Praktikos, ch. 5


St. Evagrius Ponticus, From the Armenian Lives of the Desert Fathers MS Jerusalem 285, p. 778.  image modif.

d. A & C. Guillaumont, ser. Sources Chrétiennes  171, (Paris, Cerf, 1971), p. 504

AGAINST the hermits the demons engage in naked combat. Against those laboring at virtue in monasteries or communities they arm the more careless of the brethren. ε´.  Τοῖς μὲν ἀναχωρηταῖς ὁι δαίμονες γυμνοὶ προσπαλαίουσι, 2 τοῖς δὲ ἐν κοινοβίοις ἢ συνοδίαις κατεργαζομένοις τὴν 3 ἀρετὴν τοὺς ἀμελεστέρους τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἐφοπλίζουσι·
     For the second battle is much lighter than the first, since there cannot be found on earth men more bitter than the demons, or [able] to undertake all their evil doings together. πολλῶ 4 δὲ κουφότερος ὁ δεύτερος πόλεμος τοῦ πρώτου διότι οὐκ 5 ἔστιν εὑρεῖν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀνθρώπους πικροτέρους δαιμόνων 6 ἢ πᾶσαν ἀθρόως αὐτῶν ὑποδεχομένους τὴν κακουργίαν.



The Hermit's Hospitality,  Med. Illum. MS., Getty

Migne, Patrologia Latina 73, 855-1022: tr. by L. Dysinger; except where otherwise indicated:, The Sayings of the Fathers, in Western Asceticism, Selected Tr. with Introd. and Notes, O. Chadwick, (Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1958) pp. 37-189





17.10.ABBA Poeman said: “There is nothing greater in love than that a person should lay down his life for his neighbor. 

17.10. Iterum dixit: Non est aliquid majus dilectione, etiam ut animam suam ponat quis pro proximo suo. 

When a person hears a complaining word and struggles against himself, and does not begin to complain; when a person bears an injury with patience, and does not look for revenge; that is when a person lays down his life for his neighbor.”

Etenim si quis audiens sermonem tristem, cum possit ipse id facere, certet atque sustineat, et non recontristet; vel etiam si laesus in re aliqua patienter tulerit, non retribuens contristanti atque laedenti se; eo modo hujusmodi homo animam suam ponit pro  [0975A] proximo suo  





SOME old men came to see Abbot Poeman and said to him, “when we see brothers sleeping during the Divine Office, shall we awaken them so that they [too] may keep vigil?  He said to them, “I prefer, when I see a brother sleeping, to put his head on my knees and let him rest.  

Senum nonnulli ad abbatem Poemenem profecti dixerunt ei: Præcepisne, ut si viderimus fratres in sacro Officio dormitantes, vellicemus eos, quo excitentur ad vigiliam?  Ille vero ait issis: Ego profecto cum fratrentem dormitantem conspicio, caput eos pono super genua mea eique concilio requiem.





Also in Galen, Dx./Tx.Soul's Passions;  Gk.Alph.Pior 3  
9.9 ONCE there was a meeting of monks in Scete, and the fathers discussed the case of a guilty brother.  But Abba Pior was silent.  9.9. Factus est aliquando conventus in Scythi, et loquebantur Patres de quodam fratre culpabili  . Abbas autem Pior tacebat: 
Afterwards he arose and went out: he took a sack, filled it with sand, and carried it on his shoulders;  and he put a little more sand in a basket and carried it in front of him. postea autem surgens egressus est, et tollens saccum, implevit eum arena, et portabat eum in humeris suis; et mittens in sportella modica de eadem arena, portabat etiam ipsam in ante.
     The fathers asked him: “What are you doing?”  He answered: “The sack with much sand is my sins: they are many, so I put them on my back and then I shall not weep for them. Interrogatus autem a Patribus quid hoc esset? Ille respondit: Saccus iste qui multum habet arenae, mea peccata sunt; et quoniam multa sunt, posui ea supra dorsum, ne doleam pro ipsis et plorem; 

      The basket with a little sand is the sins of our brother; and they are in front of me and I see them and judge them.  That is not right.  I ought to have my own sins in front of me, and think about them, and ask God to forgive me.” When the fathers heard this, they said: Truly this is the way of salvation” [Ibid. 9:9, p.104 slightly clearer grammar in Greek - Pior 3 p. 167]

ista autem arena modica peccata sunt istius fratris, et sunt ante faciem meam, et in ipsis exerceor judicans fratrem; quod non oportet ita fieri, sed mea magis peccata ante me esse, et de ipsis  [0911C] cogitare, et rogare Deum ut ignoscat mihi. Audientes autem Patres, dixerunt: Vere haec est via salutis.





17.2. [ABBA Antony] said “From our neighbor are life and death.  If we do good to our neighbor we do good to God; if we make our neighbor stumble, we sin against Christ.”

17.2. Dixit iterum: Quia de proximo est vita et mors; si enim lucremur fratrem, lucrabimur Deum; si autem scandalizamus fratrem, in Christo peccamus.





1.11. A BROTHER inquired of an old man, asking: “What thing is good enough that I should do it and live by it?” And the old man said: “God alone knows what is good. But I have heard that one of the fathers asked the great Abba Nesteros, who was a friend of Abba Antony, and said to him, ‘What good work should I do?’  1.  11. Frater interrogavit senem, dicens: Quae res sic bona est, quam faciam, et vivam in ea? Et dixit senex: Deus solus scit, quod bonum est; sed tamen audivi quia interrogavit unus Patrum abbatem Nisteronem magnum, qui erat amicus abbatis Antonii, et  [0856C] dixit ei: Quod opus est bonum ut faciam? 
     And he answered him, ‘Works are not all equivalent:  Scripture says, Abraham showed hospitality and God was with him. And Elijah loved quiet, and God was with him. And David was humble and God was with him. Therefore whatever you see accords with God’s will and that you will, do it, and keep watch over your heart.’ Et ille respondit ei: Non sunt opera omnia aequalia. Scriptura dicit  (Gen. XVIII) : Quia Abraham hospitalis fuit, et Deus erat cum eo. Et Elias diligebat quietem, et Deus erat cum eo. Et David humilis erat, et Deus erat cum ipso. Quod ergo vides secundum Deum velle animam tuam, hoc fac, et custodi cor tuum.







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