The un-sexy demonology of John Cassian

Having finished A New Kind of Christian, the next “book that ‘normal’ people read” I’m going through is Michael Green’s 1981 volume, I Believe in Satan’s Downfall (from the ‘I Believe’ series). Obviously not a book that normal people read anymore, but I hope that some normal people read it in the 80s, because it is very … Continue reading The un-sexy demonology of John Cassian

John Cassian in the Philokalia – Discernment

The final selection from Cassian in The Philokalia is selections, primarily from Conference 2, about discretion/discernment. Here we meet various Desert figures and desert stories, including one of my favourite stories, which I’ll recount in a moment. (For a newcomer to these discussions, I’ve talked about Cassian in The Philokalia thrice recently: once on the eight thoughts, once … Continue reading John Cassian in the Philokalia – Discernment

John Cassian in the Philokalia: ‘On the Holy Fathers of Sketis’ – scopos and telos

Allow me to begin with my ecclesiastical historian’s hat on. The second selection from John Cassian in The Philokalia (the first having been about the 8 thoughts, taken from Books 5-8 of The Institutes) is taken from Cassian’s second work, the much longer Conferences or Collationes. The Conferences purport to be the monastic elder’s encounters and conversations from the approximately ten … Continue reading John Cassian in the Philokalia: ‘On the Holy Fathers of Sketis’ – scopos and telos

John Cassian in The Philokalia – Purity of Heart

First things first — my brother has blogged at our shared blog about how Cassian has shifted his paradigm for ministry as an Anglican priest. This is what these blogs are all about — that one is about our dispersed community that prays the office and strives for holiness. If you want to find at … Continue reading John Cassian in The Philokalia – Purity of Heart

John Cassian in The Philokalia: On the 8 Thoughts

My brother and I have been slowly working our way through The Philokalia. The last part we finished was the selections from St John Cassian. Those of you who have put up with my musings long enough know that I wrote a Master’s thesis on Cassian’s reception of Evagrius’ demonology. He’s a character I enjoy, … Continue reading John Cassian in The Philokalia: On the 8 Thoughts

Happy Feast of St. John Cassian!

Today, that least likely of all days in the year, is the feast day of my good friend and subject of my MA research, St. John Cassian, the Massilian monk who popularised the life and teachings of the Desert Fathers, especially Evagrius, in Latin Europe! I’ve blogged about him here before; search ‘John Cassian’ in … Continue reading Happy Feast of St. John Cassian!

John Cassian vs. Nestorius

I recently finished reading John Cassian’s work On the Incarnation of the Word of God, Against Nestorius (De Inc.).  This work was written in reaction to certain documents of Nestorius’ circulating in the West.  Cassian wrote it at the request of Archdeacon Leo of Rome (later Pope Leo).  George Bevan sees evidence of Cassian working … Continue reading John Cassian vs. Nestorius

Tomorrow: John Cassian and Sacred Scripture

It is Epiphany.  On January 6, we remembered the coming of the Magi to the Christ Child and worshipping him.  This event signifies the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.  And Epiphany comes from the Greek for manifestation.  As we travel from Epiphany to Lent, we shall be looking at God’s revelation to us. Thus, … Continue reading Tomorrow: John Cassian and Sacred Scripture

(St.) John Cassian: Pt. 4, Cassian & You

This is my final(ish) post about (St.) John Cassian: Cassian and you.  The big question after we see this guy’s life, controversy, legacy, and his relationship to the theology of his day and to the Desert Fathers is: So what? By “So what?” I mean the question of what all this has to do with … Continue reading (St.) John Cassian: Pt. 4, Cassian & You

John Cassian & the Desert Fathers

We dealt with Grace & Freewill here.  The other thing that may go over people’s heads is the discussion here about Cassian’s relationship to the Desert Fathers. Although John Cassian spent a decade or more living with the Desert Fathers, people do not trust his writings to be an accurate reflection of the Desert Tradition.  … Continue reading John Cassian & the Desert Fathers