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-Means "the act of dwelling alone"
-Monastics are chosen and called by God to live a life of prayer , work, and community
-Became the new "Martyrdom"
-Renounced the outside world in favor of an "ascetic" (strict/ disciplined) lifestyle involving intense prayer, seclusion and communal life.
-MONO= "One"
-Monasteries (where monks live ) + Convents (Where nuns live)


Out with Martyrdom, In with Monasticism

-New ways to worship and practice the faith began to emerge
-Christians rose to power: enjoyed material, political, social and religious privileges, and authority
-People looked to the Church for guidance
-End of persecutions brought a loss of meaning--> the reasons and purpose, witnessing to the faith... Many converted "just because"...
-Some therefore, fled to the desert and become monks.


Value of Monasticism

-During barbarian invasions: provided refuge, food, stability, structure, prayer, work, shelter
-Won admiration of barbarians, some entered the monasteries
-Monks copied sacred and secular books, preserved culture and civilization (history, art...)


Communal Life (Monasticism)

-Believed that life in community is better than the solitary life as a way to seek God
-United by belief and way of worshipping God
-Took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
-Self-sustaining centers: land tillable soil, wells, buildings, fishpond, rabbity, poultry yard


St. Anthony of Egypt

-The father of monasticism
-Left his life behind to live in the desert
-Did battle with demons (money, temptations, emotional states)
-Saint Athanasius wrote his biography
-He became a hermit cut from society
-Others were attracted to the life of prayer and sought him out in the desert


Simon Stylites

-Lived 40 years atop a pillar in the desert
-"Stylus" =pillar
-Desert father


Desert Fathers

-Earliest monks who lived in the deserts of Africa/ Middle from the end of the 2nd century
-Sacrificed their lives for Christ
-Left behind rules and tradition
-Used metaphor and stories to speak the truth and teach a lesson about how to be a good Christian (Ex: Brotherhood Story)
-Called each other "Abba" means Father



-Recognized the need for order, structure, uniformity
-Organized the first monasteries in 320
-Common rule stressing prayer, chastity, poverty, obedience
-Monks and Nuns follow a superior
-Abbot: Masculine superior and spiritual leader
-Abbess: Feminine superior and spiritual leader


What is the difference between monasteries, Abbey, and Priory

-Monastery: Community of religious monastics living under religious vows and the buildings where they pray and work
-Abbey and Priory are two types of Christian Monasteries
-Abbey: Monks under an Abbott and nuns under an Abbess; Cloistered (No interaction with people)
-Priory: Extension under Abbey; very similar in structure and discipline; headed by a Prior (Masculine) and Prioress(Feminine); not cloistered


St. Benedict of Nursia

-Wanted to seek God in solitude and silence of the countryside (Hermit)
-Eventually wrote the "Rule of Saint Benedict"
-Believed life in community fosters union with God in ways that living alone does not--> "no holy vagabonds" (a wanderer, gypsy)
-Subiaco= site where he lived as hermit before organized his first monastic community
-Monte Cassino= First monastic community, now famous monastery


St. Scholastica

-Benedict's twin sister who formed a community of monastic women
-Both taught monks and nuns to read so that they could better understand Scripture and their daily prayer


The Rule of Saint Benedict

-Benedict developed a rule for his monks based on moderation in all things
-Desires are not inherently bad; they should just regulate
-Example: instead of resorting to extreme fasting, eat just 2 meals a day
-Balanced, simple and prayerful life
-"Idleness is the enemy of the soul"
-Ora et labora "prayer and work"
-These guidelines became the standard for Western monasticism and provided a model for religious life in the Church


Western Monasticism

-Saints Benedict and Scholastica:Brother and sister duo
-More Practical
-Community emphasis
-Strong connections with the hierarchy
-St. Benedict


Eastern Monasticism

-Saints Basil and Macrina: Brother and sister duo
-Ascetic life stress (Live w/ each other but do not interact)
-Solitude emphasized
-Tension w/ the hierarchy
-St. Anthony


Irish Monasticism

-Began w/ Saint Patrick==> Known to have spread Christianity all throughout Ireland
-Monastic communities began to form
-Ireland then: Impoverished, simple lives, and peasants--> needed education which a monastery provided



-monastery Founded by Saint Kevin (hermit)
-Glendalough is called the valley of 2 lakes


St. Brigid and Kildare

-St. Brigid (453-525 AD)
-Established several monasteries for women in Ireland
-Kildare: Double monastery, one for men and one for women
-Center for learning and evangelization


Illuminated Manuscripts

-A manuscript in which the text is supplemented with artwork (decorated borders, initials, illustrations)
-Made Scripture come alive
-Copied and illuminated by hand, mostly by monks


St. Columba and Iona

-Irish monk started monasteries in Ireland
-Iona: island off coast of Scotland where he started his first monastery
-not Irish (Scotish)


Book of Kells

-Irish Manuscript containing the four gospels in Latin and other documents thought to have been created by monks at Iona monastery in Scotland
-Geometric shapes, people, dogs, birds, horses, beasts
-Currently resides at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland