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Acoemetae

(Gr. = “the sleepless ones”). A monastic group, founded by the abbot Alexander in Constantinople, which flourished in the Eastern Church in the middle of the fifth century. Their name was derived from the fact that in their monasteries the members were divided into choirs which engaged alternately in psalm-singing without intermission, day and night, the whole year round. Alexander met with opposition and was forced to flee from Constantinople, but later the Studite monastery, founded in Constantinople by Studius, a Roman consul, became an influential center of the Acoemetae. Possibly through the influence of Studius, the group had some imitators in the Western Church, and in the sixth century they were established in the abbey of St. Maurice of Agaune in Valois, by King Sigismund of Burgundy. Theologically their main contribution was their strong defense of the orthodox faith against the Monophysites, but this laid them open to a charge of Nestorianism,* for which they were excommunicated by Pope John II in 534, after which their influence became negligible.

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