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ARSENIUS (c. 354-450), an anchorite, said to have been born
of a noble Roman family, who achieved a high reputation for his
knowledge of Greek and Roman literature. He was appointed
by Theodosius the Great, tutor of the young princes Arcadius
and Honorius, but at the age of forty he retired to Egypt, where
for forty years he lived in monastic seclusion at Scetis in the
Thebais, under the spiritual guidance of St John the Dwarf.
He is said to have gained the admiration of his fellows by the
extreme rigour of his asceticism. The remainder of his life he
spent at Canopus, and TroŽ near Memphis, where he died at the
age of ninety-five. Of his writings two collections of admonitory
maxims are extant: the first, Διδασκαλία καὶ παραίνεσις,
containing instructions for monks, is published with a Latin version
by Fr. Combefis in Auctarium biblioth. patr. novissim. (Paris,
1672), pp. 301 f.; the second is a collection of forty-four wise
sayings put together by his friends under the title of Ἀποφθέγματα
(see Cotelerius, Eccl. graec. monum., 1677, i. pp. 353-372). In
the Roman Catholic Church his festival is on the 19th of July,
in the Orthodox Eastern Church on the 8th of May. His
biography by Simeon Metaphrastes is largely fiction.
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