A hermit ( ancient Greek ἐρημίτης eremítēs "desert inhabitants", German also " hermit "; from ἔρημος érēmos "uninhabited, desert ") is a person who lives more or less isolated from people (see hermitage or hermitage ).
Concept and history
Originally, the term was only applied to Christians who had spiritual motives for turning to this way of life, namely the desert theology of the Old Testament , that is, the forty years of wandering in the desert after leaving Egypt , which was supposed to bring about a change of heart.
In part, the term is applied uncritically to everyone who lives in solitude. In the spiritual context it is sometimes used as synonymous with anachoret (from ancient Greek ἀναχωρεῖν anachōreín , "to withdraw, to move into the country (outside the fortified city)"), although a clear distinction is required.
Hermits in Christianity
In the early church a distinction was made between hermits who lived alone (anchorites) and those who lived together. Religious communities , monasteries or localities often emerged from their hermitages .
Hermitism is one of the oldest forms of consecrated life and is also the earliest form of monasticism in Europe. In the rule of St. Benedict (6th century) the hermit is listed as one of the four types of monks .
Legends about hermits or monks who lived secluded from the world contain historically accurate backgrounds. An Egyptian monk named Apa Bane was described in his biography as always fasting, standing and not sleeping. The mummy found in his monastery church had ankylosing spondylitis disease , a disease that not only causes stooped walking, as today's icons still show, but also leads to loss of appetite, avoidance of lying down and insomnia - in principle, it is one "Scientifically proven ascetics", according to the coptologist Siegfried G. Richter .
Among the saints are some hermits, including St. Bruno (the founder of the Carthusian Order ), Celestine , Meinrad and Gunther von Niederaltaich . St. Francis linked the hermitic life with the traveling sermon and the apostolate among the people ("Silence and City"). The Capuchins are an independent branch of the Franciscan Order with a moderate hermit character .
Hermits in the lands of the Habsburg monarchy (18th century)
In the countries of the Habsburg Monarchy, the contemplative orders and hermitages were abolished under Emperor Joseph II around 1780–1790, although the rural population adhered to the hermits and tried to defend them unsuccessfully. Many hermits therefore fled to Switzerland.
Ornamental Hermits in England (18th / 19th Century)
A phenomenon of the 18th and early 19th centuries were the decorative hermits in the English landscape parks , professional hermits who lived in specially arranged hermitages for a contractually agreed period and who showed up at certain times of the day to present the park owners and their guests with their sight to entertain.
In Hinduism , hermit represents the third of four stages of life. After Brahmacharya (youth) and Grihastha (adult life) comes Vanaprastha . Once the first two phases have been completed, the Hindu retires to shelter in the wilderness. He feeds on the fruits he finds there and studies the scriptures. He now calls himself forest hermit , is no longer part of the social community and its duties, and delves into his spiritual experience. This is followed by the fourth phase: Sannyasin (wandering basket).
In the Roman Catholic Church , hermitism is one of the forms of consecrated life recognized by the Church . After the Second Vatican Council and the resulting revision of canon law , the church incorporated the form of the hermit, who is subordinate to the local bishop , into canon law (Canon 603 of the CIC ):
- § 1: In addition to the Institutes of Consecrated Life, the Church also recognizes the hermit or anachoretic life in which believers live their lives in praise of God and the salvation of the world through stricter separation from the world, in the quiet of solitude, through constant prayer and penance consecrate.
- § 2: The hermit is recognized by law as given to God in the consecrated life if, confirmed by a vow or by another sacred bond, he has publicly committed himself to the three evangelical counsels in the hands of the diocesan bishop and under his direction those of him preserves peculiar way of life.
These hermits are known as diocesan hermits . There are also hermits who are members of a religious order and whose maintenance is borne by the religious order. The total number of hermits in Germany is estimated at 70 to 80 people.
- Angelus de Scarpettis (monk, priest ; * 1230; † 1306; from 1245)
- Anthony the Great (saint, hermit, monk father ; * around 250; † 356; from 275)
- Benedict of Nursia (hermit, founder of an order , abbot; * 480; † 547; from 497 or 498)
- Benedikt der Mohr (saint, mountain farmer , cattle herder , monk, novice master , guardian ; * 1526, † 1589; from 1547)
- Bruno of Cologne (saint, novice master, founder of an order; * 1030, † 1101, from 1084)
- Chariton the Confessor (saint, ascetic , hermit, abbot ; *?; † 350; from around 330)
- Celestine V (Pope) (saint, pope , monk; * 1215; † 1296; 1235–1294, with interruptions)
- Corrado Confalonieri (saint, miracle worker ; * around 1290; † 1351; towards the end of life)
- David of Thessaloniki (hermit, columnist , * around 450; † before 535; from around 500)
- Edigna von Puch ( blessed , hermit; * around 1055; † 1109; from 1074)
- Euagrios Pontikos (monk, ascetic, writer ; * 345; † 399;?)
