Renouncing the World Yet Leading the Church: The Monk-Bishop in Late Antiquity (excerpts)
From "Renouncing the World Yet Leading the Church: The Monk-Bishop in Late Antiquity", Harvard University Press.
Asceticism and Leadership in the Thought of Basil of Caesarea
Context: The State of the Church and the Episcopate- Criteria: The Good Christian Leader- Leadership in the Asceticon
Whatever influence family, education, or specific role models may have had in his formative years, Basil's ideas about the episcopate were significantly shaped by what he perceived as the crisis of the church in his day, particularly the spread of heresy and the foibles of contemporary episcopal leadership. The latter years of the reign of Constantius ΙI (337-361) as well as that of Valens (364-378) saw the temporary triumph and spread of Arianism. Adherence to the homoian creed accepted at the Council of Rimini (359) and confirmed by the Council of Constantinople (360) became the rule of law. Faced with the alternatives of assent or exile, many Nicene bishops signed the formula. In Caesarea the elderly Bishop Dianius subscribed to the creed, though Basil later suggests that he did so in the simplicity of his heart and with no intention of rejecting the faith of Nicaea. The elder Gregory of Nazianzus also yielded under pressure, although he too was later reconciled with the orthodox (47). The reign of Emperor Julian (361-363) began with a period of toleration during which exiled bishops were recalled. Soon after, however, the emperor spawned a pagan revival and initiated a campaign of direct and more subtle attacks on Christians. Athanasius was exiled once again. The Nicene party enjoyed a brief respite during the reign of Julian's successor, the pro-Nicene emperor Jovian (363-364), but his premature death ushered in the reign of the last Arian ruler.
Emperor Valens (364-378), who ruled the Christian East during the large part of Basil's ecclesiastical career, was described in the fifth century as tolerant of all save "the champions of the apostolic decrees," against whom "he persisted in waging war"(48). Basil's letters support this later portrayal of the ruler's prejudice against the adherents of Nicaea. While the earlier years of his reign were largely occupied with military campaigns against the Goths, after 369 Valens intensified his persecution of those who resisted his religious policies. He staunchly upheld the formula of Rimini-Constantinople in opposition to both homoiousian and Nicene Christians. Numerous bishops from both parties were exiled for their refusal to sign the creed. Monks were also pressed to subscribe and punished for failing to comply.
In a series of letters to the West, Basil presented the perilous state of the church. Certain images recur in his descriptions of the situation. The church had succumbed to the attacks of her foes like a ship buffeted by the waves, and the threat of "shipwreck" was imminent. The Arian heresy had spread like a raging "storm" or "tempest" that was quickly overtaking the entire church (49). As a result, morality was undermined and Christians were submerged in a sea of confusion and ignorance. Basil contrasted this picture of turmoil in the East with the united orthodoxy and peace of the churches in the West. Yet over the course of a few years his earnest pleas for help turned to reproaches of the western bishops for their failure to come to the aid of their brethren (50). He warned the westerners to beware lest they too fall prey to the Arian onslaught. In a letter to the bishops of Italy and Gaul, one of his most desperate appeals for aid, Basil described in great detail the "deadly fruit" borne by the Arian blight: "The doctrines of piety have been brought to ruin and the laws of the church are thrown into confusion. The ambition of those who do not fear the Lord rushes into the foremost positions, and episcopal office is now publicly known as the prize of impiety. The result is that the worse a man blasphemes the more worthy people judge him to be a bishop ... There is complete immunity in sinning, for those who have been placed in office by human schemes return the favour by continually showing indulgence to sinners"(51).
Prominent among such depictions of the beleaguered church is the plight of the Nicene bishops of the East. Basil recounted bitterly the exile and replacement of orthodox leaders: "Shepherds are banished, and in their places are introduced cruel wolves who rip apart the flock of Christ." Four years later the persecution of Nicene bishops had not subsided. Writing to Bishop Eusebius of Samosata in 376, Basil lamented that perverse men had established domination over the churches (52). Good bishops, including his brother Gregory, had been expelled from their sees and replaced by slaves and destroyers of the faith. In another letter to the bishops of Italy and Gaul he spelled out the Arian strategy against Nicene leaders: "Shepherds are persecuted so that the flocks may be scattered ... No malefactor is condemned without proof, but bishops have been convicted on calumny alone and are consigned to punishments without the least evidence having been brought forward in support of the accusations ... They have been apprehended by force late at night, have been exiled to remote places, and have been given over to death through the sufferings of the desert"(53). Basil often wrote letters of comfort to bishops in exile, encouraging them in their struggle and exhorting them to persevere in their stand against heresy. He also commended monks victimized by Arian persecution for their loyalty to the faith of Nicaea (54).
