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The World of the Desert Fathers: Stories and Sayings from the Anonymous Series of the Apophthegmata Patrum

Author: The Desert Fathers

Translator: Columba Stewart OSB

The Desert Fathers were Christian hermits, ascetics and monastics who, from about the third century onwards, abandoned the cities of the pagan world to live a life of solitude in the Egyptian desert. In time, they developed a reputation for holiness and wisdom, and had a major influence on the development of Christian spirituality. Many became important figures in the Church and in society. Some embraced a way of life which offered aspects of community living. The desert was a school of self-discipline and resistance to temptation, in order to follow God’s call in a more concentrated way. The Desert Fathers emphasized meditation, the essential place of Scripture, the primacy of love, and the search for God leading through purgation to the purity of heart needed for the vision of God.

Columba Stewart OSB is Professor of Theology at St John’s University, Collegeville and a monk of St John’s Abbey. He has published a number of books, and his particular interests include monastic history and Christian mysticism.

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These stories and sayings of the Desert Fathers, in a translation by Columba Stewart, give insights into a tradition where words have a resonance beyond their surface meaning. They are intended to lead the reader further along the way of Christ. Columba Stewart provides an introduction to each section to help us understand the world of the early monks.


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46 pages

140 x 210 mm

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