#profile-container h2.sidebar-title {display:none;}

TPL (Text) -- 1

I Treatise on the Practical Life (Text)


Évagre Le Pontique
Traité pratique ou Le moine
(Tome II)
Édition critique du texte grec…
Antoine Guillaumont et Claire Guillaumont
Sources chrétiennes, No 171
Les Éditions du Cerf
Paris, France.

By Evagrius the Monk

Since, most beloved brother Anatolios, you have recently written from the Holy Mountain to me, staying in Skete, and you have asked me to clarify the symbolic habit of the monks in Egypt—for you have thought that it is something neither without purpose nor perverse, having such a great difference from the other habits of men—well then, as much as we have learned from the holy fathers we will proclaim.

The cucullion, then, is a symbol of the grace of our Saviour God. It covers their ruling part and succours the infancy in Christ on account of those who ever try to strike and wound. As many as wear the cucullion on their head chant these words in power: ‘If the Lord does not build the house and guard the city, in vain has he laboured who builds and he who attempts to guard.’ [Cf. Ps. 126, 1.] Such words, on the one hand, work humility; on the other hand, they uproot pride, the ancient evil which cast down upon the earth ‘the Daystar which rises in the morning’ [Isa. 14, 12].

The denuding of the hands manifests the unhypocritical nature of this way of life. For vainglory is skilful to cover up and shadow the virtues, ever hunting glories which come from men and casting out faith. For he says: ‘How can you believe, receiving glory from one another and not seeking the glory which comes from the One God?’ [John 5, 44.] For the good must be preferable not for the sake of something else, but rather for itself. For if this is not granted, that which moves us to the work of the good will appear to be much more honourable than the work which is done, which very thing would be among the most absurd of things: that one could conceive and say that there would be something better than God.

The analabos, again, that which is woven in the form of a cross around the shoulders, is a symbol of the faith in Christ, which faith supports the meek and ever restrains the impediments and provides them with an untrammelled work.

The belt which cinctures their kidneys repels all uncleanness and proclaims this: ‘It is well for a man not to touch a woman.’ [1 Cor. 7, 1.]

The myloten is worn by those who ‘always carry about the death of Jesus in their bodies’ [2 Cor. 4, 10], and who, on the one hand, put to silence all the irrational passions of the body and who, on the other hand, cut off the evils of the soul through participation in the Good; and who love poverty and flee avarice as the mother of idolatry.

The staff is ‘a tree of life to all those who clasp it and a secure [support] to all those who are supported by it, as upon the Lord’ [Prov. 3, 18].

And so, in brief, the habit is the symbol of these things, and these words are those which the fathers ever say to them:

The fear of God, children, renders faith sure, and continence in turn renders sure the fear of God. And patient endurance and hope render steadfast continence, from which things is born dispassion, of which the child is charity. And charity is the door of natural gnosis, to which Theology succeeds, and the ultimate blessedness.

And so let so much be said for the present concerning the sacred habit and the teaching of the Elders.

Concerning, then, the practical life and the gnostic life, we are now going to narrate, not as much as we have seen and heard, but as much as we have learned from them to say to others, the practical in one hundred chapters, the gnostic life divided into fifty in addition to six hundred chapters passing through in an abridged fashion; and we have hidden certain things and obscured others, so as ‘not to give holy things to dogs and not to cast our pearls before swine’ [cf. Matt. 7, 6]. These things, however, will be clear to those who have followed in the same track as they.


Post a Comment

<< Home