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12 bytes removed, 03:08, June 25, 2007
took out citation tag per Wsk's addition
Christian monasticism had its beginning in the early centuries of the Christian era. The early Christian monks were usually hermits, especially in the Middle East. The hermits lived mostly in solitary [[cell]]s or caves and met together once a week for common prayers. Some of the hermit monks found this eremitic life too lonely and difficult; it sometimes led individual monks to have mental breakdowns. In response to these conditions, many monks began to spend more time together in organized monastic groups in common prayer on a regular basis.
By the fourth century in Egypt, organized monastic communities often developed in or near villages. The cenobitic monks found themselves in contact often with local village people, whereas the eremitic monks tried their best to keep to the solitary life, meeting only occasionally for prayer. The living arrangements for the cenobitic monks came to differ from that of the eremitic hermits as the monks settled into separate rooms or cells in houses. This arrangement of living, particularly in the merging of smaller communities and monasteries into larger monastic communities, has been attributed to St. [[Pachomius the Great|Pachomius]], who is thought to have come up with the idea from his experience serving in the Roman army: It was “reminiscent of army barracks.” barracks” (Dunn, 29){{citation}} . His monastery in Thebaid, Upper Egypt was the first “modern” cenobitic monastery.
While Pachomius is generally considered as the father of cenobitic monasticism, some scholars note that other cenobitic groups had preceded his efforts. Examples of such groups included communities of [[heresy|heretical]] Melitians and Manichaeans who may have adopted the idea from other cenobitic monastic groups, such as the Buddhists and Elkasites, who already were practicing the cenobitic tradition. Thus, the idea of cenobitic monasticism cannot be traced to a single source. In the history of cenobitic monasticism, Pachomius was the first to bring separate monasteries together in a larger, more organized structure.

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