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Saint Pachomius

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Coptic icon of Saint Pachomius.
Coptic icon of Saint Pachomius.

Saint Pachomius (ca. 292-346), also known as Abba Pachomius and Pakhom, is generally recognized as the founder of cenobitic (communal) Christian monasticism. His innovative monastic structure and teaching methods made the ascetic Christian life a reality for tens of thousands of Christians. All later Catholic and Orthodox religious orders (from Franciscans to Cistercians) are, to an extent, products of his initial innovation.

In all world religions, Saints (from the Latin: "sanctus" meaning "holy" or "consecrated") are known for their spiritually exemplary character and love of the divine. Saints are known for their devotion to God as well as for their commitment to virtuous living. They encourage ordinary believers to strive to become closer to God and to be better people by providing an uplifting example of spiritual and moral conduct.

Contents

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The Life of Pachomius

Background Information

In the third and fourth centuries C.E., a new spiritual innovation began to become popular among devoted Christians. The deserts of Egypt and Syria, which had once been a refuge for the persecuted, began to be considered a home, a destination where devoted Christians could - in imitatio Christi - prove their dedication to Jesus and the Gospel through intense ascetic sacrifice. Though the actual persecution of Christians had largely ceased by this time, these "'athletes of Christ' … regarded their way of life as simply carrying on the norm of Christian life in pre-Constantinian times, when to be a Christian was a matter of real seriousness."[1] These early religious heroes, of whom Saint Anthony (251-356) is likely the most prominent example, became the new spiritual ideals for the lay public: people whose devotion to the Lord allowed them to accomplish superhuman feats of courage, faith and stamina. [For more information, see Desert Fathers.]

Biography/Hagiography

Pachomius was born in 292 in Thebes (Luxor, Egypt) to pagan parents.[2] According to his hagiography, he was swept up in a Roman army recruitment drive at the age of 20 against his will and held in captivity, a common occurrence during the turmoils and civil wars of the period. It was here that he first came into contact with Christianity, in the form of local Christians who visited each day to provide succor to the inmates. This made a lasting impression on the imprisoned Pachomius and he vowed to investigate this foreign tradition further when he was freed. As fate would have it, he was soon released (when Constantine took control of the Roman army in the area), and, remembering his vow, Pachomius was soon converted and baptized (314). Hearing tales of the spiritual excellence of the Desert Fathers, he decided to follow them into the desert to pursue the ascetic path. In doing so, he sought out the hermit Palamon and came to be his follower (317).

In his travels through the desert, Pachomius chanced upon an abandoned town called Tabennesi. There, he heard a message from the Heavens: "Pachomius, Pachomius, struggle, dwell in this place and build a monastery; for many will come to you and become monks with you, and they will profit their souls."[3] After receiving this calling, he converted the town into a monastic community (318(?)-323(?)). The first to join him was his elder brother John, but soon more than 100 monks had taken up residence there. In the years to follow, he came to build an additional six or seven monasteries and a nunnery.

Though Pachomius sometimes acted as lector for nearby shepherds, neither he or any of his monks became priests. Regardless, he remained abbot to the cenobites for some forty years, until he fell victim to an epidemic disease (probably plague). Knowing that the end of his life was at hand, he called the monks, strengthened their faith, and appointed his successor. He then departed in peace on May 15, 346.

From his initial monastery, demand quickly grew and, by the time of his death in 346, one count estimates there were 3000 monasteries throughout Egypt from north to south. Within a generation after his death, this number grew to 7000 and then spread into Palestine, the Judean Desert, Syria, North Africa and eventually Western Europe.[4]

Pachomius and the Development of Cenobitic Monasticism

Until the time of Pachomius, Christian asceticism had been solitary or eremitic. Male or female monastics lived in individual huts or caves and met only for occasional worship services. The Pachomian innovation was to create the community or cenobitic organization, in which male or female monastics lived together and had their possessions in common under the leadership of an abbot or abbess. Indeed, his genius was to transform the monastic fervor of the Desert Fathers into a socialized and sustainable religious lifestyle. Further, this approach enabled the monastics (themselves religious exemplars) to interact (and thus positively impact) surrounding Christians, who settled around the monks as lay disciples. In this way, he set the stage for the Christian monastic movements that followed, the vast majority of which existed in concert with a surrounding and supportive lay community.

