THE

CONFERENCES

OF

JOHN CASSIAN.

Notes by Edgar C.S. Gibson.


From: A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Volume 11

New York, 1894


Part III.

Conferences XVIII.-XXIV.


1. See the introduction.

2. Piamun, who has already been spoken of in XVII. xxiv., is also mentioned by Rufinus (History of the Monks, c. xxxii), Palladius (the Lausiac History, clxxii.), and Sozomen (H. E. VI. xxix.), all of whom tell, with slight variation, the same story, how that one day while he was officiating at the altar, he saw an angel writing down the names of some of the brethren, and passing by the names of others, all of whom Piamun on subsequent inquiry found to have been guilty of some grievous sin.

3. On Diolcos see [note] on the Institutes V. xxxvi.

4. Cf. S. Matt. 5:14.

5. See the note on c. vii.

6. Acts 4:32; 2:45; 4:34, 35.

7. Acts 15:29.

8. Paul was from very early days celebrated as the first of the anchorites. Indeed, S. Jerome, who wrote his life (Works, Vol. ii. p. 13 ed. Migne) calls him "auctor vitæ monasticæ" (Ep. xxii. ad Eustochium). He is said to have fled to the Thebaid from the terrors of the Decian persecution, and to have died there in extreme old age. Antony has already been several times mentioned by Cassian. See the Institutes V. iv.; Conference II. ii.; III. iv., etc.

9. Heb. 11:37, 38; Job 39:5-8; Ps. 106 (107):2, 4-6; Lam. 3:27, 28; Ps. 101 (102):7, 8.

10. Sarabaites, this third sort of monks, whom Cassian here paints in such dark colours, are spoken of by S. Jerome (Ep. xxii. ad Eustochium) under the name of Remoboth. The origin of both names is obscure, but Jerome and Cassian are quite at one in their scorn for these pretended monks. S. Benedict begins his monastic rule by describing the four kinds of monks, coenobites, anchorites, sarabaites, and a fourth class to which he gives the name of "gyrovagi," i.e., wandering monks; these must be those of whom Cassian speaks below in c. viii. without giving them any definite name. See further Bingham, Antiquities VII. ii., and the Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, Art. Sarabaites.

11. Lucius took the lead of the Arian party at Alexandria after the murder of George of Cappadocia in 361, and was put forward by his party as the candidate for the see which they regarded as vacant. In 373, after the death of Athanasius, he was forced upon the reluctant Church of Alexandria by the Arian Emperor Valens, and according to Gregory Nazianzen a fresh persecution of the orthodox party at once began; and to this it is that Piamun alludes in the text.

12. Diaconia. The word is used again by Cassian for almsgiving in Conf. XXI. i., viii., ix., and cf. Gregory the Great, Ep. xxii., and compare eiV diakonian in Acts 11:29.

13. To work in the mines was a punishment to which the Confessors were frequently subjected in the time of persecution: Cf. the prayer in the Liturgy of S. Mark that God would have mercy on those in prison, or in the mines, etc. Hammond's Liturgies, p. 181.

14. On Serapion see the note on Conf. V. i.

15. Orationem Colligere. See the notes on the Institutes II. vii.

16. Prov. 18:17.

17. Prov. 16:32; 14:29.

18. Cf. S. Matt. 7:24, 59.

19. S. James 1:12.

20. 2 Cor. 12:9; Jer. 1 :18, 19.

21. I.e., the Buffalo. On Paphnutius see the note on Conf. III.

22. Gazet thinks that this Isidore is the same person as the one mentioned in the Lausiac History c. i.; and Sozomen VI. xxviii., but doubts whether he is identical with the person of the same name mentioned in Rufinus: History of the Monks c. xvii., Sozomen VIII. xii., and Socrates VI. ix.

23. On the Saturday and Sunday celebration of the Holy Communion in Egypt compare the Institutes III. ii. In Gaul it was apparently received daily: Institutes VI. viii.

