On this day, of the year 64 A.M. (348 A.D.), Abba Pachomius, the father of the spiritual communal life (Cenobitic life), departed. He was born in Thebes (Luxor) from pagan parents, who forced him to worship idols. He rejected and mocked this worship, then became a monk with St. Balamon (Palaemon). He lived in submission to him for many years, and he mastered well the ways of the monastic life. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to establish a communal and holy monastic life. 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, and eating. 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 any one of his sons to become a priest for the sake of the vainglory of this world, and not 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. When Pope 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 can not be shaken, and fled from the vainglory of the world, is blessed, and his disciples are also blessed.
He desired once to see Hades, and he saw in a night vision the habitation of the sinners and places of torment.
He remained the father of the Cenobites for forty years. When the time of his departure drew near, he called the monks, strengthened their faith, and appointed someone to take over his place after him, then departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
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