The Pachomian community was initially created using its founder's personal charisma to maintain structure and order. Pachomius himself was hailed as "Abba" (father), and his followers "considered him trustworthy," [and that] "he was their father after God."[5] However, in the years that followed (especially after the death of their founder), the Pachomian monks began to collect and codify his edicts, a process that eventually yielded the collected Rules of his order. Intriguingly, a parallel process of rule development was occurring simultaneously in Caesarea, where St. Basil, who had visited the Pachomian order, was in the process of adapting the ideas he inherited from Pachomius into his own system of monastic order. His rules, the Ascetica, are still used today by the Eastern Orthodox Church, and are comparable to the Rule of Saint Benedict in the West.

Pedagogical use of moral exemplars

As mentioned above, Pachomius strove to indoctrinate his brother monks (and the resident laity) into a righteous lifestyle. One of the innovative means that he used to achieve that end was an extensive use of moral exemplars in his pedagogy. Intriguingly (and unlike many earlier teachers), it is notable that he did not restrict this to the imitation of Christ. To demonstrate the proper attitude when facing solitude, he uses an Old Testament example: "Let us then draw courage from these things, knowing that God is with us in the desert as he was with Joseph in the desert. Let us … , like Joseph, keep our hearts pure in the desert."[6] In describing the psychic preparations that must take place before Passover, he suggests a constant remembrance of Christ: "Let those who practice askesis labour all the more in their way of life, even abstaining from drinking water…; for he asked for a bit of water while he was on the cross and he was given vinegar mixed with gall."[7] Finally, concerning the proper mode of moral instruction, he says to his monks: "My son, emulate the lives of the saints and practice their virtues."[8] In all of these cases, Pachomius demonstrates the importance of living an ascetic life, constantly striving for moral rectitude. He helps to make this difficult process more accessible by using exemplars from within the religious tradition of his listeners, showing that this ascetic devotion to God is, in fact, an achievable human reality.

Notes

  1. S. P. Brock, "Early Syrian Asceticism," Numen Vol. XX (1973): 1-19. 2.
  2. A particularly hagiographical detail, found in the Bohairic version of the Life of Pachomius, suggests that the young Pachomius was, in some fundamental way, "pre-selected" for membership in the Christian community. Though he had pagan parents, all attempts to encourage him to take part in their worship proved ultimately futile: "As a child his parents took him with them to sacrifice to those [creatures] that are in the waters. When those [creatures] raised their eyes in the water, they saw the boy, took fright and fled away. Then the one who was presiding over the sacrifice shouted, 'Chase the enemy of the gods out of here, so that they will cease to be angry with us, for it is because of him that they do not come up.' … And his parents were distressed about him, because their gods were hostile to him." "The Boharic Life of Pachomius," Pachomian Koinonia I: The Life of Saint Pachomius, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications Inc., 1980), 25.
  3. "The Boharic Life of Pachomius," 39. Given the laudatory nature of hagiographical writing, it is notable that the previous sections of the Life make extensive efforts to demonstrate that Pachomius himself was utterly capable of enduring and, in fact, comfortable with the extreme asceticism practiced by Palamon. This means that decision to create a monastery can only be credited to the most noble (and selfless) motives.
  4. Dr. Kenneth W. Harl. The World of Byzantium. (The Teaching Company (audio cassette) ISBN 16585800X / B000H9BZAI, 2001)
  5. Philip Rousseau. Pachomius: The Making of a Community in Fourth-Century Egypt. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1985), 67.
  6. Pachomius, Letter 8, in Pachomian Koinonia III. (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1982), 72.
  7. Pachomius, "Pachomian Instruction 2," in Pachomian Koinonia (Vol. 3), (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1982), 48.
  8. Pachomius, "Pachomian Instruction 1," in Pachomian Koinonia (Vol. 3), (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1982), 14.

See also

  • Saint Benedict
  • Desert Fathers

Bibliography

  • Bacchus, F. J. "Pachomius" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Accessed online at: [1].
  • Brock, S. P. "Early Syrian Asceticism." Numen Vol. XX, 1973. 1-19.
  • Goehring, James E. "Withdrawing from the Desert: Pachomius and the Development of Village Monasticism in Upper Egypt." Harvard Theological Review 89(3) (1996): 267-285.
  • Pachomius. Pachomian Koinonia (Vol. 3). Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1982.
  • Palladius. "Lausiac History." Internet Medieval Sourcebook. 2000. [2].
  • Rousseau, Philip. Pachomius: The Making of a Community in Fourth-Century Egypt. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1985.

