The Works of John Cassian.

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The Works of John Cassian.


Chapter I. The Life of Cassian.

Chapter II. The History of Cassian's Writings, MSS., and Editions.


The Twelve Books of John Cassian

Book I. Of the Dress of the Monks.

Chapter I. Of the Monk's Girdle.

Chapter II. Of the Monk's Robe.

Chapter III. Of the Hoods of the Egyptians.

Chapter IV. Of the Tunics of the Egyptians.

Chapter V. Of their Cords.

Chapter VI. Of their Capes.

Chapter VII. Of the Sheepskin and the Goatskin.

Chapter VIII. Of the Staff of the Egyptians.

Chapter IX. Of their Shoes.

Chapter X. Of the modification in the observances which may be permitted in accordance with the character of the climate or the custom of the district.

Chapter XI. Of the Spiritual Girdle and its Mystical Meaning.

Book II. Of the Canonical System of the Nocturnal Prayers and Psalms.

Chapter I. Of the Canonical System of the Nocturnal Prayers and Psalms.

Chapter II. Of the difference of the number of Psalms appointed to be sung in all the provinces.

Chapter III. Of the observance of one uniform rule throughout the whole of Egypt, and of the election of those who are set over the brethren.

Chapter IV. How throughout the whole of Egypt and the Thebaid the number of Psalms is fixed at twelve.

Chapter V. How the fact that the number of the Psalms was to be twelve was received from the teaching of an angel.

Chapter VI. Of the Custom of having Twelve Prayers.

Chapter VII. Of their Method of Praying.

Chapter VIII. Of the Prayer which follows the Psalm.

Chapter IX. Of the characteristics of the prayer, the fuller treatment of which is reserved for the Conferences of the Elders.

Chapter X. Of the silence and conciseness with which the Collects are offered up by the Egyptians.

Chapter XI. Of the system according to which the Psalms are said among the Egyptians.

Chapter XII. Of the reason why while one sings the Psalms the rest sit down during the service; and of the zeal with which they afterwards prolong their vigils in their cells till daybreak.

Chapter XIII. The reason why they are not allowed to go to sleep after the night service.

Chapter XIV. Of the way in which they devote themselves in their cells equally to manual labour and to prayer.

Chapter XV. Of the discreet rule by which every one must retire to his cell after the close of the prayers; and of the rebuke to which any one who does otherwise is subject.

Chapter XVI. How no one is allowed to pray with one who has been suspended from prayer.

Chapter XVII. How he who rouses them for prayer ought to call them at the usual time.

Chapter XVIII. How they do not kneel from the evening of Saturday till the evening of Sunday.

Book III. Of the Canonical System of the Daily Prayers and Psalms.

Chapter I. Of the services of the third, sixth, and ninth hours, which are observed in the regions of Syria.

Chapter II. How among the Egyptians they apply themselves all day long to prayer and Psalm continually, with the addition of work, without distinction of hours.

Chapter III. How throughout all the East the services of Tierce, Sext, and None are ended with only three Psalms and prayers each; and the reason why these spiritual offices are assigned more particularly to those hours.

Chapter IV. How the Mattin office was not appointed by an ancient tradition but was started in our own day for a definite reason.

Chapter V. How they ought not to go back to bed again after the Mattin prayers.

Chapter VI. How no change was made by the Elders in the ancient system of Psalms when the Mattin office was instituted.

Chapter VII. How one who does not come to the daily prayer before the end of the first Psalm is not allowed to enter the Oratory; but at Nocturnes a late arrival up to the end of the second Psalm can be overlooked.

Chapter VIII. Of the Vigil service which is celebrated on the evening preceding the Sabbath; of its length, and the manner in which it is observed.

Chapter IX. The reason why a Vigil is appointed as the Sabbath day dawns, and why a dispensation from fasting is enjoyed on the Sabbath all through the East.

Chapter X. How it was brought about that they fast on the Sabbath in the city.

Chapter XI. Of the points in which the service held on Sunday differs from what is customary on other days.

Chapter XII. Of the days on which, when supper is provided for the brethren, a Psalm is not said as they assemble for the meals as is usual at dinner.

Book IV. Of the Institutes of the Renunciants.

Chapter I. Of the training of those who renounce this world, and of the way in which those are taught among the monks of Tabenna and the Egyptians who are received into the monasteries.

