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Light on the Ancient Worlds: A Brief Survey of the Book by Frithjof Schuon
Exploring "Timeless in Time" - a biography of Sri Ramana Maharshi
Treasures of the World's Religions
Insights into the early Christian Desert Fathers and Mothers
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  What can we learn from the Desert Fathers & Mothers? Back to the List of Slideshows
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Christian monasticism developed during a period of major transition in the Church. Although Christians had been martyred in the past for their beliefs, it became popular to join the Church after Christianity was declared the formal religion of the Roman Empire. Attendance at services increased, but the sincerity of commitment in the practice of the faith began to wane. It was during this time that St. Antony of Egypt sought out the desert to escape the distractions of the world and deepen the journey to God in the heart of solitude and poverty. The author, Rev. John Chryssavgis, writes:
The Desert Fathers and Mothers proclaimed a different set of values, where change occurs through silence…; where inaction may be the most powerful source of action; and where productivity may be measured by obscurity, even invisibility.Theirs was a change that was out of sight, unrecorded in history books. Yet, it was a change that proved cataclysmic, recorded silently in human hearts. It was a protest against the complacency of the Christian world.The desert was what ultimately kept alive the fiery spirit of the martyrs. The words, then, of these desert elders are more than mere sayings; they are a profound statement.
The book explains further that:
Antony’s step into the uninhabitable and inhospitable desert was little noticed outside, or indeed even inside, his village at the time. Nevertheless, when he died at the age of 156, his friend and biographer Athanasius of Alexandria informs us that the “desert had become a city,” meaning that thousands had regularly flocked to Antony to be taught by him and had made the desert their home. Antony of Egypt was to become known as the father and founder of desert monasticism.
Abba Antony the Great
"The father of Christian monasticism"
(a Greek icon of the 16th century)
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