Monastic History

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Monastic History Class, 4th - 5th centuries, Palestinian monasticism.




Period of monasticism, because I have so many favorites, but I can really get off on these
next two topics, Palestinian and Syrian monasticism.
It's like I took speed this morning.
I got all excited just reading over it.
So this should be, I hope it's fun, I hope it's interesting, I hope you retain at least
a general feel for what's going on in Palestine at this time.
We're talking mostly 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th centuries, but mainly 4th and 5th centuries.
I have some, now who isn't here?
Just Jonah, huh?
Okay, I'll keep maps for Jonah.
So I have a map here, you can add it to your map collection.
You know what I think is nice?
There's a three-hole cutter in the library, in the coffee room, and you can put it in
a little binder or something too, because you're going to get a lot of maps in those
Then you can, if you want, you can always, at the end, cut holes in your notes and you
have your own monastic history folder.
There are some extra ring binders in the library.
Hey, just helpful hints.
You don't have to do this if you don't want to.
Alright, is that flashing in anybody's face?
Two books I want to point out.
As I said last time, we have many books on Palestinian monasticism and many, many on
I moved it a half-dozen on Palestinian and a dozen-plus on Syrian.
The two I want to point out for Palestinian, both out of Cistercian publications.
This paperback, The Lives of the Palestinian, Lives of the Monks of Palestine by Cyril
of Cythopolis.
Great reading, especially the life of St. Sabas.
Great, great stuff.
And this one, Dorotheos of Gaza.
And what you have here is a number of works by him, treatises, one on consideration, one
on humility.
It's like the abbas of the desert literature, only he was a little more systematic in his
– he's doing treatises rather than sayings.
But it's much the same flavor, both of these.
This is like The Lives of the Fathers that we read in our – remember the three books
we read for our monastic sources?
This is a lot like that, this one.
And this one is sort of like spiritual treatises, but in the desert tradition.
They're both wonderful and they'll give you a good feeling of monasticism at this
It's real important to remember that, you know, we always – or the general feeling
is – can I turn this off now?
Turn off all these?
It helps with the recording for gentlemen.
The general assumption, I think, that people unthinkingly make, including monks, is that
well, there's all that's going on in the Egyptian desert.
And we have the apothecary of the sayings of the fathers and the lives of the fathers
and the Lausiac history and all the stuff about them.
And then this stuff comes after.
It's happening at the same time.
We already had anchorites in the late third century south of Jerusalem, in the desert
south of Jerusalem.
And shortly thereafter, we start on a big scale.
So, early fourth century already, we start on a big scale.
Well, when you look at Egypt, that's what you're looking at, with Abba Anthony and
then all those Abbas and the developments.
Same time.
Same time.
It's also going on in Syria.
So, this is all contemporary.
And just as important as – yeah, it's just as important – well, they knew from
travelers and stuff.
They knew what was going on in various places.
And a lot of the Egyptian monks traveled to Palestine and then went back to Egypt and
a lot of the – you know, just the other way around.
A lot of the Cappadocians and Armenians and whatnot, present-day Armenia, traveled the
whole thing, looked around, and then ended up in Palestine, because they wanted to be
around the holy places.
And it's very important for this particular type of monasticism.
The deserts of the holy land.
That's what we're looking at.
These are the deserts we're really – you know, there's a desert near Gaza, too.
The coastal desert.
We're looking at – we're going to look a little bit at the Sinai Desert, but mainly
these three.
The Sidron Valley or Kidron Valley, the Judean Desert, the greater Judean Desert, and the
Kalamon, Desert of Kalamon.
I think that's in the north, huh?
Does anyone know right off?
I don't know if it shows on the maps.
Is Gaza considered part of Sinai?
Well, the Gaza – the present-day Gaza Strip, it's sort of like in between, isn't it?
It's sort of both.
It's that – always has been a very special strip of territory.
Now Gaza is – you've been there, right?
Isn't Gaza also like the Riviera of Israel?
I mean, there's a lot of resort hotels in the beaches and stuff along Gaza.
And it's sort of an understood by all that we leave Gaza alone.
There are Palestinians in Gaza and there are Jews in Gaza, but even during the war and
stuff, people in bomb Gaza, they just left Gaza alone.
