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In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers; With a Translation of Abba Zosimas' Reflections
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In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers; With a Translation of Abba Zosimas' Reflections

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
The words of spiritual counsel which form the heart of this book are as clear and timeless as the desert stars on a winter night. Not only do the sayings of the Desert Fathers possess the imprint of eternity,but the fresh and vital commentary by Father John Chryssavgis provides a key which unlocks their relevance for the reader of today. The actual Egyptian desert to which ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published October 28th 2003 by World Wisdom Books (first published May 25th 2003)
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走得越远,离自己越近 The Farther I Walk, The Closer I Get To Me by Hong  Mei笑傲江湖 by Jin Yong天龍八部 Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils by Jin YongAn Acceptable Time by Madeleine L'EngleLe Rêve dans le pavillon rouge by Cao Xueqin
Chinese novel
7th out of 45 books — 9 voters
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Desert Spirituality
14th out of 35 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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Justine Olawsky
Aug 14, 2015 Justine Olawsky rated it really liked it
I was sitting in the doctor's exam room today in that utterly humiliating backless cotton gown, awaiting the hideous ordeal that is Western medicine, with my In the Heart of the Desert book all the way across the room. I could have scurried over to retrieve it, but I did not know when the doctor would arrive, and I had managed to arrange the embarrassing sartorial array so that all my bits were covered, and I was not about to risk the, um, exposure. Since I could not read my book, I decided to t ...more
Apr 29, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it
Chryssavgis deftly explores early Christian monastic thought and praxis in this accessible and beautiful book. His writing is such that someone unfamiliar with the overarching early Patristic corpus of work and thought can easily approach the ideas contained within these pages. And yet, others who may have more specialized understanding or academic interest would also do well to dwell a while here. Rowan Williams, in his 2005 book, 'Where God Happens: discovering Christ in one another', reports ...more
Mar 01, 2012 EunSung rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on practical spirituality from the wisdom of the desert.
Aug 20, 2010 Sean rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people interested in the early church/the desert fathers
This book is a great introduction to the desert fathers.
Nicholas Whyte
Aug 06, 2011 Nicholas Whyte rated it did not like it

Several years ago I read the collected sayings of the Desert Fathers (and Mothers); this is an introduction to their spirituality by an Australian theologian, who at least I suppose has some insight into deserts. I must say I have been spoiled for this sort of thing by my recent reading of Rūmī, who was able to develop profound philosophical insights while living his daily life without fleeing from society or concerning himself too much with mortification
Amos Smith
Sep 23, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It is a power house of insight into the writings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers written with wisdom and grace. -Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity's Mystic Roots)
agapia damianakis
A must read

Where the blood of the martyrs have watered the deserts, seeds of asceticism bore its fruit monastic mothers and fathers continue still to battle on behalf of the infirmed.
Oct 13, 2015 Dustin rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book. Chryssavgis walks us through the spirituality of the Desert Fathers, but he does so in a way that it can apply to us today.
Jan 31, 2013 Gwen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relgion
This book kind of just is. It's tough to rate and review a book like this since it is at it's heart just a collection of sayings. The bits in each chapter that explain the different aspects of being a desert father/mother are nice, but a little forgettable. In the end its the sayings that stick with me. As an introduction to the desert fathers and mothers this book is great. As a collection of their sayings there are other books out there that do it a little bit better.
Ona Kiser
Jan 02, 2014 Ona Kiser rated it it was ok
Okay - but I was hoping for more primary texts and less commentary, and it was almost all commentary. Chapters explore themes like Silence, Patience, etc. A good introduction for someone with little familiarity, I'd think - easy to read, for a general audience. But not what I was looking for.
Kelby Cotton
Aug 03, 2013 Kelby Cotton rated it it was amazing
Fr. Chryssavgis covers the central themes and topics of desert spirituality in a concise manner, applying applying occasional lessons for modern living without simplifying or belittling the subject.
Jun 21, 2013 Zaina rated it it was ok
I expected more from it. What, I'm not sure but more. Not enough Fathers and Mothers, too much Chryssagis.
Oct 04, 2008 Ellen rated it liked it
Shelves: catholicism
5 stars for content. 1 star for writing. For an average of 3 stars. The writing was really boring.
Ernie Martelo
Sep 19, 2012 Ernie Martelo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always reading this!!! ...more
Jun 23, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
Some of the insights here were so profound that I wanted to give it like ten stars, really thought-provoking, grounding, reorienting stuff. But the organization of the book and linking between the authors thoughts and the quotes of the mothers and fathers were sometimes unclear and didn't seem to convey a cohesive message and that was distracting. Anyone who has faced or is facing a time of desert abandonment or solitude will easily get past that, I think, and it is incredibly profitable. I'm al ...more
Nov 21, 2009 Jonathan added it
Shelves: theology
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