Derwas Chitty

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Derwas James Chitty (1901 – 1971) was an English Anglican priest and member of the Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius. He was known as a writer on the spirituality of the Greek Orthodox tradition.[1]


His parents were the Reverend James Charles Martin Chitty (1865–1938) and Gwen Ethlin Georgiana Chitty (née Jones; 1861–1933). Chitty's childhood was spent in the country rectory of Hanwood, Shropshire. His elder sister was Lily Chitty, who would also go on to take part in archaeology;[2] He was educated at Winchester where he and his brother were Scholars, and at New College, Oxford, followed by two years at the École Biblique in Jerusalem.

In 1929 he and his friend Michael Markoff excavated the Monastery of St. Euthymius in the Judaean wilderness. In 1931 he became Rector of Upton near Didcot, 15 miles from Oxford, in what was then Berkshire, where he remained until 1968. In 1943 he married the archaeologist Mary Kitson Clark whose Gazetteer of Roman Remains in East Yorkshire is still in use. During the Second World War he was a Chaplain in the Royal Navy, posted in Colombo and Bombay among other places.


He published a large number of articles and works on early Eastern Monasticism, including his magnum opus, The Desert a City.

  • The Desert a City: a Study of Egyptian and Palestinian Monasticism under the Christian Empire, 1966.


  1. ^ "House of St Gregory and Macrina Library" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  2. ^ Carr, A. M. (2004). "Chitty, Lily Frances (1893–1979)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.