Monday, July 8, 2013

Early Church Fathers on Celibacy

The Early Church Fathers on various topics: This was a 3700 hour project which included going through 22896 pages of the 38 volume set called Ante Nicene, Nicene, Post Nicene Fathers. I compiled 255 pages of quotes showing that the Early Church was always and completely Catholic. All of these quotes can be verified and found from the source which is free online.

Clement of Rome Epistles on Virginity ch 10 (27-97 ad)
But we speak thus in consequence of the evil rumours and reports concerning shameless men, who, under pretext of the fear of God, have their dwelling with maidens, and so expose themselves to danger, and walk with them along the road and in solitary places alone -- a course which is full of dangers, and full of stumbling-blocks and snares and pitfalls; nor is it in any respect right for Christians and those who fear God so to conduct themselves. Others, too, eat and drink with them at entertainments allowing themselves in loose behaviour and much uncleanness--such as ought not to be among believers, and especially among those who have chosen for themselves a life of holiness. Others, again, meet together for vain and trifling conversation and merriment, and that they may speak evil of one another; and they hunt up tales against one another, and are idle: persons with whom we do not allow you even to eat bread. Then, others gad about among the houses of virgin brethren or sisters, on pretence of visiting them, or reading the Scriptures to them, or exorcising them. Forasmuch as they are idle and do no work, they pry into those things which ought not to be inquired into, and by means of plausible words make merchandise of the name of Christ.
Clement of Rome Epistles on Virginity ch 3 (27-97 ad)
And if again we chance to come into a place where there is no consecrated brother, but all are married, all those who are there will receive the brother who comes to them
Clement of Rome Epistles on Virginity ch 2 (27-97 ad)
All these things will that consecrated brother, who is in the place in which we tarry, do in his own person.
Justin Martyr Fragments on the resurrection ch 3 (100-165 ad)
And we see men also keeping themselves virgins, some from the first, and some from a certain time; so that by their means, marriage, made lawless through lust, is destroyed.
Cyprian of Carthage epistle 51 par 20 (200-270 ad)
The Church, crowned with so many virgins, flourishes; and chastity and modesty preserve the tenor of their glory.
Cyprian of Carthage Treatise 2 par 4 (200-270 ad)
For that is not an empty carefulness nor a vain fear, which takes counsel for the way of salvation, which guards the commandments of the Lord and of life; so that they who have dedicated themselves to Christ, and who depart from carnal concupiscence, and have vowed themselves to God as well in the flesh as in the spirit, may consummate their work, destined as it is to a great reward, and may not study any longer to be adorned or to please anybody but their Lord, from whom also they expect the reward of virginity; as He Himself says: "All men cannot receive this word, but they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb; and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men; and there are eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake." Again, also by this word of the angel the gift of continency is set forth, and virginity is preached:
Peter of Alexandria Genuine Acts of Peter (260-311ad)
Wonderful was the devotion of the faithful! When it was known that this holy man was shut up in the dungeon of the prison, an incredibly large number ran together, principally a band of monks and of virgins, and with no material arms, but with rivers of tears and the affection of pious minds. surrounded the prison's circuit.
Aphrahat Demonstrations 6 Of Monks par 20 (280-367 ad)
Therefore read in this whatever I have written unto thee, thou and the brethren, the monks that love virginity.
Methodius Banquet of Ten Virgins Discourse 1 ch 4 (300 ad)
And first let us inquire for what reason it was that no one of the many patriarchs and prophets and righteous men, who taught and did many noble things, either praised or chose the state of virginity. Because it was reserved for the Lord alone to he the first to teach this doctrine, since He alone, coming down to us, taught man to draw near to God; for it was fitting that He who was first and chief of priests, of prophets, and of angels, should also be saluted as first and chief of virgins. For in old times man was not yet perfect, and for this reason was unable to receive perfection, which is virginity.
Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lecture 16 par 22 (315-386 ad)
Consider, I pray, of each nation, Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, Solitaries, Virgins, and laity besides; and then behold their great Protector, and the Dispenser of their gifts;--how throughout the world He gives to one chastity, to another perpetual virginity, to another almsgiving, to another voluntary poverty, to another power of repelling hostile spirits.
Gregory Nazianzen Oration 40 par 18 (325-389 ad)
We do not dishonour marriage because we give a higher honour to virginity. I will imitate Christ, the pure Grooms-man and Bridegroom, as He both wrought a miracle at a wedding, and honours wedlock with His Presence.
Basil Letter 199 par 18 (329-379 ad)
Since, however, by God's grace the Church grows mightier as she advances, and the order of virgins is becoming more numerous, it is my judgment that careful heed should be given both to the act as it appears upon consideration, and to the mind of Scripture, which may be discovered from the context.
Ambrose On the Duties of the Clergy Book 1 Ch 50 par 258 (340-397 ad)