24. S. Luke 17:21.

25. S. Matt. 10:36.

26. As Cassian here implies, considerable doubt exists whether the Nicholas from whom the sect of the Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:15) derive their name was the same person as Nicholas the last of the seven "deacons" mentioned in Acts 6:5. According to Irenæus (Haer. I. xxvi.) the Nicolaitans themselves claimed him as their founder, and the claim is allowed by Hippolytus (Philos. vii. § 36), Epiphanius (Haer. I. ii. § 25), and other writers of the fourth century. Clement of Alexandria however disputes the claim (Strom. III. iv. and cf. Euseb. H. E. III. xxix.), as does Theodoret (Haer. Tab. iii. 1).

27. Jer. 8:17.

28. Wisd. 2:24, 25.

29. Eccl. 10:2.

30. Prov. 27:4.

31. Gen. 37:4.

32. Heb. 12:15.

33. Jer. 8:17.

34. Rom. 1:28.

35. Deut. 32:21.

36. Depositio. A word frequently used for the day of the death (or burial) in Calendars and Martyrologies.

37. On this Abbot John compare the note on the Institutes V. xxvii.

38. The true reading, as given by Petschenig, appears to be the following: Et minus de praesumptae sublimioris professionis humilitate periculum. It is probably on account of its difficulty that humilitate has been altered into difficultate, as in the text of Gazet (the two humilitate difficultate are found together in some MSS.). But the fact appears to be that humilitas is here used for the life of an anchorite, as in Conference XXIV. ix., where Abbot Abraham uses the expression districtionem hujus humilitatis. The word is also used in a somewhat similar sense in Conf. I. xx. and XI. ii.

39. Jer. 17:16.

40. In prochirio id est admanuensi sporta.

41. Cf. Conference VIII.

42. Phil. 2:8; S. John 6:38.

43. Is. 58:13, 14.

44. Lam. 3:27, 28; Ps. 101 (102):7, 8.

45. Moses, Paphnutius, and the two Macarii have all been mentioned frequently before. On Moses (to whom the first two Conferences are assigned) see the note on the Institutes X. xxv.; on Paphnutius see [note] on Conference III. i.; and on the two Macarii, the [note on] Institutes V. xli.

46. Ps. 118 (119):60; 25 (26):2; 138 (139):23, 24.

47. S. Matt. 11:29.

48. Cf. Institutes IV. c. xxx., xxxi. Nothing further is known of Pinufius than what we gather from these passages of Cassian.

49. On Tabennæ or Tabenna see the note on the Institutes IV. i.

50. Ps. 31 (32):5, 6.

51. Ps. 6:7.

52. Is. 43:25, 26.

53. Ps. 24 (25):18.

54. Ps. 50 (51):5; 37 (38):19.

55. Ps. 31 (32):5; 41 (42):4; Jer. 31:16.

56. Is. 44:22; 43:25.

57. Prov. 5:22.

58. Ps. 115:16, 17.

59. Acts 3:19; S. Matt. 3:2.

60. 1 Pet. 4:8.

61. Ecclus. 3:33.

62. Ps. 6:7, 9.

63. Ps. 31 (32):5; Is. 43:26.

64. Ps. 24 (25):18; Is. 1:16-18.

65. 1 John 5:16; S. James 5:14, 15.

66. Prov. 15:27.

67. S. James 5:20.

68. S. Matt. 6:14.

69. Ps. 108 (109):24; 101 (102):10.

70. Ps. 31 (32):5.

71. Ps. 50 (51):5, 6.

72. S. Matt. 6:12.

73. Is. 43:25.

74. Heb. 9:22.

75. 1 Cor. 15:50.

76. Eph. 6:17.

77. Jer. 48:10.

78. Phil. 3:13.

79. Prov. 9:18.

80. Ps. 128 (129):8.

81. Prov. 23:33-35.

82. S. John 12:26.

83. Prov. 16:25.

84. Prov. 24:16.

85. Ps. 18 (19):12; Rom. 7:19, 24.

86. 1 John 1:8, 10.

87. On Quinquagesima see the note on the Institutes II. vi.

88. Nothing further is known of this Theonas than what Cassian here tells us: he is clearly a different person from the one mentioned by Rufinus, Hist. Mon. c. vi. Cf. Palladius, Lausiac History, c. l.

