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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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Solitude and Interaction

Solitude and Interaction

(p.139) 5 Solitude and Interaction
The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the Desert Fathers' reactions to situations in which they were forced to choose between the conduct of relationships and the practice of solitude. It considers three main points: how the Desert Fathers viewed formal relationships for contacts with one another which were provided by the community's common meal or agape and by the practice of hospitality; the importance they attributed to the solitude of the monk's cell; and how they identified and reacted to those situations which might require flight from others. Statements of principle and stories such as Longinus and the brother, and the water jug, give an important insight in to what the Desert Fathers had to say about the dangers and the opportunities of the conduct of personal relationships.

Keywords:   solitude, agape, hospitality, common meal, Cassian, cell, flight, exile, Longinus, water jug

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