Monastic History

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Monastic History Class

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For next time, you don't have a reading assignment and you don't have to bring a reader for next Wednesday. However, for the day after, Thursday, we'll get to Pocomius. So you need the selections from the life of Pocomius in the reader. For those of you who haven't read the life of Pocomius, a couple of you have, you want to, for next Thursday and a week from today, you want to bring your reader again and have that read by that time. It's not too much. It's only selections from him. Okay. I had another announcement. What was it? No, remember. I've got some maps for you. Jonah already has his, so no one has to. That's a nice big one. There'll be a few of these big ones coming. This is the Egyptian desert map, it's a real treasure. I have all the monasteries mapped out.


And the other one is just a small, in general, map of the main places that we're going to talk about in the next couple of weeks. Do you need a jacket? Are you warm? Are you all right? Yeah. Because I really don't need this. No, I'm fine. All right. Tell me when you're, when you start to look purple, I'll throw you a jacket, or my jacket. Also, I'm going to send around, while I'm talking, four books. This first one is the Contemporary Monastery of St. Anthony the Great in the desert. It's a Coptic monastery. It looks like a big beehive. And so look through this. If you don't look at the rest of them, that's fine. Look through this while this class is going on. This was given to us by Chris Grayby, who went there while he was in Desert Storm in


the army. He's still in the army for one more month. He's joining us next year. He'll be apostle next year. And he got this for the library, as well as, I have a couple more here of other Coptic monasteries in the desert. And you can look at those, too. They're very similar to Abba Anthony's place. Also, there's the Monastery of Epiphanios near Thebes. And in the back here, this is not a flourishing monastery today. This is ruins. But you may want to look at the plates in the last 20, 30 pages of this volume. It'll just give you some audiovisual. I'll be the audio, and this will be the visual for today. We have tapes of the office for St. Anthony's, too. I think we have another book somewhere in the library. I couldn't find it right off of Anthony Elson, that particular monastery. OK. What I want to do, then, is I want to just give you some general pointers.


I want to lecture a little bit using this side of the board for your spellings. I think I've got everything there that you need when I get to it. And then we're going to talk a little bit about what you read and the whole phenomenon of Anthony of the desert. OK. Now, remember, we're not talking about synovatism. We're talking about hermits. We're talking about anchorites. That's why I've got Pecomius in here in parentheses, or Pecomian style, because I want to talk about the three kinds. In general, then, going back to the desert, this is the beginning of that fugabundi mentality. It's up there. Latin, huh? Flee from the world, flight from the world mentality that drove so many thousands over a span of quite a while, hundreds of years we're talking about, into the desert wastes, whether in community or grouped around a holy master


or just off on their own in some hole in the desert. People went out there to live white martyrdom. And basically, if you look at this phenomenologically, this movement was really a nationalistic movement. It wasn't all just this ethereal vocational awakening and whatnot. It was a Coptic nationalist movement also. In other words, there were negative elements to this. The Coptics were doing this not only for spiritual and religious reasons. Primarily they were, spiritual and religious reasons. But there was also a nationalism involved in it, because these people, for the most part, who went into this, were Coptic peasants. They were not into Greek literature. They were not into the Greek culture around them. They certainly weren't into the Roman Empire.


They weren't even into learning, book learning. For the most part, they could not read or write. These were ignorant peasants who embraced a wonderful new phenomenon in the church. Yes. Coptic does mean Egyptian in general? We're talking new language. So the country folk. Coptic just means? This is a language, the Copts. These monasteries are Coptic monasteries. One of my church history professors was one of the four world experts in Coptic language. He was an Irishman from Canada. And he studied 15 years in Africa and Rome.


He was an Augustinian. Anyway, there's this whole group of Coptic lovers. Just Coptic literature and Coptic culture. But it's still going. And these monasteries are flourishing right now. Many of them. Some of them have hundreds. And more and more young people. Anyway, we're talking linguistically. We're talking about the people who speak Coptic. And this, for the most part, are country folk. And very poor, generally speaking. Very fierce temperaments. Very fiery. And very beautiful eyes. You see the Coptic iconography? Those are the great big black eyes on them. Very brilliant colors. We have a couple around here. One Christmas nativity thing. Jesus Mary and Joseph. Great big black eyes. That's the Coptic style. You can always tell by the eyes. So for the most part, they were uneducated.


