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The Lausiac History Of Palladius by Palladius Of Galatia

[1] SINCE I promised above to tell about the (grand-) daughter of Melania, I am constrained to pay the debt, for it is not just that men should disdain her youthfulness in respect of the flesh and leave on one side with no pillar to commemorate it such great virtue, virtue which, frankly, far surpasses that of old and zealous women. Her parents by using compulsion made her marry a man of the highest rank in Rome. Her conscience was always being pricked by the tales she heard about her grandmother, and (at last) she was so goaded that she felt unable to perform her marriage duty. [2] For, two male children having been born to her and both having died, she came to have such great hatred of marriage as to say to her husband Pinianus, son of Severus the ex-prefect: “If you choose to practise asceticism with me according to the fashion of chastity, then I recognise you as master and lord of my life. But if this appears grievous to you, being still a young man, take all my belongings and set my body free, that I may fulfil my desire toward God and become heir of the zeal of my grandmother, whose name I also bear. [3] For if God had wished us to have children, He would not have taken away my children untimely.” After they had struggled under the yoke a long while, at last God had pity on the young man and planted in him a zeal for renunciation, so that the word of Scripture was fulfilled in their case: “How knowest thou, O woman, that thou shalt save thy husband?” So having been married at thirteen and having lived with her husband seven years, in the twentieth year she renounced the world. And first she gave her silk dresses to the altars: this the holy Olympias has also done. [4] Then she cut up her other silks and made them into different church ornaments. And having entrusted her silver and gold to a certain Paul, a priest, a monk of Dalmatia, she sent them across the sea to the East, 10,000 pieces of money to Egypt and the Thebaid, 10,000 pieces to Antioch and its neighbourhood, 15,000 to Palestine, 10,000 to the churches in the islands and the places of exile, while she herself distributed to the churches in the West in the same way. [5] All this and four times as much she snatched, if God will allow the expression, “out of the mouth of the lion” Alaric by her faith. And she freed 8000 slaves who wished freedom, for the rest did not wish it, but preferred to be slaves to her brother; and she allowed him to take them all for three pieces of money. But having sold her possessions in the Spains, Aquitania, Tarragonia and the Gauls, she reserved for herself only those in Sicily and Campania and Africa and appropriated their income for the support of monasteries. [6] Such was her wise conduct with regard to the burden of riches. And her asceticism was as follows. She ate every other day—to begin with after a five days’ interval—and assigned to herself a part in the daily work of her own slavewomen, whom also she made her fellowascetics.

She had with her also her mother Albina, who lived a similar ascetic life and distributed her riches for her part privately. Now these ladies are dwelling on their properties, now in Sicily and now in Campania, with fifteen eunuchs and sixty virgins, both free and slave. [7] Similarly also Pinianus her husband lives with thirty monks, reading and busying himself with the garden and solemn conferences. But in no small way did they honour us when we, a numerous party, went to Rome because of the blessed bishop John; they refreshed us both with hospitality and lavish equipment for the journey, thus winning for themselves with great joy the fruit of eternal life by their God-given works springing from a noble mode of life.








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