The Monastic Letters of Saint Athanasius the Great (Third edition)


Leslie Barnard, St Athanasius

ISBN: 978-0-7283-0357-7

LENGTH: 54 pages

Fairacres Publications 120

1994, 3rd edition 2023

Six letters addressed to monks, revealing St Athanasius as a wise spiritual guide and loving pastor, concerned that the monks avoid heresies and extreme behaviour.

The contribution of Athanasius to monastic life has been greatly undervalued, for scholars have tended to concentrate on his theological writings and his influence as a religious leader. However, in these six letters addressed to monks, Athanasius is revealed as a wise spiritual guide and loving pastor, determined that the monks should receive orthodox teaching to avoid the pitfalls of Arianism and encratism, and concerned for the welfare of the Pachomian monasteries after the death of Abbot Theodore. His balanced outlook on the religious life is combined with the conviction that there is no essential dichotomy between monastic life and Christian life in the world. This book contains the six letters written to monks by St Athanasius, with a historical introduction by Leslie W. Barnard.

Third Edition 2023.

Additional information




54 pages


Leslie Barnard, St Athanasius



Book Size

140 x 210 mm


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Author Bio

Leslie William Barnard, born in 1924, was ordained priest in 1952. He was Senior Lecturer in Theology at the University of Leeds 1968-86. His chief area of study was fourth-century patristic writings. He is the editor and author of a number of patristics publications spanning several decades.

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Saint Athanasius (c. 295 - 373), Bishop and Doctor of the Church, was born in Alexandria of Christian parents. After successful studies, he spent time in the desert in retreat with Saint Antony the Great. In 325, he attended as a deacon the Council of Nicea, where his influence began to be felt. He was elected Archbishop of Alexandria in 328, but seventeen of the forty-six years of his episcopate were spent in exile, due to his active and ruthless stand against the heretical teachings of Arius. His extant writings include a ‘Life’ of Saint Antony and treatises on Christian dogma.

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