In the early part of the fourth century, as Christianity became ascendant over the many old religions of the Roman Empire, a few among its faithful, many men and some women, began to withdraw from the world to retreat into the desert, there to practice their new religion more seriously. The person who aspired to renounce the world first had to find an elder, a person who would accept him as a disciple and apprentice. To his elder (whom he would address as abba father) the neophyte owed complete obedience; from his abba (and other elders) he would receive provisions (as it were) for the road to virtue. In addition to the abbas own example of living, there was the verbal teaching of the elders in sayings and tales, setting out the theory and practice of the eremitic life.Then the elder said to him, aGo to sleep now until the Lord comes to raise you, a and he immediately fell asleep. 14. Many elders ... Seeing the number of elders, the father took the child and sat outside the monastery weeping. One elder had ... As you will, Abba, have mercy on me; take the child inside and intercede for him.
|Title||:||The Book of the Elders|
|Publisher||:||Liturgical Press - 2012|