Written in the fifth century, during one of the most formative periods of christian monasticism in Egypt and Palestine, The Ascetic Discourses show a strong influence of the Scripture, both Old and New, and of Early monastic writers. They are marked by a faithfulness to tradition, yet equally by a note of originality distinctive to the Gaza region. Abba Isaiah has set forth a practical guide for monks, ever aware of the challenges that interpersonal relationships present within monastic communities.
John Chryssavgis is a Professor of Theology at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston. He completed his undergraduate studies in Athens and earned his doctoral degree at Oxford. Recent publications include The Way of the Fathers: Exploring the Minds of the Church Fathers(1988), Beyond the Shattered Image: Insights into an Orthodox Ecological Worldview(1999), and Soul Mending: The Art of Spiritual Direction(2000).
Pachomios (Robert) Penkett is an independent scholar currently researching Byzantine and Russian icons in British collections. Having completed his thesis on asceticism in the Spiritual Meadow of John of Moschos, he is directing the National Icon Collection Project. He has lectured widely in America, Canada, Europe, and Africa and has published work on the Desert fathers and Orthodox spirituality.