Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 681
John Cassian is ordained deacon in Constantinople and later a presbyter in Marseille. He founds two monasteries. He writes many works on matters important to monks. Account in the "Lives of Illustrious Men" by Gennadius of Marseille, writing in Marseille (Gaul), ca 490.
CASSIANUS, natione Scytha, Constantinopolim a Iohanne Magno episcopo diaconus ordinatus, apud Massiliam presbyter, condidit duo id est virorum et mulierum monasteria, quae usque hodie extant. Scripsit, experientia magistrante, librato sermone et, ut apertius dicam, sensu verba inveniens et actione linguam movens, res omnium monachorum professioni necessarias, id est: De habitu et De canonico orationum atque psalmorum modo qui in monasteriis Aegypti die noctu que tenetur, libros tres, Institutionum librum unum, De origine et qualitate ac remediis octo principalium vitiorum libros octo, singulos scilicet de singulis vitiis libros expediens; digessit etiam Conlationes cum patribus Aegyptiis habitas, hoc est: De destinatione monachi ac fine, De discretione, De tribus ad serviendum Deo vocationibus, De pugna carnis adversum spiritum et spiritus adversus carnem, De natura omnium vitiorum, De nece sanctorum, De mobilitate animae, De principalibus, De qualitate orationis, De iugitate orationis, De perfectione, De castitate, De protectione Dei, De scientia spiritali, De divinis charismatibus, De amicitia, De definiendo vel non definiendo, De tribus antiquis generibus monachorum et quarto nuper exorto, De fine coenobitae et heremitae, De satisfactione paenitentiae, De remissione Quinquagesimae, De nocturnis inlusionibus, De eo quod dicit apostolus: non enim quod volo, facio, bonum, sed quod nolo, malum, hoc ago, De mortificatione, et ad extremum, rogatus a Leone archidiacono postea urbis Romae episcopo, scripsit adversus Nestorem De incarnatione Domini libros septem, et in his scribendi apud Massiliam et vivendi finem fecit Theodosio et Valentiniano regnantibus.
(ed. E. Cushing Richardson 1896)
Cassianus, of Scythian origin, ordained deacon by bishop John the Great at Constantinople, and a presbyter at Marseille, founded two monasteries, that is one for men and one for women, which exist to this day. He wrote from experience, and in forcible language, or to speak more plainly, reaching to words by meaning, and agitating the language with action. He covered the whole range of matters essential to the monastic profession in the following works: On dress, also On the canon of prayers, and the Usage in the saying of Psalms, (for these in the Egyptian monasteries are said day and night), three books. One of Institutes, eight books On the origin, nature and remedies for the eight principal sins, a book on each sin. He also compiled Conferences with the Egyptian fathers, as follows: On the aim of a monk and his creed, On discretion, On three vocations to the service of God, On the warfare of the flesh against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, On the nature of all sins, On the slaughter of the saints, On fickleness of mind, On principalities, On the nature of prayer, On the duration of prayer, On perfection, On chastity, On the protection of God, On the knowledge of spiritual things, On the Divine graces, On friendship, On whether to define or not to define, On three ancient kinds of monks and a fourth recently arisen, On the object of cenobites and hermits, On true satisfaction in repentance, On the remission of the Pentecost fast, On nocturnal illusions, On the saying of the apostle, For the good which I would do, I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do, On mortification, and finally at the request of Leo the archdeacon, afterwards bishop of Rome, he wrote seven books against Nestorius – On the incarnation of the Lord, and writing this, made an end, both of writing and living, at Marseille, in the reign of Theodosius and Valentinianus.
(trans. by E. Cushing Richardson, changed by J. Szafranowski)


When Gennadius calls John Cassian a Scythian, he most probably means the province from which he originated, i.e. Scythia Minor, and not his ethnic background. Therefore, he was probably of Greek origin.

Place of event:

  • East
  • Gaul
  • Constantinople
  • Marseille

About the source:

Author: Gennadius of Marseille
Title: De viris illustribus, Lives of Illustrious Men, De viris inlustribus, On the lives of famous men On the Lives of Famous Men
Origin: Marseille (Gaul)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The "Lives of Illustrious Men" by Gennadius of Marseille is the continuation of Jerome`s work bearing the same title. It contains 99 additional additional entries on different famous ecclesiestatics. It was written in the end of 5th century. At one point Gennadius writes that the death of presbyter and monk Theodore (Theodulus) of Coelesyria  occured `three years ago, in the reign of Zeno` (died AD 491). Gennadius also knows that pope Gelasius died (AD 496) and Julianus Pomerius is considered alive (d. AD 498). Therefore, Gennadius composed majority of his work most probably in the first half of the 490s.
E. Cushing Richardson ed., Hieronymus liber De viris inlustribus; Gennadius liber De viris inlustribus, Leipzig 1896, 57-97.


Non-Latin Origin - Greek
Travel and change of residence
Former ecclesiastical career - Deacon
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Monastic or common life - Cenobitic monk
Monastic or common life - Monastic superior (abbot/prior)
Ecclesiastical administration - Construction/Renovation
Relation with - Monk/Nun
Writing activity
Non-Latin Origin - Scythian
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER681,