Sort of everybody respects Gaza.
Jeff, have you been to the Holy Land?
Has anyone here been to the Holy Land?
All right.
Next year when Chris is in the course, when we get to these areas, because he went through
the Egyptian desert and was in Desert Storm.
And so when all the soldiers went back, he took leave to visit monasteries and stuff and
saw the Holy Land and whatnot.
So he'll be able to contribute from first – I witnessed next year, two years from
now when I give this class again.
So even though there were a few precursors to St. Hilarion of Gaza – you should get
all the spellings you need on the board today.
Cram them all in.
No one erase this, please, afterwards because we'll still be into this tomorrow, I think.
Hilarion, St. Hilarion of Gaza was really the first biggie, the first big Palestinian
anchorite who reportedly, as tradition has it, lived a very rigid and intense ascetical
life at the very foot of the Sinai Peninsula.
So the Sinai Peninsula and near Mount Sinai, at the foot of Mount Sinai.
Which was unpeopled at this time, that whole area.
We're talking – he was – how would you put an adjective?
Anyway, he was the monasticism of Sinai at this time.
Although soon he will have disciples.
Other than a few occasional anchoritic aesthetics living in Sinai from time to time, this place
was not peopled during these centuries.
The Monastery of St. Catharine's of Sinai, which I'm sure you all recognize that name
and probably – we have at least four volumes, nice books on the monastery of St. Catharine's.
And that will be founded at this spot, at Hilarion's spot, a few centuries down the
line, 8th century.
St. Catharine's will grow out of that initial anchoritic experience of Hilarion.
Excuse me, I said 8th century, 6th century, so the 500s.
Another important name, some of these – I'm just going to mention the names.
I'm not going to – I don't know anything about them.
I know nothing about Hesychius except that he took the banner after Hilarion.
He succeeded Hilarion and got monasticism established there on Sinai.
And we have monasticism then, too, there.
And again, as I say, in the 6th century, a rather world-famous monastery was founded
down to this day, St. Catharine's of Sinai.
Other monastics in this area during the 5th and 6th centuries were near Gaza, near Gaza,
at a monastery or a monastic settlement known as Thwatha, Thwatha.
And these are the four most famous ones.
Hegumen Seridos, or Seridos.
Abba Barsanufius, you often hear that name in monasteries, people joking,
like, did you take the name Barsanufius?
Because it sounds like barf, I think that's why people do that.
In all monasteries everywhere, that's a joke.
People think, you know, when you read the sayings of the deserts and the desert fathers
and the lives of the fallen, they're looking for Barsanufius and they never find him.
It's because he was Palestinian.
He wasn't an Egyptian Abba, he was a Palestinian Abba in Gaza.
Very famous.
Abba John the Prophet, and most important of all of these other monastics in that area,
Abba Dorotheus of Gaza, and that is this book I referred to in the beginning.
We have it in the library, and I think we probably have a couple copies on sale, too.
Although it may be out of print now.
Excuse me.
Dorotheus of Gaza was originally from Syria.
And there's a wonderful, wonderful, in fact I think we read this at table a couple years back.
But there's a wonderful introduction to Dorotheus of Gaza, biographical,
and a general look at his works and whatnot, in this volume.
But he was from Syria, Antioch to be precise,
and Barsanufius is going to be one of these originists who runs away,
escapes from Egypt, is not killed, makes it out of Egypt, and flees to,
and there were hundreds who fled to Palestinian monasteries that were existing,
and joined them.
Palestine itself was almost as barren as Sinai at that time.
And anchorites were known during those early centuries, living in the wadis,
so old hermits out living on their own, were known to be in these wadis near the Dead Sea.
You can see in your map some of the famous settlements, famous monastic areas,
that came to, or that eventuated.
From these roots in the wadis.
Everybody knows what a wadi is, right?
You hear the wadi, sometimes when we read the scripture,
the wadi kebron or wadi whatever.
Is there anyone who doesn't?
I confess.
A wadi is like a ravine or a gorge, and it's that way because whenever the rainy season comes along,
and they have the floods, it's all gushing down the wadi.
And so these wadis were important because that's where they gathered their water.
