


why? because life itself is a shell mystically speaking you don't need to have it all connected erase as much as possible and you're closer to the core of existence that's their approach just as real it's just another approach their whole spirituality is going to be one of transfiguration that is now right now we become transfigured in our emptying, our self-emptying apophatic ways of life and so how to do that? if you're not going to have icons and smoke pots and big robes and all this stuff we'd see that but for Byzantines it would be like a low church a lot of black stuff we'd see it as very apophatic for them they've really toned it down


and so if you don't have icons if you don't have all this stuff how do you go about doing this? how do you... how do you pray? okay, how do you do that? hey! what kind of prayer? the Jesus prayer so here's where you get the Jesus prayer and hesychasm everybody know that word? basically we're talking about a move in the Byzantine church that's an apophatic mystical prayer that incorporates the Jesus prayer it's a matter of emptying yourself and coming into union with God that way using a monologistic prayer like we did in the Egyptian desert centering people in the west used to call


hesychasm navel gazers and some of them did they just looked at the navel as the center and honed down and went into centering things it was there, they didn't have to hold anything and we used that in the west as a derogatory phrase this is who we're talking about it's out of the desert of the Byzantine experience that you get the whole hesychastic Jesus prayer tradition, very apophatic the whole thing is contemplation oriented not activism that's fine for the cenobites and all their parades that's fine, they need that the hermits are not about that their whole thrust is completely different and they had big battles over these things over the centuries big battles, especially over icons often these things were decided by politically


who had the most army support so you have a tension forming could you just give me some idea of the date of the year we're talking here and then when was the split from Rome well what's the date for John Climacus what are we talking, 5th? 6th century maybe? I don't have a date for him right here 7th maybe but we're just talking studying the whole thing who are these people going to look for look to, not just John Climacus he happens to be the latest focus in this line they're going to look back to the desert and so Cassian, they're going to be the great fathers in this church, Cassian is the same St. John Cassian, a biggie


and Maximus is around that era also Maximus is like 6th, 7th century I'm sorry if I'm misleading you, it seems to me that's where I haven't paid just generally speaking the final one, 15th century the final one, I mean it has a number of biggies before that, but to the point where our man almost brought it up Ambrogio Traversari, back in the corner in fact, that document right there, on the right side is a copy of the actual document that they had already signed, east and west to bring the churches together again they took it back, and the people said, uh-uh and the whole thing fell apart but that's the document right there, the fading one that was 15th century, but before that there were a number of big fallouts 11th century was a big time for that much earlier, of course, lots of suspicion


of course the Crusades didn't help okay, so what you have here between these two columns is you're going to have tension you're going to have tension over the centuries about these things and they'll have big flare-ups from time to time and they never forget anything, churches tend not to and so, three centuries later you're fighting about the same thing all over again because we didn't settle it three centuries ago, and now we're gonna typical but the tension that you have there forms Byzantine spirituality in general, and Byzantine spirituality in general is going to encompass both of these but more or less one side or the other it's going to be a mixture, a hodgepodge okay, so just Byzantine spirituality in general has some of both of these columns they're not in the extremes so much, they're down the middle


living in that tension that's come through the centuries excuse me, Mount Athos we have a number of books on Mount Athos maybe five or six now Arino Cenzo lived there for maybe a year at Athos, I believe and I hear one of our other ones is going there Antonio, no no, Stefano the young priest who's going to Brazil in May he lived there I think a couple months but I think we have one of our monks is getting ready to go there for a year and live at Mount Athos, that's part of the ecumenical thing Mount Athos, what you get with Mount Athos is basically a kingdom within a kingdom you get a kingdom, a monastic kingdom within Greece from the 9th century onwards developing, and it's a center for various monastic traditions in the east


from Russia, Bulgaria Serbia, they all have their monasteries there there's Senobia and Hermitages and Recluses and Laure, just everything on Mount Athos and it's just a very rich place monastic tradition wise Hesychasm Hesychasm really, what is the word Hesychia or Hesuchia that was one of the names I offered to Robert for these trailers I thought we should stay in Greek Hesychia rest peace and rest, so rest in God Hesychasm is you're concerned with letting go, surrendering quieting down, centering until you're just resting in God typical apathetic process