The spread of Arianism was not the bishop's only concern. Internal divisions had ripped apart the churches of the East. "Shipwreck is produced on the one hand from the sea being violently agitated from the external cause," Basil wrote to Athanasius, "on the other hand from the confusion of the navigators hindering and crowding one another"(55). Mutual distrust and suspicion kept orthodox eastern bishops from forging the unity so desperately needed to withstand their common enemy Their strength was spent on vicious internal quarrels. "We jump on those who have fallen; we tear at wounds; we who seem to be likeminded launch the insults that are uttered by the heretics; and those who are in agreement on the most essential matters are wholly divided from one another because of some detail"(56). No situation of internal discord caused Basil greater grief than the schism of Antioch. His correspondence with Athanasius is almost wholly devoted to efforts to heal this schism (57). In other disputes as well, Basil often found himself caught between rival parties. His leniency toward former Arians rendered him suspect in the eyes of more conservative brethren. In one letter he exclaimed that he was attacked on one side by Anomoeans and on the other by Sabellians (58). The heresies of Apollinarius of Laodicea and Marcellus of Ancyra continued to gain adherents, according to Basil, and even orthodox bishops sometimes unwittingly received them into communion. Unstable and confused bishops were proliferating creeds and vying for support of colleagues in their ever-changing opinions, so that the church was increasingly divided against itself (59). Finally the divergence of Eustathius of Sebaste from the emerging orthodox consensus on the Holy Spirit unleashed all manner of suspicion. Some bishops suspected Basil of heresy because of his long association with the bishop; others reproached him for changing sides and betraying his former allegiance on account of a petty personal quarrel (60). Eustathius and his disciples themselves indicted the bishop for heterodoxy. Worse still, Basil complained, some who pretended to be defenders of orthodoxy were using such dissensions as an opportunity for personal aggrandizement (61).
Particularly painful for the Cappadocian was the fact that bishops themselves were so often promoters of strife rather than forces of reconciliation. The seizure of episcopal sees from the Nicene party had brought Arians and incompetents to positions of ecclesiastical authority Basil denounced their overweening ambition and lust for power (62). Yet not only the heretics were to blame. In the last chapter of De spiritu sancto, a graphic portrayal of the trials of the eastern church under Arian persecution, Basil took the orthodox bishops to task (63). Moved by party spirit, he explained, they attacked one another as fiercely as they fought their Arian foes. They jealously contended for places of influence, throwing the Christian people into confusion. Proper leadership was wanting and authority was disdained. In a preface to his Moralia Basil was again quite explicit in faulting bishops for the miserable state of affairs. "What is worst of all," he reflected sorrowfully, "is that the leaders themselves are in such difference of thought and opinion among themselves, take such contradictory attitudes toward the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ, so mercilessly divide the church of God and cruelly agitate his flock." All wished to command even over against the Lord, and none deigned to submit to his rule (64).
From Basil's perspective as metropolitan bishop of Caesarea, one of the gravest problems facing the church amid such anarchy was the lack of suitable candidates for the episcopate. Throughout his ecclesiastical career Basil complained of this deficiency. "It is not easy to find worthy men," he wrote to Amphilochius in 374. He also advised caution "lest we unwittingly bring the word into discredit on account of the unsatisfactory character of those who are called to office and accustom the laity to indifference." In a letter to Eusebius of Samosata he described how an unscrupulous synod had chosen a man "of what sort Ι do not wish to speak." Premature and contra canonical ordinations had become the order of the day (65). The need for sound teaching was of particular concern to Basil. "Everyone is a theologian," he remarked sarcastically, yet he decried the profound ignorance of Scripture and the traditions of the church (66). Writing to bishops of the West, Basil lamented that in the eastern churches, "There are no longer any men shepherding the Lord's flock with knowledge ... Strict observance of the canons is unseen"(67). He complained that many who had attained the episcopate were unstable and inconsistent in their theology. Confusion and lack of clear instruction by church leaders had promoted the spread of ignorance among the Christian masses, making them all the more vulnerable to the onslaught of Arianism.