The water gathered there, so they lived there because during the rainy season,
they had to quick get the yearly supply of water.
Can you just give me a geographical perspective of ancient Palestine?
Does it really have a geographical boundary that would be like the present day?
It's bigger, it's bigger.
When you're talking about Palestine at this time,
you are talking about the Sinai, you are talking about Gaza,
and you're also talking about Syria, basically.
Plus those areas.
A good chunk of what's now Syria as well.
We'll treat Syrian monasticism as Syrian monasticism, just to keep things a little clearer.
We'll call it that.
You'll see it in books mentioned that way,
but really it goes within the Palestinian monastic experience
because Palestine is just a larger area at this time, generally.
Should include at least southern Syria.
Let's see these maps, if there's anything I need to point out.
I gave you the one on the city.
I had four of them and I knocked two of them out.
I thought you might want to...
The one with cities might be helpful if we run into a situation
where we're trying to locate an area where a city is mentioned as I go along here.
But this is an excellent map.
This is a real good source map.
The monastery is around here.
The monastery of Palestine.
Gives you some cities, but mainly the monasteries and habitations,
monastic habitations of the general area.
Because I'm going to treat Syrian separately.
But in a generic treatment, we treat them together.
At least at this time.
Earlier, 3rd, 4th, 5th centuries.
Here it is.
The Kalamon Desert is the one south of Jericho.
And as early as the early 4th century,
we know that monastics were living in that desert of Kalamon,
south of Jericho.
Some famous ones, in fact.
Some big ones.
One name, maybe, and that's St. Chariton.
If you run into the Rule of Chariton, which you can read in the library.
This is a very big saint in the Eastern Church.
In Chariton.
There's going to be more than one big St. Chariton in the Eastern Church.
And here's the area, the monastic settlement, Farah,
for which he is famous.
The Maura of Farah.
And you can give that a name of about 330.
And another name from this area that's famous is St. Gerasimos.
He was famous because he had a companion.
Does anyone know anything about Gerasimos?
Gerasimos had a pet lion, for which he has been traditionally famous for.
So any of you who look down upon me because I have a cat in my cell,
just remember, people are sometimes canonized for this.
St. Gerasimos.
It seems to me there's a...
Somewhere in desert literature you can run across a short life of Gerasimos
in the story about his life.
I'm quickly mentioning some of these people, the biggies.
And then we're going to hop over to the Roman.
You have Roman influence in Palestinian monasticism
and Greek influence, Greek speakers.
We're going through Greek right now.
And I'm going to then just go through it quickly,
jump over to Roman and go through Jerome and his experience
and his disciples and all of that,
and then come back to the Greek,
which is really what carried through the centuries.
So these deserts, as I mentioned,
are the main monastic settlements during these early centuries.
Certainly from the beginning of the 5th century on,
there are major monastic settlements in these deserts.
Again, the whole spectrum of how to live as a monk.
We're talking about Eremites or Anchorized Hermits,
Cenobites, Lauras, living in caves, the whole thing.
The whole thing is there.
Some of the most important then of these people,
and we'll look again, we'll look at them later,
but the Saint Theoktistus, he's one of the early ones there.
I don't know anything about him except that he died in 466.
And was the first deity who really helped form monasticism.
He was a spiritual Abba at that time,
around whom many, many disciples gathered.
So he really gave it the kick off.
Saint Euthemius, who died in 473, so his dates are there.
Saint Euthemius became the Abba Antony
of the Palestinian experience.
So Euthemius is the one the Palestinians will all look to
as the great Abba.
Like in Egypt, it was Antony.
In Palestine, it's Euthemius.
Do we need heat again?
Just me, okay.
He was from Armenia, present-day Armenia.
There was another name for it,
but they used the name Armenia also,
but it's usually hyphenated.
Do you know?
This is Euthemius.
Yeah, this is Euthemius we're talking about.
Sabas, and you have his dates there,
lived to be 93, I believe.
Yeah, 93.
And that's a, you can take that date as fact,
those dates as fact.
He became known as the Bokobian of Palestine.
So Sabas, who we celebrate on our calendar, by the way,
because I know I've had the feast twice and preached on them.