same thing with Zazen same thing with centering prayer basically although there tends to be a little more activity with the mind and centering prayer Jesus' prayer comes out of Athos, Mount Athos with Hesychasm why use it? To stop your mind from thinking obviously they're not coming through the intellectual column, they're coming through the John Climacus column this movement on Mount Athos that is, control your breath in order to unite your own heart and your own lungs with Christ's life and stop your mind and just unite yourself, your heart with that Hesychasm takes the most definite shape it gets like a real Bible school of spirituality Hesychasm, on Mount Athos


historically takes the definite shape and it's heart centered rather than mind centered well obviously, if you're going to shut your mind out you're not being mind centered and eventually it took a while, but eventually the Orthodox Church accepted Hesychasm it took a while, they had real problems with this generally speaking, the Orthodox Church would be more towards the column of cataphatic liturgical symbology and the intellectual approach well that's typical, again, apophatic doesn't appeal to the majority of people the majority of church goers, even the majority of mystics you wouldn't even have an apophatic column so it's usually a minority thing when we talk about Orthodox monasticism


these days, we're talking about a whole complex of various ethnic monastic churches that have arisen over the centuries with their own traditions that are connected more or less within the Orthodox family, but can be very different from one another in how their liturgy grew up and how they, you know, there's your general principles that are there, but the ethnic and cultural conditioners are often very pronounced, and along with this you've got the Coptic element from Egypt and Coptic monasticism in Egypt is still, the Coptic Orthodox is still very Coptic and very different from the rest of Orthodox monastics you have the Palestine family of that you have the Slavic peoples and their


various monastic ethnic churches the Greeks, the Russians the Byzantine Orthodox, it's also a Greek thing but it has a conditioner, and it depends what you mean by that and the Ukrainian, and on and on and on you're talking about the whole the whole bag, monastically speaking and as far as Orthodox monasticism nowadays they're very, very rooted in the Bible they're very rooted in other words, scripture rooted well, where are they getting that from? they're getting that from the other column that was the John Flemings column so today's monasticism has a mixture very rooted in the scriptures and in the fathers of the church and desert traditions you see, they've jived them together


mixed them together the early primitive texts from the desert very important to Orthodox monasticism nowadays spiritual direction one-on-one spiritual direction master-disciple relationship still very, very important Orthodox monasticism monologistic prayer this they get from the Sinaitic school Jesus prayer emptying, very important nowadays in general in Orthodox monasticism but so is liturgical symbology and so is iconography and iconology very, very important so again, they've mixed, they've taken the best of everything into their general overall very, very rich sacramental theology they get that more from the Studite school


early on with the with even Maximus the Confessor's camp the cataphatic camp had incorporated some sort of cataphatic, right? just like in our own minds but generally speaking once the camps line up and start fighting that's when it becomes clearer when they start backing off into corners and whatnot that it becomes less so when the fights start, the polemics okay, anybody want to say anything about monasticism or Eastern monasticism, or ask any questions again, if you want to do some research we have some things I can point you to in our library down the line, anytime you're ready does the Russian stuff basically grow out of the Greek? out of the Greek, or there's their own yeah, they're quite different in many ways


and in some ways, of course, they're very similar more than any other churches, with the Russian experience over the centuries, you get this staunch nationalistic, whether you're under czar or communism, it's Russian orthodoxy, and the Russians even hold the other orthodox at bay yeah very much that way they have that same sort of liturgical symbology though they more or less all do not, orthodox monasticism all does not but that took time for it to develop that would tend to be the sacramental, again, the sacramental theology and the liturgical spirituality and theology tend to be the majority from the beginning the catechetic approach from the beginning but they incorporated some of the desert


traditions as the centuries went on, as the fights took place and the hermits won some of the fights so you end up historically jiving things together and saying, alright people say, alright, we'll let the hesychasm in, it's okay because of heresy and all this big fights over this stuff you had some of the other schools going some of the hesychasts running and smashing icons in the churches of the other side it wasn't an easy transition, and it took centuries okay this was in brackets, because I just wanted to point out that when we talk about Christian monasticism we can't forget the whole half of the church experience, at least we don't know a lot about it I don't know a lot so now we're going back to the continent we're talking about the 15th century what's the situation?


