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Chapter XI.

An inquiry why in Egypt they do not fast during all the fifty days (of Easter) nor bend their knees in prayer.

But it is now time to follow out the plan of the promised discourse. So then when Abbot Theonas had come to visit us in our cell during Eastertide 2185 after Evensong was over we sat for a little while on the ground and began diligently to consider why they were so very careful that no one should during the whole fifty days either bend his knees in prayer 2186 or venture to fast till the ninth hour, and we made our inquiry the more earnestly because we had never seen this custom so carefully observed in the monasteries of Syria.





The 20th Canon of the Council of Nicæa (a.d. 325) alludes to diversities of custom with regard to posture for prayer on Sundays and from Easter to Pentecost, and ordered that for the future prayer should be made standing at these times. Cassian’s language in the text would seem to show that in his day the Canon in question, though kept in Egypt, was not strictly observed in Palestine but that the ancient diversity of customs still to some extent prevailed.

Next: Chapter XII. The answer on the nature of things good, bad, and indifferent.