Pachomius the Great

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[[Image:StPakhom.jpg|thumb|Coptic icon of St. Pachomius the Great, the Father of Cenobitic Monasticism]] On 14 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pashons Bashans] (= May 22 or [[May 15]] (West)) of the year 64 A.M. ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coptic_calendar Coptic calendar] = 346/348 A.D.), '''Abba Pachomius (or Pakhom), the Father of the Spiritual Communal Life (Cenobitic Life)''', departed.
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[[Image:StPakhom.jpg|thumb|Coptic icon of St. Pachomius the Great, the Father of Cenobitic Monasticism]]
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[[File:Pachomius the Great.jpg|right|thumb|St. Pachomius the Great.]]
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Our venerable father '''Pachomius the Great''' (c. 292-346 A.D.) was an early Egyptian ascetic, both a [[Desert Fathers|Desert Father]] and a founder of [[cenobitic]] [[monasticism]] in Egypt. He is celebrated by the Church on [[May 15]] and is one of the few (non Biblical) saints to be venerated by Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism and some Protestant Churches.
  
 
==Life==
 
==Life==
St. Pachomius was born in 292 A.D. in Thebes (Luxor, Egypt) from pagan parents, who forced him to worship idols. He rejected and mocked this worship. He was a soldier before his baptism in 314 A.D., then became a [[monk]] in 317 A.D. with St. Palaemon (Balamon). He lived in submission to him for many years, and he mastered well the ways of the monastic life.
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Pachomius was born to pagan parents in Thebaid (Upper Egypt). There he received an excellent secular education. From his youth he had a good character, and he was prudent and sensible.  
  
Then the [[angel]] of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to establish a communal and holy monastic life. He established his first [[monastery]] around 323 A.D. in Tabennae (or Tabenna, an island in the Nile). Many monks gathered together to him, and he built for them many monasteries and established for them a system of manual labor, the times of prayers (both corporate and private), and eating, i.e., a rule that balances the communal life with the solitary life. The monks would live in individual cells, but would also work together for the common good of the community. He was the father of them all, with an Abbot in every monastery. He visited all the monasteries, from Aswan to Edfu to Donasa to the end of Upper Egypt to the North. He did not permit anyone of his sons to become a priest for the sake of the vainglory of this world, or to overlook the purpose of their monastic life of worship by being away from the world. He invited a priest from outside for each monastery to officiate the Divine Liturgy.
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At the age of either 20 or 21, he was called to serve in the Roman army. It was then that he stayed in a prison, used to house the new conscripts, which was run by Christians. He was so impressed by their love of their neighbor that he vowed to become a Christian after his military service ended.
  
When Pope [[Athanasius the Great|Athanasius]] wanted to ordain him a priest, he fled from him. St. Athanasius asked his disciples to tell him that he who built his house on the Rock that cannot be shaken, and fled from the vainglory of the world, is blessed, and his disciples are also blessed.  
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Thus in 314 Pachomius was [[baptism|baptized]] and began to practice the ascetic life. Three years later he withdrew to the desert under the guidance of the elder Palamon. According to tradition, after ten years with Palamon he heard a Voice telling him to found a monastic community at Tabbenisi (also Tabenna, Tabbenisiot). He and Palamon traveled there, and subsequently Pachomius had a vision in which an angel came to him, clothed in a schema (a type of monastic garment), and gave him a rule for the cenobitic life. This is significant because up until this time ascetics had for the most part lived alone as hermits, not together in a community. Pachomius' rule balanced the communal life with the solitary life; monks live in individual cells but work together for the common good.
  
He desired once to see Hades, and he saw in a night vision the habitation of the sinners and places of torment.  
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Furthermore, Pachomius was strict with the community of monks that began to grow around him. He gave everyone the same food and attire. The monks of the monastery fulfilled the obediences assigned them for the common good of the monastery. The monks were not allowed to possess their own money nor to accept anything from their relatives. St Pachomius considered that an obedience fulfilled with zeal was greater than fasting or prayer. He also demanded from the monks an exact observance of the monastic rule, and he chastised slackers. Once he even refused to speak directly with his own sister in order that he might maintain his detachment from the world. (He did, however, talk to her through a messenger, and he blessed her desire to become a nun; soon, she had her own all-female monastic community growing up around her.)
  
He remained the father of the Cenobites for forty years. When the time of his departure drew near (he died during a plague in Tabenna), he called the monks, strengthened their faith, and appointed someone to take over his place after him, then departed in peace. At the time of his death, he was the spiritual leader of about 3,000 monks.
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Pachomius lived the rest of his life managing his monastery, performing wonders, fighting the demons, and of course in fervent prayer. Near the end of his life he was granted another vision: the Lord revealed to him the future of monasticism. The saint learned that future monks would not have such zeal in their struggles as the first generation had, and they would not have experienced guides. Prostrating himself upon the ground, St. Pachomius wept bitterly, calling out to the Lord and imploring mercy for them. He heard a Voice answer, "Pachomius, be mindful of the mercy of God. The monks of the future shall receive a reward, since they too shall have occasion to suffer the life burdensome for the monk."
  
St. [[Jerome]] translated the rule of St. Pachomius into Latin in 404, and only this translation survives. The rule of St. Pachomius influenced St. [[Benedict of Nursia|Benedict]] in preparing his own rule for monks in the West.
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By 348, Pachomius directed almost three thousand monks. This, however, was also the year that he was infected by some form of plague or pestilence. His closest disciple, St. Theodore (May 17), tended to him with filial love. St. Pachomius died around the year 348 at the age of fifty-three, and was buried on a hill near the monastery.
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St. [[Jerome]] translated the rule of St. Pachomius into Latin in 404, and only this translation survives. The rule of St. Pachomius influenced St. Benedict, the most influential figure in Western monasticism, in preparing his own rule.
  
