Pachomius (c. 292 – 9 May 348 AD), also known as Saint Pachomius the Great, is generally recognized as the founder of Christian cenobitic monasticism. Early in his life, he was conscripted to serve as a soldier in the imperial Roman army. He converted to Christianity in 313, and left the army in 314, after which he became a spiritual student of Saint Palaemon. He lived as a hermit from 316. During a retreat into the deep desert, he received a vision telling him to build a monastery on the spot and leave the life of a hermit for that of a monk in community. He did this in 320, and devised a rule that let fellow hermits ease from solitary to communal living; legend says that the rule was dictated to him by an angel. His first house expanded to eleven monasteries and convents with over 7,000 monks and nuns in religous life by the time of Pachomius’s death. Spiritual teacher of Saint Abraham the Poor and Saint Theodore of Tabennísi. Considered the founder of Christian cenobitic (communal) monasticism, whose rule for monks is the earliest in existence.
St. Pachomius the Great
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