They took everything literally. They went into the desert to do battle with the devils. Literally. They expected to see devils. And they did see them. And they did do battles. And they went into the desert primarily to face God and gain eternal life. And when they meant face God, they meant physically. They were going to see God. They're literalists. Their approach is literal. This is from Anthony on down. Now, Anthony had some education. And some of the biggies did. But in the beginning here, in the beginning of the movement, generally speaking, not. Most were just these fellahim, as I handled them. Coptic fellahim. Most of them are moving. The negative side is they're moving. They want to get away from the north and the influences of Greece and Rome on Egypt. So it's partly a political. That's the negative side. From their standpoint, they're in opposition to Rome.


They band together to live together and have nothing to do with Rome or Greece or things Roman or Greek. That really is the minor side of it. I mean, the main thing is that they're going to something positively. And that is to band together to face God, to see God face to face, and to fight the demons within and without. Literally. The primary sources we have coming down to us are primarily given to us in Greek or Latin. There are some Coptic manuscripts. But the majority of the things that have come down to us and that have influenced culture and religion and monastic history are in Latin and Greek.


Even though the Abbas themselves were, for the most part, including the educated ones, Copts. And spoke Coptic and wrote Coptic. There were three basic lifestyles in the desert that we're talking about. There was the Antonian model, which you get a feel for in your, you know, as you read the beginnings of his life in the desert. In the tombs, for instance. That whole period. That Antonian, isolated, real hermit-type approach. And then later, the Starets around whom others group. The Abba, around which a group gather and live with him as their model and their spiritual father. Then there's the Pacomian style, which is, we're basically talking Cenobitism. They all live together in a monastery. They're Cenobites, not Acreites.


That's going to be Pacomius, and we're going to treat him next Thursday. The third kind is the Laura. And basically, if you want to see one Laura in the United States, you would look at Big Sur. Because that's a Laura. And we'd be even more of a Laura style if we all lived in cabins on the side of the mountain and came together, each from our cabin. So we're semi-Laura style. And there's a number of Lauras functioning on various parts of the monastic world, especially on Athos right now. And some of the newer experimental houses in monasticism are tending to form a Laura style approach to life. Basically, remember from the beginning, just cement this into your memory.


And it's going to continue on for centuries. Basically, monasticism is lay. It's a lay movement, not clerical. There are some priests that join, and many of those priests who joined in the beginning were asked to be laicized in order to become monks. It was intentionally a lay movement. Why? Why did they ask to be laicized? Did they hate their priesthood? No. They asked to be laicized in order to not to bring to the monastery the possibility of a class structure. Because there's a real strong element of everybody's equal. We're all in this together, type of thing. The only one who's not equal is that, in this situation, is that holy star, the holy Abba. You know, at the head. Or those Abbas who are the heads of these various groups. Everybody else is equal. And a number of them felt that if they brought their priesthood or their bishophood into the desert, you would end up having class warfare.


And who needed that in monasticism? There's a strong element of mistrust among these. And you'll catch that flavor reading their sayings and their stories. Mistrust of whom? The state? The church? Bishops? And women. Basically, those four. But also, anything to do with laws. They didn't want anything to... They wanted freedom from all of that. And anything to do with philosophy. Book learning in general. Massive distrust of things written down, other than the scriptures. And of course, their tradition is going to be basically what? Oral. Oral tradition. They all memorize these sayings. That's how we get these collections of sayings.


Because they just all knew who said what. And they'd get together and they'd go through his famous sayings. And that's how they became collected. By people like John Cashin, for instance. And Germain, or Germanos, is his cohort. And others. Palladius? Palladius? I think so. Rufinus. Rufinus. Rufinus. And others who collected these things. Wrote them down in Greek or Latin. And came down to us in that way. Later on, in the desert. Despite the fact that the Cenobites became more popular. And more numerous. For various reasons. But mainly for security reasons. People wanted...


You know, when you have Berber tribes going through Slovenia. You're going to get more people going behind the walls. Than living out in the desert, asking for it. And so, as time progresses. The Cenobites are going to become more numerous. They lived through it. And they didn't always. They all got slaughtered in the end. Those that were out there. But that takes a few hundred years. So, even though the Cenobites became more popular. More numerous. The desert monasticism. Even among the Cenobites. Never, ever. In Egypt. Lost it's primary love. And esteem for solitude. That's the whole thing. This time. Solitude. Even if you're living in a cenobitic place. Solitude. Is the ideal. Basically, their approach. In this desert existence.


