Evagrios the Solitary, On Asceticism and Stillness
Evagrios the Solitary

In this beautiful and brief Philokalia text Evagrios hymns the great virtues of solitude, and provides practical counsels on how to maintain and deepen inner quiet. He addresses issues of diet, personal interactions, clothing, possessions, hospitality, friendship, exile, restlessness, practical handiwork, unavoidable commerce, the contemplation of eternal things, illness, vigils, prayer, and the temptations of over attachment to locality. As a summation of his valuable counsel he writes, "Be like an astute businessman: make stillness your criterion for testing the value of everything, and choose always what contributes to it." Evagrios the Solitary, sometimes known as Evagrios Ponticus, was a disciple of the Cappadocian Fathers, ordained reader by St. Basil the Great and deacon by St. Gregory the Theologian. He became a monk of the Egyptian desert, and is the most prolific author of the Desert Fathers. He exercised a tremendous influence on both Eastern and Western monasticism, and four of his writings were included by the Holy Fathers in the 1st Volume of the Philokalia.

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