Chapter

Hypocrites and Pseudomonks

Daniel Caner

in Wandering, Begging Monks

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233249
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928503 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520233249.003.0006
Hypocrites and Pseudomonks

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In the fifteenth century, Augustine complained that there were so many “hypocrites in the garb of monk” that could be found everywhere wearing their pretended piety. According to Augustine, Nilus, and Paulinus, who were witnesses of pseudomonks in the early fifth century, these pretentious wandering monks were a problem in cities and towns across the Roman Empire, and could be a threat to the reputation of monasticism itself. This chapter gives an insight into how ascetic begging brings major problems to the two particular authorities in the fifth century: John Chrysostom, the Bishop of Constantinople; and Nilus, a monk himself. Despite the complaints of Nilus and John Chrysostom regarding monks roaming their cities, the problem with pseudomonks still arose, because many wealthy urban Christians were receiving such spiritual experts into their home. The chapter also explores monastic patronage in its urban social context, and its consequences for both monastic and ecclesiastical developments.

Keywords: Christians; pseudomonks; Roman Empire; monasticism; Nilus; Paulinus; Augustine

Chapter.  22405 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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