Monday, March 14, 2011

St. Anthony’s Monastery : the 1,700-year-old Christian monastery in Egypt's Eastern desert

I happened across an article on a while ago about this incredible place in Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Monastery of St. Anthony. (The article is available to be read on the official media network site of the Orthodox Church.

I enjoyed the artricle for two reasons; firstly, the art shown is incredible. Said to have been built between 361 - 363 AD, the monastery's incredible frescoes show an artistic palette that is some 17 centuries old! I would love to be able to visit these one day, so that I too could take the interesting photos shown above.

Lastly (or if you're counting, secondly) I liked the fact that supposedly, "The disciples followed a way of life that consisted of prayer, reflection, and fasting — all elements of an ascetic way of life, but not in total isolation.
They lived and practiced their ideals close to their communities and families, and in the next century these ideas spread throughout Egypt."

This makes me happy because I don't believe in the strict idea of being a hermit, of shutting oneself away from the world in order to be close to God. God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to be with humanity... not to get away from it all. And so I'm glad that these monks practised their faith in Christ close to their communities, because that's what true Christianity is supposed to be all about. It's probably an ideal that we could all do with being a little more like.
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