okay, just general remarks, what's happened? well, we've had the Avignon papacy I don't have to go into that, right? the great western schism, where you end up with more than one pope you have saints on both sides you have a college of cardinals all over the place sometimes three sets of cardinalates there's only been one pope yes, that's very nice very Roman of you, high church no, you're right, of course it's even it's better to keep it clear by calling them antipopes you know which one you're talking about if you're using the antipope thing you're carrying the Roman straight tradition that worked out through the centuries these antipopes not all of them were awful or bad or trying to split the church they thought they were doing the right thing


and had the real pope that's why you had saints on all sides and the longer the mess goes, the worse it gets the higher, the thicker the bureaucracy gets the worse the emotions get and you end up decade after decade with a terrible split you also have the split of east and west the great western schism now you have two churches, the east church and the west church you've got these two situations going what else do you have monastically well you've got communities now that have become over the centuries all nobility the only people in them now we're back down to another degenerate this is another degenerate time in monasticism so all those reforms I was talking about, great stuff we've hopped a century and it's all gone downhill not all, but most of it and it's just right for the reformation


just right for it what have the nobles done? a lot of these nobles in these monasteries are not there because they want to be it's because they happen to be the second son rather than the first one or maybe the third son the second one usually went into the military the first one inherits the property, the second one the military the third one adds the church they didn't want to be there but that's where they ended up and they didn't have much choice about they were ordered into that situation what do you do when you end up with people like that and after your community for the last 53 years has had nothing but nobles who don't want to be there well you throw a few parties and you use what money you can get your hands on to collect your own little kingdom, your own little wealth build up your cell and so there's a lot of unscrupulous stuff going on regarding money


and properties naturally during times like that sometimes this is a general thing going on all over the place vocations go down they can't even get forced people into these places anymore people just won't do it, they don't want to live there vocations go way down at the great abbey of Maria Locke we have 8 monks Saint Gall you have 2 monks now I'm taking it to its lowest point 2 monks, Reichenau this goes back centuries, it was a seat of reform at the beginning of the 15th century, 2 monks Einzidau what a rich history and a place of reform this has been they're down in one one old monk left he's got what money there is there are other reasons for this


if you're going to be in a monastery because you don't want to be but you're forced to how are you going to feel about choir? well, there is no choir anymore they don't have choir huh? I think so community life had stopped there wasn't any you didn't have any community choir who are you going to have a meeting with? that's the worst scenario the worst scenario is that you're no longer anyone the monastery is empty and there's a lot of that you have this thing called prevalence I've underlined in red also again things that are important what are prevalence or prebens prebens are that is it's an understanding that


whatever wealth there is is distributed among the monks I mean, you each get your fair share of everything there is originally this started because historically they wanted to hide the money and as soon as they could get their hands on it before the nobles came in and sucked it out or the bishops they spread it out if you can hide it and get away with it way to go and so that was called preben that's how it originally started and usually one third of it went to the abbot now this is often an abbot who's not an abbot I mean we're talking about the guy who holds the the deed that says he's the abbot so he gets one third of the preben one third of the money two thirds go to the monks and they split it up equally and there's usually a supervisor


it's all openly open, it's all clear this is the understanding, this is the way we work it and there's a supervisor who takes care of the prebendary takes care of the wealth, everybody gets their shares well, it developed into that hey, I'm more important than you and my share is going to be bigger than yours okay, so you get that started in so you go from prebens into some have prebens with a capital P and others have prebens with a small p okay, and then you get you get to the point where the monks say hey, if these are my prebens I can do anything I want with these and you have nothing to say about it and so you get a lot of problems going on because monks are doing not very monastic things with their monies and no one can say anything about it and then others, there's always a shyster in the community who can say, if you loan me, or if I loan you


my prebens this week, you will pay me back one and a half prebens so you get that often all of this is building up to the recognition okay okay what else do you have going on at this time? papal taxation now it's to the point where the pope is taxing the monasteries and heavily if he can get his hands on it why? what does he need money for? he's got to pay his army because papal armies are out fighting and he's got to pay off the troops who else does he have to pay off? just think bad times in the church who else does he have to pay off? no, even worse


remember that they poisoned popes in these years mistresses, families, kings come a little more closer to the church you pay off the cardinals if you don't want to be poisoned and if you want enough cardinals in your camp you better pay some hefty prices and so you have a lot of this going on and the pope needs to tax all these monasteries in order to pay off the redhands and a lot of the redhands only have them because they bought their redhands it's simony again but you go about it in other ways and a lot of them is just payoffs to his nephews abortions sometimes to his son abortions abortions just generally in this period and before


