24 Facts About John Cassian


John Cassian was born around 360, most likely in the region of Scythia Minor, although some scholars assume a Gallic origin.


John Cassian noted that the majority of the monks received the message of their patriarch "with bitterness", and charged Theophilus with heresy for impugning the plain teaching of scripture.


John Cassian was ordained a deacon and became a member of the clergy attached to the patriarch while the struggles with the imperial family ensued.


John Cassian's foundation, the Abbey of St Victor, was a complex of monasteries for both men and women, one of the first such institutes in the West, and served as a model for later monastic development.


Since Benedict's rule is still followed by Benedictine, Cistercian, and Trappist monks, John Cassian's thought still exercises influence over the spiritual lives of thousands of men and women in the Latin Church.


John Cassian came very late into writing and did so only when a request was made by one or more important persons.


John Cassian's sources were the same as those of Evagrius Ponticus, but he added his own ideas, which were arranged in extensive collections.


Around 420, at the request of Bishop Castor of Apt in Gallia Narbonensis, John Cassian wrote two major spiritual works, the De institutis coenobiorum and the Conlationes or Collationes patrum in scetica eremo.


John Cassian's books were written in Latin, in a simple, direct style.


John Cassian, who insists on manual work, had a higher opinion of and close ties with the monastery on the Island of Lerins, founded by Honoratus.


Willful monks are a contentious problem, and John Cassian paid considerable attention to analyzing the will, treating the corrupt will, and chiefly subordinating even the good will for the good of the community and ultimately, the will of God.


The Conferences, dedicated to Pope Leo, to the bishop of Frejus, and to the monk Helladius, summarize important conversations that John Cassian had with elders from the monastery at Scetis about principles of the spiritual and ascetic life.


John Cassian finds the will to be insufficient for spiritual progress, and traces this back to the initial sin of pride.


In regards to demons, John Cassian noted that the earliest coenobites would ensure one monk was reciting a prayer, psalmody, or reading at all times, due to their belief that demons were especially prevalent at night.


John Cassian's third book, On the Incarnation of the Lord, was a defense of orthodox doctrine against the views of Nestorius, and was written at the request of the Archdeacon of Rome, later Pope Leo I In this book Cassian points out a link between Nestorianism which stresses the humanity of Jesus and Pelagianism which stresses human effort.


John Cassian's thought is not Semi-Pelagian, nor do readers who submit to the whole corpus emerge Semi-Pelagians.


John Cassian can serve as an authentic witness that our salvation is given to us only by God's mercy and grace.


The spiritual traditions of John Cassian had an immeasurable effect on Western Europe.


John Cassian influenced John Climacus and John of Damascus, as well as Saint Dominic, Francis de Sales, and John Henry Newman.


John Cassian's teaching on overcoming the eight evil tendencies were the inspiration behind the way the Irish monks practised asceticism, as shown in the Irish Penitentials.


John Cassian's works are excerpted in the Philokalia, the Eastern Orthodox compendium on mystical Christian prayer.


Michel Foucault was fascinated by the rigorous way John Cassian defined and struggled against the "flesh".


In 2022, John Cassian was officially added to the Episcopal Church liturgical calendar with a feast day on 23 July.


John Cassian's relics are kept in an underground chapel in the Monastery of Saint Victor in Marseilles.