Not only was ignorance increasing, but graft and immorality were widespread among bishops and Episcopal candidates. Basil particularly exposed the lust for money in his letters to chorepiscopi, bishops of country dioceses located at considerable distances from the Caesarean metropolis. Writing toward the beginning of his episcopate, he expressed horror at a report he had heard that some of these country bishops "receive money from those who are being ordained"(68). He condemned the sale of church office as covetousness and idolatry that rendered its perpetrators unfit to celebrate holy mysteries. In another letter the bishop reproached his chorepiscopi for admitting men of reprehensible character into church office, in total disregard of the canons and customs of the church: "With complete indifference you have allowed presbyters and deacons to introduce unworthy persons into the church, whomever they wanted, without any examination of their life, by mere favouritism, on the basis of relationship or some other tie of friendship. For this reason in every village there are reckoned many ministers but no one worthy of the service of the altar, as you yourselves bear witness since you lack men in the elections"(69). Basil also pointed out that many were seeking admission to the clergy for fear of conscription Into the military. He ended this letter with an exhortation to re-examine carefully the character and conduct of ministers and to purge unworthy priests. Yet notwithstanding Basil's efforts to guard the sanctity of ecclesiastical office, men he considered unproven and unfit were entering the Episcopal ranks.
Criteria: The Good Christian Leader
Against such a backdrop of theological division and confusion, immorality and incompetent leadership, Basil formulated his views on the model bishop. Although he was imprecise in his vocabulary regarding positions of authority in the church, and unsystematic in his treatment of the subject, he had a great deal to say about Christian leadership. Both his ascetic and no ascetic writings reveal his convictions about the requisite qualities of a leader in the church. Basil treated this theme in his monastic rules, which were clearly addressed to an ascetic milieu, as well as in the Moralia, which was directed toward a wider audience. Along with the Moralia, Basil's letters and sermons reveal his standards for church office in particular. Comparing these qualifications with the attributes he sought in monastic overseers will help us assess the extent to which asceticism factored into his thinking about the episcopate.
Α few remarks on Basil's vocabulary are in order here as a preface to our examination of his ideals of leadership. When addressing his Episcopal colleagues or speaking about the office of bishop, Basil used a variety of titles and terms. Among the most frequent titles employed in direct address are "Your Piety," "Your Devotion," "Your Sanctity," and "Your Charity" (70) Basil usually avoided the word bishop (episkopos), the most precise term for the head of a local church community. He preferred to speak in more general categories of the sulleitourgos (fellow-minister), the koruphaios (leader), hoi prostatai or proistamenoi (foremost authorities, superintendents), and especially the proestos (literally, one who presides).
This last term occurs most frequently and may refer to either a monastic or an ecclesiastical leader (71). What may seem more peculiar with regard to Basil's usage is the fact that this acknowledged leader of the monastic movement purposefully avoided the word monk (monachos) in both his ascetic and non-ascetic writings. In fact, throughout his works the Cappadocian presented the ascetic life as the norm for all Christians, not for an isolated elite. This is particularly evident in his Moralia, which is foundational both to his monastic thought and to his view of the Christian life as a whole (72). Even when explicitly addressing a monastic community, as in Letter 22 or throughout his Asceticon, Basil used the words brothers or Christians rather than monks. Conversely, he wrote to a number of people pursuing occupations in the world who were also living the ascetic life (73). It is not until much later in his career that we find the beginnings of an express division between a distinct class of monks and other Christians living in the world (74). Even this distinction reflects the reality of increasing monastic organization rather than a change in principle. An ascetic lifestyle remained for Basil the rule for Christians in all sectors of society.
