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the routine in the early monasteries very much as it was known to them in Benedictine abbeys of a far later date. They would seem to have had the Mass said, not daily, but on Sundays, and daily to have recited the entire Psalter; not, however, invariably in choir, but privately in most cases. They had, however, common offices: one only of these has been preserved, and is found in the Book of Mulling. It is that of Vespers, and is in part illegible. It began with an invitatory, then came the Magnificat, then something that cannot be deciphered, followed by three verses from a hymn of S. Columba. Then ensued a lesson from S. Matthew, followed by three stanzas from a hymn by S. Secundinus, and three from a hymn by Cummian Fota. Then the three final verses of the hymn of S. Hilary of Poitiers, the Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, and a Collect.42
Whether the Laus perennis formed an institution in the great monasteries generally cannot now be determined. We learn from Joscelyn's Life of S. Kentigern that it was the order at Llanelwy. It is spoken of as customary in Llantwit, Bangor Iscoed, Salisbury, and Glastonbury. But the authorities are late. The institution (dyfal gyfangan) is mentioned in the Triads and the Iolo MSS.,43 but neither can be trusted. If it were established, then it would show how close a relation was maintained between Britain and the East, and how that a movement there communicated itself rapidly to our isle.
The archimandrite Alexander, an Asiatic by birth, renounced the world about the year 380 and became a member of the convent of the archimandrite Elias. He remained in it four years, then became a solitary in the desert for seven, and then suddenly was transformed into a missionary who traversed Mesopotamia in all directions. He gathered about him a congregation of 400 monks on the right bank of the Euphrates. Later he established another in Constantinople near the Church of S. Menas, then one at Gomon, and died about 430. Alexander was a man of intense energy and of narrow views. The Bible, and the Bible only, literally interpreted, was to be the rule of his order. Because he found therein, " Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature," it was to be a missionary confraternity. Because our Lord said, " Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor," therefore the monks were to be entirely penniless. Because He said, " Men ought always to pray and not to faint," on that account worship should be perpetual. But human nature did not allow each man to remain day and night in
*' Liber Hymnorum, 1898, p. xxii.
43 Myv. Arch., pp. 393, 408; Iolo MSS., p. 150.
. prayer, consequently the work of incessant prayer and psalmody should be the function of the community. This was the capital point of his rule, and this constitutes an important feature in the history of Monachism. It created so much astonishment in men's minds, that the name given to the Order was uKoifjijroi, the Unsleeping Ones. It would be indeed remarkable if the Laus perennis could have reached Britain as early as the beginning of the sixth century.
The instruction given in the Celtic institutions was altogether oral. "There were no books except a few manuscripts, and they were highly prized. The instruction was generally given in the open air. If the preceptor took his stand on the summit (of the rath enclosure), or seated his pupils around its slopes, he could be conveniently heard, not only by hundreds but even by thousands. The pupils were easily accommodated, too, with food and lodging. They built their own little huts throughout the meadows, where several of them sometimes lived together like soldiers in a tent. They sowed their own grain; they ground their own corn with the quern or hand-mill; they fished in the neighbouring rivers, and had room within the common lands to graze cattle to give them milk in abundance. When supplies ran short, they put wallets on their backs, and went out in their turn to seek for the necessaries of life, and were never by the people refused abundant supplies. They wore little clothing, had no books to buy, and generally, but not always, received their education gratuitously.44
The routine in Clonard can be gathered from the Life of S. Finnian. We are told that on one occasion he sent his disciple Senach to see what all his pupils were doing. Senach's report was: "Some are engaged in manual labour, some are studying the Scriptures, and others, notably Columba of Tir-da-Glas, are engaged in prayer." 45
Owing to the scandals which had arisen through women being in the same monastery or college with men, the abbots often swung to the opposite extreme. S. Senan would not suffer a female, however aged, to enter the isle in which he lived with his monks. In some monasteries the interior within the rath, with its churches and dininghall, was interdicted to women, and this interdiction had subsisted at Landevenec from the close of the fifth century for four hundred years.46 At the close of the sixth century the rule was in full rigour in the monastery of S. Maglorius at Sark. Some went even further,
Hcaly, Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum, 1896, p. 202.
Vita SS. Hib., Cod. Salamanc, p. 200.
De la Borderie, Hist, de Bretaqne, i, p. 517.
like S. Malo, who would not allow even a layman to come within the embankment.47
That in spite of every effort to raise artificial barriers, a very pure morality did not always reign among the monks and pupils, appears from the Penitential of Gildas; indeed, that reveals a very horrible condition of affairs.48
The diet of the monks consisted of bread, milk, eggs, fish. On Sundays a dish of beef or mutton was usually added.49 Beer and mead were drunk, and sometimes so freely that in the Penitential of Gildas provision had to be made for the punishment of drunkenness. At Ynys Byr, or Caldey Isle, where the abbot tumbled into a well when drunk, we are assured that S. Samson by his abstinence gave great offence to the monks. "In fact," says his biographer, "in the midst of the abundant meats and the torrents of drink that filled the monastery, he was always fasting, both as to his food and his drink." M The liquor drunk was not only ale, but also "water mixed with the juice of trees, or that of wild apples," that is to say, a poor cider; and we are assured that at Landevenec nothing else was employed.51 At Llantwit Major " it was usual to express the juice of certain herbs good for health, that were cultivated in the monastery garden, and mix this extract with the drink of the monks, by pressing it, by means of a little tube, into the cup of each; so that when they returned from the office of Tierce, they found this tipple ready for them, prepared by the pistor." 52 This was clearly a sort of Chartreuse.
