23 July 2007

Saint John Cassian

Presbyter, Monk, Theologian
Commemoration, July 23

Prayer - Father, you filled your servant John Cassian with your grace, and the wisdom to understand and teach the truth as it is manifest in Christ Jesus. Grant that we may be inspired by his teaching to know you, your Son, and your Holy Spirit, the one true God, living and reigning in Triune glory; now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Readings - Proverbs 3: 1-8 and Matthew 13: 47-52

Biography - Saint John Cassian monastic saint known for his writings on the monastic life and for correctives of the anti-Pelagian writings of Saint Augustine of Hippo. His feast day is also celebrated in France on July 23.

Born in the Danube Delta in what is now Dobrogea, Romania, in about 360, Saint John entered a monastery in Bethlehem in the year 382. After several years there he was granted permission to visit the Desert Fathers in Egypt. They remained in Egypt until 399 (except for a brief period when he returned to Bethlehem and was released from the monastery there).

Upon leaving Egypt he went to Constantinople, where he met St. John Chrysostom, who ordained St. John Cassian as a deacon. He had to leave Constantinople in 403 when Chrysostom was exiled, eventually settling close to Marseilles, where he was ordained priest and founded two monasteries, one for women and one for men.

St. John’s most famous works are the Institutes, which detail how to live the monastic life, and the Conferences, which provide details of conversations with the Desert Fathers. He also warned against some of the excesses in St. Augustine of Hippo's theology whilst refraining from criticising him by name. For this reason he has sometimes been accused of Semi-Pelagianism by the Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant commentators.

St. John died peacefully in 435.


All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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