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Pachomius

Pachomius (C. 292-347). Popularly referred to as founder of cenobitic (community) monasticism, he was born in Upper Egypt, south of Thebes, to pagan parents. At the age of twenty (312), he was drafted into the Roman army. At the beginning of his military service, Pachomius and the other recruits were locked up in prison. Tired, hungry, and frightened they were visited by local Christians, who provided them food and drink. Pachomius was genuinely touched by their kindness, and the experience would later shape his view of Christianity and monasticism. In 313 he was baptized, three years later he became a monk and apprenticed under Palamon the hermit. After seven years, he settled in the abandoned village of Tabennesi (Upper Egypt), where others joined him. At his death in 347 over five thousand monks lived in the nine monasteries he had founded.