This two-volume collection contains both an introduction to the Christian practice of monastic asceticism and a biographical survey of a number of the most famous and important of the desert fathers of the Orthodox Christian tradition. The introductory essays discuss the differences between Christianity and other world religions, the advent of Christian worship and its form in the earliest centuries of the Church, the observation of fasts and feast days, the historical context of Eastern Christendom in the period of the desert fathers, and a brief introduction to the life and practices of monastics. The great fathers of the desert are all covered in detail, beginning with Paul of Thebes and Anthony the Great, moving all the way through the sixth and seventh centuries and covering great fathers like John Climacus, author of the pivotal Ladder of Divine Ascent.
With the Logos edition, all Scripture references are tagged and appear in your favorite translation on mouseover. Both volumes are completely searchable, so you can trace the connections between various themes, events, and historical figures related to the desert fathers like never before. You can also cross-reference related texts at the touch of a button, and all your dictionaries and other reference tools are just a click away.
“They spent their days in holy contemplation, severe penance, and complete mortification, diligent in labour and fervent in prayer, in joyful remembrance of the Lord’s promise that he would recompense an hundredfold those who for His sake should forsake their families or possessions; and that, instead of a dream of happiness and a transitory love, they should receive happiness and love a hundredfold.” (Pages 91–92)
“It was for this the Holy Ghost had moulded Antony. For this He had impressed the Holy Scriptures so deeply on his memory, that they were now become as it were his own interior.” (Page 105)
“Their great work, that by which they have an influence upon us at this day, was the foundation of mystical theology,” (Page v)
“dawn should find the faithful in church, and that after their work, in the evening they should repair thither” (Page v)
“St. Athanasius, who probably knew St. Antony and by St. Jerome” (Page ii)
Ida von Hahn-Hahn (1805–1880) was a German Countess and author, writing a number of novels as well as religious works. She eventually converted to Catholicism later in life, and would retire to a convent before her death.
John Bernard Dalgairns (1818–1876) was an English scholar and follower of the Oxford movement within the Church of England in the nineteenth century. He was a close companion of John Henry Newman and eventually joined the Roman Catholic Church as a priest. He wrote several historical works, especially as related to the lives of the saints in England, and also had a strong grasp of Medieval history.