External Links

all links Retrieved February 26, 2008.

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5. PACHOMIUS 292-346


 

Having studied Antony, the first of the great hermits, we will now go on to Pachomius, the first of the great cenobites.

PLAN
I. The Pachomian fire in straw
II. The Life of Pachomius
III. Rules & Organisation of the 'Koinônia'
IV. Pachomian spirituality
1) Double aspect
2) Union with God
3) Union with the brethren
V. Conclusion

 

 

I.THE PACHOMIAN FIRE IN STRAW

This first form of the cenobitic life founded by Pachomius can perhaps be compared to fire in straw. In one sense this is true, in another it is not!

It is TRUE in the sense that a straw fire spreads quickly, generates much heat and light, but does not last long. In the same way Pachomian cenobitism grew very quickly. It seems that even from the beginning of cenobitism we must speak of an Order, that is, an organised whole having its own laws and structures, which is quite remarkable! It was a very large Order, Jerome speaks of fifty thousand monks, but he certainly exaggerates; ten thousand is nearer the mark. It is still very large!

It also generated heat and much light, for the Pachomian monks were the most famous at the time. They were the pick of the bunch, and if one had not seen them, because they lived a long way from Alexandria, one pretended one had done so, as did Cassian. Finally, like a straw fire, it did not last long; after extraordinary progress, Pachomian monasticism experienced a rapid decline. At the beginning of the fifth century, almost nothing was left!

It is not true, because unlike a straw fire which leaves only ashes, this first form of cenobitism had great influence in the Church; not so much because of its spirituality which was rather weak, but rather because of its legislative system. This has left its mark on later monasticism; the Oriental Rule, as we shall see, is taken in part from the Rules of Pachomius. Our Rule of St Benedict is strongly marked by it in at least twenty passages.

The Rules of Pachomius have even influenced Institutes which consider themselves quite the reverse of monasticism, like the Jesuits!

II. THE LIFE OF PACHOMIUS

Who was Pachomius? It is difficult to tell what sort of a man he was. We cannot do so from his writings, for very little has come down to us: a few instructions and the Rules, but there are four very different ones and it is very probable that Pachomius wrote none of them. Nor by his biography, because there is not one life of Pachomius, but eight or nine, written by his disciples. Very soon dissensions arose among them; they did not all have the same idea of monastic life and each group wrote a life of Pachomius to justify his own point of view. Each of the Lives presents Pachomius from a different aspect.

Among these eight or nine Lives, three are longer, for they have come down to us complete (or almost so). They are designated by the language in which they are written: the Bohaïric life, the Saïdic life, (these are both Coptic dialects); and the Greek life. The others are only fragmentary.

An Egyptian like Antony, Pachomius was not born a Christian like him, but a pagan. He was born in 292 of a family of well-to-do peasants at Sne on the borders of the Nile a little higher up than Thebes. He had at least one brother and one sister known to us through the Lives.

At that time Egypt was under Roman domination. In 312 the Emperor Maximin Daia needed soldiers to make war against Licinius. At that time, when one had no soldiers, one took them; people were conscripted by force. Some soldiers came to Pachomius' village and took him away with other young men. He was about twenty years old and so ready for military service whether he liked it or not. So he was taken to Alexandria. As prisoners, he and his companions took ship on the Nile and went down to Thebes, the first large town, where they stopped for the night. The soldiers took the conscripts to the prison in the town, and there, the Christians brought them food and assistance. (Text 1).

Pachomius, the pagan, was moved by the charity of these Christians. It remained with him all his life; for him, a Christian does good to everyone. This conviction which came home to him then influenced his conception of the monastic life in which the idea of the service of God and the brethren had great importance.

The war being over, Pachomius was set free at Antinoe. He went back up the Nile but he did not go home. He wanted to serve God and, like Antony, he settled near a village (Seneset) where he was baptised about 313. In accordance with the promise he had made to serve mankind, he helped the people round about in any way he could. Then, like Antony, he too became a disciple of an ascetic who lived nearby (Text 2). Again like Antony, he underwent many temptations. The founder of the cenobitic life had no thought of starting something new; he began in the same way as Antony. But God had other ideas.

