Saint Pachomios the Great
Date of celebration: 15/05
Saint Pachomios was born in 292 AD in Lower Thebaid, Egypt to pagan parents and lived during the time of Emperor Constantine the Great (306 – 337 AD). In the army, in which he enlisted at the age of 20, he met Christian soldiers and was taught the Christian faith by them. When he was not dismissed from the ranks of the army, he left the world and after going to Upper Thebaid, he was baptized and became a monk.
Desiring greater quiet, in order to devote himself to hermit life and exercise, he fled to the desert and placed himself under the spiritual guidance of the famous hesychast Palamon (honored on August 12), of whom he became a perfect imitator.
After the death of his spiritual father, around 320 AD, he fled to a desert island in the Nile, the island of Tavenni in Upper Thebaid, where he founded a small monastery with the help of his ascetic brother Ioannis.
The reputation of his sanctity and connection attracted many monks, and because of this he kept growing his monastery, so that within a few years it numbered more than 14,000 monks. Thus Saint Pachomios became one of the great settlers and ascetics of the desert.
Saint Pachomios is considered the founder of the synovial organization of ascetics. As can be seen from the Lausaian History, a book written by Palladius around 420 AD, the monks of Pachomius, who were called Tavennisiotes, lived in groups of three in small buildings. Saint Pachomius imposed on the monks common prayer every morning and evening (in total, of course, the monks prayed, according to the Rule, twelve times a day and twelve at night), common work, common income, common expenses, common meals and uniform clothing. Their meals consisted of plant foods and cheese.
According to these, the monks did not speak to each other, and therefore communicated with nods. They covered their faces in such a way that they could only see the bank. Their uniform consisted of the following garments: a linen tunic (“levitonarium”), which reached just below the knees and was belted, a white goat or sheep’s woolen garment (“meloti”), also belted, reaching to the knees and it had the fur facing outwards, a conical cocoon, which at the back reached to the shoulders, and a small linen omophorion (” maphorion ” or ” maphorition “) which usually covered the neck and shoulders. Shoes were rarely used.
The monks of Tavennisio used to sit down and receive communion of the Immaculate Mysteries every Saturday and Sunday. They were divided into twenty-four orders, each of which was designated by a letter of the alphabet, according to the condition and manner of conduct of those who composed it.
An organizational spirit and unparalleled in the guidance and governance of persons and things, he succeeded in maintaining discipline and love among the multitude of fraternity about him, attending as a loving father to their spiritual and material needs, and by his wise counsel and example to he encourages them in the struggle for holiness. Due to his piety and theophilic actions, Saint Pachomios was endowed by God with the grace of miracles and performed many miracles.
In 348 AD caring for the monks who fell ill from the plague, he fell ill himself and died after a while. Saint Pachomios was succeeded in the abbotship by Saint Theodore the Sanctified (celebrated on May 16).