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What is poustinia? Poustinia is a Slavic word meaning desert. The concept of poustinia became popular in the western world due to the influence of author Catherine Doherty’s book, “Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer.”
A poustinia, as the word is used today in Eastern Christianity, refers to a room or small house where one goes for solitude and quiet, usually for 24 to 48 hours. Typically, the house is furnished simply, providing a place for prayer, especially with icons and scripture. Often, people will fast on poustinia, eating bread and water or other simple foods.