PAMBO (Pamo), SAINT
A fourth-century anchorite who was one of the first settlers in NITRIA (feast day: 1 July in the West, 18 July in the East). In chapter 10 of the Lausiac History, PALLADIUS tells of the death of Pambo in 373 in the presence of Melania the elder. At that time he was seventy years old. Thus he was born around 303. He was one of the first companions of Saint AMMON in the desert of Nitria. When he was ordained a priest, Saint MACARIUS THE EGYPTIAN came from SCETIS to take part in his celebration of the Eucharist. Saint ATHANASIUS held him in high regard and invited him to Alexandria. He was also in contact with Saint ANTONY, who praised him highly.
It was said that he was unlettered, but, according to Palladius, he was master of the fratres longi (tall brothers), renowned Origenist monks who were persecuted by Saint THEOPHILUS, patriarch of Alexandria. His posthumous fame suffered no harm from this, and the tradition of the APOPHTHEGMATA PATRUM surrounded him with a glory all his own.
Particular note was made of the strictness of Pambo’s daily fast, his silence, his zeal for manual work, and the poverty of his garb. When he was asked questions, he often reflected for days and weeks before replying, and so was able to say that he had never regretted a word he had spoken. He died while weaving a basket that he bequeathed to Melania. Several apothegms inserted in the alphabetical collection are extracts from the Lausiac History. He does not appear in the Copto-Arabic SYNAXARION.
- Chitty, D. J. The Desert a City. Oxford, 1966.
- Cotelier, J. B., ed. Apophthegmata Patrum. PG 65, cols. 368-372. Evelyn-White, H. G. The Monasteries of the Wadi’n Natrun. Pt. 2, The History of the Monasteries of Nitria and of Scetis. New York, 1932.
- Guy, J. C. Recherches sur la tradition grecque des Apophthegmata patrum. Brussels, 1962.