Early Christian Biographies
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
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Christian biography, like most forms of Christian literature, went to the Classical Period of antiquity for its models. On the Latin side, the best from the point of view of modem literary criticism is probably Tacitus' Life of Agricola, but even this leaves much to be desired. ...
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The life of Cyprian is the first Christian biography that attained popularity. Although by no means a finished literary product, it is important because of its originality in the field. ...
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Although Cyprian a devout bishop and God's glorious witness, wrote many works to perpetuate the memory of his worthy name, and although the abundant fruitfulness of his eloquence and God's grace is diffused through the copiousness and richness of his words in such a way that even to the end of the world ...
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The present Life of Saint Ambrose is one of the few ancient documents dealing with the life of the holy bishop, and this fact alone would suffice to make the work of genuine importance. It was written by Paulin us, who was quite devoted to St. Ambrose, his teacher and friend, ...
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You exhort, venerable father Augustine, that, as the blessed men Athanasius the bishop and Jerome the priest have adorned by their pen the lives of the saints, Paul and Anthony, who lived in the desert, as, also, Severus the servant of God eulogized the life of the venerable Martin, Bishop of the Church at Tours, ...
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Some thirty years after the death of the renowned Bishop of Hippo, another member of the episcopal hierarchy published an account of his co-laborer's life and merits. Thus, Possidius, Bishop of Calama in Numidia, gave to his contemporaries and followers the graphic story of the life of St. Augustine. ...
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Under the inspiration of God, the Creator and Ruler of all things, and mindful of my purpose whereby through the grace of the Saviour I resolved to serve faithfully the omnipotent and divine Trinity, I have striven both formerly in my life as a layman and now in my office of bishop, ...
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The extraordinary importance of the Life of Saint Anthony can be attributed to a number of causes, but chief among them must be reckoned, first, the great holiness and unusual personality of the subject,1 and, second, the unique authority and influence of the biographer, St. Athanasius,2 and the veneration in which he was held. ...
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You have entered into a noble contest with the monks of Egypt in undertaking to equal or surpass them in your training in the way of virtue, for now there are monasteries in your midst, and the name of monk is publicly esteemed. It is right, therefore, that everyone should praise your purpose; ...
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Next to St. Augustine, St. Jerome was the most learned of the church writers. To this end he was aided by a good dialectic and rhetorical schooling, an extensive knowledge of language, familiarity with classical writing, a rich library, travels for study and a personal acquaintance with many contemporary learned persons.1 ...
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Many have often questioned exactly who was the first monk to take up his abode in the desert. Some, indeed, searching quite deep, have gone back as far as blessed Elias and John to find the beginning of monastic life. Elias, however, seems to me to have been more than a monk1 ...
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While the protagonists of two of the Lives, Paul of Thebes and the Syrian Malchus, were essentially solitaries (dwellers apart from the world activity), the central figure in the Life of Hilarion was a man eager for solitude which an adoring populace would never grant him, a man of the world yet apart from it, ...
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Before beginning to write the life of blessed Hilarion, I call upon the Holy Spirit dwelling within him that He who has bestowed upon him such abundant virtures may grant me the power to describe these virtues, so that my words may equal his deeds.1 As Crispus says: 'The merit of those who did the deeds is rated as high as brilliant minds ...
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The life of Malchus was probably written by St. Jerome in his monastery in Bethlehem. His activities in Rome as secretary to Pope Damasus had aroused the jealousy and attacks of his enemies, forcing him into this seclusion. At the Pope's request, he had taken part in the Synod of 382 ...
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They who intend to fight a naval battle, first-in the harbor and on a calm sea-steer the ship, ply the oars, prepare grappling irons and hooks, and train the soldiers at their deck stations to keep a firm footing on a swaying, slippery surface, so that in an actual battle they will not feel terror ...
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Magnus Felix Ennodius, an outstanding literary figure— deservedly or not—of early sixth-century Italy, was born in 473 or 474, it is most generally believed, at Arles in southern Gaul. His childhood he passed with an aunt at Ticinum (modern Pavia) in northern Italy, whither he had come as an orphan. ...
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A twofold obligation constrains me to undertake this work. which I know will be free from neither labor nor adverse criticism, in view of the fact that it imposes upon me the treatment of a subject which, while it looks for a wealth of literary talent in the writer, places, at the same time, restrictions upon that talent. ...
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Among the most influential of the early monastic institutions in the West was that of the Island of Lerins, founded in the early part of the fifth century. A veritable stream of bishops and saints who by their holiness and learning did much to strengthen the Church in Gaul and other parts of western Europe ...
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You are well aware, dearly beloved, that this day which has been hallowed by the public grief of the faithful, as long as the Lord grants me the passing days of this life, will always come around laden with anguish yet full of grandeur. For on this day that virtuous and priestly bishop of this Church, ...
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Page Count: 422
Publication Year: 2010