Gangra, Council Of


A fourth-century council that opposed extreme asceticism. The traditional date is about 340, although the ecclesiastical historian Socrates Scholasticus (1864, 2.43) indicates about 360, under the presidency of Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia. The fourteen bishops present condemned the views and practices of Eustathius, bishop of Sebaste in Armenia, and his followers, which tended to be extremely rigorous and ascetic.

They included contempt for marriage, holding that no married person “had hope with God”; refusal to eat animal flesh; refusal to in the houses of married people; rejection of church worship in favor of worship in private conventicles; belief that the rich could not be saved; and encouragement of slaves to desert their duties on the pretext of taking up an ascetic life.

Though the canons of the council had no direct bearing on Egyptian monasticism, they show the increasing distrust among many clergy of the monastic movement and especially the cenobitic form that was developing then in Egypt under the influence of Saint and Saint AMUN.

  • Hefele, C. J., and H. Leclercq. Histoire des conciles d’après les documents originaux, Vol. 1, 2, pp. 1029-45. Paris, 1907.