Revealing unexpected truths about early desert spirituality, this volume argues that the lives of Barsanuphius and John relate closely to contemporary urban communities and how clergy tackle social challenges. The early Desert Fathers and Mothers have exercised a particular charm and appeal in recent years, but they have often been portrayed as inaccessible and eccentric figures in the history of monastic spirituality.
John Chryssavgis argues that the elders have an unusual capacity to reach into the depths of the heart to reveal the extraordinary in the very ordinary, and that the correspondence between Barsanuphius and John offers an unparalleled glimpse into the sixth-century religious, political, and secular world. It opens with an exploration into the historical context of Palestinian monasticism, followed by an evaluation of the fundamental principles and practices of Barsanuphius and John.An insightful, encouraging, and challenging book! Dare one call a book these days "inspiring?" Indeed, yes. In this volume the Spirit is alive and well. Monasticism, early, medieval, modern, still has plenty to say to us today, but not only say-show rather than tell, live out in love rather than prescribe, teach embodied rather than lecture from a distant podium or pulpit. There is so much here! Barsanuphius and John guide us in the ways of true community, communion that offers transformation.