Saint Sabas is known as the Bokobian,
so obviously, what is he greatly known for in Palestine?
He's the father of the Cenobites in Palestine.
In fact, he will be officially named by the Patriarch
as the Archimandrite of all the Cenobitical monasteries,
and there are a lot of them, in Palestine during his day.
He's the first Archimandrite of the Palestinian...
He's the first great one, yeah.
I don't know if he's the first one.
Maybe he is.
There were Archimandrite figures
who were in charge of...
are seen as the Archimandrite of the monks.
I think what we have with Sabas
is the first time where it's really split,
and the official church comes in and says,
okay, there's hermits and there's Cenobites,
and you've got the Cenobites and you're equal in power.
Do we have a rule in Sabas? Do we have any writings?
We have the life of Sabas.
I don't know of any primary...
I don't know if he even wrote.
We have some sayings that you...
The life of Sabas is written by St. Cyril of Cythopolis,
who is one of the disciples.
And Cyril of Cythopolis gives us the lines
of Euthenius, Theodosius, and Sabas,
and a number of others.
Within those lines, you get a lot of those sayings.
It's like the desert sayings of Sabas,
and the colorful stories,
like the one with the monk throwing the garbage
out of the window and getting it into the gorge
and he collects it and makes a big feast.
Marcellus is still at that monastery, I think.
Is it?
The resurrected one, yeah.
Well, even through the war, that's what I mean.
The secret mark stuff, that's where they supposedly found
intimations that there was a library.
They had supposedly a humble library at Marcellus.
Yeah, I don't know the history of whether there's
a continuance all the way through,
throughout Islam and all of that.
A lot of these places are in and out of existence,
and the ruins are spruced up again,
and they start again, that type of thing.
Sabas was originally from Cappadocia,
which is present-day Turkey.
And a lot of these people, obviously,
are not from around the area.
They're coming from different areas for this monastic life.
And Theodosius, who dies in 529,
they don't know when he was buried.
It looks there like he's 99 years old,
but they really don't know about Theodosius the dates.
They take Sabas for fact, but they
don't know about Theodosius.
Theodosius was the one who was appointed,
at the same time Sabas was appointed
Archimandrite of the Cenobites, Theodosius
is his counterpart.
He's the Archimandrite of all the Palestinian hermits.
And this is through the Patriarch of Jerusalem,
the official church, who is doing this.
So right now, we're going to leave the Greek speakers,
and we'll be back.
And we'll go into more detail about Sabas and Euthybius
and one other.
Now, I'm missing this.
Why are they Greek speakers?
Why are they?
Because most of the world is Greek speaking.
These are not Jews.
These are not ancestors of, I mean, descendants of the Jews.
Some of them might be, sure.
Some of them might be former Jews.
I mean, their bloodlines and whatnot.
But they're from all over.
But their culture, their background
is within a Greek speaking ambit.
Whereas with Jerome, we have him coming
from the West and the Western Church, the Church of Rome.
And his type of monasticism will reflect that.
That's why we say, in quotes, Roman influence and Greek
Who was in control of Greece at this time?
Yeah, but you still have the culture that's deeply embedded.
And the Romans were so in love with the ancient Greek culture.
That's right.
Yeah, they didn't eradicate it, I think.
In 129, the Romans completely wiped out the Jews.
I mean, they took everybody and expelled the period.
And I'm just wondering when.
But there are Jews scattered all over the place in the diaspora.
I mean, they didn't slaughter them all.
But they did a good number of those who were there.
But the Jews scattered.
The live ones scattered into the diaspora.
And this is diaspora we're talking about.
A lot of them.
Also in what is now Cappadocia and Syria, they're all in there.
They started a ghetto community in these cities.
All during Roman times, yeah, that's pretty sad around Jerusalem.
But the Christians are, it's all right from their standpoint.
I mean, they get to be in Rome.
Instead of monasteries.
Of course, Islam is just around the corner.
We'll see what happens.
The Lauras.
So the Laura type of monastic life.
Everybody remembers what I mean by a Laura?
Okay, we had cabins all up in the mountainside.
And we all came together for prayer.
But we each lived in our cabin.
We have like a semi-Laura here.
That's very popular in Palestinian monasticism, the Lauras.