89. Diaconia. Cf. the note on XVIII. vii.

90. This is noteworthy as being the earliest instance on record of the payment of tithes to a monastery. The language of the Conference, it will be noted, shows that they were not regarded as legally due or in any way compulsory, but as a free-will offering on the part of the faithful. Cf. Bingham, Antiquities, Book VII. ciii. § 19; and the Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, Vol. ii. p. 1964.

91. Cf. 1 Cor. 9:11.

92. Prov. 3:9, 10.

93. Cf. Numb. 18:26; 5:9, 10.

94. Gen. 14:22, 23.

95. Cf. Exod. 21:24.

96. Heb. 11:37, 38.

97. Jer. 35:6, 7, 19.

98. S. Matt. 16:25.

99. S. Matt. 19:21.

100. Lev. 18:5.

101. S. Matt. 5:3; 19:29.

102. Deut. 27:26.

103. S. Matt. 19:12.

104. Deut. 4:26.

105. Eph. 4:13.

106. Exod. 22:29; S. Matt. 19:21.

107. Cf. S. Matt. 8:21, sq.

108. Cf. 2 Cor. 7:10.

109. 1 Cor. 9:24.

110. S. Matt. 19:29.

111. Eph. 6:2, 3.

112. Cf. Gen. 2:18.

113. S. Luke 14:26.

114. Heb. 13:4.

115. Quinquagesima.

116. The 20th Canon of the Council of Nicæa (A.D. 325) alludes to diversities of custom with regard to posture for prayer on Sundays and from Easter to Pentecost, and ordered that for the future prayer should be made standing at these times. Cassian's language in the text would seem to show that in his day the Canon in question, though kept in Egypt, was not strictly observed in Palestine, but that the ancient diversity of customs still to some extent prevailed.

117. Eccl. 3:1-8, 17.

118. 1 Tim. 4:3, 4; Rom. 14:14.

119. Isa. 58:3-9.

120. Jer. 14:12.

121. S. Matt. 15:11.

122. S. Matt. 9:14, 15.

123. Cf. Deut. 16:9.

124. Ps. 98 (99):4.

125. Prov. 3:9.

126. Gen. 4:7 (LXX).

127. Ps. 32 (33):5; Isa. 61:8.

128. Jer. 48:10.

129. Ps. 61 (62):10.

130. Rom. 12:1.

131. Lev. 19:36.

132. Prov. 20:10, 11.

133. Prov. 20:23.

134. Nah. 1:15.

135. Isa. 66:23.

136. On the different uses in regard to the Lenten fast Socrates (H. E. V. xxii.) writes as follows: "Those at Rome fast three successive weeks before Easter, excepting Saturdays and Sundays. The Illyrians, Achaians, and Alexandrians observe a fast of six weeks, which they call the forty days' fast. Others commencing their fast from the seventh week before Easter, and fasting for fifteen days by intervals, yet call that time the forty days' fast." There are difficulties in the way of accepting the statement about the custom at Rome (see below), but the great variety of customs is fully confirmed by Sozomen (H. E. VII. xix.): "In some churches the time before Easter, which is called Quadragesima, and is devoted by the people to fasting, is made to consist of six weeks: and this is the case in Illyria, and the western regions, in Libya, throughout Egypt, and in Palestine: whereas it is made to comprise seven weeks at Constantinople, and in the neighbouring provinces as far as Phoenicia. In some churches the people fast three alternate weeks during the space of six or seven weeks; whereas in others they fast continuously during the three weeks immediately preceding the festival." The statement here made with regard to the West is true except as regards Milan, where Saturday was kept (as in the East) as a festival: while for the Constantinopolitan practice Chrysostom (Hom. xi. in Gen. § 2) confirms what Sozomen says: while Cassian's language in the text bears witness to the fact that both Egypt and Palestine agreed with the Roman practice. In either case, whether the fast began seven or six weeks before Easter, the number of days observed in the fast was the same; Saturdays (with the exception of Easter Eve which was always regarded as a fast) being excluded in the former case, while they were all included in the latter. Cf. below, c. xxvi.

