Sayings of the Urban Fathers and Mothers


James Ashdown CJN

ISBN: 978‑0‑7283‑0344‑7

LENGTH: 88 pages

Fairacres Publications 198


The sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers translated into modern-day London

Sayings of the Urban Fathers and Mothers

I wrote these stor ies when I was living in Hackney, East London. Life was quite hard. My health was poor, I was re-evaluating my career and I was beginning to recognize that I needed to leave London which had been my home for twenty years. It was a place I had grown to love: its estates, its religions, its shabby backstreets, its people from all over the world. Then I discovered the ‘old men’, the Egyptian Desert Fathers and Mothers of the fourth and fifth centuries. They entranced me. So every day before starting work I would translate one of their sayings into the context I knew: the urban wilderness that is Babylondon (a Rastaf arian ter m for London). Reading these reworkings again after ten years I found they made me cry and realized they were a love letter to the London I knew, and a hymn of gratitude to the ‘old men’ who saved my life.

Additional information




88 pages



Book Size

140 x 210 mm


James Ashdown CJN

Publication Date

January 2023


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Author Bio

JAMES ASHDOWN CJN is a poet and theologian. He lives now in West Dorset where he is a Licensed Lay Minister in the Golden Cap team. He and his wife Lucyann (an Anglican priest and hospice chaplain) open their home as a Tree of Life, providing self-contained space for a ministry of welcome inspired by the Desert Fathers and Mothers.

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