Chapter II. Of the way in which among them men remain in the monasteries even to extreme old age.

Chapter III. Of the ordeal by which one who is to be received in the monastery is tested.

Chapter IV. The reason why those who are received in the monastery are not allowed to bring anything in with them.

Chapter V. The reason why those who give up the world, when they are received in the monasteries, must lay aside their own clothes and be clothed in others by the Abbot.

Chapter VI. The reason why the clothes of the renunciants with which they joined the monastery are preserved by the steward.

Chapter VII. The reason why those who are admitted to a monastery are not permitted to mix at once with the congregation of the brethren, but are first committed to the guest house.

Chapter VIII. Of the practices in which the juniors are first exercised that they may become proficient in overcoming all their desires.

Chapter IX. The reason why the juniors are enjoined not to keep back any of their thoughts from the senior.

Chapter X. How thorough is the obedience of the juniors even in those things which are matters of common necessity.

Chapter XI. The kind of food which is considered the greater delicacy by them.

Chapter XII. How they leave off every kind of work at the sound of some one knocking at the door, in their eagerness to answer at once.

Chapter XIII. How wrong it is considered for any one to say that anything, however trifling, is his own.

Chapter XIV. How, even if a large sum of money is amassed by the labour of each, still no one may venture to exceed the moderate limit of what is appointed as adequate.

Chapter XV. Of the excessive desire of possession among us.

Chapter XVI. On the rules for various rebukes.

Chapter XVII. Of those who introduced the plan that the holy Lessons should be read in the Coenobia while the brethren are eating, and of the strict silence which is kept among the Egyptians.

Chapter XVIII. How it is against the rule for any one to take anything to eat or drink except at the common table.

Chapter XIX. How throughout Palestine and Mesopotamia a daily service is undertaken by the brethren.

Chapter XX. Of the three lentil beans which the Steward found.

Chapter XXI. Of the spontaneous service of some of the brethren.

Chapter XXII. The system of the Egyptians, which is appointed for the daily service of the brethren.

Chapter XXIII. The obedience of Abbot John by which he was exalted even to the grace of prophecy.

Chapter XXIV. Of the dry stick which, at the bidding of his senior, Abbot John kept on watering as if it would grow.

Chapter XXV. Of the unique vase of oil thrown away by Abbot John at his senior's command.

Chapter XXVI. How Abbot John obeyed his senior by trying to roll a huge stone, which a large number of men were unable to move.

Chapter XXVII. Of the humility and obedience of Abbot Patermucius, which he did not hesitate to make perfect by throwing his little boy into the river at the command of his senior.

Chapter XXVIII. How it was revealed to the Abbot concerning Patermucius that he had done the deed of Abraham; and how when the same Abbot died, Patermucius succeeded to the charge of the monastery.

Chapter XXIX. Of the obedience of a brother who at the Abbot's bidding carried about in public ten baskets and sold them by retail.

Chapter XXX. Of the humility of Abbot Pinufius, who left a very famous Coenobium over which he presided as Presbyter, and out of the love of subjection sought a distant monastery where he could be received as a novice.

Chapter XXXI. How when Abbot Pinufius was brought back to his monastery he stayed there for a little while and then fled again into the regions of Syrian Palestine.

Chapter XXXII. The charge which the same Abbot Pinufius gave to a brother whom he admitted into his monastery in our presence.

Chapter XXXIII. How it is that, just as a great reward is due to the monk who labours according to the regulations of the fathers, so likewise punishment must he inflicted on an idle one; and therefore no one should be admitted into a monastery too easily.

Chapter XXXIV. Of the way in which our renunciation is nothing but mortification and the image of the Crucified.

Chapter XXXV. How the fear of the Lord is our cross.

Chapter XXXVI. How our renunciation of the world is of no use if we are again entangled in those things which we have renounced.

Chapter XXXVII. How the devil always lies in wait for our end, and how we ought continually to watch his head.

Chapter XXXVIII. Of the renunciant's preparation against temptation, and of the few who are worthy of imitation.

Chapter XXXIX. Of the way in which we shall mount towards perfection, whereby we may afterwards ascend from the fear of God up to love.

Chapter XL. That the monk should seek for examples of perfection not from many instances but from one or a very few.

