The play takes place at the mouth of a cave high on Mount Colzim in eastern Egypt.  There are two characters in the play: one is a rather stiff, unyielding anchorite named Father Petrus; the other is a gentle scholar-hermit, St. Igneous.  As the play opens, the two are deep in a discussion that is perhaps more philological than theological.

Father Petrus:  You must attend more assiduously to
some science of the spirit—to ASCESIS.

St. Igneous:  But both of us, you and I, have carefully practiced APOSTASIS, an aesthetic renunciation of the world.

Petrus: Yes, we have accepted the tortured path of waylessness.  But still, like wayward children, we cling to purpose!

Igneous:  And in the act of so doing, we deny ourselves
MAGGENANUTHA, a gracious receipt of holy gifts.

Petrus:  We are still too much within the world.  We must more vigorously embrace ANACHORESIS, the profound withdrawl.

Igneous:  We must take up residence on the inner mountain.  We must intensify our state of social disengagement.  We must attain holy stillness, Petra.
We must embrace APATHEIA.

Petrus: We will certainly perish in this heartless desert unless we learn to achieve PARRESIA, a certain intimacy with God.

Igneous:  Boil some tea, Petrus.  I wish us to sip a vow—to ATARAXIA—a life of untroubled calm.

Petrus: How much is it to be desired!

Igneous:  Do not ask how much, gentle Petrus.  Make the tea.  And we will sit together quietly and encircle the word.

Petrus:  You mean “encircle the WORLD.”

Igneous: Isn’t that what I said?

Petrus:  No.