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Chapter I.

Our arrival at Abbot Serapion’s cell, and inquiry on the different kinds of faults and the way to overcome them.

In that assembly of Ancients and Elders was a man named Serapion,13121312    Serapion when young was a pupil of Theonas, and an anecdote of his youthful indulgence in good things in secret has been already told in II. c. xi. Another story of him is given in XVIII. xi. One of this name is mentioned by Palladius in the Lausiac History, c. lxxvi., and by Rufinus in the History of the Monks, c. xviii., where we are told that he lived at Arsinöe, and that he had ten thousand monks subject to his rule; a number which Sozomen also gives (H.E. VI. xxviii.). It is however, doubtful whether this Serapion of Arsinöe is the person whose Conference Cassian here gives. Gazet identifies, Tillemont distinguishes the two. Jerome, it should be noticed, speaks in Ep. cviii. (Epitaphium Paulæ) as if there was not only one of this name famous among the monks of Egypt at that time. especially endowed with the grace of discretion, whose Conference I think it is worth while to set down in writing. For when we entreated him to discourse of the way to overcome our faults, so that their origin and cause might be made clearer to us, he thus began.

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