|Father of Monasticism in Mesopotamia|
Armenian Apostolic Church|
Assyrian Church of the East
Coptic Orthodox Church
Syriac Orthodox Church
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Mar Awgin (died 363 AD), also known as Awgin of Clysma or Saint Eugenios, [Armenian Մարուգէ] founded the first cenobitic monastery of Asia and is regarded as the founder of monasticism in Mesopotamia.
Originally, Saint Eugenios was a pearl-fisher from the island Clysma or Kolzum near Suez in Egypt. After having worked for 25 years, he joined the monastery of Pachomius in Upper Egypt, where he worked as a baker. He is reported to have possessed spiritual gifts and worked miracles, and draw some following from among the monks.
The location was well chosen, for Nisibis lay on the eastern edge of the Roman Empire, which had just embraced Christianity as the official religion. The rest of Mesopotamia was under Sassanid rule, which tried to revive the Zoroastrian religion and occasionally persecuted the Christian population.
A crisis occurred during the 6th century: to please the Zoroastrian rulers, the Assyrian Church decided all monks and nuns should marry. Many subsequently transferred into the Miaphysite Church that followed West Syriac Rite, and spiritual life declined in the Assyrian Church as a result. But the reforms were soon reverted. Abraham the Great of Kashkar founded a new monastery on Mt. Izla, and he and his successor Babai the Great revived the strict monastic movement. Married monks were driven out, the teaching of the church was set on a firm orthodox basis, and Assyrian monasticism flourished for another thousand years.
- Abraham the Great of Kashkar (father of the Assyrian monastic revival in the 6th century)
- The Oxford History Of Christian Worship states that Mar Awgin died in A.D. 370. However based on the Syriac text, according to the Historia Monastica of Thomas Bishop of Marga (A.D. 840), it states that Mar Awgin died on the 21st of Nisan in A.D. 363, as an old man (while noting that there is some doubt about the accuracy of this date).
- Geoffrey Wainwright. The Oxford History Of Christian Worship. Oxford University Press, 2006. p.165.
- Thomas Bishop of Marga A.D. 840. The Book of Governors. Transl. E.A. Wallis Budge. Vol. I. London, 1893. p. cxxxi.
- Thomas Bishop of Marga A.D. 840. The Book of Governors. Transl. E.A. Wallis Budge. Vol. II. London, 1893. p.694.