Evagrius Ponticus (345-399)

PONTICUS (345-399)

A Monk, ascetic. He was born at Ibora in the province of Pontus. He studied under the Fathers of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus. The latter ordained him deacon. After visiting Jerusalem, became a monk in the Egyptian desert in 383. He lived two years in Nitria and then moved to Kellia, where he remained until his death. He claimed to be a disciple of Macarius the Great. Evagrius, a highly educated classical scholar, was one of the most prominent figures among the monks of the Egyptian deserts.

He was well known as a keen thinker and a sophisticated, gifted writer. He did not suffer the exile that was imposed on the Origenist monks for he died before the intervention of Patriarch . However, he was posthumously condemned for Origenism by the fifth ecumenical council at in 553, a century and half after his death.

A number of the sayings of the are attributed to him. Some of his works survived in Greek, especially those that deal with asceticism. Nearly all his books were translated into Syriac and Latin, some into and Arabic. Although played a significant role in making the ascetic teaching of Egyptian monks known throughout the Christian world, it seems that only a few of his works were translated into Coptic. His treatise “On the Eight Spirits of Malice” was known to Coptic-speaking monks. Evagrius’ teachings on asceticism and had a crucial impact upon both Christian East and West.