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Headword: Μοναχός
Adler number: mu,1216
Translated headword: monk
Vetting Status: high
Dionysius says: the rank higher than all those appointed, that of the monks, is a holy order, purified with every purification by universal power and the perfect holiness of suitable actions, as it is lawful for them to contemplate every kind of sacred ministration, being in spiritual contemplation and fellowship, undertaking the perfective powers of the priests, learning by their inspired illuminations and priestly traditions also the consecrations which they have beheld of the sacred initiates throughout it [sc. the rank of monks], and being led analogously to their sacred understanding into most perfect perfection. Therefore, our holy leaders deem them worthy of sacred appellations, some calling them "worshippers" [θεραπευταί ][1] and some "monks" [μοναχοί ] from the pure service and worship [θεραπεία ] of God and the indivisible and single life as if unifying them in the holy folds of separateness into godlike oneness and god-loving perfection. Therefore the sacred decree called this a grace bringing perfection; and it deemed them worthy of some hallowed name, not a priestly [name] (for that is only for the priestly ranks), but a consecrated [name], as they are consecrated a second time in a sacred initiation by the holy priests.[2]
Concerning monks: "there, indeed, was a place of meditation[3] for men of philosophical life; these men are called "monks", whose task it is to leave the body early and to die while still living and by some sort of sensible madness to pass on to better things."[4]
Greek Original:
Μοναχός: φησὶ Διονύσιος: ἡ δὲ τῶν τελουμένων ἁπασῶν ὑψηλοτέρα τάξις ἡ τῶν μοναχῶν ἐστιν ἱερὰ διακόσμησις, πᾶσαν μὲν ἀποκεκαθαρμένη κάθαρσιν ὁλικῇ δυνάμει καὶ παντελεῖ τῶν οἰκείων ἐνεργειῶν ἁγνότητι, πάσης δὲ οὔσης θεμιτὸν θεωρεῖν αὐτῇ ἱερουργίας, ἐν νοερᾷ θεωρίᾳ καὶ κοινωνίᾳ γεγενημένη καὶ ταῖς τῶν ἱεραρχῶν τελειωτικαῖς δυνάμεσιν ἐγχειριζομένη καὶ ταῖς ἐνθέοις αὐτῶν ἐλλάμψεσι καὶ ἱεραρχικαῖς παραδόσεσιν ἐκδιδασκομένη καὶ τὰς ἐποπτευθείσας τῶν κατ' αὐτὴν ἱερῶν τελετῶν ἱερουργίας καὶ πρὸς τῆς ἱερᾶς αὐτῶν ἐπιστήμης ἀναλόγως εἰς τελειοτάτην ἀγομένη τελείωσιν. ἔνθεν οἱ θεῖοι καθηγεμόνες ἡμῶν ἐπωνυμιῶν αὐτοὺς ἱερῶν ἠξίωσαν, καὶ οἱ μὲν θεραπευτάς, οἱ δὲ μοναχοὺς ὀνομάσαντες, ἐκ τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ καθαρᾶς ὑπηρεσίας καὶ θεραπείας καὶ τῆς ἀμερίστου καὶ ἑνιαίας ζωῆς ὡς ἑνοποιούσης αὐτοὺς ἐν ταῖς τῶν διαιρετῶν ἱεραῖς συμπτύξεσιν εἰς θεοειδῆ μονάδα καὶ φιλόθεον τελείωσιν. διὸ καὶ τελεστικὴν αὐτὴν ἡ ἱερὰ θεσμοθεσία χάριν ἐκάλεσε: καί τινος αὐτοὺς ἠξίωσεν ἀφιερωτικῆς ἐπικλήσεως, οὐχ ἱερατικῆς [ἐκείνη γὰρ ἐπὶ μόναις γίνεται ταῖς ἱερατικαῖς τάξεσιν], ἀλλ' ἱεραρχικῆς ὑπὸ τῶν ὁσίων ἱερέων τῇ ἱεραρχικῇ τελειουργίᾳ δευτέρως ἱερουργουμένη. περὶ μοναχῶν: ἐκεῖσε δὴ φροντιστήριον ἦν ἀνδρῶν φιλοσόφων τὸν βίον: μοναχοὶ δὲ οὗτοι κατονομάζονται, οἷς ἔργον προεκδημεῖν τοῦ σώματος καὶ ζῶντας τεθνάναι καὶ σώφρονι μανίᾳ τινι μεταφοιτᾶν πρὸς τὰ κρείττονα.
This entry distinguishes the charismatic holiness of monastics from the institutional consecration of men in priestly orders.
[1] On the Therapeutae, see theta 228.
[2] George the Monk, Chronicon 337.8-338.11. He is summarizing the views of Dionysius the so-called Areopagite (delta 1170), Ecclesiastical Hierarchy 6.1.3 (PG3.532C): see translation at web address 1.
[3] On φροντιστήριον , see phi 734.
[4] An approximation of Theophylact Simocatta, Histories 1.14.8.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: Christianity; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; historiography; philosophy; religion
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 9 April 2008@02:31:20.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 9 April 2008@03:55:45.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation, augmented notes, added cross-references) on 9 April 2008@11:27:41.
Catharine Roth (added link and keyword) on 9 April 2008@21:29:17.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 26 May 2013@08:35:19.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 9 November 2014@00:42:54.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 9 November 2014@00:49:14.


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