Is a return to what? We've said this before. A return to paradise. Exactly. And so, the type of life they wanted to live like. Angels. Angels. And you get the angelism being used. Against them. Angelism in a pejorative sense. Like, you're trying to live this type of life. That you're not meant to live. And cannot live. Angelism. It's sort of a dark word. But that was their point. Well, why not live like angels? As close as we can get anyway. We want to see God face to face. Who's seeing God face to face? In the hierarchy of heaven? Angels. So, from a positive sense. Why not? And you look at these stories. How come the Berbers wanted to do them harm? I guess they were just out in the desert. The early Berbers of that time. Were hordes of nomadic tribes. Who were going through.


Coming from. Excuse me. Coming from the east. In Asia. Into. At that time. Northern Africa. And they were just slaughtering everybody inside. For land. To take everything they owned. They were just bands of robbers at that time. The Berbers of today, of course, are their descendants. And for the most part. Ouch. Agrarian. I mean, they have herds. Basically. But back then they were. They were the vanguard of what. All of the then known world was going to suffer through. All these nomadic. Marauders. But. If you look at the literature. Itself. It'd be hard to. Hard to. Miss. The point. That they're returning to a paradisal. Framework. What are some elements in that. And you can even see it from the life of Anthony. But what are some elements. Just in general. How do they live.


That shows that they're living differently than us. Whether you believe it's true or not. Some of these. Strange things that happen. I'm noticing how many times you talk. Directly to the animals. That's the first point. Because you think of the Garden of Eden. What was it? Yeah. Everybody was. Exactly. The animals. The animals. I want to get three things out of you. And the animals was number one. Eight plus. Okay. What else? Going back to primeval innocence. The Garden of Eden. Paradise. Paradise. I've already mentioned it. In another context. Okay. Apple. Think apple. Trees. Yes. Demons. The whole thing about demons. And quicksand angels. That whole thing again. It's very.


It's woven all through the literature. And the stories. It's very real to them. Very real. And why not? Because this is where they're moving back to the garden. Intentionally. And so they're ready for this to happen. On an everyday basis. And thirdly. And this would be more elusive. Is that the point is. They want to not just pray to Christ. Not just to live like Christ. But to actually live with Christ. And see Christ physically. In the desert. And for them. That's paradise. If you can get to that point. And where is a better place than the desert? From their point of view. That is paradise alive. The presence. The physical presence of Christ. How do you get to that point? Well to really live physically with Christ in the desert.


You have to ready yourself. You have to do some battle. You have to arm yourself with the virtues. In order to fight the vices within yourself. And you physically endure. Lots of suffering. In order to get to a state of. Whatever you want to call it. Quies. Tranquility. Later we'll talk about apatheia. I mentioned it last class. This peacefulness. Which will allow you. To meet Christ face to face. And you do that again through ascesis. Through ascetical life. So whether you're fasting. You're doing vigils. You're whipping yourself. You're out in the slumps. Letting the mosquitoes. Raise your skin six inches. With blisters. And you read it in literature. Or through silence.


Or solitude. Or contemplation. Or your early communal life together. And living with wise people. And obeying them. So obedience. All of that. All of that ascesis. Should bring you to that peacefulness. That allows you. And this is the whole point. To meet Christ face to face. To see the face of God. Physically. Literally. This laura life. Laura life. That I mentioned here. Plural laura. Sometimes you see lauras. Either way. Is basically a very highly unstructured life. I mean you could find. You know. As many variants on laura life. As you had lauras in the desert probably. But just in general. They had. Most of them did. You know. Certain things all in general. That is. They at least got together on weekends.


For a liturgy. A good meal together. And a nice. Wise speech. Or sermon from the Abba. And then back to your holes. Back to your caves. Or your huts. Or whatever. Your reed. Your reed. Framework you had over your little tent. Or whatever. You know. They lived differently. They lived in a scattered. Form of general. This laura business. That's what we're talking about. Lauras. During the week. Outside of weekends. And each cell. Had. An elder. That doesn't necessarily mean old old. But one who's been in the life for a while. And at least one disciple. Living with them. One newcomer. So the newcomers all split up. The postulants and the novices so to speak. Are all split up. Each one under a. Living with. An elder. And there's this rudimentary common life. But especially between each. Each two or three.


