Born in the 360s Palladius enrolled as a monk on the Mount of Olives in his late 20s. As a monk he traveled to Alexandria, the desert of Nitria, the Cells, Palestine, Rome and the Thebaid.
During his travels he encountered Rufinus of Aguilera, Melanie the Elder, the hermit Dorotheos, Macarius of Alexandria, Evagrius of Pontus, Jerome of Bethlehem, and John Chrysostom.
He wrote this elegant account of his visits to various monastic sites in Egypt toward the end of the fourth century ADfor the imperial chamberlain Lasusu. It is both the most sophisticated and the most informative of the few documents illustrating the earliest chapter in the history of Christian Monasticism. Palladius’s work is the only one of the major monastic writings not written for fellow monks to inspire them with models for their emulation but rather for a man very much of the world, with the explicit intention of exerting not only religious but also political influence.
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