 
==Sources==
 
==Sources==
* [http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/9_14.html#1 Coptic Orthodox Synaxarium (Book of Saints)]
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* [http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=101384 Venerable Pachomius the Great, Founder of Coenobitic Monasticism] ([[OCA]])
* http://www2.evansville.edu/ecoleweb/glossary/pachomius.html
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* [http://www.orthodox.cn/prologue/May15.htm The Venerable Prochomius the Great] from the ''[[Prologue of Ohrid]]''
* http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/pachomius.html
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* [http://www2.evansville.edu/ecoleweb/glossary/pachomius.html Pachomius] from the ''Ecole Glossary''
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* [http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/pachomius.html "Pachomius"] Mangold, "PACHOMIUS," Philip Schaff, ed., A Religious Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology, 3rd edn, Vol. 3. Toronto, New York & London: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1894. pp.1715-1716. [Greek title excluded]
  
==External Links==
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==See also==
* http://www.stmarycoptorthodox.org/pachomius_of_tabenna.htm
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* [[Theodosius the Great (Cenobiarch)]]
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11381a.htm St. Pachomius (Catholic Encyclopedia)]
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* [[Prayer rope]]
* http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintp38.htm
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[[Category:Egyptian Saints]]
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==External links==
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*[http://goarch.org/chapel/saints_view?contentid=55&type=saints Pachomius the Great Martyr] ([[GOARCH]])
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*[http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf203.v.iv.viii.html Pachomius] and [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc3.iii.vii.xi.html Pachomius and the Cloister Life] from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library
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*[http://www.voskrese.info/spl/Xpachomy-gt.html St. Pachomius the Great of Upper Egypt, Abbot of Tabennisi] from the St. Pachomius Library
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*[http://www.saintjonah.org/services/stpachomius.htm The Prayer Rule of St. Pachomius]
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* Great [[Synaxarion|Synaxaristes]]: {{el icon}} ''[http://www.synaxarion.gr/gr/sid/3171/sxsaintinfo.aspx Ὁ Ὅσιος Παχώμιος ὁ Μέγας].'' 15 Μαΐου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
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[[Category:Featured Articles]]
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[[Category:Desert Fathers]]
 
[[Category:Monastics]]
 
[[Category:Monastics]]
 
[[Category:Saints]]
 
[[Category:Saints]]
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[[Category:Byzantine Saints]]
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[[Category:Egyptian Saints]]
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[[Category:4th-century saints]]
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[[ro:Pahomie cel Mare]]

Latest revision as of 10:19, October 22, 2012

Coptic icon of St. Pachomius the Great, the Father of Cenobitic Monasticism
St. Pachomius the Great.

Our venerable father Pachomius the Great (c. 292-346 A.D.) was an early Egyptian ascetic, both a Desert Father and a founder of cenobitic monasticism in Egypt. He is celebrated by the Church on May 15 and is one of the few (non Biblical) saints to be venerated by Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism and some Protestant Churches.

Contents

Life

Pachomius was born to pagan parents in Thebaid (Upper Egypt). There he received an excellent secular education. From his youth he had a good character, and he was prudent and sensible.

At the age of either 20 or 21, he was called to serve in the Roman army. It was then that he stayed in a prison, used to house the new conscripts, which was run by Christians. He was so impressed by their love of their neighbor that he vowed to become a Christian after his military service ended.

Thus in 314 Pachomius was baptized and began to practice the ascetic life. Three years later he withdrew to the desert under the guidance of the elder Palamon. According to tradition, after ten years with Palamon he heard a Voice telling him to found a monastic community at Tabbenisi (also Tabenna, Tabbenisiot). He and Palamon traveled there, and subsequently Pachomius had a vision in which an angel came to him, clothed in a schema (a type of monastic garment), and gave him a rule for the cenobitic life. This is significant because up until this time ascetics had for the most part lived alone as hermits, not together in a community. Pachomius' rule balanced the communal life with the solitary life; monks live in individual cells but work together for the common good.

Furthermore, Pachomius was strict with the community of monks that began to grow around him. He gave everyone the same food and attire. The monks of the monastery fulfilled the obediences assigned them for the common good of the monastery. The monks were not allowed to possess their own money nor to accept anything from their relatives. St Pachomius considered that an obedience fulfilled with zeal was greater than fasting or prayer. He also demanded from the monks an exact observance of the monastic rule, and he chastised slackers. Once he even refused to speak directly with his own sister in order that he might maintain his detachment from the world. (He did, however, talk to her through a messenger, and he blessed her desire to become a nun; soon, she had her own all-female monastic community growing up around her.)

Pachomius lived the rest of his life managing his monastery, performing wonders, fighting the demons, and of course in fervent prayer. Near the end of his life he was granted another vision: the Lord revealed to him the future of monasticism. The saint learned that future monks would not have such zeal in their struggles as the first generation had, and they would not have experienced guides. Prostrating himself upon the ground, St. Pachomius wept bitterly, calling out to the Lord and imploring mercy for them. He heard a Voice answer, "Pachomius, be mindful of the mercy of God. The monks of the future shall receive a reward, since they too shall have occasion to suffer the life burdensome for the monk."

By 348, Pachomius directed almost three thousand monks. This, however, was also the year that he was infected by some form of plague or pestilence. His closest disciple, St. Theodore (May 17), tended to him with filial love. St. Pachomius died around the year 348 at the age of fifty-three, and was buried on a hill near the monastery.

St. Jerome translated the rule of St. Pachomius into Latin in 404, and only this translation survives. The rule of St. Pachomius influenced St. Benedict, the most influential figure in Western monasticism, in preparing his own rule.

Sources

See also

External links

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