Chapter XLI. The appearance of what infirmities one who lives in a Coenobium ought to exhibit.

Chapter XLII. How a monk should not look for the blessing of patience in his own case as a result of the virtue of others, but rather as a consequence of his own longsuffering.

Chapter XLIII. Recapitulation of the explanation how a monk can mount up towards perfection.

Book V. Of the Spirit of Gluttony.

Chapter I. The transition from the Institutes of the monks to the struggle against the eight principal faults.

Chapter II. How the occasions of these faults, being found in everybody, are ignored by everybody; and how we need the Lord's help to make them plain.

Chapter III. How our first struggle must be against the spirit of gluttony, i.e. the pleasures of the palate.

Chapter IV. The testimony of Abbot Antony in which he teaches that each virtue ought to be sought for from him who professes it in a special degree.

Chapter V. That one and the same rule of fasting cannot be observed by everybody.

Chapter VI. That the mind is not intoxicated by wine alone.

Chapter VII. How bodily weakness need not interfere with purity of heart.

Chapter VIII. How food should be taken with regard to the aim at perfect continence.

Chapter IX. Of the measure of the chastisement to be undertaken, and the remedy of fasting.

Chapter X. That abstinence from food is not of itself sufficient for preservation of bodily and mental purity.

Chapter XI. That bodily lusts are not extinguished except by the entire rooting out of vice.

Chapter XII. That in our spiritual contest we ought to draw an example from the carnal contests.

Chapter XIII. That we cannot enter the battle of the inner man unless we have been set free from the vice of gluttony.

Chapter XIV. How gluttonous desires can be overcome.

Chapter XV. How a monk must always be eager to preserve his purity of heart.

Chapter XVI. How, after the fashion of the Olympic games, a monk should not attempt spiritual conflicts unless he has won battles over the flesh.

Chapter XVII. That the foundation and basis of the spiritual combat must be laid in the struggle against gluttony.

Chapter XVIII. Of the number of different conflicts and victories through which the blessed Apostle ascended to the crown of the highest combat.

Chapter XIX. That the athlete of Christ, so long as he is in the body, is never without a battle.

Chapter XX. How a monk should not overstep the proper hours for taking food, if he wants to proceed to the struggle of interior conflicts.

Chapter XXI. Of the inward peace of a monk, and of spiritual abstinence.

Chapter XXII. That we should for this reason practise bodily abstinence that we may by it attain to a spiritual fast.

Chapter XXIII. What should be the character of the monk's food.

Chapter XXIV. How in Egypt we saw that the daily fast was broken without scruple on our arrival.

Chapter XXV. Of the abstinence of one old man who took food six times so sparingly that he was still hungry.

Chapter XXVI. Of another old man, who never partook of food alone in his cell.

Chapter XXVII. What the two Abbots Pæsius and John said of the fruits of their zeal.

Chapter XXVIII. The lesson and example which Abbot John when dying left to his disciples.

Chapter XXIX. Of Abbot Machetes, who never slept during the spiritual conferences, but always went to sleep during earthly tales.

Chapter XXX. A saying of the same old man about not judging any one.

Chapter XXXI. The same old man's rebuke when he saw how the brethren went to sleep during the spiritual conferences, and woke up when some idle story was told.

Chapter XXXII. Of the letters which were burnt without being read.

Chapter XXXIII. Of the solution of a question which Abbot Theodore obtained by prayer.

Chapter XXXIV. Of the saying of the same old man, through which he taught by what efforts a monk can acquire a knowledge of the Scriptures.

Chapter XXXV. A rebuke of the same old man, when he had come to my cell in the middle of the night.

Chapter XXXVI. A description of the desert in Diolcos, where the anchorites live.

Chapter XXXVII. Of the cells which Abbot Archebius gave up to us with their furniture.

Chapter XXXVIII. The same Archebius paid a debt of his mother's by the labour of his own hands.

Chapter XXXIX. Of the device of a certain old man by which some work was found for Abbot Simeon when he had nothing to do.

Chapter XL. Of the boys who when bringing to a sick man some figs, died in the desert from hunger, without having tasted them.

Chapter XLI. The saying of Abbot Macarius of the behaviour of a monk as one who was to live for a long while, and as one who was daily at the point of death.