Leadership in the Asceticon
The so-called Short and Long Rules that comprise Basil's Great Asceticon were written in the form of questions and answers at least partly reconstructed from actual exchanges between Basil and the monks within his circle of influence. The title Rules (horoi) was interpolated by later copyists and does not reflect Basil's own thought. For Basil, Scripture alone represented the true rule or law for life. His Asceticon was intended only to give spiritual advice in keeping with the biblical text. The corpus was compiled in stages, and the various redactions represent different periods in the development of Basil's ascetic thought (75). In these writings there is a clear distinction made between leaders and followers. This is sometimes implicit, as when Basil simply states that superiors or overseers of monastic communities are to be obeyed by the brothers under their care. At other times, however, he is quite explicit on this matter. He distinguishes between superiors and inferiors, those who give orders and those who are called to obey (76).
Basil's preferred term for a monastic superior, as for a bishop, is ho proestos. Subordinates were designated by a variety of words and phrases including the inferior, the one ruled, the subject, and the weaker one (77). Each brother was given his "charism" and "rank" by God and was to act in a manner befitting his position. The highest place was accorded the leader or overseer who had the function of teaching in the community, for such a brother was entrusted with the crucial "ministry of the word" (ten diakonian tou logou) . In response to a question about the need to study Scripture, Basil made one of his clearest pronouncements regarding leaders and followers and the implications of their respective roles:
As the brethren fall into two general divisions [duo tagmaton], those who are entrusted with leadership [ten prostasian] and those whose duty it is to yield and to obey [eis eupeitheian kai hupakοen], according to their several gifts, Ι conclude that the one, entrusted with the leadership and care of the larger body, ought to know and learn by heart every thing that they may teach all men what God wishes, showing each one his duty But let each of the others, remembering the apostle's words: 'Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but so to think as to think soberly according as God has dealt to each man,' learn his own duty diligently and practice it, not being curious about anything else (79).
While the Asceticon assumes the presence of women's monasteries and female superiors, Basil gave no specific instructions regarding their selection and few regarding their responsibilities. In many cases their duties and qualifications seem to have paralleled those of the men (80).
Basil was very concerned that order and authority be respected in the monastery. This is particularly evident in the Long Rules, which reflect a later, more developed monastic situation (81). The overseer was never to be corrected or criticized by the brothers, except by those of appropriate age and rank, lest the harmony of the community be disturbed (82). Basil longed for concord among the brothers and often appealed to the early church as a model of unity (83). We have seen that he viewed the lack of unity and solidarity among bishops as a primary cause of dogmatic and moral anarchy in the church. It was therefore all the more important that the communities under his tutelage or influence exemplify proper order, submission, and respect for authority, which would result in peace and harmony. The best of these ascetic communities represented for Basil all that the church should be and in this sense functioned as his "living ecclesiology "(84). In keeping with proper order, a monastic overseer should be chosen not by his own peers but by the leaders of other communities. The main criteria for selection were proven character and evidence of good deeds done and recognized by the brothers (85). Those in positions of authority would be judged more severely for their sins. It is not surprising, then, that passages outlining the qualifications of a superior were complemented by warnings about the weightiness of his responsibility. He would have to give account of his ministry to God and must therefore fulfil his commission in godly fear. He who failed to reprove and rightly guide the brethren would have their blood on his head (86).
The overseer's position encompassed a wide range of functions and roles, including that of arbitrator among fellow monks and distributor of tasks and duties in the monastery (87). Particularly ponderous, however, was his responsibility as an instructor in the Word of God. Those entrusted with the ministry of the Word had to proclaim it publicly and instruct it privately, ever zealous to lead the brothers to perfection. Woe to those who taught false doctrine or failed to preach the whole counsel of God! Basil reminded those who studied and taught the Scriptures that to whom much had been given, still more would be required -more fear, more zeal, and greater faithfulness to God's commandments (88). Because of the weight of leadership and the burden of many decisions, the superior should often seek the counsel of wise and experienced brethren. He should also occasionally meet with other overseers to discuss common concerns regarding the administration of affairs and the discipline and direction of individual monks (89).
