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We live in a world entirely different from that of the early Fathers. This immediately confronts the reader who encounters them for the first time. Their unfamiliar world may both annoy and intrigue the modem student. The culture in which these men and women lived has long since passed away. The Church that they knew and were devoted to has weathered trials that they could have neither foreseen nor imagined. Indeed, the modem reader does not even share their basic presuppositions about the nature of reality. So much is different, yet they experienced an integrity and wholeness virtually unknown today. The life of academia and Church, liturgical worship and private experience were all one piece. Perhaps it is this unitary vision, unique and whole, that finds its echo in the longings of a civilization that no longer knows how to cope with the very world that it helped create.