Arianism is a nontrinitarian Christological doctrine which asserts the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten by God the Father at a point in time, a creature distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to him, but the Son is God. Arian teachings were first attributed to a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt; the teachings of Arius and his supporters were opposed to the theological views held by Homoousian Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father. There was a dispute between two interpretations of Jesus' divinity based upon the theological orthodoxy of the time, one trinitarian and the other non-trinitarian, both of them attempted to solve its respective theological dilemmas. So there were two orthodox interpretations which initiated a conflict in order to attract adepts and define the new orthodoxy.
The two interpretations initiated a broader conflict as to which belief was the successor of Christian theology from its inception. The former was formally affirmed by the first two Ecumenical Councils, in the past several centuries, Arianism has continued to be viewed as "the heresy or sect of Arius"; as such, all mainstream branches of Christianity now consider Arianism to be heterodox and heretical. The trinitarianism, or homoousianism viewpoint, was promulgated by Athanasius of Alexandria, who insisted that Homoousianism theology was both the true nature of God and the teaching of Jesus. Arius stated: "If the Father begat the Son he, begotten had a beginning in existence, from this it follows there was a time when the Son was not." Nonetheless, the Ecumenical First Council of Nicaea of 325, convened by Emperor Constantine to ensure Church unity, deemed Arianism to be a heresy." According to Everett Ferguson, "The great majority of Christians had no clear views about the nature of the Trinity and they did not understand what was at stake in the issues that surrounded it."Ten years however, Constantine the Great, himself baptized by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, convened another gathering of Church leaders at the regional First Synod of Tyre in 335, to address various charges mounted against Athanasius by his pro-Arius detractors, such as "murder, illegal taxation and treason", following his refusal to readmit Arius into fellowship.
Athanasius was exiled to Trier following his conviction at Tyre of conspiracy, Arius was exonerated. Athanasius returned to Alexandria in 346 A. D. two years after the deaths of both Arius and Constantine. The Roman Emperors Constantius II and Valens were Arians or Semi-Arians, as was the first King of Italy and the Lombards were Arians or Semi-Arians until the 7th century. Visigothic Spain was Arian until 581. Arianism is used to refer to other nontrinitarian theological systems of the 4th century, which regarded Jesus Christ—the Son of God, the Logos—as either a begotten creature or as neither uncreated nor created in the sense other beings are created. Arius had been a pupil of Lucian of Antioch at Lucian's private academy in Antioch and inherited from him a modified form of the teachings of Paul of Samosata, he taught that the Son of God did not always exist together eternally. Arians taught that the Logos was a divine being begotten by God the Father before the creation of the world, made him a medium through whom everything else was created, that the Son of God is subordinate to God the Father.
A verse from Proverbs was used: "The Lord created me at the beginning of his work". Therefore, the Son was rather the first and the most perfect of God's creatures, he was made "God" only by the Father's permission and power. Controversy over Arianism arose in the late 3rd century and persisted throughout most of the 4th century, it involved most church members—from simple believers and monks to bishops and members of Rome's imperial family. Two Roman emperors, Constantius II and Valens, became Arians or Semi-Arians, as did prominent Gothic and Lombard warlords both before and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire; such a deep controversy within the Church during this period of its development could not have materialized without significant historical influences providing a basis for the Arian doctrines. Of the three hundred bishops in attendance at the Council of Nicea, two bishops did not sign the Nicene Creed that condemned Arianism. Emperor Constantine ordered a penalty of death for those who refused to surrender the Arian writings: In addition, if any writing composed by Arius should be found, it should be handed over to the flames, so that not only will the wickedness of his teaching be obliterated, but nothing will be left to remind anyone of him.