About 323 Pachomius left Palamon to live in an abandoned village called Tabennesi, always with the intention of being a hermit. His brother John came to join him. Then one night Pachomius had a vision; God intervened (Text 3). During the following days a disagreement arose between the two brothers. John wanted to remain faithful to the eremitical way and continue to live in their little cell, while Pachomius, after his vision, wanted to build a monastery.

In fact, people came. Pachomius had the gift of gathering them round him "because of his goodness", say the Lives. Young people came to him, he instructed them and, faithful to his first inspiration, he served them (Text 4). One can see how his first experience of the charity of Christians had marked his life, he wanted to serve. As long as the novices were good, all went well; the young were spurred on by his example and wanted to share the work: "Let us live and die with this man" they said, "and he will lead us straight to God". But other less well-disposed people came and things went wrong. Pachomius suffered a set-back and learnt a lesson (Text 5). The lesson was this: a monastery is not a cooperative and a community must have an economic system capable of holding it together. At his first attempt, faithful to the light received at his conversion, Pachomius had become the servant of all, receiving in return something to pay for the food of his followers. He gave them the following rule: Each one must be self-sufficient and administer his own affairs but must contribute towards the material needs ogf the monastery, whether it was food for the monks or food for the guests. They brought their contribution to Pachomius and he made do with what he received It was like a boarding-house, there was no sharing of possessions. After his set-back, Pachomius realised that to have a stable community, everything must be held in common. From then on he organised things differently and asked those who came to him to renounce their families and their possessions to follow the Saviour. He proposed as the way to God: that they lead the common life (in Greek Koino-bios), and establish a Koinônia, a community.

From this time, Pachomius' Koinônia really started, and very quickly. The map shows the area in the Upper Nile where Pachomius lived: Sne, his birth-place; Thebes, the capital where he was imprisoned; Antinoe where he was set free. You can also see his foundations (small letters), a chain of monasteries in Upper Egypt on the borders of the Nile where the land could be cultivated. The first four, very near in time and space, are numbered: Tabennisi, the first and Phbew the second to which the central government of the Order was transferred. The crosses mark the communities of nuns.

Pachomius died in 346, during a plague. He was only 54.

The succession was very difficult and cliques sprang up. There was opposition between a group of elders and the new generation, all depended on who took power. Two great figures, disciples of Pachomius, Theodore, of the older generation, and Horsiesius of the new were for a time at the head of this immense Order. After the death of Theodore in 368 and of Horsiesius in 387 everything disintegrated. There was indeed an effort at reform by the white monks of Shenoudi (or Chenoute), but this was not a success. The brutal abba used the stick rather than the carrot and discouraged those of good will.

Fortunately, in 404 Jerome, then at Bethlehem, translated the 4 Rules into Latin, as well as the 11 letters of Pachomius, one of Theodore and the book of Horsiesius. Thanks to these translations the Pachomian experience left its mark on the West.

III. RULES & ORGANISATION OF THE KOINONIA

We have already seen in our 'Bird's-eye view' that the Pachomian monastery was a veritable little village protected from relations with the outside by a huge wall with only one door and a porter checking arrivals: this put a distance between it and the outside world. Thus it was a little world on its own.

Yet this little world was remarkably organised. In each house of this small village there lived about forty brothers all exercising the same craft; there was the house of bakers, the house of cooks, the house of cobblers; the house of scribes, etc. In each house the brothers lived under the authority of a housemaster, a 'superior' helped by a 'second'.

Three or four houses formed a 'tribe'. A monastery was composed of 10 tribes; thus 30 or 40 houses each with 40 brothers adds up to more than a thousand monks in a monastery (1200-1400).

At the head of each monastery there was an abbot and one or two stewards. There were 9 monasteries of men and 3 of women. Pachomius' sister Marie had founded a monastery for virgins near Tabennisi under his direction. Two others followed, one near Tsmine and the other near Phbew. Everything was well organised there too; the sisters had a copy of the Rule of the brothers. A chaplain, Peter, was there to give them spiritual help (Text 6).

These 12 monasteries formed an Order governed by an Abbot General, Pachomius, and a head steward who lived at Phbew. Each year, all the monks gathered at Phbew to celebrate Easter, and in August to hold a sort of chapter of faults and reconciliation.