But ye know that the ministerial office must be kept pure and unspotted, and must not be defiled by conjugal intercourse; ye know this, I say, who have received the gifts of the sacred ministry, with pure bodies, and unspoilt modesty, and without ever having enjoyed conjugal intercourse. I am mentioning this, because in some out-of-the-way places, when they enter on the ministry, or even when they become priests, they have begotten children. They defend this on the ground of old custom, when, as it happened, the sacrifice was offered up at long intervals. However, even the people had to be purified two or three days beforehand, so as to come clean to the sacrifice, as we read in the Old Testament. They even used to wash their clothes. If such regard was paid in what was only the figure, how much ought it to be shown in the reality ! Learn then, Priest and Levite, what it means to wash thy clothes. Thou must have a pure body wherewith to offer up the sacraments.
Council of Ganga epilogue (343 ad)
We do, assuredly, admire virginity accompanied by humility; and we have regard for continence, accompanied by godliness and gravity; and we praise the leaving of worldly occupations, [when it is made] with lowliness of mind; [but at the same time] we honour the holy companionship of marriage,
Council of Ganga cannon 9-10 (343 ad)
Canon 9. If any one shall remain virgin, or observe continence, abstaining from marriage because he abhors it, and not on account of the beauty and holiness of virginity itself, let him be anathema.
Canon 10. If any one of those who are living a virgin life for the Lord's sake shall treat arrogantly the married, let him be anathema.
John Chrysostom Homily 19 on First Corinthians (347-407 ad)
"It is good for a man not to touch a woman." superior course, it is better not to have any connection whatever with a woman: but if you ask what is safe and helpful to thine own infirmity, be connected by marriage." [R] [+] But since it was likely, as also happens now, that the husband might be willing but the wife not, or perhaps the reverse, mark how he discusses each case. Some indeed say that this discourse was addressed by him to priests. But I, judging from what follows, could not affirm that it was so: since he would not have given his advice in general terms. For if he were writing these things only for the priests, he would have said, "It is good for the teacher not to touch a woman." But now he has made it of universal application, saying, "It is good for a man;" not for priest only. And again, "Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife." He said not, "You who are a priest and teacher," but indefinitely. And the whole of his speech goes on entirely in the same tones And in saying, "Because of fornications, let every man have his own wife" by the very cause alleged for the concession he guides men to continence.
Jerome Against Jovinianus book 1 par 26 (347-420 ad)
But we might say concerning Peter, that he had a mother-in-law when he believed, and no longer had a wife
Jerome Letter 22 par 18 (347-420 ad)
For me, virginity is consecrated in the persons of Mary and of Christ."
Jerome Letter 130 par 11 (347-420 ad)
The same may be said of sanctification and of that chastity without which no man shall see the Lord. Each of these is a step on the upward way, yet none of them by itself will avail to win the virgin's crown. The gospel teaches us this in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins; the former of whom enter into the bridechamber of the bridegroom, while the latter are shut out from it because not having the oil of good works they allow their lamps to fail.
John Cassian Institutes Book 2 ch 3 (360-435 ad)
For no one is allowed to preside over the assembly of the brethren, or even over himself, before he has not only deprived himself of all his property but has also learnt the fact that he is not his own maker and has no authority over his own actions. For one who renounces the world, whatever property or riches he may possess, must seek the common dwelling of a Coenobium, that he may not flatter himself in any way with what he has forsaken or what he has brought into the monastery.
Augustine On Christian Doctrine Book 3 ch 17 par 25 (354-430 ad)
Again, it often happens that a man who has attained, or thinks he has attained, to a higher grade of spiritual life, thinks that the commands given to those who are still in the lower grades are figurative; for example, if he has embraced a life of celibacy and made himself a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven's sake, he contends that the commands given in Scripture about loving and ruling a wife are not to be taken literally, but figuratively; and if he has determined to keep his virgin unmarried, he tries to put a figurative interpretation on the passage where it is said, "Marry thy daughter, and so shall thou have performed a weighty matter." Accordingly, another of our rules for understanding the Scriptures will be as follows,--to recognize that some commands are given to all in common, others to particular classes of persons, that the medicine may act not only upon the state of health as a whole, but also upon the special weakness of each member. For that which cannot be raised to a higher state must be cared for in its own state.
Gregory the Great Letters Book 4 letter 9 (540-604 ad)
But let the nuns themselves, rendering praises to God and confining themselves to their monasteries, no longer suggest any evil suspicion to the minds of the faithful.
Gregory the Great Letters Book 13 letter 9 (540-604 ad)
Accordingly, in accordance with the letters of our most Excellent royal children, Brunichild and her grandson Theoderic, to the monastery of Saint Mary, where there is constituted a congregation of handmaidens of God,
Constantinople/Trullo/Quinisext canon 41 (692 ad)
Those who in town or in villages wish to go away into cloisters, and take heed for themselves apart, before they enter a monastery and practise the anchorite's life,(1) should for the space of three years in the fear of God submit to the Superior of the house, and fulfil obedience in all things, as is right, thus shewing forth their choice of this life and that they embrace it willingly and with their whole hearts;

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