And I hereby make a public order, that if someone should be discovered to have hidden a writing composed by Arius, not to have brought it forward and destroyed it by fire, his penalty shall be death. As soon as he is discovered in this offence, he shall be submitted for capital punishment.... Reconstructing what Arius taught, why, is a formidable task, both because little of his own w
Benedict of Nursia
Benedict of Nursia, a Christian saint, is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion and Old Catholic Churches. He is a patron saint of Europe. Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, Italy, before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy; the Order of Saint Benedict is of origin and, not an "order" as understood but a confederation of autonomous congregations. Benedict's main achievement, his "Rule of Saint Benedict", contains a set of rules for his monks to follow. Influenced by the writings of John Cassian, it shows strong affinity with the Rule of the Master, but it has a unique spirit of balance and reasonableness, this persuaded most Christian religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, his Rule became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason, Benedict is called the founder of Western Christian monasticism.
Apart from a short poem attributed to Mark of Monte Cassino, the only ancient account of Benedict is found in the second volume of Pope Gregory I's four-book Dialogues, thought to have been written in 593, although the authenticity of this work has been disputed. Gregory's account of this saint's life is not, however, a biography in the modern sense of the word, it provides instead a spiritual portrait of the gentle, disciplined abbot. In a letter to Bishop Maximilian of Syracuse, Gregory states his intention for his Dialogues, saying they are a kind of floretum of the most striking miracles of Italian holy men. Gregory did not set out to write a chronological anchored story of Saint Benedict, but he did base his anecdotes on direct testimony. To establish his authority, Gregory explains that his information came from what he considered the best sources: a handful of Benedict's disciples who lived with the saint and witnessed his various miracles; these followers, are Constantinus, who succeeded Benedict as Abbot of Monte Cassino.
In Gregory's day, history was not recognised as an independent field of study. Gregory's Dialogues Book Two an authentic medieval hagiography cast as a conversation between the Pope and his deacon Peter, is designed to teach spiritual lessons, he was the son of a Roman noble of the modern Norcia, in Umbria. A tradition which Bede accepts makes him a twin with his sister Scholastica. If 480 is accepted as the year of his birth, the year of his abandonment of his studies and leaving home would be about 500. Saint Gregory's narrative makes it impossible to suppose him younger than 20 at the time, he was old enough to be in the midst of his literary studies, to understand the real meaning and worth of the dissolute and licentious lives of his companions, to have been affected by the love of a woman. He was at the beginning of life, he had at his disposal the means to a career as a Roman noble. Benedict was disappointed by the life he found there, he does not seem to have left Rome for the purpose of becoming a hermit, but only to find some place away from the life of the great city.
He took his old nurse with him as a servant and they settled down to live in Enfide. Enfide, which the tradition of Subiaco identifies with the modern Affile, is in the Simbruini mountains, about forty miles from Rome and two from Subiaco. A short distance from Enfide is the entrance to a narrow, gloomy valley, penetrating the mountains and leading directly to Subiaco; the path continues to ascend, the side of the ravine, on which it runs, becomes steeper, until a cave is reached above which the mountain now rises perpendicularly. The cave is about ten feet deep. On his way from Enfide, Benedict met a monk, Romanus of Subiaco, whose monastery was on the mountain above the cliff overhanging the cave. Romanus had discussed with Benedict the purpose which had brought him to Subiaco, had given him the monk's habit. By his advice Benedict became a hermit and for three years, unknown to men, lived in this cave above the lake. Gregory tells us little of these years, he now speaks of Benedict no longer as a man of God.
Romanus, served the saint in every way he could. The monk visited him and on fixed days brought him food. During these three years of solitude, broken only by occasional communications with the outer world and by the visits of Romanus, Benedict matured both in mind and character, in knowledge of himself and of his fellow-man, at the same time he became not known to, but secured the respect of, those about him. Benedict was acquainted with the life and discipline of the monastery, knew that "their manners were diverse from his and therefore that they would never agree together: yet, at length, overcome with their entreaty, he gav
The Desert Fathers were early Christian hermits and monks who lived in the Scetes desert of Egypt beginning around the third century AD. The Apophthegmata Patrum is a collection of the wisdom of some of the early desert monks and nuns, in print as Sayings of the Desert Fathers; the most well known was Anthony the Great, who moved to the desert in AD 270–271 and became known as both the father and founder of desert monasticism. By the time Anthony died in AD 356, thousands of monks and nuns had been drawn to living in the desert following Anthony's example—his biographer, Athanasius of Alexandria, wrote that "the desert had become a city." The Desert Fathers had a major influence on the development of Christianity. The desert monastic communities that grew out of the informal gathering of hermit monks became the model for Christian monasticism; the eastern monastic tradition at Mount Athos and the western Rule of Saint Benedict both were influenced by the traditions that began in the desert. All of the monastic revivals of the Middle Ages looked to the desert for guidance.
