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NPNF2-02. Socrates and Sozomenus Ecclesiastical Histories
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Chapter XXXII.—Monks of Palestine: Hesycas, Epiphanius, who was afterwards in Cyprus, Ammonius, and Silvanus.

Many monastical institutions flourished in Palestine.14981498    This chapter is probably derived from local Palestinian biographies familiar to him as a native. Many of those whom I enumerated under the reign of Constantius were still cultivating the science. They and their associates attained the summit of philosophical perfection, and added still greater reputation to their monasteries; and among them Hesycas,14991499    Hesychius, Hieron. Vit. Hil. a companion of Hilarion, and Epiphanius, afterwards bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, deserve to be particularly noticed. Hesycas devoted himself to a life of philosophy in the same locality where his master had formerly resided; and Epiphanius15001500    See in books vii. 27 and viii. 14. fixed his abode near the village of Besauduc, which was his birthplace, in the government of Eleutheropolis. Having been instructed from his youth by the most celebrated ascetics, and having on this account passed the most of his time in Egypt, Epiphanius became most celebrated in Egypt and Palestine by his attainments in monastic philosophy, and was chosen by the inhabitants of Cyprus to act as bishop of the metropolis of their island. Hence he is, I think, the most revered man under the whole heaven, so to speak; for he fulfilled his priesthood in the concourse of a large city and in a seaport; and when he threw himself into civil affairs, he conducted them with so much virtue that he became known in a little while to all citizens and every variety of foreigner; to some, because they had seen the man himself, and had experience of his manner of living; and to others, who had learned it from these spectators. Before he went to Cyprus, he resided for some time, during the present reign, in Palestine.

At the same period in the monasteries, Salamines, Phuscon, Malachion, and Crispion, four brethren, were highly distinguished: they practiced philosophy near Bethelia, a village of Gaza; they were of a resident noble family, and had been instructed in philosophy by Hilarion. It is related that the brothers were once journeying homewards, when Malachion was suddenly snatched away and became invisible; soon afterwards, however, he reappeared and continued the journey with his brothers. He did not long survive this occurrence, but died in the flower of his youth. He was not behind men of advanced age in the philosophy of virtuous life and of piety.

Ammonius lived at a distance of ten stadia from those last mentioned; he dwelt near Capharcobra, the place of his birth, a town of Gaza. He was very exact and courageous in carrying through asceticism. I think that Silvanus, a native of Palestine, to whom, on account of his high virtue, an angel was once seen to minister, practiced philosophy about the same time in Egypt. Then he lived at Mount Sinai, and afterwards founded at Gerari, in the wady, a very extensive and most noted cœnobium for many good men, over which the excellent Zacharias subsequently presided.


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