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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter XXII. The system of the Egyptians, which is appointed for the daily service of the brethren.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXII.

The system of the Egyptians, which is appointed for the daily service of the brethren.

These things have been told in accordance with the system, as we remarked before, of the whole East, which also we say should be observed as a matter of course in our own country. But among the Egyptians whose chief care is for work there is not the mutual change of weekly service, for fear lest owing to the requirements of office they might all be hindered from keeping the rule of work. But one of the most approved brethren is given the care of the larder and kitchen, and he takes charge of that office for good and all as long as his strength and years permit. For he is exhausted by no great bodily labour, because no great care is expended among them in preparing food or in cooking, as they so largely make use of dried and uncooked food, 780 and among them the leaves of leeks cut each month, and cherlock, table salt, 781 olives, tiny little salt fish which they call sardines, 782 form the greatest delicacy.



The distinction between the xerophagia and omophagia is shown by the following passage from S. Jerome’s Life of Hilarion describing his food: “From his twenty-first year to his twenty-seventh for three years.…his food was dry bread and water (xerophagia). Further from his twenty-seventh to his thirtieth year he supported himself on wild herbs, and the raw roots of certain plants (omophagia).”


Sal frictum, “rubbed salt,” i.e., table salt as distinct from rough or block salt.


Mœnomenia (Petschenig) or Mœnidia (Gazæus). The word comes from the Greek μαινόμενα or μαινίδιον, dimin. from μαίνη, a small salted fish.

Next: Chapter XXIII. The obedience of Abbot John by which he was exalted even to the grace of prophecy.

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