others went to the plains around Gaza, the Judaean desert, or the Jordan valley. The tradition they brought with them, codified in the stories and sayings of the Apophthegmata patrum, made a strong impact and several of the monks from Egypt became leading figures in Palestine, like Abba Isaiah and Abba Zeno, who were to have a prominent role in the growth of the important monastic establishments in the Gaza region.39

In the Judaean desert, monasticism grew rapidly in the first decades of the fifth century. A major figure was Euthymius, a young monk from Armenia, who settled as a hermit in the desert close to Jerusalem in 404. Soon other monks (amongthem, Theoctistus) joined him and groups of cells soonbecame more or less coenobitic monasteries. Here a tradition emerged, which was later followed by John Saba,40 according to which young novices were first schooled into monasticism in strictly coenobitic houses and later allowed to move to the semi-anchoritic monasteries, which were called laura in Palestine. The origin of the word is unknown, but it probably signifies a lane or kind of market, since it is used of clusters of cells along a ridge centred on a common church. Here contact with other monks was less frequent than in the coenobium during the daily routine of individual life. The proximity to the holy places and the international character of these desert establishments resulted in very lively communications and strong bonds to the ecclesiastical and political centres in Palestine and abroad. This can be seen not least in the deep involvement of several monks in the conflicts around the Councils of Ephesus in 431 and 449 and Chalcedon in 451.

For monasticism in Palestine, the Council of Chalcedon in 451 was a watershed. The rich Egyptian connections (especially in the region of Gaza), as well as opposition to developments in theology and cult, which were regarded as threats to the original and pure tradition, resulted in a vigorous hostility to the very idea of a council, supported by imperial force, deposing the patriarch of Alexandria and introducing new rules and new definitions of faith. The patriarch of Jerusalem, Juvenalis, who had promised to defend the tradition, was seen as a traitor and prevented from returning to his see. Instead a monk named Theodosius was elected as new patriarch. When imperial power was restored a year later the monasteries in and around Jerusalem gradually decided to accept Chalcedon and Juvenalis. A significant role was played in this by the empress Eudokia, the estranged wife of Theodosius II, who had settled in a tower in the wilderness east of Jerusalem in the 440s. But monasteries further away and in

39 See Samuel Rubenson, 'The Egyptian relations of early Palestinian monasticism'.

40 Cyril of Scythopolis, Life of Sabas 7.

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