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A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana






As the persecution of the Catholic Church waned, the early Christians embraced the alternative to martyrdom: this is monastic life. 

There is no such thing as different monastic schools: what seems different among the monastic movements is only the degree of intensity in the way of life. While St. Benedict's rule is for ordinary peasants beginning in the spiritual life, St. John Climacus' rule is for hard-headed monks long living the monastic life. 

Around this era, monasticism began to flourish near Jerusalem and Jericho. And, essentially, monasticism is "living alone together". And so monastic practices were either highly alone and less together for the advanced, half living alone and half together for the middle way, and more together and rarely alone for beginners in the monastic life. In fact, St. Benedict's rule legislated community life and discouraged going to the eremitical life without intense preparation. 

During this period, we had the LAURAS, a monastic community wherewith monks lived half way between the solitary life and community life. They lived alone in their hermitages but met together for liturgy. During this era, the Church was still fervent. 

Because of the absence of persecution, monastic life spread in every province of the Roman world--Asia Minor, India, Persia and Ethiopia. In no time, it reached the West--Italy, the island of the Adriatic, Gaul, Spain, and the British Isles. 

The Armenian monks wore the first definite monastic habit. The earliest monastic rule was written by St. Pachomius and all monastic orders follow the general norms of his rule. The community of St. Anthony is resembled more by the Carthusians today. 

The monastic communities of St. Basil were like small cities with whole families living the monastic life together. St. Martin of Tours, Bishop, organized his diocese along quasi-monastic lines; his rule was as mild as St. Benedict's. St. Augustine, Bishop, organized his diocesan priests into monastic communities. 

Obviously, from the beginning, monasticism was fully developed because its norms are found in Scriptures, in the hidden life of Christ. 






(updated 03-11-02)


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