morning bell: the demanding wisdom of Abba Anthony


The new series of morning bell beginning 17 January offers a way into stillness each day in the company of another Beloved Life hero, the so-called ‘Father of Monks’ Abba Anthony, one of the earliest of the Desert Fathers and Mothers – those first hermit-monks who went into the deserts of Egypt, Sinai and Judaea to seek after God. Born around AD251 in Egypt, Anthony heard the Gospel read in church ‘Go, sell all that you have and give to the poor and come…’ He responded by pursuing an ascetic life in the desert, initially under the guidance of a hermit, then in solitude. Early in the 4th century, his reputation attracting followers, he came out of solitude to act as their guide and father.


icon of Abba Anthony
icon of Abba Anthony


Abba Anthony’s wisdom is brilliant, insightful and demanding. Some of it feels very natural to us. Other sayings and stories from his life are harder to understand in our context, but they are worth our time and attention. This man was deeply serious in his devotion to God, to neighbour, and to the earth – his search is full of wisdom for our journeys…

The images were all taken by Ian Adams during 2013 on the same stretch of coastline in South Devon. The translation used is from ‘The Sayings of the Desert Fathers’ by Benedicta Ward SLG, Ciscterican Publications Kalamazoo 1975.

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