PACHOMIUS (292-346)

A Saint, abbot. He is the founder of cenobitic or communal monasticism. He was born of parents in a small village in Esna in Upper Egypt. As a soldier recruited in the army, he had his first contact with Christianity where he experienced acts of from the Christian community at Thebes. In about 320, Pachomius established the first community of monks at in Upper Egypt. His form of monastic life was based on precise rules that governed almost every aspect of monks’ lives, such as prayers, masses, work, meals, and sleep. The monks lived together in houses.

Each house was inhabited by 40 monks, who were supervised by a steward. Some monasteries were composed of 30 or 40 houses. Pachomius left 11 monasteries, of which two were for women. The regulations of Pachomius grew up to meet the of a more complex monastic society that was influential and successful. The Pachomian monasticism proved popular especially in Middle and Upper Egypt. In 404, St. Jerome translated the Pachomian rules into from an intermediate Greek from the Coptic text. Thus Western monasticism, in particular the Benedictine Order, owes much to the Coptic monastic traditions.