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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Two Epistles Concerning Virginity.: Chapter IV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter IV.—Conduct of the Holy Man Where There are Women Only.

But if we chance to come into a place where there are no Christian men, but all the believers are women and maidens, 448 and they press us to pass the night there in that place, we call them all together to some suitable place, 449 and ask them how they do; and according to that which we learn from them, and what we see to be their state of mind, we address them in a suitable manner, as men fearing God.  And when they have all assembled and come together, and we see that they are in peace, 450 we address to them words of exhortation in the fear of God, and read the Scripture to them, with purity and in the concise 451 and weighty words of the fear of God.  We do everything as for their edification.  And as to those who are married, we speak to them in the Lord in a manner suited to them.  And if, moreover, the day decline and the eventide draw on, we select, in order to pass the night there, a woman who is aged and the most exemplary 452 of them all; and we speak to her to give us a place all to ourselves, where no woman enters, nor maiden.  And this old woman herself will bring us a lamp, and whatever is requisite for us she will herself bring us.  From love to the brethren, she will bring whatever is requisite for the service of stranger brethren.  And she herself, when the time for sleep is come, will depart and go to her house in peace.



Lit. “all of them are believing women and maidens.”


Lit. “some place on the right side.”  The Syrian translator has probably mistaken the meaning of εἰς ἕνα τόπον δεξιόν, where δεξιόν may be compared with dexter in Hor., Sat., ii. 1, 18.—Beelen.


Probably meaning, “when we have inquired of their welfare.”


Lit. “compressed.”


Lit. “chaste,” or “modest.”

Next: Chapter V

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