This structure of the whole Order establishes that the life of the Koinônia was led under an Abbot, who was represented in each house by a superior - life under an Abbot, but also under a Rule. Pachomius had already put into writing some precepts taken from the Bible. As the Order developed, it became necessary to go into further detail, to elaborate rules. This resulted in 4 series of precepts which are called the "Rules of Pachomius", although very probably they were not written by Pachomius himself. Are there any guidelines for formation in these writings? Possibly, but it is not clear and the opinions of those who have studied the question differ.

They are: The Precepts (the longest part),

The Precepts and Institutions

The Precepts and Decisions

The Precepts and the Laws

They are clearly collections of commandments. These first rules written for a community are "usages" with very little spirituality. However the fact that they are based upon the Scriptures and are remarkable for their sense of proportion and freedom from exaggeration, earned them an important place in the tradition. St Benedict took up several points in his Rule.

 

IV. PACHOMIAN SPIRITUALITY

These 4 rules are collections of rather dry prescriptions; they do have Scripture as their basis, but the theology is fairly rudimentary, with little spirituality. However, from them, the Lives and the other writings, one can nevertheless discover some features of a Pachomian spirituality.

 1) A double aspect

To get a better understanding, let us go back to the beginning. Pachomius was born 30 years after Antony and died 10 years before him. The man who might be considered as the founder of the first cenobitism started among anchorites. Cenobitism was not yet standardised, while the eremitical monasticism of Antony had already had quite a history in Egypt. Pachomius, like all those who wanted to become monks, was formed by a hermit. Then his dispute with his brother John arose because the latter wanted to keep his eremitic solitude while Pachomius, faithful to the voice he had heard, wanted to build up something for others.

The birth of a cenobitic Order among anchorites gives us a glimpse of two contrary aspirations at the root of Pachomianism which had to be brought into harmony: on the one hand, the concern for individual perfection as found in the desert Fathers where each one sought his own way according to temperament and the call of grace; and on the other the aspect of common life required by cenobitism.

The solution found by Pachomius, faithful to his intuition, was that each one should find his own perfection in serving others. He was convinced that personal individual perfection cannot be realised on this earth; this ideal of perfection can only be found in a community of brothers, the holy Koinônia, where all help each other in the spiritual combat.

So we have here the first paradoxical aspect by which Pachomian spirituality harmonises two contraries; personal perfection is brought about in community, in the service of the brethren.

Another paradox stemming from the strong personality of Pachomius is this: in the Pachomian Koinônia, which applied specifically to cenobites, there is one element taken from the anchorites of Lower Egypt where the beginner was formed by an Abba or Elder. Pachomius was the sort of man who attracted others to him, one on whom the Spirit rested. It was the desire to learn from such a man which was the cause of so many monks gathering round him. Thus on the one hand, we find a vertical cenobitism as in the monasticism of Lower Egypt, for the Pachomian monk wanted Pachomius for his Father (Text 7). Even later, when the Order had grown so enormous, Pachomius was still the Father, though the head of the monastery chosen by him was his intermediary. In practice, this vertical aspect of monasticism was expressed by the hierarchical organisation we have already seen.

Yet on the other hand, Pachomian spirituality was one of community; and here we have an horizontal cenobitism. Pachomius' conversion had been brought about by the charity of the Christians of Thebes, and he was haunted by the image of the primitive community in Jerusalem where everything was held in common. His vocation, confirmed by heaven, was to "gather men together". He would be the Father of the community even more than Father of his monks. The community of mutual service, the holy Koinônia, would have a very important place in his spirituality. Charity would be expressed in deeds.

In fact charity, the foundation of the Christian life, was also the basis of the Pachomian legislation; at the beginning of the Precepts and Sentences we read: "Charity sums up the whole Law". As charity has for its object both God and the brethren, Pachomian spirituality developed along two axes: union with God and union with the brethren.

2) Union with God

First union with God. Pachomius was a man animated by the Spirit, a man of prayer; he was able to spend the whole night in prayer, even several nights, as many passages from the Lives witness (Text 8). Union with God was all-important to him. To encourage it, the Rules insist above all on the Scriptures and the common Office. Asceticism was not forgotten, for Pachomius, a practical and experienced man, knew well that this encounter with God cannot come about without renouncing all that is not God: the world, one's family, and above all one's own will, the source of sin. All these elements were to be taken into account; they contain the essence of monastic conversion.

