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On Tour in Byzantium: Excerpts from The Spiritual Meadow of John Moschus

Author: John Moschus

Translator: Ralph Martin SSM

John Moschus (c. 550-619), a monk of St Theodosius Monastery, Jerusalem, travelled around the Middle East with his friend Sophronius, who later became Patriarch of Jerusalem. Shortly before his death in Rome, he compiled ‘The Spiritual Meadow’ (‘Pratum Spirituale’), to commemorate their journeys. Containing anecdotes about the monastic and Christian life of the time, the book became extremely popular as a devotional manual. His feast day in the Orthodox Church is 11 March

Ralph Martin SSM read Classics in Toronto, and was then ordained to the Anglican priesthood. In 1957 he moved to England to become a member of the Society of the Sacred Mission. After teaching at the Society’s theological college at Kelham, Nottinghamshire, and pioneering a new foundation at Willen, he worked in Lesotho, Australia, Ghana, Japan, Rome, Middlesbrough and Kuwait. Since 2006 he has lived in retirement in Oxfordshire.

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John Moschus, a monk from a monastery near Jerusalem, set off with a companion in about AD 575, to tour the Christian centres of the eastern Mediterranean. He thought of the world as a spiritual meadow, where wild flowers of every kind grew in profusion. Like a bee, he visited one blossom after another, gathering tales from ordinary people in many occupations, in the belief that heroic deeds and unselfish sacrifice were not confined to the great and famous. The result was a unique piece of early investigative travel journalism, woven together by John Moschus into a book which he called The Spiritual Meadow. Ralph Martin provides us with a selection of some of the best stories from the complete work, in a new and lively translation from the original Greek.


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79 pages

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