Few features are more amazing in Irish or Welsh ecclesiastical history than the way in which whole families embraced the religious life. In a good many cases they could not help themselves; the fortunes of war, a family revolution, obliged members of a royal family to disappear as claimants to a secular chieftainship, and to content themselves with headships of ecclesiastical institutions. But religious enthusiasm was also a potent power determining them in their choice. We see this among the Northumbrians. Bede says that the same phenomenon manifested itself there ; for chieftains who were entirely undisciplined in religion all at once posed as saints, founded monasteries, and placed themselves at the head of these institutions.53 Into these monasteries they invited their friends and dependents, who brought in their wives and families. Bede was so concerned at this condition of affairs that he wrote to Archbishop Ecgbert, of York, to entreat him to put a stop to such irregularities, as he with his Latin ideas considered them. He says that in Northumbria there were many nunneries over which the chiefs set their wives.
"Vita iTM 5. Maclovii, i, c. 40.
48 Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, i, p. 113.
"Reeves, Life of S. Columba, 1874, p. cxvii.
5» Vita i"'" 5. Samsonis, in Acta SS. O. S. B., saec. i. p. 175.
5' Vita S. Winwaloei, ii, c. 12.
"Vita I"* S. Samsonis, i, c. 16.
53 Hist. Eccl. v, 23.
In the Irish monasteries, as at Iona, the brethren constituted a monastic family, divided into three classes: (1) The Elders, seniores, dedicated to prayer and the instruction of the young, and to preaching; (2) The lay brothers, operarii, who were principally engaged in manual labour; and (3) The students and servitors, juniores alumni, or pueruli familiares.54 When S. Samson constituted his monastery at Dol, he had, as his biographer says, the same three classes: monachi, discipuli, famuli. When he went to Paris to visit Childebert (circ. 554), he was attended by seven monks, seven pupils, and seven servitors.35
The head of the monastic family was called abbot, abba pater, pater spiritualis, or simply pater, very often senex. He lived apart from the rest of the monks, probably on higher ground than the others, so that he might command the entire community with his eye. Under him was the ceconomus or steward, often mentioned in the Lives of the Saints, notably in those of S. David, S. Cadoc, and S. Samson. His duty was to look after the temporal affairs of the monastery, and in the abbot's absence he took his place. Below the ceconomus was the pistor or baker, who was not limited to making the bread of the community, but had oversight over all the food required. S. Samson was invested with this office in Ynys Byr, and was accused of having been extravagant, and wasting the money belonging to the convent.56 The only other office of significance was that of the cook, coquus.51 Among the pupils, the students were not limited to study: they divided among them the looking after the sheep and oxen, and the grinding of the corn in the mill.58 They were set an A B C to acquire, but this probably means, not only the letters, but the rudiments of Christian belief. They had also to acquire the Psalms of David by heart, as already stated.
The monks were habited in a tunic and cowl; the tunic was white, and the cowl the natural colour of the wool. In addition, in cold and bad weather, a mantle (amphibalus) was worn, sometimes called a casida, or chasuble.59 A good many of the abbots, and even monks, seem to have delighted in clothing themselves in goat or fawn skins.8U
54 Reeves, Life of S. Columba, 1874, p. cvii.
55 Vita //d*, ed. Plaine, ii, c. 20, p. 66.
»« Vita I"*, i, c. 35.
57 Book of Lismore, p. 207. '8 Ibid., pp. 206, 207, 269.
The Greek tonsure, which is called that of S. Paul, consisted in shaving the entire head; the Roman tonsure, as that of S. Peter, was restricted to the top of the head, leaving a band of hair round it. The tonsure of the Britons and Scots consisted in shaving all the front of the head from ear to ear. As we see by the Bayeux tapestry, a non-ecclesiastical tonsure was practised by the Normans in the eleventh century, which was that of shaving the back of the head. The meaning of a tonsure was the putting a mark on a man to designate that he belonged to a certain class or tribe, just as colts or sheep are marked to indicate to whom they belong. The knocking out of certain teeth, the deforming of the skull, and tattooing among Indian and other savage races, has the same significance. All men are born alike, and to discriminate among them, artificial means must be had recourse to. Circumcision among the Jews, Egyptians and Kaffirs, has the same meaning.
The tonsure was known in pagan Ireland, and was probably— almost certainly—general among all Celtic races, the Druids being tonsured to mark the order to which they belonged; and each tribe, if it did not wear its tartan, was distinguished by some sort of trimming of the hair.
The Celtic tonsure for ecclesiastics was possibly purposely adopted from that of the Druids; but this is not certain, as" adze-head" was a term applied to the Christian clergy as derisive, because their long faces and curved bald crowns bore a sort of resemblance to a tool, the so-called celt. Probably it was the Druidic tonsure with a difference.61 It was this tonsure, so unlike that adopted by the monks of the Rule of S. Benedict, which caused such indignation among the Latin missionaries. They could not away with it. It was the tonsure of Simon Magus.
Another point of antagonism between the Latin ecclesiastics and those of the Celtic Church was the observance of Easter. The Celtic rule has been repeatedly explained, and here we will only give it in brief from the lucid account of Mr. Hodgkin, in his account of S. Columbanus in Gaul. "In this matter the Irish ecclesiastics, with true Celtic conservatism,adhered to the usage which had been universaj in the West for more than two centuries, whilst the Frankish bishops
» 59 Reeves, Life of S. Columba, p. cxviii; Book of Lismore, pp. 218, 219, 273.
*° Cambro-British Saints, p. 128.
ei Three kinds of tonsure are mentioned by the early Irish writers: the monastic (berrad manaig), the servile (berrad mogad), and the Druidical forms tairbacc giunnae). Tripartite Life, i, p. clxxxv.