A) Scripture

Prayer and reading of the Bible go together in Pachomian spirituality. At this time people had very good memories. On his arrival in the monastery the novice must first learn to read in order to learn certain passages of the Bible by heart so as to be able to meditate on them (Text 9). "To meditate" was not, for these first monks, to reflect on a text, but rather to "chew it over", either by recitation from memory or by reading in a whisper. The monk must meditate on the Word of God all the time, going to the Office, in the refectory or his cell, going to work and while at work (Text 10).

Scripture is the Rule of life of the Pachomian monk. Three times a week the various superiors comment upon it, and after having listened to their explanations, he shares with his brethren what he has remembered before going into his cell to meditate on it. The Lives of Pachomius have vividly preserved for us the profound impression Pachomius made on his brethren when he commented on the Gospel (Text 11).

B) The Divine Office

There were two assemblies in the church, called "synaxes" (sun = with, and ago = to go), one in the day and one at night, no doubt fairly long; there was also an assembly for prayer in the evening, but in each house rather than in the church.

The two great offices in the church were very simple, even rudimentary, little different from private prayer. The psalms or passages of Scripture were recited alternating with the Pater and silent prayers. They lasted a long time, but the monks were not idle, their hands were occupied in light work such as plaiting cords or making rush mats, as the Rules describe (Text 12).

But although they were simple, the offices had great importance for the Pachomians; it was a communion in prayer which had a very special value for them. They had great faith in the word of the Lord: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am in the midst of them".

The evening prayer in the houses was even simpler: six psalms and six prayers. This is how the Rule speaks of them (Text 13).

3) Union with the brothers: the Koinônia

This communion in prayer before God demonstrates what lay at the root of the Pachomian community: a group of brothers just like the primitive Christian community.

In practice, this is seen in the community of goods and the various consequences which flowed from it.

A) Community of goods

The symbol of this is the enclosure wall with only one well-guarded door. This wall defines two worlds; the exterior world and that of the life in common, the Koinônia. We have seen that after his painful experience in the beginning Pachomius demanded community of goods of every postulant; they could take it or leave it.

He meant not only material goods in common, but even one's own person by putting oneself at the service of others both concretely and physically. This idea of service - even of bondage - is the basis of Pachomian cenobitism and of its organisation in houses with housemasters and subordinates. This bondage to one another also constituted the practical expression of a monk's imitation of Christ who became the servant of all. For Pachomius, it was this service which made cenobitism superior to anchoritism. Basil took up the idea. So too for Horsiesius, Pachomius' successor, community life is itself the "Work of God", Opus Dei.

B) Consequences

This community of goods brought with it mutual service, but, concretely, practical observances as well.

a) The same rule of life. This sought to give expression to a particlar quest and to bring about the same observance for all, even superiors.

b) Poverty. The poverty demanded by this ideal was characterised by dispossession. Pachomian poverty was not primarily privation, but rather life in common; not an ascetical exercise but a community exercise. It was the cement which bonded the community.

c) Work. This came from the idea of service and was intended for the support of the poor. Pachomius believed that dispossession. Pachomian poverty was not primarily the community's possessions really belonged to God; the community itself possessed nothing. Thus sharing with the poor is not a virtue, it is the normal thing to do.

d) Obedience To break the bonds of self-love which are injurious to love of the community, Pachomius insisted on obedience so that within the community each member learned to suppress his own rights, his own desires. But obedience itself had a community character. It meant not so much being dependant for a time on an ascetic whom one took as a spiritual master on the road to God, like the anchorites, but to enter into a regime of obedience which had value in itself. So it was not a school for beginners, but a way of love, a permanent and definitive state, on this earth at least.

From this come three characteristics of obedience:

1) Each superior has his own sphere of authority which he must not exceed.

2) The command does not come from a charism, but is a temporary appointment, by the authority of a higher superior.

3) It is above all the Rule which one obeys; and the Rule is incumbent upon the Superiors as well as the subordinates.

As the Pachomian Order developed, the Rule became more central. In his writings, Pachomius gave great importance to Scripture; there one reads: "According to the Scriptures". But 40 years later, in the Life of Pachomius, this expression is replaced by: "According to the Rule".

e) Mutual forgiveness Here we have the final aspect of community of goods, mutual forgiveness. At the beginning the Pachomians had two annual assemblies which were concerned with financial matters, they studied the accounts. Fairly quickly these two assemblies, especially the one in the Summer, became huge chapters of faults.