Some of them had three or four. Disciples. Young ones. But you know. During the week. You're living a very small community life. And then you all come together on weekends. For a different element of communal life. Larger. Larger framework. The. Eucharistic liturgy. For the weekend. And. Big. A good meal together. And again. The service. The synopsis. Yup. Synopsis. Exactly. Okay. The elder. Each elder undertook. The formation program. For. That. Or those. Young ones. Living with him. And that was his responsibility. It was the responsibility. Of all those young ones. To scrape together enough food. To make sure they made enough money. By selling baskets or whatever. In order to keep them all. Alive. There you go. That was their responsibility. For some it was harder than others.


Depending on their situation. So the material maintenance was. The young ones. The disciples. Problem. During the day. Each person remained alone. Even among those pairs. Each young one remained alone. And they came together. At night. In their little situations. For a more common. The common element. Of the life. Of the community. And hospitality. For these Lao world members. Is of utmost. Importance. Hospitality. Which always sounds ironic. Out in the desert. Living solitude. And the biggest thing is. Putting up people. And having making parties. For visiting monks. And all this stuff. It sounds so ironic. But it's. It's intrinsic to their. Why?


Why would it be? To show the good life. Say it again. Welcoming Christ. See that's what again. It goes back to that. Meeting the face of Christ. They're always waiting. For that face of Christ. The angels. In the sense of. Abraham and the angels. Same thing. In the Old Testament. The main lines. Of the Laura. Of a theory. Of Laura. About existence. Is basically. One. Spirit of solitude. Why? So you don't sin so much. For one thing. So that you can practice. What kind of prayer? Unceasing. Incessant. Or unceasing prayer. Often through the Jesus prayer. What we call Jesus prayer. Or that type of. Monologuian prayer.


One word. Jesus. Jesus. With every breath. That type of thing. Where the spirit of fire. Lord come to my assistance. Lord come to my assistance. So that goes hand in hand. With what we would call nowadays. Mindfulness. Obviously. Solitude is going to promote. A mindfulness. Vigilance. Keeping vigils. There's literally vigilance. Keeping vigils all through the night. And solitude also for the purpose. That you can hear the Holy Spirit. More clearly. And more often. If you're living solitude. You can pay more attention. To the promptings. Of the Holy Spirit. So. Main lines of Laura theory. One. Solitude. Spirit of solitude. Secondly. Discernment. This great virtue. Discretio. Or discretion. In English. Discernment of spirits.


Is another phrase. Used in the desert. Always seeing. Whether something. Is coming from. The white hats or the black hats. God or the demons. Or whether. For each person. The discernment is going to be. Particular to that person's soul. That person's journey. In the desert. It isn't all written down in laws. Remember that in the desert. That each one. Has one's own journey. Mediated through the Abba. Through the spiritual elder. And is to be treated. As an individual. Unique person. Because the discernment is going to be different. With each person. Thirdly. The Abba. The spiritual elder. Phenomenon. Who is an Abba. Because he's reached. A certain maturity of the spirit. He has this virtue.


Of discretio. It's recognized. That's when they call him Abba. It isn't that he's got his own collar on. It's a spiritual phenomenon. It's a spiritual growth dynamic. When he becomes that. He's a new metaphor. You'll run into this word. I'm not trying to be fancy. You'll run into this word. In monastic history. New metaphor. What does that mean? Put into English. I mean. Look at it in Greek. What does it mean? Neuma. For. Christopher. Bearer. Bearer of the spirit. In Greek. The. Phosphor. So like where we get phosphorus from. Phosphor. Was the name for the morning star. The first morning star that comes up early. And that morning star.


Was the one bearing the light. Was the one opening the whole thing up. The whole sky. For the. For the Latin world. The Roman world. It's going to be Lucifer. Light bearer. The bearer of light. That's just a side note. It has nothing to do with this. I just thought of it because of before. One who bears the spirit. One who actually carries around in his life. In his very desert existence. The Holy Spirit. Embodying the Holy Spirit for his disciples. For them that's reality. That's why he's an abbot. And that's how precious that is. Happens to be the religious superior. No. He's actually got the spirit in him. And he's to be obeyed. Absolutely. Because the spirit is there. And he. Is the bearer of light. Not just the spirit but light.


