Wisdom of the Desert
One of the many stories which survives from this period illustrates this rush to the desert:
Abbot Arsenius lived in a cell thirty-two miles away from his nearest neighbor, and he seldom went out of it. The things he needed were brought there by disciples. But when the desert of Scete where he lived became peopled with hermits, he went away from there weeping and saying: Worldy men have ruined Rome and monks have ruined Scete.The situation which caused the rush to the desert was when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. For many, this was confirmation of the rightness of the Christian faith. The crucified and risen Jesus had conquered the Rome. Yet, others were more deeply convinced that Christianity and politics could not mix and if mixed would never create a perfect Christian society. Those who fled to become hermits were often convinced that the only kind of Christian one could be in a Christian country was a complacent one.
We learn of the hermits of the desert through their sayings and stories, preserved through an oral tradition and written down as early as the 4th century by persons interested in capturing their distilled wisdom. My wife, Victoria, has created a new website called, Wisdom of the Desert, which offers a new saying from these radically faithful Christians of 4th century Egypt.
You can visit the blog here: dailydesertwisdom.blogspot.com
In the archives is the sermon Accommodation vs. Love.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor