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The Lausiac History Of Palladius by Palladius Of Galatia

MY interest in monasticism was first awakened in 1904, when I was a theological student at Cambridge, by the publication of the second volume of Abbot Cuthbert Butler’s Lausiac History of Palladius. The appearance of a new work of scholarship, however excellent, would have meant little to me at that time, but my imagination was struck by the dinner which the theological teachers at Cambridge combined to give the author in honour of the completion of his arduous task. Somehow I had not associated monks with dinnerparties, and they appeared to me henceforward in a more human and attractive guise. In 1908 I began to study monasticism, taking Abbot Butler’s works as my guide, and have never since lost interest in the subject. During the past year I have tried, during the few leisure hours which were alone possible under war conditions, to forget the tragedies of the time by making a translation of the Lausiac History. I do not know whether an ordinary critical text, where an editor merely gives the finishing touches to the labour of his predecessors, is copyright so far as the right of making a translation is concerned. But in this case the text belongs to Abbot Butler in a special way, since before him all was chaos. I am grateful therefore to him, and the Cambridge University Press his publisher, for readily granting permission to make the present version. There is nothing original in my book; if it succeeds in popularising the work of the Abbot of Downside, on whom the mantle of the great. Benedictine scholars of old has descended, my purpose is accomplished.

To a lesser extent I am indebted to M. Lucot’s excellent edition and translation. Occasionally he seems to me to have missed the meaning, but his French clarity of vision has frequently given me the clue to the right English rendering.

Finally I must express my gratitude to the Society of which I have the honour to be Secretary for undertaking the publication of this work at a time when it might have been tempted to postpone all such projects until a more convenient season.

May 1918.

HITHER, and with one accord

Sing the servants of the Lord:

Sing each great ascetic sire;

Antony shall lead the choir.

Egypt, hail, thou faithful strand!

Hail, thou holy Libyan land!

Nurturing for the realm on high

Such a glorious company!

By what skill of mortal tongue

Shall your wondrous acts be sung?

All the conflicts of the soul,

All your struggles to the goal;

And your virtue’s prize immense,

And your victories over sense,

How perpetual watch ye kept

Over passions, prayed and wept;

Yea, like very angels came,

Visible in earthly frame.

Hymn for the Friday before Quinquagesima.

St. Theophanes. Translated by J. M. Neale.








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