So it's sort of like a combination.
It's sort of like hermit life.
And yet, there's community elements to it.
It's a nice amalgam.
You can say the same generally.
You can say the same about, and we did, about the deserts of Nitria and Cetus.
Really, the Laura type lifestyle is the one that comes through the clearest.
It's one that really is the most popular in this early phase of monasticism.
But, remember, there still are, just like there were in Egypt,
through Pachomius, and people like, who's the one from Antiope?
Chinuti and others like that.
Great big monasteries.
Buildings with walls around them where everybody lived in the same building.
Each had a room, and da-da-da-da-da.
They weren't off each in their own hut or cave coming together.
Well, just like that situation in Egypt, you're also going to find huge monasteries in Palestine.
Some of these monasteries may be hundreds and hundreds, and they don't dot the figures.
Because we have evidence.
Sabas, under Sabas, we have huge monasteries, set abodes.
And they're not living the Laura type.
So you do have both types, but Laura life was very popular.
With Laura's you don't get as big numbers, of course, but it's very popular.
It was very popular at this time.
There were a few women, some of whom we met last year in our sources course.
Do you remember any names?
Those there, like five or six that we...
Mary of Egypt.
Those are the two babies.
They're all in the book.
Then there's Tekla and Thais.
A few others, Melania, another Melania.
There's a few important women at this time.
Mary of Egypt comes from...
But she ends up in Palestinian monasteries.
And I refer you, those of you who had the class, go back to your...
If you took notes, go back to your notes.
Or you know what books now, by reading those books.
Harvest of the Desert, et cetera.
You know where to look for a little warm up.
Or what do you call that?
Refresher on these figures.
But they usually...
You can remember that the reason there aren't a lot of them is just very hard time for women.
As if there wasn't any time that was hard time to be a woman in cultures.
But certainly this time they're at a great disadvantage.
Economically, politically.
Anyway you look at it.
And so they often dress like men or hid their femininity in order to live their vocation.
Manasseh vocation.
And it was usually when they died that they discovered that the man had...
I don't know.
I have to remember.
These men were women.
And again, Marriott Egypt.
Sincletica is an important one that comes down.
You run into some sayings of Sincletica in the Apothecary.
In the sayings of the desert fathers actually.
Sincletica is in there.
Also, remember who...
Marriott Egypt.
Which one is Marriott Egypt?
Do you remember anything at all about her life?
She ran out into the desert.
And then the old Zosimos met with her and then at the end of her life again.
Okay, that's that story.
She was from Egypt.
And we won't go into her life either.
But again, another parallel life.
And Pelagia was from Syria.
And ended up in Palestinian monastic history.
Dorothea was another.
So there are a number of women within this period of history in Palestinian monasticism.
But they're far outshone by the men who are well-involved.
Because this is not a thing for women right now.
There will become monasteries for women and stuff, but it takes a while to get started.
And these are famous anchoresses who are out on their own living as hermits.
It's harder for a woman to do that than to be in a monastery for women.
Which eventually in any given situation do get established.
And then there's a place to go.
But to be a hermit out in the desert as a woman, it's difficult.
Any questions before we go into Jerome?
And then we'll come back to these Greek speakers.
Now, I said a little bit about Jerome before in an overview.
Regarding his life experience and how he ended up near Bethlehem and whatnot.
Jerome was born near Aquileia.
Does anyone know where Aquileia is?
I don't know.
I'm assuming it's...
Isn't it Aquitaine in Greece?
Well, Aquitaine would be France.
Maybe it is.
I don't know.
I don't think it'd be Greece.
Anyway, wherever that place is, Jerome was from there.
What's the spelling?
Yeah, that's why I think it's either...
It could be.
It could be France.
Because there was a segment of lower Gaul or something.
The Romans called it that.
Aquitaine, something like that.
Yeah, which later became Aquitaine.
And then I was wondering if it was...
It could possibly be.
Anyway, obviously it's within the Roman civilization.
Aquileia is within the Roman order.
He was born in 347.
And he spent his youth...
This is what makes me think it's in Italy.
He spent his youth in Rome itself.
So I think it's probably a city in the countryside outside of Rome.
But I don't know that for sure from memory.