Basil stressed the leader's need for humility and selflessness in governing the brotherhood, a task that might naturally tempt him to vanity and pride (90). He should correct his monks with mildness and patience. Echoing the words of the apostle Paul, Basil called on leaders to be gentle among their brethren, caring for them "as a nursing mother cares for her children," imparting to each one not only the Gospel of God but their own lives as well (91). Leaders should be just, unbiased, and sensitive to natural aptitudes and weaknesses when assigning duties. At the same time they had to be grave and firm when necessary, taking seriously their commission to reprove and sometimes to punish those who strayed from the way of the Gospel (92). Above all other responsibilities, the superior should provide an example of godliness to the flock entrusted to his care. This theme is perhaps strongest in RF 43, which is devoted exclusively to the qualities of the overseer and the manner in which he should lead. He "must make his life a clear example of every commandment of the Lord so as to leave the taught no chance of thinking that the commandment of the Lord is impossible or may be despised "(93). Overseers should call their brothers to imitate them as they themselves imitate Christ, and they should see themselves as servants even as Jesus deigned to serve the very earth he had formed. They should especially help the weak to make progress toward perfection. (94) Basil prefaced this imposing list of attributes with the reminder that actions speak more loudly than words, for "even when he is silent the example of his deeds may stand out more strongly than any word as a means of teaching." Little wonder that such men were hard to find. As Basil remarked elsewhere, one would be hard pressed to find two or three qualified men in a single monastic community. Tο his knowledge, a multiplicity of such gifted leaders had never arisen in one place (95).
While Basil's notion of asceticism emphasized internal dispositions of the heart, external and more rigorous ascetic virtues were also assumed to be evident in the life of an overseer, for an inner life of renunciation must be expressed in outward deeds as well. All monks were called to pursue lives of self-denial and discipline and to embrace the virtues of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The Asceticon also gives instructions on solitude and silence, fasts and prayer (96). The use of a hair cloth or hair shirt for the purpose of self-humbling was approved in one rule, and other types of mortification were encouraged as a necessary brake on the passions (97). Basil was careful to warn against excesses, however, and he encouraged moderation in the practice of ascetic disciplines. He condemned the false bodily rigors of the Manichees and urged monks to attend to their physical needs (98). Yet he also stressed the value of self-renunciation and an ascetic regimen as aids on the path toward perfection. On the value of continence (enkrateia) Basil wrote, "As firm flesh and clear skin characterize the athlete, so the Christian is betokened by emaciation of body and paleness, which is the bloom of continence, showing that he is truly an athlete of Christ's commandments. For he overcomes his enemy by the weakness of his body, and displays his strength in the contests of religion, as it is written: 'When Ι am weak, then Ι am strong'"(99). If this description was the standard for all members of the monastic community, it was to be expected especially of the overseer, whom the brothers were called to emulate.
47. On Dianius, see Letter 51.2, written c. 370, toward the beginning of Basil's episcopate; on Gregory the Elder see GNaz, Oration 18.18: PG 35, 1005C1008Α.
48. Theodoret, Historia ecclesiastica 5.21.3-4, in Theodoret: Kirchengeschicthte, ed. Leon Parmentier, 3rd ed., GCS Ν.Ε 5 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1998), 317.21-22; English trans., Blomfield Jackson, NPNF, 2nd ser., vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, Mich.:Ferdmans, 1892), p. 146. See also GNyss, Contra Eunomion Ι: PG 45, 288-296Β, for Valens's reign of terror followed by the achievements of Basil.
49. Letters 91, 92.2, 242.1, 243.4. For other images of the "tempest" besetting the churches see Letters 80, 82, 203.1, 244.8, 256, and De spiritu sancto 30.76-7. For references to "shipwreck" see Letters 82, 90.1, 92.3, 243.4; De spiritu sancto 30.76-77.
50. For descriptions of the West see Letters 92.3 and 243.1. Yet compare his earlier requests in Letters 90 and 92, written in 372, with Letters 242 and 243.1,4, written four years later. Letter 239 to Eusebius of Samosata also complains of the West's unhelpfulness.
51. Letter 92.2, Courtonne 1: 200.8-20.
52. Letter 90.2, Courtonne 1: 196.7-9; Letter 239. For evidence of the continuing strength of the Arian persecution in Syria see Letters 220-222, written in 375 to the churches of Berea and Chalcis. See also Letter 242.
53. Letter 243.2: Courtonne 3, 69. Basil's friend Eusebius of Samosata was apprehended and exiled under similar circumstances. See Theodoret, HΕ 4.13.
