Blessed JohnCassian was born in the 350ís in the Gallic
province (Marseilles) to famous and rich parents that provided him with a good
education. From a young age, he cherished the God-pleasing life and, longing to
achieve spiritual perfection, traveled east and entered the Bethlehem monastery
as a monk. After 2 years, in the company of another monk, he set out to Egypt
to see the Egyptian "starets" (elders) so as to learn from them. Up
to the year 400, they lived among the Egyptian recluses in various hermitages,
caves & monasteries, familiarizing themselves with ascetic life. Later,
they left for Constantinople, where Saint John the Golden Tongue
(Chrysostomos), consecrated John Cassian as a deacon.
After Saint Johnís arrest, Cassian returned to his
motherland and continued to live an ascetic life that he learned in Egypt.
After a few years, he became renowned for his pious life and was consecrated
into priesthood. His followers organized a monastery similar to those in Egypt.
Soon after, a womenís convent was established. Upon the request of a father
superior of one of the Gallic monasteries, Saint Cassian wrote 12 books on
regulations for novices, in the form of 24 conversations. He reposed in the
year 435. Thanks to Saint Cassian, monasticism was very successful in spreading
throughout the west, while his writings on ascetic life exerted great influence
on the Eastern as well as the Western Churches.
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