Origins of Christian Monasticism


This is my first post. Are there any knowledgeable Catholics who can refute this?

Thanks in advance and God Bless.

Refute what? The rantings of lunatics?

Five minutes with an actual history book will refute most of this junk.

This is literally pages and pages of nonsense. Is there something specific you want to talk about?

I don’t take what the links say at face-value to be honest. But I’ll see if anything bothers me.

For example, what of this statement?

“It is well known that the Carmelite monks claim Elijah, the prophet, as their founder. Among the ancient personages whom they assert belonged to their order, they enumerate Pythagoras, the Gallic Druids, all the prophets and holy men mentioned in the Old and New Testament, the Apostles, the Essenes, and the ancient hermits. Although amid the wrangling of the monastic orders for preeminence, this claim has rigorously been contested, yet Pope Benedict III. allowed the Carmelites to erect in the Vatican the statue of Elijah as the founder of their order. This permission, so far as the concession of the infallible father is authority, places the antiquity of the monachal order remotely beyond that of Christianity; acknowledges its institution to have originated from Judaism; and grants that its rules and principles were adopted by ancient Pagan fraternities.”

What about it?

Go to the Carmelite website and look at their link on the history of their order.

Not true. They founded their order in the place where Elijah spent time. And they have a spirituality rooted in Elijah. This prophet of the Old Testament is the model for their order. They make no claim that Elijah founded it. They clearly state their order began in the 12th century.

The Carmelites claim none of these things.

Well, first it was Benedict XIII. And, the Caremelites don’t actually know who founded their order, because it was various pilgrims and hermits who came together on Mt Carmel over a period of time. The first hundred years or so are sort of vague and there aren’t any records. So, they take Elijah as their patron. Because they don’t know who “founded” the order in the same way other orders have a specific person at a specific date, they instead have a statue of Elijah.

So what?

That’s just silly.

This seems a rather odd thing to be so concerned about. Why does this concern you so?

Not too concerning, it was just a bit of a nuisance, and I thought I’d get it out of the way. Thanks for the responses. I’ll see if anything else actually bothers me, because I kinda just skim through this kind of material to be honest.

The articles appear to argue that monasticism comes from paganism. However, that is inaccurate. There is monasticism in the Bible, and early Catholic monks and nuns were simply imitating what some of the prophets in the Bible did, especially St. John the Baptist and Elijah.

It would take a lot of time to refute the articles word by word. One alternative is to look at some of the Real origins of monasticism. Consider this article:

Monastic Communities, Religious Orders and Monks and Nuns of the Early Church

I hope that helps. Please let me know. God bless!

You don’t have to refute it word by word, just whatever you feel needs to be addressed and whatever you think may seriously scandalise the faithful.

I will look at your link.

@dmar198 Your link lists examples pre Paul of Thebes; nice! I think that’s exactly what I need, anyone got any recommendations on monks & hermits of the Pre Nicene Church?

Seems to come from ultra-Evangelicals? They need to realize, uh… history. The next thing you know, they’ll say a Protestant made the Edict of Milan!

For the first link, I was looking through PDF books on Scribd and came across a book that seemed interesting to me, only realise it was Anti Catholic when I read the name of a chapter on the contents page; the one in the first link.

I don’t remember how I came across the second link, but it was over a year ago when I was still a Muslim. I only wanted to post the first link on this thread, but the second one sprang to mind even though I hadn’t looked at it in years.

St. Benedict played a huge role in Western Monaticism.

:mad: I don’t like these sites, they have to lie about Carmelites in order to argue against them

next thing they’ll associate them as gluttons for naming their order in love of caramel candies


Well, sometimes you need to be careful in some cases. I’ve seen that they’ve flat-out made stuff up to slander Catholicism! :frowning:

Also, since you were a Muslim, welcome to the Body of Christ! :smiley:

Anyone got reccommendations for a scholarly & balanced history on hermits?

It seems to be from a reliable website ( and it does not have any anti-Christian overtones of any sort that I have seen. It is not all that extensive. [RESOURCE]

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