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John Chrysostom (347 – 407)

  • Eastern Monasticism Before Chalcedon (A.D. 451)
    Antioch, when St. John Chrysostom was a young man, was full of ascetics and the neighbouring mountains were peopled with hermits. So great was the impulse driving men to the solitary life that at one time there was an outcry, amounting almost to a persecution, among Christians as well as pagans against those who embraced it. This was the occasion of St. Chrysostom's treatise against the opponents of monasticism: in the first book he dwelt upon the guilt incurred by them; the second and third were addressed respectively to a pagan and a Christian father who were opposing the wish of their sons to embrace the monastic state. The pathetic scene between the saint and his mother, which he describes in the beginning of the "De Sacertio", must be typical of what took place in many Christian homes. He himself so far yielded to his mother's entreaties that he contented himself with the ascetic life at home till her death. Palestine and Antioch must suffice as examples of the rapid spread of monasticism outside of Egypt. There is abundant evidence of the phenomenon in all the countries between the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia; and Mesopotamia, according to St Jerome, whose testimony is amply borne out by other writers, rivalled Egypt itself in the number and holiness of its monks...
  • John Chrysostom (Wikipedia)