Founder of Christian Monasticism
St. Pachomius was born about 292 in the Upper Thebaid in Egypt and was inducted into the Emperor’s army as a twenty-year-old. The great kindness of Christians at Thebes toward the soldiers le to his conversion after his discharge. After being baptized, he became a disciple of an anchorite, Palemon, and took the habit. The two of them led a life of extreme austerity and total dedication to God, combining manual labor with unceasing prayer both day and night.
In 318, Pachomius, aided initially by Palemon, built a monastery on the banks of the Nile at Tabennisi. In a short time some one hundred monks joined him, and Pachomius organized them on principles of community living. Soon Pachomius was obliged to establish ten other monasteries for men and two nunneries for women. Before his death in 347/348, there were seven thousand monks in his houses, and his Order lasted in the East until 11th century.
St. Pachomius was the first monk to organize hermits into groups and write down a Rule for them. Both St. Basil and St. Benedict drew from his Rule in setting forth their own more famous ones. Hence, thought St. Anthony is usually regarded as the founder of Christian Monasticism, it was really St. Pachomius who began monasticism as we know it today.
PRAYER: Lord, amid the things of this world, let us be wholeheartedly committed to heavenly things in imitation of the example of evangelical perfection that You have given us in St. Pachomius. Amen.