Petronius, Saint


A fourth-century monk who was a of and briefly the successor of as head of the , the monastic community (feast day: 27 Abib). Petronius was born of well-to-do parents in the city of Pjoj, in the diocese of Diospolis Parva (Hiw). Moved by the Spirit of God, he withdrew from the world and built a monastery on the of his parents, where he gathered about him “anyone who wanted to live in Christ.” The monastery, called Tbow, was situated on the west bank of the Nile, much farther north than Tmoushons, almost opposite Shmin. He also converted his father, Pshenthbo, and his brother, Pshenapalhi, “with all their household,” to the monastic life. When he learned of the holy , he asked Pachomius to receive the monks of Tbow into it. Pachomius came with his brothers and established at Tbow the rules of the other monasteries of the .

Petronius was a man well qualified in every respect to lead a monastery. Because of his purity of heart, he was favored with revelations. When Pachomius founded a monastery in the area of Shmin, he transferred Petronius to that monastery, called Tesmine, and gave him as well responsibility over the other two monasteries of the region. When Pachomius was on his deathbed, he appointed Petronius as his successor, although he knew that Petronius also was ill. He died on 21 July 346, only a few months after Pachomius, having named HORSIESIOS to follow him. Various brief allusions to Petronius in the Life of Pachomius show that he was held in great esteem by Horsiesios and Saint Theodorus of Alexandria, as well as by Pachomius himself.

[See also: Monasticism, Pachomian; Pachomius of Tabennese.] ARMAND VEILLEUX