Separation, Loss, Confinement, and Change: How Evagrius Can Speak to the Experience of Lockdown

Monica Tobon

University College London, Great Britain , United Kingdom

Abstract

Separation, loss, confinement, and change have been imposed on entire populations during the Covid-19 pandemic in the form of lockdowns aimed at limiting the spread of the virus. They are also central to Evagrian asceticism, where they establish the conditions for the change at which the monastic life aims, namely to begin to reverse the effects of the fall by restoring the soul to health. This paper examines how they do so in order to gain an understanding of their ascetic function. Following the Introduction, it outlines Evagrius’ anthropology in order to lay the groundwork for its main theme, the healing of pathos through the practical life. Separation, loss, and confinement are each considered in turn by referencing Evagrius’ descriptions of their ascetic function and his own experience of them. Next, the change at which they aim is described, again drawing upon a range of Evagrian material. The final section of the paper considers how Evagrius can speak to the experience of lockdown by endowing separation, loss, confinement with meaning and purpose in relation to spiritual awakening and growth, highlighting our freedom to choose our attitude to them, and acting as both our guide and our companion.

Keywords:

Evagrius, separation, loss, confinement, apatheia, lockdown, freedom, logismoi, Plato, Epictetus, change, ascetism, spiritual growth, transformation, nous, old self, new self, pathos, pathe, Frankl

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Published
2022-06-15


Tobon, M. (2022). Separation, Loss, Confinement, and Change: How Evagrius Can Speak to the Experience of Lockdown. Vox Patrum, 82, 89–112. https://doi.org/10.31743/vp.13460

Monica Tobon  m.tobon@ucl.ac.uk
University College London, Great Britain https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0486-9972



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