Lausiac History

Lausiac History

The Lausiac History is a seminal work archiving the Desert Fathers (early Christian monks who lived in the Egyptian desert) by Palladius of Galatia, at the request of Lausus, chamberlain at the court of the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II.

An extract from the introduction

"IN the fourth and fifth centuries of our era Egypt had come to be regarded with great reverence throughout Christendom as a Holy Land of piety.

"Pilgrims came from all parts to visit the saints who lived there, and several wrote descriptions of what they saw and heard, which are among the most interesting documents of the early Church. Palestine was so near that it was usually included in their tour; the glamour of its sacred sites, which remains with us still when that of Egypt has faded into oblivion, was already potent. But Palestine was clearly second to Egypt in the affections of the pilgrims.

"[As] expressed by Chrysostom ... Egypt ... was destined to be more fervent than any other, to have its towns and even its deserts peopled by armies of saints living the life of angels, and to boast the greatest, after the apostles, of all saints, the famous Antony.

"Palladius, ... made a pilgrimage to this holy land, like so many others, and stayed there many years. ... The character of the man stands out clearly in the History, He was sincere, simple-minded and not a little credulous. His deep religious fervour, of the ascetic type, needless to say, appears throughout the book."

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