Much of Eastern Christian spirituality, including the Hesychast movement, had its roots in the practices of the Desert Fathers. Religious renewals such as the German evangelicals and Pietists in Pennsylvania, the Devotio Moderna movement, the Methodist Revival in England are seen by modern scholars as being influenced by the Desert Fathers. Paul of Thebes is credited with being the first hermit monk to go to the desert, but it was Anthony the Great who launched the movement that became the Desert Fathers. Sometime around AD 270, Anthony heard a Sunday sermon stating that perfection could be achieved by selling all of one's possessions, giving the proceeds to the poor, following Christ, he followed the advice and made the further step of moving deep into the desert to seek complete solitude. Anthony lived in a time of transition for Christianity—the Diocletianic Persecution in AD 303 was the last great formal persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. Only ten years Christianity was made legal in Egypt by Diocletian's successor Constantine I.
Those who left for the desert formed an alternate Christian society, at a time when it was no longer a risk to be a Christian. The solitude and sacrifice of the desert was seen by Anthony as an alternative to martyrdom, seen by many Christians as the highest form of sacrifice. Anthony gained followers eager to live their lives in accordance with this solidarity and separation from material goods. From these prohibitions it is recorded by Athanasius that Anthony received special privileges from God, such as the ability to heal the sick, inspire others to have faith in healing through God, converse with God on occasion. Around this time, desert monasticism appeared nearly in several areas, including Egypt and Syria. Over time, the model of Anthony and other hermits attracted many followers, who lived alone in the desert or in small groups, they chose a life of extreme asceticism, renouncing all the pleasures of the senses, rich food, baths and anything that made them comfortable. They instead focused their energies on praying, singing psalms, giving alms to the needy, preserving love and harmony with one another while keeping their thoughts and desires for God alone.
Thousands joined them in the desert men but a handful of women. Religious seekers began going to the desert seeking advice and counsel from the early Desert Fathers. By the time of Anthony's death, there were so many men and women living in the desert that it was described as "a city" by Anthony's biographer; the Desert Fathers advocated three main approaches to monasticism. One was the austere life of the hermit, as his followers in lower Egypt. Another was communities of monks and nuns in upper Egypt formed by Pachomius; the third was a semi-hermitic lifestyle seen in Nitria and Scetis, west of the Nile, begun by Saint Amun. The latter were small groups of monks and nuns with a common spiritual elder—these separate groups would join together in larger gatherings to worship on Saturdays and Sundays; this third form of monasticism was responsible for most of the sayings that were compiled as the Apophthegmata Patrum. The small communities founded by the Desert Fathers were the beginning of Christian monasticism.
Anthony and others lived as hermits, sometimes forming groups of two or three. Small informal communities began developing, until the monk Pachomius, seeing the need for a more formal structure, established a monastery with rules and organization, his regulations included discipline, manual labour, silence and long periods of prayer—some historians view the rules as being inspired by Pachomius' experiences as a Roman soldier. The first organized monastery under Pachomius included men and women living in separate quarters, up to three in a room, they supported themselves by weaving baskets, along with other tasks. Each new monk or nun had a three-year probationary period, concluding with admittance in full standing to the monastery. All property was held communally, meals were eaten together and in silence, twice a week they fasted, they wore simple peasant clothing with a hood. Several times a day they came together for prayer and readings, each person was expected to spend time alone meditating on the scriptures.
