Jackowski A. (red.), 1995, Zeszyt wielotematyczny, Peregrinus Cracoviensis, z.1.
Język publikacji: polski
"Peregrinus...Mundialis?... Polonus?... Cracoviensis?..."
Monastycyzm chrześcijański, geneza, formy, cel
Christian Monasticism - Its Genesis, Forms and Aims
Summary: The monasticism is the oldest form of life devoted to the God, dated back to the first centuries of the Christianity. This is the specific form of the inner life, appeared spontaneously. This is also the first form of the monastic life in the Roman-Catholic Church and nowadays the unique one in the Orthodox Church. The origin and beginnings of monastic life in ancient Christianity, which fall on the turning of the 3rd and 4thc., are closely associated with the social and political situation of the Roman Empire at that time. Considerable changes were taking place concerning religious and moral matters. The pagan cult was only a formality in many cases. At the same time, the spiritual power of the Church was increasing in the Empire - the Church was ready to supersede the ancient pagan world and breathe new life into the emerging new civilisation. The Milan programme of the religious policy of Constantine the Great (306-337) just gave a legal sanction to a situation which had almost become a stark fact. In principle, tolerance and religious freedom were the official doctrine, but the Church soon gained a priviledged legal status. Beside the authentic Christianity, uniting faith with life and morality, a new - opportunistic - form of life occured, which boiled down to preserving the faith and following only those moral precepts that were convienient or pragmatic. These are the circumstances in which the movement of Christian monasticism appeared in Egypt on the turning of the 3rd and 4th c. It realized some of the ideals most deeply rooted in human nature: longing for solitude, ascesis, contemplation. Anchorites were the first representatives of this movement. At that time in the Roman Empire the'desert' was a common form of refuge for all who had reasons to escape from the society (debtors, tax-payers, criminals etc.). Anchorites differed spiritual motives, for strict ascesis, to undertake combat against the powers of evil. Such was the earliest and most basic form of Christian anchoritism, whose father was St. Antony the Great (ca 250-356). Almost parallelly, at the same time, in the desert of middle Egypt a seconf form of monastic life developed, already shaped as an organized social coenobitic life. Its initiator, St Pachomius (287-346), wrote the first monastic rule and brought into existence the first monks' congregation in the history of monasticism. The coenobitic form of monastic life became generally accepted later and was prevalent both in the East and in the West. An important part in the history of Byzantine monasticism was played by St Basil, who mitigated the excessively individualistic form of life of eremites in Asia Minor and their relish for axcentric mortification, and who made monastic movement part of the Church life. It is worth stressing that the Greek type of Basilian monachism soon spread not only in the Near East countries, but also in Europe, especially in the Balkans. Development of monasticism in the West began slightly later and in different conditions than in the East. In the first period of Western monasticism three directions of its development can be distinguished. The first branch of this movement, exclusive in character - especially in Italy - tended to confine this life to the circle of family and friends. Concentration in urban centres was another feature of Italian monasticism. It was a significant characteristic of monastic life in the West that bishops attempted at monasticising the lay clergy who at the same time were largely engaged in everyday life of the Christian community. For further development of monasticism it was extremely important that it gained support of the Holy See. Here a great contribution was made by St Gregory the Great (590-604), who charged monks with apostolic work. It is worth empasizing that - beside intense life of prayer and contemplation - the monks were engaged in scholarly and didactic work, which is a specific feature of Western monasticism in the period mentioned. The period of Christian antiquity is very important for later epochs, due to the development of the basic forms of monasticism - which is the primary and specific form of life consecrated to God. In the whole period monasticism was an essential part of the Christianity at progress both in the East and in the West - not only as an autonomous movement, but as one closely connected with Christian life. This movement made such a large and lasting contribution to the religious, intellectual and social life that we cannot imagine Christianity without monasticism.
Peregrinus Cracoviensis, 1995, z.1, s. 19-32.
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