54. For examples of the former see Letters 264, 265, 267, 268; for the latter, Letters 256 and 257. Similarly several of Basil's homilies include words of encouragement to the faithful in the face of Arian persecution. See especially Hom. 18: PG 31, 496Β, and Hom. 19: 521Β.
55. Letter 82: Courtonne 1, 184.14-17; written in 372. See also Letter 92.3: Courtonne 1, 202.30-32.
56. Letter 258.1: Courtonne 3, 101.16-20. See also Letter 226.1.
57. See Letters 66, 67, 69, 82. The many letters Basil devoted to this affair suggest its centrality during his episcopate. For an analysis of the correspondence related to its various phases see Robert Pouchet, Basile le Grand et son univers d'amis d'après sa correspondence, Studia Ephememeridis Augustinianum 36 (Rome: Institutum Patristicum "Augustinianum," 1992), pp. 405-438, 509-553.
58. Letter 210.4. See also Letters 204 and 205; compare Letter 188, canon 1
59. Letter 244.9: Courtonne 3, 82. On the confusion among bishops see Letters 263 and 265. On the heresy of Marcellus see Letters 69 and 125.
60. Bishop Theodotus of Nicopolis is a prominent example of suspicion of Basil.
Accusations that Basil had betrayed his former friend are implied in Letters 244 and 250 to Bishop Patrophilus of Aegae, Letter 251 to the people of Evaesae, and Letter 263.2 to the westerners. In response Basil insisted that the Eustathian party had changed its doctrinal position while he himself had always remained faithful to the Nicene creed. See Letters 251.4 and 223.3, 5.
61. Letter 226.2.
62. See especially Letters 90.2 and 239.1.
63. De spiritu sancto 30.76-79.
64. De judicio dei 1: PG 31, 653Β. This account of internal dissension bears a marked resemblance to the description in De spiritu sancto 30, written in 377. This would suggest a similar dating for De judicio dei.
65. For specific cases and Basil's reservations see Letters 190, 121, and 122. For the complaint to Eusebius see Letter 237.2: Courtonne 3, 56.22; see also 190.1 and 239.1 to Eusebius for other concerns about church leadership.
66. De spiritu sancto 30.77: PG 32, 213D; Pruche, 524.
67. Letter 92.2: Courtonne 1, 200.14-17. Cf. Letter 243.2.
68. Letter 53.1: Courtonne 1, 137.7-8. On chorepiscopi see Ε. Kirsten, "Chorbischof," RAC 2 (1954): 1105-1114, and the older but more detailed article of Η. Leclercq, "Choreveques," DACL 3/1 (1913), cols. 1423-1452. On chorepiscopi in Basil's letters see Β. Gain, l'Eglise de Cappadoce au IVe siècle d'après la correspondance de Basile de Césarée, 330-379 (Rome: Pontificum institutum orientale, 1985), pp. 94-100, and Clemens Scholten, "Der Chorbischof bei Basilius," ZKG 103/2 (1992): 149-173.
69. Letter 54: Courtonne 1, 140.21-25.
70. On these and other titles for bishops see Gain, L'Eglise de Cappadoce, pp. 75-77.
71. Similarly, in Ad Dracontium 10 (PG 50, 534C) Athanasius used a verbal form of this word to designate the function of both bishops and monastic leaders. In keeping with Basil's variation, Ι use an assortment of expressions to refer to positions of leadership in the church and the monastic community but consistently employ the term bishop when Basil himself designated this office. On Basil's terminology for leadership see also Fedwick, Church and Charisma, pp. 47-50; Gain, L'Eglise de Cappadoce, p. 75 n. 65, for specific references; and Piero Scazzoso, Introduzione alla ecclesiologia di san Basilio (Μilan: Vita e pensiero, 1975), pp. 310-312. For historical and theological background on the term proestos see J.P. Fedwick, "The Function of the Proestos in the Earliest Christian Koinonia," RTAM (1981): 5-13.
72. On the purpose and intended audience of the work see J. Gribomont, "Les Règles Morales de Saint Basile et le Nouveau Testament," SP 2, TU 64 (Berlin, 1957), pp. 416-426, and the discussion below.
