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Helenus and Dorotheus: Marten de Vos and the Desert Fathers

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Chapter Summary

This chapter on the origins of the extremely popular print series reveals that Marten de Vos and his team approached the invention of the 'eremitical idylls' from a well-established hermeneutics of desert piety. It shows that all the fathers in the Solitudo series were in fact true Desert Fathers (cultores eremi) from the rocky wildernesses of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. The author has admired De Vos's drawings of Helenus and Dorotheus. The chapter explains the prints and the verses that accompany them. In addition to clarifying all five books of the hermit prints, Georges Garnefelt's Elucidationes turns out to be a very useful handbook on solitary saints from the days of the Apostles to the beginning of the Reformation. Garnefelt's elucidations are a concerted effort to claim the Desert Fathers for the Catholic cause.

Keywords: Desert Fathers; Dorotheus; Elucidationes; eremitical idylls; Georges Garnefelt; Helenus; Marten de Vos



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