You know. The light of discernment. But also. If you read enough of these stories and sayings. Many of them had. They were so full of light. And so full of the spirit. They shone. They were transparent. Within the tradition. That's how the tradition comes down to us. And this whole phenomenon of light. And shimmering and all that. Carries down to our present. In the Eastern Church. We don't have much here. We have a little bit. But if you look. You know. Especially in art. But just from popular piety. In the East right now. They still have great saints who. They say shine and shimmer. With the spirit. And that's the reality. That's a. That's a sign of this. Being a pneumatophore. How does the Abba. Go about formation? By being first of all. Brutally honest. At all times. And mature.


In being able to discern. Bad spirits from good spirits. And. Is one. Who lives his life. In order to be imitated. By his disciples. So it isn't just all words for them. Live like me. Fourthly. So the third one was Abba. I'm turning the main elements of. Lara life in the desert. The fourth one is. Obedience and charity. Put those two together. Obedience slant charity. Because these are foundational. For desert spirituality. I had a whole class. I would have. I would have lectured yesterday on. Had I been here on desert spirituality. I don't think I need to do that. Those of you. Those of you who took my. Course in desert literature. I talked enough about that. It would have been a repeat for you. Well we'll.


Within this course. We'll cover everything I would have said yesterday. One time or another. But obedience and charity. Absolutely foundational to this experience. In the desert. Absolute respect. For one another. Why? Because the potential is always there. For not just carrying the spirit. But also for. Being the Christ. They want. They need to meet. Because the Christ comes to one. In various ways. And one always has to be vigilant. In order to meet the light. And to recognize the light. Because it's not easy to recognize. The light all the time. Sometimes the light brings forth. A message you're not ready to hear. That was true for us too of course. And it was very real for them. In their spirituality. And for us. Any day. Any day. Any time. For the desert dwellers.


There can't be any contemplation. There can't be any contemplative activity. Unless you know how to love. Unless you get to the point of charity. Because there can be. There can be greed. There can be avarice. There can be all the. All the elements of the seven headed dragon. That we'll see in the desert. We'll talk about that later. The seven headed dragon. The eight deadly sins. Or seven deadly sins. They all show up in desert life too. And so until one gets to the point. Where one is living a life of love. There hasn't been any contemplation. Not really. And their aim is. Contemplative. What do they want to see again? What's the prize? That's going to come through contemplation. As well as the exercise. Of Christian gospel living. Lastly.


Asceticism. In general. Asceticism. And the austerity. That one lives. Is going to be different. For each month. And that's why there's an Abba with discretio. Because different people can take more. Different people have different needs. Regarding asceticism. And that's the Abba's responsibility. To be flexible. In this discernment. And to know the heart of each one. As well as the body. What one needs. And what one can take. The ascesis. So the ascetical life. The ascetic. That's not good. The ascesis. Is basically one of. Transfiguration. And that's why this whole notion of transfiguration. We get from the gospel. Is going to be woven all through the life. In the desert. Of being with this.


Shining shimmering Christ. In the desert. With. The prophet. Moses and Elijah. The Torah. The prophets. On either side. Contemplating. The. Transfigured Christ. And to be transfigured themselves. Within this. To the influence of the Holy Spirit. Is. Is the undercurrent. Of the ascetical life. In the desert. For them. For them the primary dualism. They're dealing with. Is not body and soul. Okay. We're not talking body soul dualism here. This is not. This is not Greek thinking. Remember these are cops. And they don't want anything to do with Greeks. It's the non transfigured body. Slant. Transfigured body.


That's their dualism. And it isn't the body soul. Thing that comes to us. Especially through Augustine. And all of that in Western. It's more. The non transfigured body. Which is the flesh. But it's different than the body. And then this philosophical thing. Body soul. It's real. Something you can grab. Flesh that you've got to get under control. And live with this. And be ready to meet Christ physically. With this. Versus the transfigured body. Which will come through that. That meeting of Christ. It's a twist on that. You know it's just not body soul. As we think of it. It's come down through our Western philosophy. It's closer to a Jewish. Notion but it's it's own. Twist on that. Through the transfigured lens.


This transfiguration. Remember that's important. Does it set part of returning to the body. Yeah I think so. If I hadn't said that. I just assumed that. Makes sense to follow in that. Right. Okay. Now let's talk about Nancy. Everybody got a chance to read The Life? Isn't it wonderful? It's fun to read out loud. I did that one time for a lecture. Just sat with myself and read it out loud. It's great. There's so much art. On Antony. From the Middle Ages on. And the whole. The whole phenomenon. What he means. To not just monasticism. But to Christianity. And to. What the life of a saint means. How it should be written. What elements. What he was really saying. Is also caught up with.


With Antony. And this basic dynamic. That he lives in the desert. That becomes extremely important. Way to look at. Saints lives. I try to dump some things here. That. Some elements of why I think. The life of Antony. Is so. Important. And. If you took my advice. Or my urging. And read the introduction. To this volume. Which. You know. The elements would also have been named in here. One by a certain name. And I want to see if I can get this out of you. So. I have a list here. Of. Elements. Of why. How you see the person of Antony. Here. And what are some important facets about. His life.


By Athanasius. That. That have come through. Vis a vis. The whole desert thing. So we've said some of these words already. But I've got about a dozen here. We've said almost all of them. Because. And there's a reason for this. But I won't say it. Okay. Anyway. Abba Antony. Why is this life important? Why is this. Why is this important? I was thinking because. Athanasius presents. Anthropology through it. To. Not just. I mean. What he thinks humanity should be like. But what are some elements of that then? What is he right then? That we should be like? What is Antony like? There's a balance in everything. Yeah. There's that part where he comes out of the cave the first time.


And he's. He's not overly joyful and happy and hugging people. And he's not angry with them either. There's a sort of a middle. A middle ground. He's a peacefulness. He's quiet. Okay. So there's a quiet about him. There's a balanced peacefulness. Oh, a demon thing. Yeah. He got his balance after fighting demons. Yeah. It's all going to leave. It's all interconnected. Demons and. Animals. Angels. Angels or. You can put theologies here. Demonology. Angelology. Notice that all these things.


That we're mentioning. Will become. This is a hint to you. How you become consonant with. For the next thousand years. Et cetera. How you write. How you sit. How do you write a life of a saint. In ten easy lessons. This is what we're getting here. This is what we're getting. Very clearly the dualism of the body. Transfigured body. And this is not in a pejorative sense. Dualism. Pejorative sense. Doesn't that. Doesn't that notion of talking to animals. Come in here again. And we're going to angels. How about the humans in exorcism? You already got anything for us. You don't even need these. We put just miracles in general. So many odd things happen. In wondrous things. Miracles. We're going to get many of these same miracles.


And saints down the line. Hundreds of lives of saints. We're going to have the same things happening. They just change the animal. Or they change the color. You know, you fill in the blanks. And it isn't that they're lying or anything. It's just that there's a main. A few main things to say about a saint. And this is the way to say them. I think his calling was. Very strong. Why was it strong? What do you think of right away? Biblical. Very powerful. Here's the word. The classic. The words to the young rich man. And away he goes. You're going to run across this down the road too. Look at Francis. Francis himself. His being. It doesn't matter.


Come right in. Fighting heresy. Who? Fighting heresy. Or of the apologetic nature. Yeah, let's do the positive side of that. Let's put the Orthodox. Orthodox too. Yeah, and then I'll put some heresy. Yeah, that whole thing. That's always going to be messed up if you're actually thinking literally in the sense of is this, you know, because especially monastic saints, you have them both on both sides in any heretical crisis. Saints on both sides. Seeing things in the future and also having dead people come back. Seeing ghosts go to heaven. Yeah, I would put that with miracles. Let's see, how am I going to get this? Or supernatural, we can say. I've got one, two, three. Didn't get her head cut off.


She's a martyr. Or she lives like one. That's the point, huh? The point is witnessing to Christ. Doesn't matter whether it's bloody or not. Because until now, it has been bloody. But they're not killing anybody anymore. At least not for a while. The burglars come through. For religious reasons, they're not killing anybody. Not too many. Not on a big scale. Okay, that I'll get at the end. Okay, I can take this piece down to why it came out the first point from Ezekiel. And that points to a very, very strong virtue in the monad that's going to become one of the key virtues in the monastic world. What kind of a man is he? How would you describe him? Holy. Holy, why? Give me some adjectives.