Book VI. On the Spirit of Fornication.

Book VII. Of the Spirit of Covetousness.

Chapter I. How our warfare with covetousness is a foreign one, and how this fault is not a natural one in man, as the other faults are.

Chapter II. How dangerous is the disease of covetousness.

Chapter III. What is the usefulness of those vices which are natural to us.

Chapter IV. That we can say that there exist in us some natural faults, without wronging the Creator.

Chapter V. Of the faults which are contracted through our own fault, without natural impulses.

Chapter VI. How difficult the evil of covetousness is to drive away when once it has been admitted.

Chapter VII. Of the source from which covetousness springs, and of the evils of which it is itself the mother.

Chapter VIII. How covetousness is a hindrance to all virtues.

Chapter IX. How a monk who has money cannot stay in the monastery.

Chapter X. Of the toils which a deserter from a monastery must undergo through covetousness, though he used formerly to murmur at the very slightest tasks.

Chapter XI. That under pretence of keeping the purse women have to besought to dwell with them.

Chapter XII. An instance of a lukewarm monk caught in the snares of covetousness.

Chapter XIII. What the elders relate to the juniors in the matter of stripping off sins.

Chapter XIV. Instances to show that the disease of covetousness is threefold.

Chapter XV. Of the difference between one who renounces the world badly and one who does not renounce it at all.

Chapter XVI. Of the authority under which those shelter themselves who object to stripping themselves of their goods.

Chapter XVII. Of the renunciation of the apostles and the primitive church.

Chapter XVIII. That if we want to imitate the apostles we ought not to live according to our own prescriptions, but to follow their example.

Chapter XIX. A saying of S. Basil, the Bishop, directed against Syncletius.

Chapter XX. How contemptible it is to be overcome by covetousness.

Chapter XXI. How covetousness can be conquered.

Chapter XXII. That one who actually has no money may still be deemed covetous.

Chapter XXIII. An example drawn from the case of Judas.

Chapter XXIV. That covetousness cannot be overcome except by stripping one's self of everything.

Chapter XXV. Of the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, and Judas, which they underwent through the impulse of covetousness.

Chapter XXVI. That covetousness brings upon the soul a spiritual leprosy.

Chapter XXVII. Scripture proofs by which one who is aiming at perfection is taught not to take back again what he has given up and renounced.

Chapter XXVIII. That the victory over covetousness can only be gained by stripping one's self bare of everything.

Chapter XXIX. How a monk can retain his poverty.

Chapter XXX. The remedies against the disease of covetousness.

Chapter XXXI. That no one can get the better of covetousness unless he stays in the Coenobium: and how one can remain there.

Book VIII. Of the Spirit of Anger.

Chapter I. How our fourth conflict is against the sin of anger, and how many evils this passion produces.

Chapter II. Of those who say that anger is not injurious, if we are angry with those who do wrong, since God Himself is said to be angry.

Chapter III. Of those things which are spoken of God anthropomorphically.

Chapter IV. In what sense we should understand the passions and human arts which are ascribed to the unchanging and incorporeal God.

Chapter V. How calm a monk ought to be.

Chapter VI. Of the righteous and unrighteous passion of wrath.

Chapter VII. Of the only case in which anger is useful to us.

Chapter VIII. Instances from the life of the blessed David in which anger was rightly felt.

Chapter IX. Of the anger which should be directed against ourselves.

Chapter X. Of the sun, of which it is said that it should not go down upon your wrath.

Chapter XI. Of those to whose wrath even the going down of the sun sets no limit.

Chapter XII. How this is the end of temper and anger when a man carries it into act as far as he can.

Chapter XIII. That we should not retain our anger even for an instant.

Chapter XIV. Of reconciliation with our brother.

Chapter XV. How the Old Law would root out anger not only from the actions but from the thoughts.

Chapter XVI. How useless is the retirement of those who do not give up their bad manners.

Chapter XVII. That the peace of our heart does not depend on another's will, but lies in our own control.

Chapter XVIII. Of the zeal with which we should seek the desert, and of the things in which we make progress there.

Chapter XIX. An illustration to help in forming an opinion on those who are only patient when they are not tried by any one.

Chapter XX. Of the way in which auger should be banished according to the gospel.

Chapter XXI. Whether we ought to admit the addi

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