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The Paradise Of The Holy Fathers Volumes 1 and 2 by Saint Athanasius Of Alexandria

AND there was also another man whose name was Ptolemy, and he was by race from Egypt, and he observed a rule of life which no man is able to describe, or rather it is very difficult to relate the story of his life. He dwelt away beyond Scete in that [district] which is called “Klimax.” Now the place which is thus called it is impossible for a man to dwell in by reason of its ruggedness, and it was distant from the stream of water wherefrom the brethren used to draw twelve miles. Now this man Ptolemy used to take many vessels for water, and carry [them] to a certain spot where much dew fell, and in December and January he used to collect it, for in those countries the dewfall is abundant. And having gathered together for himself water in sponge[s] from time to time they were squeezed out by him, and the water which he had collected from the dew ran out, and this he was in the habit of doing during the fifteen years which he dwelt there. Now this man, having for much time been deprived of doctrine (or teaching), and of the meetings with the holy fathers, and of the intercourse of edifying speech, and especially of participation in the Mysteries, went as wholly astray from the straight path as if he had said, “The matters of service, that is to say, the Holy Mysteries, are nothing at all.” And from this state he senselessly departed and went on until at length he went into Egypt and delivered himself over to prodigal and riotous living, and he never more spake a word of excellence unto any man. And his madness came upon Ptolemy also because of the senseless and exalted opinion which he held of himself, even as it is written, “Those who are not under the law of the governors shall fall like leaves.”








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