He was also educated in Rome.
Very, very gifted person.
Very intelligent person.
In his early life, he did spend some time in an aesthetical life
with his friend Rufinus,
back where he was born, Aquileia.
You remember Rufinus?
Who's Rufinus?
Tour guide.
Thank you.
This is Rufinus the tour guide.
It's through him we know a lot of this desert stuff.
He also spent some time in Syria,
specifically in Antioch in his early years.
And he went into the desert near Syria,
near Antioch,
which is called...
Here it is.
I don't know how you pronounce it.
Calais, let's say.
And did an aramidical thing there
in the desert near Antioch.
So he had a desert experience.
This is going to be important to remember later on.
At the end of this desert experience near Antioch,
he was an ordained priest.
That was in 379.
He was in the desert six years.
So it was a good experience,
a good experience, you know.
It's not just like he went and did a 30-day retreat.
I don't mean to put down 30-day retreats.
This is going to be important to realize.
He spent a substantial amount of time
in the desert, a real desert.
From 379 to 382, then, for three years,
he was in Constantinople,
which is a very powerful place to be at this time.
Notice it's before the whole origin thing volcano blows up.
But it's getting closer to that time.
Number 399 is when it explodes.
It's during his lifetime that the whole thing blows up.
Then he's back in Rome after his three years in Constantinople.
He's in Rome, and he's the pope's secretary.
We're talking about Pope Damasus.
I don't have that name up there.
You should figure out how to spell it.
And Damasus, this pope,
commissioned him to translate the scriptures
Thank you. Latin.
This Latin translation called the...
Vulgate, which for the next eons,
down to our present day,
was extremely important
to Western civilization.
So we finally have the scriptures in Latin.
Who's he working for?
Because we can Hebrew together.
Both I can go over, yeah.
He taught himself a number of tongues at an early age.
He used the Hebrew.
He taught himself Hebrew.
He also taught himself...
Let's see if I can run into that.
While he was in the desert near Antioch,
he taught himself Hebrew and Chaldean.
I presume Chaldean is another Semitic language.
That's Aramaic in its base.
That's Semitic, yeah.
Good. Okay.
And he probably did that
so that he could be more equipped
to deal with the sayings of Jesus
that are given in the scriptures in Aramaic.
I presume.
Makes sense.
If it's close to Aramaic, it makes sense.
Yeah, because even today,
the liturgy of the Chaldeans is in Aramaic.
It's in Aramaic.
I didn't know that.
From 385...
He was in Rome, by the way, this period.
It was another three-year period.
He was the Pope's secretary for three years.
And then he goes to Bethlehem
for the rest of his life.
And we'll see why shortly,
why this happened.
From his point of view in monasticism,
scholastic studies, scholasticism...
Here, I'm rattling my vitamins.
Extremely important to him
that every monk do scholastic endeavors,
study the scriptures,
not just read them, study.
Study scripture.
And he himself
will be involved all of his life
in humongous debates
stemming from his studies
with other great towering saints in the church.
This is a quote from Descaraux.
Descaraux, monks and civilization.
We have it in French and English.
Fine books.
One of your best books in that bibliography
for a general overview
of the first half of monasticism.
And this is pretty...
I've read a lot on Jerome.
A lot about Jerome.
And Descaraux gets it all in one nice paragraph here.
This is a nice summary of what we know about Jerome.
Jerome was a burning soul
who enlightened, warmed,
and occasionally scorched and branded
those who came close to him.
The man was a mess of contradictions.
As an author, he produced a gigantic collection of works.
This is true.
As a monk,
he clung inflexibly to his vocation.
This saint, like the others,
was of stern stuff,
but he showed his mettle more clearly than others.
A man of quite extraordinary gifts,
his defects were as outstanding as his great qualities.
His heart was of gold,
but his teeth sharp as steel.
He was as tender as a child,
and yet he could be carried away to the point of fury.
This is his...
infamous for his tantrums and his furies.
Both sensitive and unjust.
Trusting and suspicious.
Jerome was all of those things.
He both attracted and repelled people,
overwhelming them one day with friendship
and the next day discarding them like just so much rubbish.
And it was this very volatile personality
which was constantly getting him into trouble.
