Ammonius Of Kellia

A disciple, with his three brothers, of PAMBO, the celebrated monk of NITRIA (Palladius, 1904, chap. 11, pp. 32-33). Because he and his brothers were of great stature, they were nicknamed “the tall brothers” (Socrates, 1964, 6.7, 684 D). They were distinguished not only by their stature but also by their learning. The eldest, Dioscorus, was at first a priest in Nitria and then was consecrated bishop of Hermopolis by the twenty-third patriarch, THEOPHILUS, who took the two youngest, Eusebius and Euthymius, into his household in Alexandria (Socrates, 1964, 685 A). Ammonius himself was entreated to become a bishop by Theophilus’ predecessor, TIMOTHY. He had stolen away and, to avoid being consecrated, cut off his ear, whence the sobriquet Parotes (ear lobe) was given him (Palladius, 1904, pp. 32-33; Socrates, 1964, 4.23, 521 A; Sozomen, 1964, 6.30, 1384 AB).

Palladius and Rufinus (1849, 445 B-447 B) give equal praise to his learning and his asceticism. He lived as a monk at KELLIA, where he became the friend of PONTICUS, who was also very well educated and a great reader of ORIGEN. The two became the masters of a community of monks that their adversaries dubbed “Origenists.” When set himself to persecute the and organized an expedition against them to Nitria and Kellia in 400, Ammonius, along with the majority of the Origenist monks, had to go into exile; he found refuge with JOHN CHRYSOSTOM at Constantinople, where he died in the first years of the fifth century (Palladius, 1904, p. 34). None of his writing has been preserved, but it is not known whether any ever existed.