Letters from the Desert: Barsanuphius and John -- A Selection of Questions and Responses

By: Barsanuphius, John Chryssavgis

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Open this small compendium to any page and you'll find the Desert Fathers at their finest - humble, generous, surprisingly flexible with their brothers, and willing themselves to assume blame rather than hinder any man. Known respectively as the ''Great Old Man'' and the ''Other Old Man,'' Barsanuphius and John lived as hermits near Gaza in the early sixth century. They did not entertain visitors and maintained a practice of strict seclusion (in neighboring caves), conveying their spiritual wisdom through letters to those who sought counsel. John offers practical advice while Barsanuphius responds to questions involving matters of more interior spiritual concern. Their answers gamut topics from fasting and silence to hiring, firing, medication, perfection, modesty and diet. On the matter of Holy Communion a brother asks John, ''If a fantasy occurs to me by night and, on the next day, there is Holy Communion, what should I do?'' The venerable John responds compassionately, ''Let us approach with all our wounds and not with any contempt, as people who are needful of a doctor, and he who healed the woman with the issue of blood will also heal us... ou may approach with fear, and our Master, who is loving-kind, will work his mercy with us.'' When a God-loving layperson mistreated by his neighbor comes to Barsanuphius for advice, the humble father replies, ''Do good to him.'' 209 pp.


An Eighth Day View:


Two monastic elders - the "Great Old Man" Barsanuphius, and the "Other Old Man" John - flourished in the southern region around Gaza in the early part of the sixth century. Maintaining strict seclusion, they spoke to others only through letters by way of Abba Seridos, the abbot of their monastic, desert community.

Title:: Letters from the Desert: Barsanuphius and John -- A Selection of Questions and Responses

Author:: Barsanuphius, John Chryssavgis

Categories: Primary Sources,

Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Press: August 2003

ISBN Number:: 0881412546

ISBN Number: 13: 9780881412543

Binding:: Paper Back

Book Condition:: New

Seller ID:: 92270