In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

Front Cover
World Wisdom, 2003 - Religion - 163 pages
The words of spiritual counsel which form the heart of this book are as clear and timeless as the desert stars on a winter night. Not only do the sayings of the Desert Fathers possess the imprint of eternity,but the fresh and vital commentary by Father John Chryssavgis provides a key which unlocks their relevance for the reader of today.

The actual Egyptian desert to which these monks fled in the fourth and fifth centuries was, of course, an actual place. But, the desert may also be understood as an inner geography of desolation and abandonment. Father John tells us that anyone who has experienced loneliness, brokenness, breakdown, or break-up--whether emotionally, physically, or socially--will connect with the profound humanity of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. Various traditions from world religions teach that God enters into the empty soul. The universal and perennial message of these first Christian monks concerns the necessity of emptiness; they show us, by their examples, how to confront the chaotic impulses of the soul which drive us away from that still point where God is waiting.

In the Heart of the Desert portrays several of the key figures in early Christian monasticism including one of the Desert Mothers, Amma Syncletica. It also includes the first translation into English of the fifth-century text, The Reflections of Abba Zosimas. In a sense, this is not a book of the past, of the fourth or fifth centuries. It may be described as a book of the age to come, or of a new age. It speaks to our present age of an experience of a new life, of a fullness and renewal of life.

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User Review  - empress8411 - LibraryThing

I purchased this thinking it was an exploration of the theology and practices of the desert Fathers and Mothers. It wasn't quite that. It was less hardcore theology and practices and more a fluffy ... Read full review

In the Heart of the Desert: Revised Edition: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers (Treasures of the World's Religions)

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The latest in a decadeslong rehabilitation of the hermits who went to the deserts of Egypt in the third and fourth centuries C.E. not for self-discovery but to make a strenuous private journey toward ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

The Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, an ordained deacon of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, studied at the Universities of Athens and Oxford. He has held university posts in Sydney and Boston, lecturing internationally on Orthodox theology and spirituality, and he currently serves as theological advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch on environmental issues. His most recent publications include "Soul Mending: The Art of Spiritual Direction" and "In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers". He lives in Maine.

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