Saint Pachomius, Religious

May 15 – St. Pachomius, Religious –

St. Anthony is usually considered the founder of Christian monasticism, but it was Pachomius who began monasticism as we know it today. He was the first monk to organize hermits into groups and provide them with a written rule, and both St. Basil and St. Benedict drew from this rule when they wrote their own.

St. Pachomius was born in Egypt to pagan parents around 292. At the age of 20 he was forced into the Emperor Maximinus’ army and, as a virtual prisoner, lived under horrible conditions. He converted to Christianity after his discharge. Later, Pachomius felt called to build a monastery on the banks of the Nile at Tabennisi. Before his death in 346, there were anywhere from three to seven thousand monks in his houses, and his order lasted in the East until the 11th century.