Ergo, we have the traditional saying coming down through the centuries,
if Jerome can be canonized, anyone can be canonized.
Because there were so many things that he did wrong,
and so many awful things he said and wrote and attacked.
Very colorful, colorful.
At the same time did wonderful things for the church,
extremely important for the study of Scripture
through the centuries.
Well, even though a lot of political church politicians
not only were burned by him,
or just didn't like him and avoided him,
but also actively formed an alliance against him,
because he was a powerful man.
He had Pope's secretary and translated.
There were a number of women, holy women around Rome,
who were drawn to this personality.
He had a very charismatic personality at the same time.
That's another slight, you know.
For women, at least.
Women were drawn in, flocked around him
as their guru-type figure in Rome itself.
Despite his temperament.
I mean, they didn't escape the temperament,
but they could take it.
And their names are the most famous ones.
The most famous, Paola,
and her daughter's Blessilla, Eustochium.
To me, that sounds masculine.
I don't know.
And Marcello.
And later on, Paola the Younger,
and Melania the Younger.
But this is a family here.
Paola down to Marcello.
And Paola had something Jerome really, really needed.
Big, big bucks.
She had lots of money.
And the whole family loved and flocked around Jerome.
And they were sort of like his,
what do you call those around rock bands?
These are Jerome's groupies.
And Jerome was a great touter of chastity and continency.
And so these women gathered around him,
took on that.
Became like nuns around him.
And after a couple years,
Blessilla died.
Blessilla died most probably from austerity,
encouraged by Jerome.
She just either starved herself to death.
What is it, one of those common day eating disorders?
Probably both.
Yeah, bulimia and anorexia, whatever.
She, Blessilla died.
And the cadre of men who were making an alliance against him
said, ah, this is our chance.
And they made very famous and renowned
this whole business of Jerome causing this death.
Directly causing the death of this poor young woman, Blessilla.
Who knows?
There's some truth to it probably,
but how much, who knows?
Anyway, he was attacked.
He's attacked at this time.
His good friend Damasis, Pope Damasis, dies.
And so he doesn't have the political support anymore
because Damasis would always come to his rescue.
But the attackers, the Pope would say, eh, basta.
This is my friend.
He can't do that now, he's dead.
This is in 385.
He's being attacked by everyone.
And Jerome, because he's being attacked,
and equally because he's so P.O.ed
because he's not made Pope,
which is what was his expectation after Damasis,
he's so miffed at that that he leaves Rome
and goes to Bethlehem.
First goes somewhere else, I think.
No, Bethlehem.
Good, thank you.
He goes to Bethlehem and
these go with him, these rich ladies.
They fund the trip.
So not only do we have tour guides at this time,
we also have foundations that fund these things.
And they left for Palestine.
However, with friends like Rufinus,
obviously you're not going to go directly to Bethlehem,
even though that's where you want to go.
You're going to take the whole tour.
And so they made the tour of the Egyptian deserts
and what's going on there.
They settled down just outside Bethlehem
and Paola built a double monastery there.
Double monastery.
Look what we're talking about.
Fourth century.
Monastery for women, monastery for men,
right together with Jerome and Paola as the superiors.
What did Jerome do during this time?
For the most part, stayed in his cell studying constantly.
Study, study, study.
And he would write, he wrote a lot of letters.
Just incredible output.
And he's always fighting battles with people too.
Some he wins, some he loses.
He loved to fight with other people.
He ended up getting himself some.
He encouraged a lot of people
to join his monasteries
or these Palestinian monasteries
and have this monastic experience.
People who were fleeing
the beginnings of the barbaric invasions.
So we already have a little bit of this
starting from time to time to the north.
Where these hordes start wandering and rampaging.
A number of Romans at this time,
when it got too close,
started moving to Palestine.
Roman province.
And a number of people actually did join him in Palestine
and become monks and nuns there.
And he wrote, he's also known for writing
a number of monastic works.
But they're not all that famous.
Except for the life of this first biggie,
Hilarion, Saint Hilarion of Gaza.
He wrote that life.
And he also wrote, we've already met this
in another lecture.
What else did he do?
For monastic history,
the monastic experience in the west,
he translated something.
Anyone remember?
From the Coptic.
Life of Bukomias,
which is going to be extremely important
for the formation of monastic synodalism.
That's fine that you didn't remember.
I mean, I...
As long as it's in your notes,
you've got it.
He had a great influence on Bapho,
Benedict, and Cisneros.
Thank you.
But see, the reason I'm not trying to quiz you
or anything, but if I bring it up again,
it might, you might actually retain it that way.
So it's not, I'm trying to, I'm trying to...
I got the notes here.
I'm not shining anything.
I have the answers right here.
I'm not trying to show you up or anything.
I'm trying to trigger some memories
so that you start making some connections
and amalgamation as we move along.
We'll be doing this a lot as we move further
because I'll say,
do you remember, you know,
and you have to get your memory banks going.
He also wrote the stuff we have,
like Horseazy,
that the disciple of Pacomius,
his life and savings and regulations,
he translated all of that.
And that's, from that Pacomian experience,
it's real important that we have that
coming into the West.
Here, surprisingly, we also should say
that he tends to generally speak against solitude.
He lived most of his life in solitude,
but he spoke against solitude,
the solitary life.
And one example of that,
a famous example in his writings
where you can find that is his letter 411,
411, his letter to Rusticus.
I think there's some time during the liturgical year
when we read from the letter to Rusticus.
Don't, don't, I might be confusing that
with the martyrdom of Polycarp,
where he stands there and argues
with the emperor's legate in Rusticus.
I might be doing that,
but I think we actually read at some point
a letter to Rusticus, a part of it,
in which he says,
you shouldn't live the solitary life
because you don't have any guidance,
you don't have any good support system,
when you're living off on your own.
The standard, the standard phrase
against solitude,
and Basil used it again,
but they even hint to it in the desert.
The old Avalos living alone would say
the greatest temptation is in the desert.
The greatest temptation for a hermit.
Not the thing.
No, not temptation.
That's what you want to get.
That's your goal.
That's the greatest practical problem you have.
What's the greatest personal sin?
Remember the eight-headed demon?
Spiritual pride.
You can do it alone.
And we're going to see that.
Every time we see throughout history
this monastic ladder of perfection,
we're going to see it in Berger,
in Guido, a number of people.
Benedict, to a certain extent,
with his degrees of humility.
What's always at the top?
What's the last thing that can throw you down
and you're going to start all over again?
It's always that.
And Jerome says,
Pride is worse for anyone
who's trying to live a solitary life.
Practically speaking,
when you're living alone,
you've got your own system,
you've got your own timetable.
There's a strong propensity to be lax,
stay on your back,
and develop your own cushy system.
Well, one wonders
what his experience in the desert of Calais...
I mean, it sounds like it's talking from experience,
but it doesn't mean it's everybody's experience.
One wonders what happened out there
to turn him off to the solitary life,
you know, for others.
Also, he says,
it's too easy to violate poverty,
the spirit of poverty in the desert,
when you're living alone.
What kind of lifestyle did he have?
Of course, he had all these friends.
Probably even in his youth,
he had rich friends
from the Roman section.
I don't know.
But conversely,
he touts community life.
Cynobitic life, community life,
real important, real positive, monastic life.
Because you're under the control
and the guidance of a superior,
and you have the support of many companions
and all the gifts that they bring to the commune.
You are tested in obedience
because you find yourself
having to do the will of others
as well as the will of God
within the communal perspective.
You have to take your own turn
at the common tasks.
Everybody washes dishes.
You have to serve
your brothers and sisters in community
and the guests who come to you as Christ.
And a lot of the sisters
you're going to see in Benedict II later on.
The rule of Benedict.
And living together in community
gives you a very good experience
of living the significance
of the Paschal Mystery
on an everyday basis now.
Every day you've got to keep
swallowing your gorge
and carrying your cross
and shutting your mouth.
And of course, in his own life experience,
he had a lot of problems with all of that.
And so he, again,
he's speaking from experience.
He must have gotten some help
from Paul up down the line.
He said, Kate, you know,
it would be better if you just
temper things down a bit.
Okay, tomorrow we will finish,
definitely finish,
Palestinian monasticism
and start writing on Syrian monasticism.