The spiritual counsels of Mark, a fifth century monk in Asia Minor, are equally rich in theological insight and historical interest. The general level of interest in his works during the first half of the second millennium is eloquently reported in a fourteenth century manuscript, as a slogan often repeated by monastics and ascetics: “Sell everything and buy Mark.” His words on taking responsibility for one another out of love, his practical advice on the need for repentance, and his strident emphasis on the kind of unity evident in Christ directly relate to modern Christians and may provide a useful point of departure for ecumenical dialogue.
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 [...]
Macarius the Great (also referred to as Macarius of Egypt or Macarius the Egyptian) presided over a loosely knit scattering of ascetic monastic communities in the fourth century Egyptian desert. He enjoyed great respect during his lifetime and his fame was further spread after appearing in Palladius’ Lausiac History. This volume presents three ancient texts [...]
One of the most profound works on repentance in all of Christendom. St. Theophan, a beloved Orthodox bishop from nineteenth-century Russia, speaks not only from a deep knowledge of the Church Fathers, but also from a lifetime of experience in turning his heart to God-and guiding others on this glorious Way that leads to our [...]
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. [...]