137. Exod. 22:29.

138. Ps. 118 (119):147, 148; 87 (88):14.

139. Cassian here gives three suggestions why the fast of thirty-six days' duration was called Quadragesima. (1) As roughly corresponding to the forty days fast of Moses, Elijah, and the Lord Himself; (2) because "forty" is the number associated with a time of probation in Scripture; and (3) because of the analogy of a legal tribute of "Quadragesima" paid to the Sovereign. It is certainly a curious and difficult question why the name Quadragesima should have been so universally applied to the fast, when there is no evidence of its having been kept for forty days till sometime after the date of Gregory the Great, when Ash Wednesday and the three following days were prefixed to the six weeks expressly for the purpose of making up the number forty. The name however, had as we see from Socrates, Sozomen, Cassian himself, and many other writers, existed long before this; and on the whole it appears probable that it originated in none of the reasons given above by Cassian, but that in the first instance it was connected "with the period during which our Lord yielded to the power of death, which was estimated at forty hours; viz., from noon on Friday till 4 a.m. on Sunday." See Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, Vol. ii. p. 973; and cf. Irenæus Ep. ad Victor. in Euseb. V. xxiv.; and Tertullian De Orat. c. 18; and De Jejuniis c. ii. and xiii.

140. Exod. 5:8, 9.

141. Ecclus. 50:24.

142. Statio. Cf. the note on the Institutes V. xx. and the notes on the Institutes V. xxiv.

143. Heb. 7:19.

144. 1 Tim. 1:9, 10.

145. Rom. 6:14.

146. S. John 8:34.

147. Isa. 31:9 (LXX).

148. Cf. Job 24:21.

149. S. Luke 23:29; 14:26; 1 Cor. 7:29.

150. Exod. 22:29; S. Matt. 19:21.

151. Exod. 21:24; S. Matt. 5:39, 40.

152. Rom. 5:5.

153. Heb. 7:18, 19; Ezek. 20:25.

154. Rom. 6:15.

155. 1 Pet. 2:16; Gal. 5:13.

156. 2 Cor. 3:17.

157. Cum deprehenderimus nos sordidi liquoris contagius pertulisse.

158. Rom. 2:28, 29.

159. See HTML transcriber's note on Conference XII.

160. Rom. 7:18, 19.

161. Gen. 8:21.

162. Cf. Phil. 3:19.

163. Jer. 9:5.

164. S. Matt. 15:19.

165. Cf. 2 Cor. 11:29.

166. S. Luke 10:41, 42. Cf. the note on I. viii.

167. Gen. 1:31; Ecclus. 39:16.

168. Rom. 1:20.

169. Isa. 30:26.

170. Ps. 101 (102):27, 28.

171. S. Matt. 7:18; 12:35; 25:21.

172. S. Luke 18:19.

173. S. Matt. 7:11.

174. Isa. 64:6.

175. Gal. 3:19; Rom. 7:12.

176. Ezek. 20:25.

177. 2 Cor. 3:10.

178. Ezek. 16:52, 49; Jer. 3:2.

179. Ps. 34 (35):10; Job 29:17.

180. Ps. 72 (73):28.

181. Eccl. 7:21.

182. S. Matt. 6:23.

183. Acts 20:34; 2 Thess. 3:8.

184. Phil. 1:22-24.

185. Rom. 9:3, 4.

186. Cf. 1 Thess. 5:17.

187. S. Matt. 13:13.

188. Anamarteti id est impeccantae.

189. Prov. 23:35.

190. 1 John 2:15-17.

191. Job 25:5; 15:15.

192. Substantia.

193. Hos. 7:13; 9:12; Jer. 2:19; Prov. 5:22.

194. Isa. 50:11; Prov. 19:9.

195. Rom. 4:5.

196. Rom. 7:24, 25.

197. Rom. 7:22, 23.

198. Gen. 3:17, 19.

199. S. John 6:33; Ps. 103 (104):15.

200. Rom. 7:14.

201. S. John 6:33.

202. Isa. 50:1, 2.

203. Isa. 59:1, 2.

204. Cf. Rom. 7:18.

205. Rom. 8:1, 2.

206. Rom. 7:19.

207. Rom. 7:24, 25.

208. 1 Cor. 6:9, 10.

