Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship



Christian, worship, prayer, books, languages


The birthplace and spiritual heart of Christian monasticism is the Nitrian Desert of Egypt and the long, shallow valley of Scetis (Wadi el-Natrun). It was to here, from the fourth century onwards, that Macarius the Great and other of the sainted desert fathers retreated from the world, devoting their lives to worship and prayer. While some monks chose to live in isolation as hermits, many others banded together to establish the first monasteries, building churches for worship and libraries for study.