alexander the 6th alexander the 6th is going to do some nice things but alexander the 6th was also one that made his son a cardinal he had a number of mistresses a number of children off of various mistresses I think when he died they had I don't know how many claimants to his money from all the little bastards he had around and this we're in a period of history where this is you don't even bat an eyelash at this it's just the way things have become you get to a point where somehow it doesn't seem wrong we've always done it this way it's just at a very low ebb coming right up to the reformation don't ever think the reformation happened and there was no reason for the reformation to happen you're way off if that's what you believe and it's not just through a monastic lens


it's just all through the church what's happening, the reformers are reacting against many things that are real in church life were they painted well as Michelangelo's people about the time he was dead? patron? oh yeah that's always been the popes have always been patrons for the arts that's understandable if you're bringing in people to paint your ceiling and your chapel you'd pay the artist that was always so which pope was that? Julius that was the 16th century yeah that's further on but we're generally talking about that okay so there's a lot of politicking going on with pope and cardinals because of the taxation also the more that this happens it leads to


commend on evidence, this is important remember this word, commend on evidence what's a commend on evidence? this is a guy who's gotten the title of this abbey because the pope's given it to him as a payoff a financial payoff or a big title, a nice payoff that's basically what it is they receive the revenues, if they can get their hands on they really get their share of the prevents who takes care of the monastery? the prior, the number two man runs the monastery, some of these monasteries never saw their abbots now a number of these abbots these commend on abbots are cardinals, bishops, laymen soldiers, doesn't matter a lot of them later on are very good people


it just becomes kosher in the church and they don't think anything of it it's not like we're looking at the general monastic history scope when you're living in any given century what's going on is what the reality is unless the church didn't see it sure we've got a couple problems they're rotten to the core in many ways but they didn't see it because they had been living there too long and it just logically degenerated and as you're living that, you don't see it you might get to a point where you say wow, we're going lower, we're way over it but during the process no, it's so subjective what's going on where are commend on abbots very popular? Italy, Spain, especially in France


those three, Italy, Spain and France almost all the monasteries end up with commend on abbots and sometimes this is real hard because the commend on we say, hey, we stop all premiums no more premiums, this is degenerate I get all the money and the commend on take all the money and maybe once in a while they'll flick a little bit in the abbot's direction many of these monasteries had to constantly be fighting with Rome to get their commend on to help pay the bills so they could keep going as a monastery well, none of the monasteries dropped out of existence because of their commend on, because of their abbots at this time also, what else has gone on well, this shouldn't surprise you but they've neglected studies during this time, monastically speaking well, they don't have that many students to study anyway so the thing is, do we have enough bread on the table and pork chops


it also got to the point in some monasteries where they still had choir that if you go to choir that's all you have to do so in other places they didn't even have that but in some places they had a choir that's all you had to do that was all the monastic observance that was left and even that died out in places, as I pointed out how do you build up communities some of these are dying off, they're dying right out well, let's have a vocational campaign who do you bring in well, you don't want scouts I mean, these are all nobles in the communities you want other nobles in well, nobles don't want to come in I mean, these are not good places to be anymore especially if you like money and pork chops so what to do, who do you get they end up recruiting all these nobles that nobody knew what to do with


and nobles who were less than noble in many ways, they get a lot of scoundrels into these places of course, they brought some money in with them too often that's, you know, I threw it away okay it's a problem you also get another problem developing now you can't get any money any other way let's incorporate parishes let's take on parishes and we can suck the money out of these parishes so some of that starts here we still have that in the 20th century all these abbeys that had incorporated my former community in North Dakota had something like 20 incorporated parishes what did that mean that meant that they weren't the bishop's parishes they belonged to the abbey and the abbey always had to put a monk there and they were given to the abbey by the pope and the bishop had nothing to say about it what's happening now is a lot of abbeys


are getting bishops to take parishes back technically off these incorporated parishes of course post-Vatican tradition, they're all the bishop's parishes but the bishops like to say you have to take care of it and it's a technicality it's still working it's still a problem getting rid of some of these parishes we're going to basically look at three countries and also a couple councils first we're going to look at Italy Subiaco Abbey here you have now we're going to look at some good things happening you've seen the bad side you've seen what it's like