209. Rom. 8:2.

210. Ps. 33 (34):9.

211. Jer. 2:19.

212. 2 Cor. 10:11; 12:13, 16; Gal. 5:2; Rom. 9:3.

213. Ps. 142 (143):2; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:21; Ps. 18 (19):13.

214. Isa. 6:5.

215. Isa. 64:5, 6.

216. Cf. XXII. viii.

217. Isa. 6:6, 7.

218. S. Matt. 6:12.

219. Eccl. 7:21.

220. S. John 13:23.

221. 1 John 1:8.

222. Gal. 5:24; 6:14.

223. Cf. the note on XV. iv.

224. Rev. 4:4.

225. Petschenig's text reads conversione, others conversatione.

226. On the bearing of this passage on the question of Cassian's nationality, see the Introd.

227. Prov. 13:4; 21:25.

228. S. Luke 14:26.

229. Jer. 17:5; Ps. 145 (146):2.

230. 1 Cor. 3:8.

231. S. Luke 16:25.

232. Jer. 17:16.

233. S. Luke 9:23.

234. Hab. 2:1 (LXX).

235. Cf. Institutes X. xxiv.

236. Unius puncti lege.

237. Ps. 35 (36):8.

238. Cf. the note on II. xiii.

239. Cf. the note on XIX. iii.

240. Prov. 23:35 (LXX); Hos. 7:9.

241. Acts 20:34; 2 Thess. 3:7, 9.

242. 2 Thess. 3:10.

243. Ps. 36 (37):16.

244. Eccl. 4:6.

245. Hag. 1:6.

246. Prov. 13:7; 12:9.

247. Cf. Numb. 24.

248. 1 Kings 20:31, 32, 42.

249. 1 Kings 22:22.

250. S. Matt. 4:3, 6.

251. S. John 14:30.

252. Cf. S. Matt. 5:14.

253. 1 Sam. 2:30.

254. The story is quoted by S. Francis de Sales, The Devout Life, and by Dean Goulbourn, Personal Religion, Part III. c. x.

255. S. Matt. 11:30.

256. Ps. 16 (17):4; 2 Tim. 3:12.

257. Gal. 2:20.

258. 2 Cor. 12:10.

259. S. Matt. 16:26.

260. 1 Tim. 6:7.

261. S. Matt. 10:9, 10.

262. 2 Cor. 11:27.

263. S. Matt. 26:39.

264. S. Matt. 19:21.

265. Prov. 5:22; Isa. 50:11; Wisd. 11:17.

266. Jer. 2:18, 19.

267. Prov. 2:20.

268. Prov. 22:5.

269. Jer. 18:15.

270. Prov. 15:19.

271. Eccl. 10:15 (LXX); Gal. 4:26.

272. S. Matt. 11:29.

273. Rom. 8:28.

274. Micah 2:7; Hos. 14:10.

275. Jer. 1:18, 19.

276. Jer. 6:16; Isa. 40:4; Ps. 33 (34):9.

277. S. Matt. 11:28-30.

278. Prov. 19:3 (LXX).

279. Ezek. 18:25 (LXX).

280. S. Matt. 19:29.

281. S. John 16:15.

282. 1 Cor. 3:22; Prov. 17:6 (LXX).

283. The passage alludes to the practice of counting on the fingers, in which all the tens up to ninety were reckoned on the fingers of the left hand, but with the number of a hundred the reckoning began with the same arrangement of the fingers, on the right hand. S. Jerome has a similar allusion to the practice in his work against Jovinian I. i. and compare also Juvenal Satire. X. l. 247, 248.

284. S. Mark 10:29, 30.

285. Prov. 14:23 (LXX).

286. S. Matt. 11:12.

287. Prov. 14:26 (LXX).

288. Isa. 58:3, 13, 14.

289. S. John 6:38; S. Matt. 26:39.

290. Cf. the note on the Institutes IV. xxiii.

291. Cf. S. Luke 12:49.

 


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