Wisdom. Wise. His wisdom, his sayings are very strong. Looking for virtues. Perseverance. Temperance. I'm looking for one especially that's going to tie in with those two together. Wisdom. Why is he wise? He is that too. That ties in with discretion. Why is he wise? Why is he such a strong example of wisdom? For these. Not for the philosophers, but for the fellahim. He's gone through the battle. It's real basic. It's real basic what he's come through. Close. What comes from solitude? He comes out and he's got a balance about him.


And there's a peacefulness and yet he's got a long journey ahead of him yet. But what do they respect in all of that? He ain't complicated. He's simple. And they're as simple as you can get. And the whole thing is going to become, and this is going to become very important for any life of any stage, is that this person has a simplicity about them. Well, when they say that, they're really saying this, that Ezekiel was pointing out in the beginning. That there's this quiet about them, that they're balanced, that they can see things and say wise things that anyone can understand. And you can see right through them. They're as honest, and that's another wonderful thing. They are transparent. We already talked about that. They are transparent. And this is going to become real important in the lives of the saints down through,


especially the New Angels, but down through these early centuries too. Because Athanasius, without knowing it, is going to give us the how-to book on how to write a biography of the saint. Athanasius did not, and this is my last point that I wanted to get out of you, did not invent this. He didn't invent the how-to. He borrowed it from somewhere. Not from Christ. No. Well, yes and no. Yes in the sense that there is a lot of biblical illusions, of course, that you will see in this life. You will see events in Christ's life being mirrored in that, yes, in that sense. But where is he getting the basic how-to for the real thing? From writing, I know, the story of a


what? A hero! Exactly! And where do you look to to find a model of how to write about a hero? Mythology! And the whole literature of the Greek and Roman worlds of how you write about these heroes, because there's always these superhuman figures that come through. Well, that's what, to Athanasius, that's what Anthem is. And since the model of how to write it is already there, you go back to these hero lives and you're going to see a lot of this now. You have to erase the religious overtones and conditioners that go into this. They aren't Christian, huh? But you're going to find a lot of the same stuff. And that's okay. That's okay. That's the format you're working with. You fill in the particulars of each life. You fill in the blanks. Okay, that's what he's doing. Also wedded with Cyprian's point. Wedded with the scriptural.


So you've got two models you're working with. The scriptures and the, let's say the paradigmatic literature, especially Greek mythology. But also philosophers, huh? We're not talking just mythology. Various philosophies, Greek philosophies, would also at times treat the hero figure. And there are certain elements that come through and, as Matthew pointed out, they show up. So it isn't anything he invented. He's borrowing it. And he changes it a little and adds some, of course, like a philosopher king. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Is another synonym for the simplicity, purity part? Yes. That will come through more through Evagrius and Cassian especially. Cassian will call it turitas cordis. Evagrius will call it apotheon.


Apotheon. I need a research paper on that. I'll publish something on that. Apotheon. Apotheon. Back. Back in their days. On turitas cordis and Evagrius. Oh no, it's part of one of my comms questions. That's what it was. Yeah, purity of heart. You will find the purity of heart thing in the desert literature and stuff, but not as much as the major central activity as you get to in the literature and a little bit before you die. Purity of heart. Excellent. We did the whole list. As Robert would do. Put a line through it. He does that at each chapter. So we have this wonderful document that you wrote for this time.


The vita ad tonium. Life, the vita of Antony. And he wrote this, St. Athanasius. Who's the bishop, huh? Who's the bishop of this time? He wrote it a year after Antony died. So we're close to the actual events of Antony's life. Antony's very famous by this time, but not as famous as he will be when Antony's life gets out. He's famous on the level of oral tradition among the Philaean and the cities around the desert. Antony makes him a paradigm for Western Christianity especially, but also Eastern Christianity. Still, one of the great saints of the East also. A Latin translation down the line done by Evagrius, whom we just talked about, whom we just mentioned. Evagrius of Pontus,


also called Evagrius Ponticus, spread through the whole Roman Empire. Now we're just talking a couple generations down. Through the whole Roman Empire. And Antony became a model for Roman Christianity. And, of course, where are most of these lines going to come through, but through the Roman, through the Latin. Down through the Middle Ages. So it's Evagrius that really spread it in the West. Both Jerome and Augustine knew of this life of Antony by Athanasius through Evagrius, through his Latin translation. Now Evagrius is not Roman. We're talking about over in Asia Minor now, with Evagrius. But he did it for the purpose of sending this wonderful document off to the West. Now, now,


