The setting for the remarkable Life which is the subject of this book is Pharasa, in Cappadocia in Asia Minor. Now in Turkey, Asia Minor was part of the Greek Commonwelth from about 2000 B.C., as were areas along the Black Sea coast, the Crimea, Georgia and Armenia.
Settled by Greeks, it was later home to Early Christians as Saint Paul' s epistles to the Ephesians and the Galatians bear witness, and then to the great Fathers of the Orthodox Church, among them Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom. Many of the most paoular Saints are associated with Asia Minor, including Saints George, Nicholas and Charalambos, and in Byzantium it provided much of the enormous wealth of the State, both in material terms and also spiritually, through the ascetic labours of the monks for which the region was renowned. These areas were gradually lost to Byzantium and finally the unthinkable occurred, the Queen od Cities itself fell to the Turks in 1453, and the Emperor, Constantinos XI Palaiologos, was slain at its gates in the last defence.
Author: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos