Writings of John Cassian (Upper Room Spiritual Classics Series)
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John Cassian, an important figure in the early history of monasticism, can be considered one of the principal architects of the western monastic system. He joined a monastery at Bethlehem but left soon after to study monasticism in Egypt. Eventually he found his way west, spending a short time in Rome and settling in Marseilles, where he founded two monasteries. He collected much of his knowledge of monasticism in his Institutes and Conferences. Benedict of Nursia used Cassian's work in his famous monastic Rule. Cassian's theological importance and legacy comes in his disagreement with the Augustinian views of grace and predestination. He maintained that "the first steps towards the Christian life were ordinarily taken by the human will and that Grace supervened only later." His views, traditionally described as semi-Pelagianist, received widespread support in the monasteries in the West.