Those who are called Eremites and are clothed in black robes, and with long hair go about cities and associate with the worldly both men and women and bring odium upon their profession—we decree that if they will receive the habit of other monks and wear their hair cut short, they may be shut up in a monastery and numbered among the brothers; but if they do not choose to do this, they are to be expelled from the cities and forced to live in the desert (ἐρήμους) from whence also they derive their name.
It may not be irreverent to remark that this species of impostors always has been common in the East, and many examples will be found of the dervishes in the Arabian Nights and other Eastern tales. The “vagabond” monks of the West also became a great nuisance as well as a scandal in the Middle Ages. The reader will find interesting instances of Spanish deceivers of the same sort in “Gil Blas” and other Spanish romances.
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