The late monk the very Rev Father Mettaous el Souriany was a great pillar of monasticism, both or the Sourian Monastery and across the monastic life in general. He came to the monastery at a young age of 22, and lived in the monastery for 60 years in moderate asceticism and true spirit of worship. He lived in a humble cell in the monastery, and when the opportunity arose, he built his own cell close to the eastern wall of the monastery’s garden in the early 1960’s and continued to live there until his departure. His spiritual exercises were very moderate, as he always said: “The middle pathway has delivered many people without many struggles.” He cared deeply about the depth of spiritual virtues, and was not concerned with extreme fetes of asceticism. This book contains stories from his life and some of his sayings, praying that it will be a source of blessing to everyone who reads it.
The fourth-century ascetic flight to the desert indelibly marked Christianity. The faithful who did not embrace the austerity of the desert admired those who did and sought them out for counsel and consolation. The ‘words’ the monks gave were collected and passed around among those too far away or too feeble to make the trek [...]
The Life of John the Little by Zacharias of Sakha Saint John the Little was a monk and hegumen of Scetis (Wadi Natrun) during the first great period of early Egyptian monasticism. The Apophthegmata preserve some fifty sayings by or about him (see CS 59, 85 ’96). In addition, Zacharias, eighth-century Bishop of Sakha, wrote [...]
Though steeped in the ancient patristic and ascetic tradition, Theophan the Recluse was down-to-earth and very real, making profound, mystical realities understood by those he counseled. St. Theophan had the exceptional gift of being able to encourage all, no matter where they were on the spiritual path, to go further in their fight against the [...]
By H.G. Bishop Youssef
“The orientation of the monk is towards heaven, towards the life of another world. For this reason they are referred to as ‘earthly angels’; for while dwelling on earth they live as true citizens of heaven. To visit them is to visit the earthly paradise.” – The Sayings of the Desert Fathers “Angels are a [...]
Youssef Habib was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1909. He was fluent in the Coptic Language and dedicated the latter part of his life as a consecrated servant devoting his life, time, and efforts to the study and writing of saints’ biographies. Searching through various manuscripts in the monasteries, he discovered many unknown saints and [...]
As we, Christians of the twenty first century, study the Fathers of the Church, their writings (often in an unreadable English produced by clumsy translators) appear to us as foreboding, verbose, and somewhat closed within a world where theological contemplation replaces everyday reality. The Greek Fathers in particular have this reputation among students because they [...]