- Eva von Lüttich (blessed, reclusine , mystic; * 1190; † 1265;?)
- Francis of Assisi (saint, founder of the order; * 1181; † 1226; 1207–1209)
- Franz von Paola (saint, founder of the order; * 1416; † 1508; from 1431 or 1432)
- Gallus (saint, monastery founder, hermit, preacher, missionary; * around 550; † around 650; from 612 until the end of life)
- Guthlac (saint, monk, hermit, priest; * 673; † 714; from 699)
- Hilarion of Gaza (saint, hermit, abbot; * 290 or 291, † 371 or 372; from 306 for more than two decades)
- Jerome of Bergamo (saint, nobleman , founder of an order; * 1486; † 1537; last years of life)
- Ida von Toggenburg ( Count's daughter , Inclusive , hermit; * 1156, † 1226; from 1191)
- Johannes Cassianus (saint, monk father, priest, monastery founder, deacon ; * about 360; † about 435; about 385–399)
- John the Baptist (saint, penitential preacher , desert basket; * around 5 BC; † between 29 and 36; in adulthood)
- Juliana von Lüttich (saint, canon ; * 1192; † 1258; after 1248)
- Juliana of Norwich (blessed, mystic ; * 1342; † after 1413; from 1388)
- Korbinian (saint, founder of a monastery, missionary bishop , missionary , hermit; * 670 or around 680; † 724 or 730; for 14 years, up to around 710)
- Landelin von Ettenheimmünster (saint, prince, hermit, monk; *?; 640; until the end of life)
- Lykow family ( Soviet hermit family; * 1944: daughter Agafja,?; † 1961: mother Akulina, 1988: father Karp, 1961–1988: two sons, one daughter - daughter Agafja still alive (newspaper article 2018); after the February revolution )
- Mary of Egypt (saint, desert mother, hermit, prostitute ; 344; † 421; from about 373)
- Meinrad von Einsiedeln (saint, count, hermit, monk; * 797; † 861; from 821)
- Niklaus von Flüe (saint, mystic, hermit, peacemaker ; * 1417; † 1487; from 1467)
- Notburga von Hochhausen (king's daughter; * / † 7th century ; early adulthood until the end of life)
- Onophrios the Great (saint, anchorite ; * 320; † around 400; 70 years to end of life)
- Paul of Thebes (saint, hermit; * 228; † around 341; 90 years to end of life)
- Rosa Flesch (Selige, founder of the order; * 1826; † 1906; 1851 until 1861 at the latest)
- Sara the Hermit (saint, hermit; * 4th century ; † 4th or 5th century; at a young age, for 60 years)
- Sergius von Radonezh (saint, monastery founder, abbot, miracle worker; * 1314, † 1392; 1340 at the earliest, until 1354)
- Simeon von Trier (saint, inclusion, deacon, monk, hermit; *?; † 1035; from 1030 at the earliest, until the end of life)
- Symeon Stylites the Elder (pillar, incluse, monk, hermit; * 390; † 459; from 429 or 430 to the end of life)
- Theophan Goworow (saint, star , priest monk, bachelor's degree in moral and pastoral theology , writer, archimandrite , head , rector , bishop , translator ; * 1815, † 1894; from 1873)
- Thomas Merton ( Trappist monk , mystic, writer, peace activist ; * 1915, † 1968; last years of life)
- Ursicinus (saint, nobleman, miracle worker; * 552, † 620; from 615)
- Gunther von Niederaltaich (saint, nobleman; monk, head of the monastic community in Rinchnach ; * 955; † 1045; from 1008)
- Timon of Athens ( philosopher , misanthropist ; * 5th century BC ; †?;?)
- Wolfgang von Regensburg (saint, nobleman, monk, bishop, missionary, preacher ; * 924; † 994; 976–983)
in brackets: characteristic; Year of birth; Year of death and period of hermit
- Bethlehem Sisters (Monastic religious family of Bethlehem, the Assumption of Mary and St. Bruno)
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