73. These include Letters 18, 106 (to a soldier), 116 and 117 (to a decurion), 277 (to a student), 299 (to a tax assessor), 289 (concerning a slandered woman). See also Gain, L'Eglise de Cappadoce, pp. 119-120, regarding consecrated women, or kanonikai. W.Κ. Lowther Clarke, The Ascetic Works of Saint Basil (London: S.EC.K., 1925), 46, points out that the reference in RB 312 (PG 31, 1305Α) to certain laity who join the monks for prayer implies those who live the ascetic life outside the monastic community
74. See RF 25-55, PG 31, 984-1052. See also Gribomont, "Saint Basile," pp. 99-113, for an overview of Basil's development in this regard, and Rousseau, Basil of Caesarea, p. 232, for similar consideration of his ascetic writings.
75. Οn the development of Basil's ascetic corpus see Jean Gribomont, Histoire du texte des Ascétiques de S. Basile (Louvain: Publications universitaires, 1953). For summaries see Α. de Vogue, "Les Grandes Règles de Saint Basile: Un survol," Collectanea Cisterciensia 41 (1979): 201-226, and Rousseau, Basil of Caesarea, pp. 354-359. The earliest edition of the Asceticon, known as the Small Asceticon, is preserved only in the Latin translation of Rufinus. For a critical edition see Klaus Zelzer, ed., Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 86 (Vienna: Hoelder-PichterTempsky, 1986). The precise dates of composition of the Short Rules (Regulae brevius tractatae = RB, PG 31, 1080-1305) and the Long Rule (Regulae fusius tractatae = RF, PG 31, 905-1052) are uncertain, but the latter were written during Basil's episcopate (i.e., after 370) and reflect a more advanced stage of monastic organization. Because both the Asceticon and the Moralia are in PG volume 31, Ι will henceforth cite only the relevant column and section. 76. RF 31: 993BC, 43: 1028BC; RB 152: 1181D, 171: 1193D, and 303: 1297. For more implicit allusions see RF 47: 1056CD; RB 303: 1297ΑΒ.
77. For examples see RF 31: 993BC and 43: 1028BC; RB 171: 1193D and 303 1297Β. According to Clarke, Ascetic Works, p. 39, ho proestos occurs nearly fifty times in the Asceticon. On Basil's use of other terms for positions of responsibility in the cenobium as well as for "the rank and file," see Clarke, Ascetic Works, pp. 39-42.
78. Proemium in RB: PG 31, 1080. See also RB 303: 1297ΑΒ, and RF 45 1032CD.
79. RB 235: 1240CD; Clarke, Ascetic Works, 316-317.
80. See RF 33 and RB 108-111, 153, 154. Because of Basil's predominant treatment of men's monasteries and male overseers, Ι use the masculine pronoun throughout this description.
81. On his concern for proper order and hierarchy see RF 49 (1037D-1040A) and especially 45 (1032C), where Basil fears that if a community remains deprived of a superior it could be transformed into a sort of "democracy," forgetful of the traditional rule and discipline. Gribomont, "Saint Basile," pp. 109-110, downplays the place of hierarchy and obedience to the superior in Basilian monasticism. Though the Asceticon does not stress any particular hierarchical structure, the overseer's position of authority and command is emphasized even in Short Rules 1-286, generally considered to represent an earlier stage in the development of Basil's ascetic corpus. For examples see RB 152, 171, 235.
82. RF 27: 988Β, 48: 1037Β, and implied in 54: 1044Β.
83. See RF 7: 933C, 32: 996Α, 35: 1008ΑΒ; RB 183:1204D-1205A.
84. Κ. Suso Frank, "Hinfuhrung," in Die Monchsregeln (St. Ottlien: EOS Verlag, 1981), p. 61. Οn Basil's appeal to the early church see Pier Cesare Bori La chiesa primitiva: L'immagine della communita delle origini-Atti 2,42-47; 4,32-37-nella storia della chiesa antica (Brescia: Paideia editrice, 1974), pp. 97-105 and 159-165; and Ε. Amand de Mendieta, L'ascese monastique de Saint Basile: Essai historique (Editions de Maredsous, 1949) pp. 128-144.
