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Desert Fathers


Desert Fathers¬†were the earliest Christian monks of Egypt. Their names and lifestyle were made famous in the Greek and Latin world through Athanasius’¬†Life of Anthony; the writings of Jerome, the¬†Life of Pachomius; the anecdotal¬†Lausiac History of Palladius¬†(c. 419); a similar¬†History of the Monks of Egypt; and around the sixth century collections known as¬†Apothegmata Patrum¬†“Sayings of the Fathers.”

The emphasis of all their works is one of asceticism, tempered by quiet devotion. The desert, to them, was a place of extreme spiritual struggle, perhaps of aridity combined with a dependence on God. Their lives were to epitomize the forty days which Jesus is said to have spent in the wilderness before beginning his ministry. A.G.H.


Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 270-271