I don't need to repeat that. You brought that out. That's all brought out. Excellent! All right. What do you want to say? We don't have to, I don't have to pull anything else out. What do you want to talk about regarding this? Anything you want to bring up? Well, they kept referring to the discipline. Is that just a general, for a psychic in general? Usually it means one of two things. It usually means they're talking about what we will call the general asceticism. That is, the monastic life, the conversatio, all the different elements. But in specific, and you can usually tell by the context, it means the will. The discipline. Yeah. Well, because you recognize when they use it as a noun, just general, to discipline oneself, you know,


the discipline of such and such. So the discipline of the rule that we keep hearing about and we don't like, and then we'll abandon it. That's just the training. Yeah. But the discipline within the rule of Shinudi is something else. Poor Shinudi. Well, we'll talk about, have you read Beza's Life of Shinudi? Shinudi is sort of the dark, and here we turn to shadow, eh? When we talk about the Cenobites that the Egyptian has, we're going to talk about the White Hats, that is, Picomius and his group. Then we talk about Shinudi of Atrepe. This is the dark side. He literally whipped his young monks to death, in holy fervor, as they put it. In holy fervor, he whipped them to death. I mean, it happened once, I should say. Maybe more than once, but maybe a few times. They were a large group. That was a different kind of discipline. How did you react in general?


Did you have any negative feelings about the life? It was interesting reading what he did. It was lively, much more lively than I thought it would be. Yeah, especially when you realize how early it was. I don't know what happened to his sister. We'll never know. She got the shaft. That certainly was common. What was your reaction? Well, I kept thinking about St. Francis a lot, in the sense that he doesn't seem that original to me anymore, in some ways. Oh, none of them are. Yeah, because I had never read this, and I know that a lot of those stories of saints with animals and terminology and all that are based on this, but I was thinking, now, what's so original about St. Francis now and about other saints' lives? I think maybe this.


His was so unique. His simplicity and his purity of heart and transparency were so startlingly unique that he's touched civilization since the day he was transformed. I mean, he really is one of the greatest saints, probably, as far as civilization is concerned. Francis. That's probably the word. His uniqueness shone in a shimmering way. I have something here I've almost forgotten but I really like this. This is something I'm going to read but I'm going to stop and you can fill in the blanks. This is about Anthony the Great, and you may know this from iconography. His portrait has been popularized by hagiography. This is Anthony. All the great painters of the Middle Ages, we've seen, even in Italy, I saw a number of Anthony. Temptations of Antony. Classic theme for painting in Italy. The Renaissance, especially. And the Classical period. They all painted him.


One can recognize him straight away. An emaciated face. Long, unkept hair. A thick beard down to his chest. His stance, a stooping, yes, humped stagger. Heavily on a stick. Leaning on, heavily on a stick. His patched clothes which provide insufficient covering for his nakedness. Revealed his disdain for even the most rudimentary rules of hygiene. This is written by a British person. And, of course, he is always followed by his... Animals. Which one? All the animals. Which an... Yeah. I didn't recognize this iconography and I should have. I saw so many paintings last year of Anthony and I didn't look for what animal was following him. A lamb. His pig. It's that pig. Why? The pig who represents,


so they used to say, the baser instincts which the saint overcame in his mortification of his flesh. The pig is always like a shadow following him. They've discovered that this is wrong. This is wrong. This is a wrong assumption. The real explanation is rather more prosaic. A medieval epidemic of swine fever was cured after Anthony's help was invoked and hence he's always been shown the pig beside him. Your swine fever. I love them. Remember, this is not the Anthony we pray for when we lose things. Not to get swine fever, yeah, but as you can ask a Daniel or Arthur, no, we're talking about a Franciscan saint when you lose things. Anthony of Padua. He spoke to the fishers. Padua, huh? To Noah. He was a servant to the fishers. Who did? Anthony of Padua? And Francis with the birds,


huh? Uchen. Okay, so we'll meet next Wednesday then and we'll, um, we'll talk about Evagrius next Wednesday.