85. RF 43: 1029ΑΒ; RF 43: 1028C-1029B; RB 104: 1153D-1156A.
86. For the more severe judgment of overseers see RB 231: 1236D-1237A; on their need for the fear of God, RF 24: 984ΑΒ, 25: 985BC, and RB 98: 1149D For the allusion to Ezekiel 3:18 see RF 25: 984C and 29:992C.
87. For the superior or a "proven brother" as an arbitrator see RF 49: 1037C1040Α. Concerning his role as distributor of tasks, RF 41: 1021A-1024C; RB 104: 1153D-1156A, 149: 1180D-1181A, 152: 1181CD. In most cases the superior would appoint an administrator to oversee distribution of necessities and assignment of duties within the monastery (RF 34: 1000Β1001D). The distributor should then exhibit the same fairness and sensitivity as the superior in discharging this duty (RB 149: 1180D-1181A).
88. RB 236: 1241Α. For Basil's instructions and admonitions to those who taught the Scriptures see RF 25: 985ΑΒ, 45: 1032C-1033C; RB 235: 1240CD; and Proem. in RB: 1080ΑΒ. In RF 35: 1004Α Basil listed the ability to speak alongside other requirements of an overseer, and he noted in RF 32: 996CD that the "gift of the word" (to tou logou charisma) was given only to a few.
89. On the need for counsel, RF 48: 1037Β and RB 104: 1146Α; on occasional meetings of superiors, RF 54: 1044Β.
90. RF 29: 992BC, 30: 992D-993A; RB 113: 1157CD.
91. 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8; quoted twice in RF 25: 985Α and C, and once in RB 98: 1152Α. On the need for mildness and compassion in exhortation and rebuke see also RF 50: 1040BC and RB 113: 1157CD.
92. For the former qualities see RF 35: 1008Β and RB 152: 1181D; for the latter, RF 25: 984C-985C. For comparison of the overseer with a doctor applying appropriate treatment to his patients, see RF 28: 988CD, 51: 1040D-1041A; and RB 99: 1152Β.
93. RF 43: 1028Β; Clarke, Ascetic Works, p. 216.
94. RF 43: 1028C-1029B. See also RF 26: 985D-988A on the superior's duty to care for the weak with tenderness and sympathy.
95. RF 35: 1004Β.
96. RF 41 presents a particularly good example of the connection between inner renunciation and outward deeds in Basil's discussion of work. On poverty, see RF 8 and 9: 988D-944B; RB 85: 1144Α, 92: 1145C-1148A, 205: 1217CD. On chastity RF 5: 920C-921A, 15: 956Β. The theme of obedience receives by far the most attention and is woven into many of the Rules. See especially Proem. in RF: 889Α-901Α, RF 28: 988C-989C, 29: 992AC, 31: 993CD, 41: 1021A-1024D, 47: 1036C-1037A; and RB 1: 1081AC, 37-39: 1108AC, 114-117: 1160-1161C, 166: 1192C, 199: 1213D-1216A, 280: 1280Β, 303: 1296D-1297D. Gain, L'Église de Cappadoce, pp. 140-142, and notes that Basil did not speak specifically of vows, but his words evince the seriousness of monastic commitment in these areas. On the necessity of solitude, see RF 5: 920Β-924D, 6: 925Α-928Β. On silence, RF 13: 949BC; RB 173: 1197Α, 208: 1221BC. On fasting, RB 128-130: 1168D-1169B, 138: 1173BD, 139: 1176Α, 277: 1277C. On prayer, RF 37: 1009C-1016C; RB 43-44: 1109C-1112A, 138: 1173BD, 147: 1192D, 201: 1216C, 221: 1229Α, 252: 1252Β, 261: 1256C-1260B, 277: 1277AC.
97. Himation trichinon: RB 90: 1145AΒ; RF 16-19: 957Α-969Β. Clarke, Ascetic Works, p. 264 n. 2, points out that Cassian forbade the use of a "robe of sackcloth" because it promoted vanity and restricted the monk's ability to fulfil his duties. See Cassian, Inst. 1.2.
98. RB 238: 1241C, 258: 1253D-1256A; RF 18-19: 965Β-969Β.
99. RF 17: 964C; Clarke, Ascetic Works, p. 181. Cf. Letter 2.