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any cohabitation of female and male ascetics,16 and the increased control of monastic practice by the bishops, the monastic households disappear in the fifth century. Many of them were undoubtedly transformed into separate monasteries for men and for women and opened up to non-members of the original family and its dependants.

• Itinerant monks without any habitation of their own; this group corresponds to the remnuoth or sarabaites, mentioned above. Quite probably the first use of the term monachos in the Gospel of Thomas refers to ascetics of this kind and it is not impossible that Jerome is correct when stating that, outside Egypt, this kind of monk is the most common. The evidence we have for itinerant monks in the fourth and fifth centuries mainly comes from Syria and Asia Minor. In the fourth century these celibate itinerant ascetics seem to have increasingly come in conflict with the established local churches and the bishops, over the questions of who had the right to preach and who had the right to material support from the Christian community. The independence of these monks from local clergy and liturgical life and from social ties, combined with their preaching of radical asceticism, made them the target of denunciations by local councils in the fourth and fifth centuries. Despite the attempts to eliminate this form of monasticism, it survived into the seventh century.17

• Recluses or hermits, physically isolated in cells within or outside a monastery; examples are found in both urban and rural settings. In some cases there seems to be a direct relation to the tradition of itinerant preaching, where the life as recluse follows upon a life of wandering; in other cases the background seems to be more in the tradition of the perfect philosophical life. However, many of the sources on recluses, especially on female recluses, depict the life of a recluse as a life of penitence. A major theme in the description of recluses is the emphasis on the need to flee from popularity earned either by preaching or by miracles. This does not mean that the hermit does not continue to teach, as we see from the examples of John of Lycopolis in the fourth century and Varsanuphios the Elder in the sixth. The latter, like several other recluses, lived in the middle of a monastery, but refused to speak with anyone except a trusted disciple. A different type of hermit, not

16 Canons against cohabitation of male and female ascetics begin with the canons of Elvira (306), Ancyra (315) and Nicaea (325) and the theme is a prominent feature in fourth-century literature on asceticism; for further references and discussion, see Elm, 'Virgins of God", 47-51.

17 The sources are gathered and discussed in Caner, Wandering, begging monks, 50-82 and 104-16.

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