Programs were created for educating those. Pachomius formalized the establishment of an abba or amma in charge of the spiritual welfare of their monks and nuns, with the implic
A hermit is a person who lives in seclusion from society for religious reasons. Hermits are a part of several sections of Christianity, the concept is found in other religions as well. In Christianity, the term was applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament. In the Christian tradition the eremitic life is an early form of monastic living that preceded the monastic life in the cenobium; the Rule of St Benedict lists hermits among four kinds of monks. In the Roman Catholic Church, in addition to hermits who are members of religious institutes, the Canon law recognizes diocesan hermits under the direction of their bishop as members of the consecrated life; the same is true in many parts of the Anglican Communion, including the Episcopal Church in the US, although in the canon law of the Episcopal Church they are referred to as "solitaries" rather than "hermits". Both in religious and secular literature, the term "hermit" is used loosely for any Christian living a secluded prayer-focused life, sometimes interchangeably with anchorite/anchoress, recluse and "solitary".
Other religions, for example, Hinduism and Taoism have hermits in the sense of individuals living an ascetic form of life. In modern colloquial usage, "hermit" denotes anyone living apart from the rest of society, or participating in fewer social events, for any reason; the word hermit comes from the Latin ĕrēmīta, the latinisation of the Greek ἐρημίτης, "of the desert", which in turn comes from ἔρημος, signifying "desert", "uninhabited", hence "desert-dweller". In the common Christian tradition the first known Christian hermit in Egypt was Paul of Thebes, hence called "St. Paul the first hermit", his disciple Antony of Egypt referred to as "Antony the Great", is the most renowned of all the early Christian hermits owing to the biography by his friend Athanasius of Alexandria. An antecedent for Egyptian eremiticism may have been the Syrian solitary or "son of the covenant" who undertook special disciplines as a Christian. In the Middle Ages some Carmelite hermits claimed to trace their origin to Jewish hermits organized by Elijah.
Christian hermits in the past have lived in isolated cells or hermitages, whether a natural cave or a constructed dwelling, situated in the desert or the forest. People sometimes sought them out for spiritual counsel; some acquired so many disciples that they no longer had physical solitude. The early Christian Desert Fathers wove baskets to exchange for bread. In medieval times hermits were found within or near cities where they might earn a living as a gate keeper or ferryman. From the Middle Ages and down to modern times eremitical monasticism has been practiced within the context of religious institutes in the Christian West. For example, in the Catholic Church the Carthusians and Camaldolese arrange their monasteries as clusters of hermitages where the monks live most of their day and most of their lives in solitary prayer and work, gathering only briefly for communal prayer and only for community meals and recreation; the Cistercian and Carmelite orders, which are communal in nature, allow members who feel a calling to the eremitic life, after years living in the cenobium or community of the monastery, to move to a cell suitable as a hermitage on monastery grounds.
This applies to both their nuns. There have been many hermits who chose that vocation as an alternative to other forms of monastic life. In the 11th century, the life of the hermit gained recognition as a legitimate independent pathway to salvation. Many hermits in that century and the next came to be regarded as saints; the term "anchorite" is used as a synonym for hermit, not only in the earliest written sources but throughout the centuries. Yet the anchoritic life, while similar to the eremitic life, can be distinct from it. Anchorites lived the religious life in the solitude of an "anchorhold" a small hut or "cell" built against a church; the door of an anchorage tended to be bricked up in a special ceremony conducted by the local bishop after the anchorite had moved in. Medieval churches survive that have a tiny window built into the shared wall near the sanctuary to allow the anchorite to participate in the liturgy by listening to the service and to receive Holy Communion. Another window looked out into the street or cemetery, enabling charitable neighbors to deliver food and other necessities.
