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Letters, Volume 1 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 113)

Barsanuphius and John

Publication Year: 2010

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Series: The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii

I am indebted to the brotherhood of The Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts. The insightful counsel and gracious support of the elder and monks in that community, deriving from personal experience of the monastic life and skilled reading of the monastic texts, proved invaluable...


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pp. ix

Select Bibliography

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pp. xi-xv

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pp. 3-17

The desert of Gaza proved a remarkable place of continuity and creativity for Christian monasticism toward the end of the fourth century. Its accessibility by sea and road, its proximity to Egypt and Syria as well as the Holy Land, but also its prominence in Hellenistic and Roman times...

Letters, Volume 1

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pp. 21-22

I entreat you in the Lord to remember also my humble person in your holy prayers. For I have, by God’s help, transmitted here in writing these responses for the benefit of those who read them with fear of God, so that the words of the saints may not be for me unto judgment, but rather...

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Letters to John of Beersheba

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pp. 23-67

And I, Seridos, moreover, tell you something else wonderful. As the Old Man said this, I thought to myself: “How can I remember all these things in order to write them down? Had the Old Man so wanted, I could have brought here some ink and paper, heard his words one by one...

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Letters to an Egyptian Monk and to Paul the Hermit

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pp. 68-73

A certain elderly Egyptian man came to live in the monastery where the fathers were, and addressed a letter written in Egyptian to the Great Old Man (for he, too, was Egyptian) requesting prayer and counsel for the benefit of his soul, and asking whether it would be possible to be allowed...

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Letters to Abba Euthymius

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pp. 74-96

An old man, called Abba Euthymius, who lived in stillness, asked the same Great Old Man in the form of a prayer, saying the following: “Giver of light, the way of those in darkness, illumine us also who are in the fog. For you, Holy One, have said yourself: ‘Ask and you shall receive; knock and...

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Letters to an elderly monk named Andrew

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pp. 97-141

An old man who was ill, named Andrew, who was living in stillness in the monastic community, declared some of his secret faults to the same Great Old Man, while at the same time giving thanks for the fact that he had been counted worthy to dwell near such a person; and about his bodily...

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Letters to the monk Theodore

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pp. 142-153

As for the thoughts that come from the demons, first of all these are troubled and filled with sadness; they also subtly and surreptitiously drag one backward. They dress in sheep’s clothing, that is to say, they suggest thoughts of righteousness; “but inwardly, they are ravenous wolves...

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Letters to a monk who used riddles

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pp. 154-161

A brother, who had three thoughts, wanted to ask the Great Old Man about these. He did not, however, pose his question clearly; instead, he used riddles so that the abbot would not understand. Therefore, he wrote down certain letters of the alphabet, and each time he thought of something...

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Letters to various hermits

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pp. 162-218

In regard to accepting thoughts, it belongs only to the perfect to allow a thought to enter and then cast it out again. Therefore, do not bring in the spark that will burn the thicket. Do not let your garments be taken, lest you need to recover them by fighting. Do not tempt yourself to become troubled...

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Letters to a monk, who was a priest

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pp. 219-221

Therefore, I, who have not been counted among the clergy because of my unworthiness, and because the luster of my white hair has not prevented me from having immature thoughts, am surely unable to give advice to one who is my superior. If the person asking me were someone...

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Letters to monks about illness and death

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pp. 222-226

In all circumstances, give thanks to God; for thanksgiving intercedes with God for our weakness. In all things, always blame yourself as being sinful and erring, and God will not condemn you. Be humble in everything, and you will find grace from God. If you learn all these things, God will...

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Letters to various monks

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pp. 227-255

And again, sometime afterwards, it happened that the same brother asked Abba John about something and, having heard the response, conveyed the same question to Abba Barsanuphius. The Old Man, however, stated the following to him: “From now on, one response is enough...

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Letters to Dorotheus of Gaza

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pp. 256-309

May the Lord bless you, child! For you want to become carefree, and yet at the same time you do not want to, being tormented by your own will. Simply say what you wish to donate to the monastic community, and in your will reserve whatever you wish for the poor, and then be carefree...

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Letters to various monks

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pp. 310-319

Indeed, if we wish to apply the scriptural word in this manner alone, then it will not be able to stand among us. In fact, this was not written for one person alone, but every person is called our neighbor. Therefore, how can you fulfill this commandment with respect to all people when...

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Letter to the brother of Barsanuphius

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pp. 320

A secular man, in fact the [biological] brother of the same Great Old Man, who was also advanced in age, sent a letter to him, asking to meet with him. The Old Man announced the following to him: “My brother is Jesus. If you despise the world and become a monk, then you will be my...


Index of Names and Places

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pp. 323-325

Index of Subjects and Key Words

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pp. 326-336

Index of Holy Scripture

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pp. 337-344

E-ISBN-13: 9780813215860
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813201139

Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation