In I Chronicles 28:9, King David promises his young son, Solomon, “And you, Solomon, my son, know the God of your father . . . if you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.”
This kingly wisdom is echoed later, in II Chronicles 15, as Azariah promises Asa, the righteous king of Judah, “The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.”
As the young Christian religion was gaining legal status in the Roman empire, a number of earnest men and women took these scriptural promises to heart, and forsaking the ease, commerce and luxury of the cities, fled to the desert, where they could more fully focus on their pursuit of purity of heart, and of God.
What began as a trickle of those making their way to desert solitude, became a vast river of men and women, who lived in the desert alone, or in communities, seeking above all else, to pursue and to know God.
These holy ones we now venerate as the Desert Fathers and Mothers. They were, in large part, the originators of the Christian monastic tradition, which has nourished the spirituality of our Church, east and west, through the centuries.
What did these men and women hope to find in the desert? What did their pursuit of God look like? How did their lives change as a result of their pursuit? And perhaps most importantly, what does their ascesis, their spiritual wisdom and their knowledge of God say to us today? And how can their experiences and wisdom aid us in our own spiritual pilgrimages?
Join us as we explore, together, the lives, holiness and wisdom of these ancient desert saints.