Chariton the Confessor

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A Russian Orthodox icon of St. Chariton Saint Chariton.jpg
A Russian Orthodox icon of St. Chariton

Saint Chariton the Confessor (Greek: Αγιος Χαρίτων; mid-3rd century, Iconium, Asia Minor - ca. 350, Judaean desert) is a Christian saint. His remembrance day is September 28. [1]

Contents

Life

Sources

We know about his vita from the 6th-century "Life of Chariton", written by an anonymous monk, which holds elements supported by modern archaeological excavations. [2]

Hagiography Biography of a Christian saint

A hagiography is a biography of a saint or an ecclesiastical leader. The term hagiography may be used to refer to the biography of a saint or highly developed spiritual being in any of the world's spiritual traditions.

Early life

Chariton was a native of Iconium in the Byzantine province of Lycaonia. [3] Under the reign of Emperor Aurelian (270-275) he was tortured and came close to become a martyr during a persecution against Christians. [3] Released from prison after Aurelian's death, he regretted not having died as a martyr. [3]

Lycaonia

Lycaonia was a large region in the interior of Asia Minor, north of the Taurus Mountains. It was bounded on the east by Cappadocia, on the north by Galatia, on the west by Phrygia and Pisidia, while to the south it extended to the chain of Mount Taurus, where it bordered on the country popularly called in earlier times Cilicia and in the Byzantine period Isauria; but its boundaries varied greatly at different times. The name is not found in Herodotus, but Lycaonia is mentioned by Xenophon as traversed by Cyrus the Younger on his march through Asia. That author describes Iconium as the last city of Phrygia; and in Acts 14:6 Paul, after leaving Iconium, crossed the frontier and came to Lystra in Lycaonia. Ptolemy, on the other hand, includes Lycaonia as a part of the province of Cappadocia, with which it was associated by the Romans for administrative purposes; but the two countries are clearly distinguished both by Strabo and Xenophon and by authorities generally.

Pharan near Jerusalem

After his release in 275, during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and other holy places, Chariton was abducted by bandits and brought to a cave in the Wadi Qelt(Pharan Valley). [3] Tradition[ dubious ] states that his abductors died by drinking wine that was poisoned by a snake. [3] Chariton decided to remain a hermit in the cave after this miraculous death of his abductors. [3] There he built a church and established a monastery, [4] the first one of the lavra type. [5]

Wadi Qelt river in Palestinian territories

Wadi Qelt, in Hebrew Nahal Prat, formerly Naḥal Faran, is a valley, riverine gulch or stream in the West Bank, originating near Jerusalem and running into the Jordan River near Jericho, shortly before it flows into the Dead Sea.

Lavra Type of monastery consisting of a cluster of cells or caves

A lavra or laura is a type of monastery consisting of a cluster of cells or caves for hermits, with a church and sometimes a refectory at the center. It is erected within the Orthodox and other Eastern Christian traditions. The term is also used by some Roman Catholic communities. The term in Greek initially meant a narrow lane or an alley in a city.

Douka near Jericho

Later he moved to the Mount of Temptation near Jericho, where he established the lavra of Douka on the ruins of the Hasmonean and Herodian Dok Fortress. [5]

Mount of Temptation Hill in the Judean Desert

The Mount of Temptation is said to be the hill in the Judean Desert where Jesus was tempted by the devil. The exact location is unknown and impossible to determine. It is generally identified with Mount Quarantania, Arabic name: Jabal al-Qarantal, a mountain approximately 366 metres (1,201 ft) high, towering from the northwest over the town of Jericho in the West Bank. According to the public domain Catholic Encyclopedia (1907-1914), Quarantania is "a limestone peak on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho".

Jericho Municipality type A in State of Palestine

Jericho is a Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is located in the Jordan Valley, with the Jordan River to the east and Jerusalem to the west. It is the administrative seat of the Jericho Governorate, and is governed by the Palestinian National Authority. In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. The city was occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967, and has been held under Israeli occupation since 1967; administrative control was handed over to the Palestinian Authority in 1994. It is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and the city with the oldest known protective wall in the world. It was thought to have the oldest stone tower in the world as well, but excavations at Tell Qaramel in Syria have discovered stone towers that are even older.

Hasmonean dynasty Ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity

The Hasmonean dynasty was a ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE the dynasty ruled Judea semi-autonomously from the Seleucids. From 110 BCE, with the Seleucid Empire disintegrating, the dynasty became fully independent, expanded into the neighbouring regions of Samaria, Galilee, Iturea, Perea, and Idumea, and took the title "basileus". Some modern scholars refer to this period as an independent kingdom of Israel.

Souka (Old Lavra at Wadi Khureitun/Tekoa)

Remains of Souka, Palestine 120323 029a.jpg
Remains of Souka, Palestine

After that he moved on to establish a third monastery in Wadi Khureitun, named the Souka and later known as the Old Lavra. [5] [3]

Wadi Khureitun

Wadi Khureitun or Nahal Tekoa is a wadi in a deep ravine in the Judaean Desert in the West Bank, west of the Dead Sea, springing near Tekoa.

In all three locations his fame let Christians flock to learn from him, disturbing his solitude, which was the reason for him repeatedly moving on. [2] At Souka he eventually relocated to a cave on a cliff near the centre of the lavra, known as the "Hanging Cave of Chariton" and whose remains have been discovered by Israeli archaeologist Yizhar Hirschfeld. [2]

Legacy

The importance of Chariton lays mainly in the fact that he established by his own example the rules for monastic life in the Judaean desert, in the context of lavra-type monasteries. [2] [6] These rules became the main traits of monastic rule everywhere, based on asceticism and solitude: he lived in silence, only ate certain types of food and only after sundown, performed manual work, spent the night in an alternation of sleep and psalmody, prayed at fixed hours, stayed in his cell, and controlled his thoughts. [2]

According to tradition, he was the one to compile the "Office of the Monastic Tonsure". [3]

See also

Bibliography

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References

  1. Sunday, September 28, 2003 Archived July 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine , St. Katherine the Great-Martyr Orthodox Mission
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Alexander Ryrie (2011). The Desert Movement: Fresh Perspectives on the Spirituality of the Desert (1st ed.). Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd. pp. 78–81. ISBN   9781848250949 . Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Saint Chariton the Confessor". official website. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  4. Encyclopaedia Judaica, Thomson Gale (2007): Dok
  5. 1 2 3 Panayiotis Tzamalikos (2012). The Real Cassian Revisited: Monastic Life, Greek Paideia, and Origenism in the Sixth Century. Vigiliae Christianae, Supplements (Book 112). Brill. pp. 82–83. ISBN   9789004224407 . Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  6. Butler, Richard Urban. "Laura". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. Via www.newadvent.org. Accessed 2 Jul. 2019