The narrow stretch of desert between the Jordan Valley and the hill country of Judea drew great biblical prophets ‘Elijah and John the Baptist ‘and unforgettable christian ascetics. Our best source of information on this movement from AD 400-600 comes from Cyril’s pen.
As word of the wisdom and purity of the Desert Fathers and Mothers spread throughout the Roman Empire, Christians streamed to the caves of these hermits, seeking counsel on the interior life. The hermits’ ascetic practices and teachings were a shining witness to a living faith – offering wisdom for both monastic and lay Christians. [...]
The desert stood in stark opposition to the oikoumene, the inhabited world of the fourth century. Not because the world was a bad place, but because the desert —understood geographically, religiously, spiritually, and mystically — was the harsh, uncomprising place where the Christian could be perfected by God. Far from the Christian metropolis of Alexandria, [...]
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 [...]