now we're going to look at some good things Abbott Bartholomew II of Subiaco Abbey decides to reform his house in the year 1364 so we're talking 14th century the end of the 14th century what happened? the monks rebelled they literally took up arms and revolted and so the abbot fought them off and expelled the monks out of the community getting replacement monks from Germany nobody knows how he did it he got some monks from Germany monks who wanted to live in a reformed house and so Subiaco for about a century became a German house this is Benedict's Subiaco in Italy


they had strict observance of the rule of Benedict with silence, sound familiar? everybody had to work that is, what do you work? if you're a choir monk, you work in the house the various works that are going on in the house if you're a conversus you're out in the fields everybody's working there's no personal property no pre-events none of that and so it became a model of observance for this time other houses including Farfa the other Italian house joined and they formed a little German congregation odd situation this is in Italy a German congregation this one's important this one's in red this happens at the


abbey of St. Justina of Padua this is an old house it used to be a real wealthy house and then it fell under this it fell under commendam and they sucked it dry all of its wealth disappeared by the year 1405 they had 3 monks left the house was in ruins it had been stripped the year before that situation it had been given to a commendam named Antonio Correr now Antonio Correr had joined a group at San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice under a commendam there named Lui Barbo there's a picture of him


that painting is in the monastery at San Giorgio Maggiore we have a book that treats Lui Barbo and his reformation a little bit and I'm going to try and get another one a photocopied one in Italy with some Italian so Lui Barbo is the commendam in Venice and in the year 1409 this abbey was given to Barbo too as commendam and Barbo happens to be a white hat and he says, you know we should reform so the abbot decides that he should make a profession the abbot decides that if we're going to do reform he better become a monk so he makes profession and he goes to restore monastic life


in this reform at Padua San Giustino and there's no one left he's starting from scratch who goes with him? well he has to bring people in and he brings two canons two canons from San Giorgio in Venice so two choir people who are canons from San Giorgio two camaldolese he brings in and the three old ones still hanging on that's all that's left at San Giustino it's real, the reform is real in no time at all they start getting vocations coming in he's not out for the money they build up the place, vocations come in they actually found five more monasteries in their movement because there's a lot of people around who want to be monks there's always the vocation it's just that at certain times it's hard to find any place to go to


or for it to be real and they had a situation where in this reform he made profession within the congregation you professed to Lui Barbo you professed to God of course but to Lui Barbo as the elder so it's like again you have a general for these houses it's a congregational setup in the year 1419 so just ten years later you get a papal bull coming out approving Barbo's whole setup what is it? that the congregation should be seen as one organism well we've heard these things before that there's a yearly general chapter and there are four visitators elected and there's an administrator of the congregation and there's an executor who runs around making sure that the decrees from the chapter are enforced that we actually live in


and everybody's subject to the general chapter it's part of your profession part of your profession formula pledges allegiance to the general chapter and that you will follow what dictates the general chapter well it almost has to get to that point if you're going to make something work monastic possessions well it's not to go too far the abbot gets one-fifth one-fifth not all, not one-third, down to one-fifth and the monastery has four-fifths the abbots are all subordinate to the abbot general and the visitators you make your profession in your house but the congregation can switch you around from house to house if it has needs this is typically not Benedictine it's a different approach to stability it's a congregational approach


we had that one congregational approach to stability also, Barber took away a lot of the privileges of the abbot to make it more communal in his big forum and he did away with lifetime tenure and all that stuff his five-year terms in the year 14th, I'm just going to finish we'll go one more minute Pope Eugene IV published a bull saying that monasteries no longer have the right to elect abbots general chapters will do that centralize it more why? because we want to knock out all the commandants we want to get rid of all this stuff we want to avoid this in the future put the hands into the reforming body and let that be the electoral process


and eventually 170 monasteries were in this very good reform and a number of other reforms embodied what Louis Barber and his group were doing and this is going to become known as today, the Casanese congregation the largest or second largest it's the second largest congregation in the world Casanese they took that name because somewhere along the line Montecassino even joined their group so Benedict's monastery joined their group in the 16th century and so they took the name the Casanese congregation ok, so tomorrow we'll move to Spain the second biggest congregation


in New York Benedictine order well we're part of the Benedictine order yeah, I mean back at this time they weren't part of that yes, we were part of 13 13 something even if you didn't talk about it you were technically part of it