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This edition The Institutes, also known as Institutions, comes complete with a Touch-or-Click Table of Contents, divided by each book.
Saint John Cassian (ca. 360 – 435), was a Christian theologian celebrated in both the Western and Eastern Churches for his mystical writings. He is known both as one of the "Scythian monks" and as one of the "Desert Fathers."
John Cassian came very late into writing and only did so when a request was made by an important person or persons. His sources were the same as those of Evagrius Ponticus, but he added his own personal ideas which were arranged in extensive collections.
John Cassian wrote two major spiritual works, the Institutions and the Conferences. In these, he codified and transmitted the wisdom of the Desert Fathers of Egypt. These books were written at the request of Castor, Bishop of Apt, of the subsequent Pope Leo I, and of several Gallic bishops and monks. The Institutions (Latin: De institutis coenobiorum) deal with the external organization of monastic communities, while the Conferences (Latin: Collationes patrum in scetica eremo) deal with "the training of the inner man and the perfection of the heart."
In Books 1-4 of Institutions, Cassian discusses clothing, prayer and rules of monastic life. Books 5-12 are rules on morality, specifically addressing the eight vices - gluttony, lust, avarice, hubris, wrath, envy, acedia, and boasting - and what to do to cure these vices.
The Conferences, dedicated to Pope Leo, to the bishop of Frejus, and to the monk Helladius, summarize important conversations that Cassian had with elders from Scetis about principles of the spiritual and ascetic life. This book addresses specific problems of spiritual theology and the ascetic life. It was later read in Benedictine communities before a light meal, and from the Latin title, Collationes, comes the word collation in the sense of "light meal."
His third book, On the Incarnation of the Lord, was a defense of orthodox doctrine against the views of Nestorius, and was written at the request of the Archdeacon of Rome, later Pope Leo I.
His books were written in Latin, in a simple, direct style. They were swiftly translated into Greek, for the use of Eastern monks, an unusual honor.
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