Clients seeking the anchorite's advice might use this window to consult them. Catholics who wish to live in eremitic monasticism may live that vocation as a hermit: in an eremitical order, but in both cases under obedience to their religious superior, or as an Oblate affiliated with the Camaldolese or as a diocesan hermit under the canonical direction of their bishop. There are lay people who informally follow an eremitic lifestyle and live as solitaries. In the Catholic Church, the institutes of consecrated life have their own regulations concerning those of their members who feel called by God to move from the life in community to the eremitic life, have the permission of their religious superior to do so; the Code of Canon
Basil of Caesarea
Basil of Caesarea called Saint Basil the Great, was the bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor. He was an influential theologian who supported the Nicene Creed and opposed the heresies of the early Christian church, fighting against both Arianism and the followers of Apollinaris of Laodicea, his ability to balance his theological convictions with his political connections made Basil a powerful advocate for the Nicene position. In addition to his work as a theologian, Basil was known for his care of the poor and underprivileged. Basil established guidelines for monastic life which focus on community life, liturgical prayer, manual labor. Together with Pachomius, he is remembered as a father of communal monasticism in Eastern Christianity, he is considered a saint by the traditions of both Western Christianity. Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa are collectively referred to as the Cappadocian Fathers; the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches have given him, together with Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, the title of Great Hierarch.
He is recognized as a Doctor of the Church in the Roman Catholic Church. He is sometimes referred to by the epithet Ouranophantor, "revealer of heavenly mysteries". Basil was born into the wealthy family of Basil the Elder, Emmelia of Caesarea, in Cappadocia, around 330, his parents were known for their piety. His maternal grandfather was a Christian martyr, executed in the years prior to Constantine I's conversion, his pious widow, herself a follower of Gregory Thaumaturgus, raised Basil and his four siblings: Macrina the Younger, Peter of Sebaste and Gregory of Nyssa. Basil received more formal education in Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia around 350-51. There he met Gregory of Nazianzus. Together and Gregory went to Constantinople for further studies, including the lectures of Libanius; the two spent six years in Athens starting around 349, where they met a fellow student who would become the emperor Julian the Apostate. Basil left Athens in 356, after travels in Egypt and Syria, he returned to Caesarea, where for around a year he practiced law and taught rhetoric.
Basil's life changed radically after he encountered Eustathius of Sebaste, a charismatic bishop and ascetic. Abandoning his legal and teaching career, Basil devoted his life to God. A letter described his spiritual awakening: I had wasted much time on follies and spent nearly all of my youth in vain labors, devotion to the teachings of a wisdom that God had made foolish. I awoke as out of a deep sleep. I beheld the wonderful light of the Gospel truth, I recognized the nothingness of the wisdom of the princes of this world. After his baptism, Basil traveled in 357 to Palestine, Egypt and Mesopotamia to study ascetics and monasticism, he distributed his fortunes among the poor went into solitude near Neocaesarea of Pontus on the Iris. Basil realized that while he respected the ascetics' piety and prayerfulness, the solitary life did not call him. Eustathius of Sebaste, a prominent anchorite near Pontus, had mentored Basil. However, they eventually differed over dogma. Basil instead felt drawn toward communal religious life, by 358 he was gathering around him a group of like-minded disciples, including his brother Peter.
Together they founded a monastic settlement on his family's estate near Annesi. His widowed mother Emmelia, sister Macrina and several other women, joined Basil and devoted themselves to pious lives of prayer and charitable works. Here Basil wrote about monastic communal life, his writings became pivotal in developing monastic traditions of the Eastern Church. In 358, Basil invited his friend Gregory of Nazianzus to join him in Annesi; when Gregory arrived, they collaborated on Origen's Philocalia, a collection of Origen's works. Gregory decided to return to his family in Nazianzus. Basil attended the Council of Constantinople, he at first sided with Eustathius and the Homoiousians, a semi-Arian faction who taught that the Son was of like substance with the Father, neither the same nor different from him. The Homoiousians opposed the Arianism of Eunomius but refused to join with the supporters of the Nicene Creed, who professed that the members of the Trinity were of one substance. However, Basil's bishop, Dianius of Caesarea, had subscribed only to the earlier Nicene form of agreement.
