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Asceticism

(2,706 words)

Author(s): Staats, Reinhart
1. The Concept and Its Present Significance 1.1. Asceticism is a basic concept in the history of European civilization. In Greek antiquity from the fifth century b.c., “asceticism” denoted bodily self-control on the part of athletes and likewise the exercise of moral restraint on the part of philosophers. It rests primarily on the voluntary decision of individuals and entails the temporary or indefinite renunciation of certain pleasures or activities that are otherwise available, all in order to achiev…

Acoemetae

(182 words)

Author(s): Staats, Reinhart
“Acoemetae,” meaning “those who do not sleep,” designates certain monks in and around Constantinople who, divided into two choirs and using various languages (Greek, Latin, and Syriac), sang God’s praises without ceasing. Long before the Benedictines, they observed the seven hours of prayer. Their founder was Alexander (d. ca. 430), who began his work in Mesopotamia and Antioch and who in 426 was driven out of Constantinople on account of Messalianism. In 428 the group founded the monastery of Gomon, then Irenaeon. The history of the famous…