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The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community$
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Graham Gould

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198263456

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198263456.001.0001

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Relationships and Prayer

Relationships and Prayer

(p.167) 6 Relationships and Prayer
The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community


Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how, in the Desert Fathers' view, prayer and ecstatic experience fitted into a life which allowed for both solitude and interaction. The first section explores the Desert Fathers' teaching on hesychia and prayer. It provides sayings which refer to the importance of prayer in the monastic life, some of them stressing the importance of continual prayer. The second section offers some comments on ecstasy and visions in relation with prayer. In Abba Joseph's views ecstatic prayer is the highest achievement of monastic life. Such experiences are described with a sense of awe and fear, with due respect for a great monk's special receptivity to the visitation with God. The chapter concludes that in prayer as in all else, the life of the Desert Fathers remained rooted in the values and ideals of good relationships within the monastic community.

Keywords:   prayer, hesychia, ecstacy, spiritual life, contemplation

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