Basil abandoned the Homoiousians, emerged instead as a strong supporter of the Nicene Creed. In 362, Bishop Meletius of Antioch ordained Basil as a deacon. Eusebius summoned Basil to Caesarea and ordained him as presbyter of the Church there in 365. Ecclesiastical entreaties rather than Basil's desires thus altered his career path. Basil and Gregory Nazianzus spent the next few years combating the Arian heresy, which threatened to divide Cappadocia's Christians. In close fraternal cooperation, they agreed to a great rhetorical contest with accomplished Arian theologians and rhetors. In the subsequent public debates, presided over by agents of Valens and Basil emerged triumphant; this success confirmed for both Gregory and Basil that their futures lay in administration of the Church. Basil next took on functional administration of the city of Caesarea. Eusebius is reported as becoming jealous of th
A lavra or laura is a type of monastery consisting of a cluster of cells or caves for hermits, with a church and sometimes a refectory at the center. It is erected within other Eastern Christian traditions; the term is used by some Roman Catholic communities. The term in Greek meant a narrow lane or an alley in a city. From the fifth century the Greek term laura could refer to the semi-eremitical monastic settlements of the Judean desert, where lauras were numerous; the first lauras of Palestine were founded by St. Chariton: the Laura of Pharan, the Laura of Douka and Souka Laura or Old Laura in the area of the Tekoa Valley. Saint Euthymius; the Lavra of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified in the Kidron Valley, is one of the most ancient and continuously functioning monasteries in the Christian Church. Saint Gerasimus established a similar system in the Jordan Valley in the middle of the fifth century, with 70 cells surrounding a cenobium and with monks progressing into the cells after time spent in the cenobium.
Weekdays were spent in the cells, accompanied only by a rush mat, a small amount of food and palm blades with which to make ropes and baskets. On Saturdays the monks would bring their handiwork to the cenobium and receive communion together, returning to their cells on Sunday evening. Cells were left open, those in need could take whatever they wished from a cell if it were found empty; the lavra had a priest, the lavra's contact with the outside world, at least two ordained deacons. Some modern Coptic authors, they alone apply the specific Greek term lavra to earlier monastic settlements from the Nitrean desert and attribute the writing down of the formal rules of a lavra to the Egyptian sanctified monk Macarius the Great in AD 330. Unless proven otherwise by future scholarship, this opinion seems to be theirs alone, their claim is that the lavrite style of living has its origins in the early fourth century, by equating the creation of the first lavras with the founding of a settlement of cells in the Nitrean desert at a site known as Nitria, named for the nearby town of the same name.
It was a community of 600 hermits who lived scattered over the area, reliant on the town of Nitria for bread, but with their own priest and church. The Great Lavra founded by Athanasius the Athonite in 963 is the oldest monastery on Mount Athos in Greece; the largest and the most important Russian Orthodox monasteries have been called lavras and became subordinated directly to the Patriarch of Moscow. In 1721 they became subordinated to the Holy Synod. Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople: Megisti Lavra, Mount Athos: the Great Lavra Georgian Orthodox Church: David Gareja Lavra Church of Greece: Agia Lavra Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem: Lavra of St. Sabbas Polish Orthodox Church: Supraśl Lavra Romanian Orthodox Church: Neamț Lavra Russian Orthodox Church: Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra Alexander Nevsky Lavra St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church: Univ Lavra Univ Holy Dormition Lavra of the Studite Rite Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Kiev Pechersk Lavra Kiev Caves Lavra Pochayiv Lavra Pochayiv-Dormition Lavra Holy Mountains Lavra Cenobitic monasticism Hermitage Skete Parry, Ken.
The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. Malden, MA.: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-23203-6. Lewin, Ariel; the Archaeology of Ancient Judea and Palestine. Getty Trust Publications. ISBN 0-89236-800-4; the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra Photo of "Holy Mountain" Lavra in Ukraine Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Laura". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company