Wpływy monastyczne w życiu rodzinnym w Galii w IV-VI wieku
Monastic influence on family life in the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries
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It is generally known that in the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries, monastic ideas influenced family life in the Roman Empire. This article relates especially to prayer before and after meals, and to reading during meals. We have information on this matter in the works by saint Jerome, Palladius and Theodoret of Cyr. Saint Basil wrote about prayer and about reading during meals. Saint Benedict wrote about spiritual readings but not during meals. According to authors such as Sidonius Apollinaris and Hilary of Arles, the tradition of readings during meals was also practiced in families. The purpose of listening to spiritual reading during meal was to nourish at the same time body and soul. Listening to a reading in the monastic refectory was a way of avoiding conversations among monks. As far as we know, the tradition of reading during meals was practiced in monasteries; however, it seems that there were not many families following this tradition at home. After the fall of the Roman Empire, monasteries kept this tradition, because there were monks who were able to read out loud in Latin; and in monasteries there were books on spiritual matters. Lay people, in spite of their attachment to the Christian faith, could not continue reading during meals because the number of people having the ability to read was progressively diminishing; and books were more expensive and more difficult to find. In our times, reading during meals is still practiced in monastic communities, but not in families; many Christian families still pray before meals.
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