HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

NITRIA, inhabited by a great number of persons devoted to a life of philosophy, derives its name from its vicinity to a village in which nitre is found. It contains about fifty monasteries, built tolerably near to each other, some of which are inhabited by monks who live together in society, and others by monks who have adopted a solitary mode of existence. More in the interior of the desert, about seventy stadia from this locality, is a region called the Cells, throughout which numerous little dwellings are dispersed hither and thither, but at such a distance that those who dwell in them can neither see nor hear each other. They assemble together on the first and last days of each week; and if any monk happen to be absent, it is immediately concluded that he is ill, or has been attacked by some disease, and all the other monks visit him alternately, and carry to him such remedies as are suited to his case. Except on these occasions, they seldom converse together, unless, indeed, there be one among them capable of communicating further knowledge concerning God and the salvation of the soul. Those who dwell in the cells are those who have attained the summit of philosophy, and who are therefore able to regulate their own conduct, to live alone, and to seek nothing but quietude. This is what I had briefly to state concerning Scetis and its ascetic inhabitants. I should be justly reproached with prolixity, were I to enter into further details concerning their mode of life, their labours, their customs, their exercises, their abstinence, and other regulations which they adapted to their respective circumstances and ages.

Rinocorurus was also celebrated at this period, on account of the holy men who were born, and who flourished there. I have heard that the most eminent among them were Melas, the bishop of the country; Denis, who presided over a monastery situated to the north of the city; and Solon, the brother and successor of Melas. When the decree for the ejection of all bishops opposed to Arianism was issued, the officers appointed to execute the mandate found Melas engaged in trimming the lights of the church, and clad in an old cloak soiled with oil, fastened by a girdle. When they asked him for the bishop, he replied that he was within, and that he would conduct them to him. As they were fatigued with their journey, he led them to the episcopal dwelling, made them sit down to table, and placed before them such things as he had. After the repast, he supplied them with water to wash their hands, and then told them who he was. Amazed at his conduct, they confessed the mission on which they had arrived; but, from respect to him, gave him full liberty, to go wherever he would. He, however, replied that he would not shrink from the sufferings to which the other bishops who maintained the same sentiments as himself were exposed, and that he was ready to go into exile. He had been accustomed, from his youth upwards, to the practice of all the virtues of asceticism.

Solon quitted the pursuits of commerce to embrace a monastic life, a measure which tended greatly to his welfare; for, under the instruction of his brother and other ascetics, he progressed rapidly in piety towards God, and in charity towards his neighbour. The Church of Rinocorurus having been thus, from the beginning, under the guidance of such exemplary bishops, never afterwards swerved from their precepts, and can still boast of many eminent men. The clergy of this church dwell in one house, sit at the same table, and have everything in common.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com