V. CONCLUSION

With Pachomius, we have the birth of a true cenobitic Order right at the beginning of monasticism, which is surely remarkable. At the head of the Order was a rich personality. a man of prayer, a man on whom the Spirit rested and who was gifted with abundant mystical graces. We are told that just before his death he saw heaven (Text 14). Yet he was a humble man who had his feet on the ground; he kept these visions in perspective. We read in Pachomius' writings: (Text 15).

This man who was a mirror of God wanted the Koinônia to be a mirror of the thousand facets of God. Pachomius had an exalted idea of cenobitism: he bequeathed it to us in three kinds of parables which are just as valid for ourselves (Text 16).

Yet after the death of Pachomius the whole body of the holy Koinônia which he had built up collapsed! How can we account for such a rapid decline? There seem to be three reasons:

 It was too centralized; all depended on a man of exceptional personality who inspired confidence. After his death and that of his disciple Theodore the whole Order lost its focus.
 Moreover, the Order had grown too rapidly. It had all been too quick. At the beginning it was Pachomius himself who had formed the young, but later he could do so no longer and this was taken over by the heads of the monastery or of the houses. Inevitably these men did not have the same ability or sanctity as Pachomius.
 The Pachomian Rules which would have assured the future of the Order did not have a sufficiently solid theological and spiritual basis. They are regulations, prescriptions, the fruit of the founder's experience. Also, without a spiritual basis, factions were formed on the death of Pachomius each led by men who had their own conception of Pachomianism.

In spite of all, traces of Pachomius' experience lived on in later monasticism through this double axis of Pachomian spirituality - vertical and horizontal; and we ourselves are, to a certain extent, his heirs.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Veilleux, A. Pachomian Koinonia. 3 volumes. Cistercian Studies

 

5. PACHOMIUS


REVISION

1) What is at the root of the Pachomian vocation?

 

2) How was the Pachomian order organised? If you can, make a plan

 

3) What lesson can be learned from the difficulties Pachomius had at the beginning?

 

4) What is the role of Scripture in the life of a Pachomian monk?

 

5) Which are the two major axes in Pachomian spirituality?

 

6) Describe in a few words the richness and also the fragility of the monasticism instituted by Pachomius.

5. PACHOMIUS & BENEDICT


STUDY PAPER 2

 

In these verses from the Rules of Pachomius, underline the ideas which are found in the Rule of St Benedict. There is a space at the end of each text. Put there the number of the chapter in which it is found. Note the principle differences, if there are any.

To avoid looking through the whole Rule, you will find the passages concerned at the end of the second page. It may happen that two passages from RB will be found in one passage from Pachomius.

 

3.

The first to enter the monastery takes the first place sittting, walking, at the recitation of the psalms, being served at table and receiving communion in the church. It is not the age of the brothers, but the date of their profession which counts.

 

33.

If anything is needed at the table, no one shall be so bold as to speak, but he shall make a sign to the servers by a sound.

 

49.

When someone comes to the door of the monastery, wishing to renounce the world and be counted among the brethren, he shall not be free to come in. First the father of the monastery shall be told, and the candidate shall remain some days outside the door. He will be taught the Lord's prayer and as many psalms as he can learn. For his part, he shall diligently provide proof of his good will. This trial will show whether he can renounce his parents and despise his wealth.

If he can do all this, he shall be taught the other observances of the monastery, what he must do and to what he must submit himself, whether at the synaxis which brings all the brothers together, or in the house to which he is assigned, or in the refectory. Then instructed and perfect in every good work, he may join the brethren.

He will then be stripped of his secular garments and clothed in the habit of the monks. Then he will be given into the care of the porter who will lead him before all the brothers at the moment of prayer and seat him in the place which will have been given to him. The clothes he brought with him shall be received by those who have charge of them; they will be put in the storeroom and be at the disposal of the father of the monastery.

 

51.

When people come to the door of the monastery, and they are clerics and monks, they will be received with greater honour. Their feet will be washed, according to the Gospel precept, and they will be taken to the guest-house and offered everything suitable for the use of monks. If, at the time of prayer or the synaxis, they wish to join the assembly of the brothers, and if they are of the same faith, the porter or the guest master shall tell the father of the monastery. They may then be taken to prayer.

 

57.

When those who have been sent out return to the monastery, and they see someone outside the door who wants to see one of the brothers whom he knows, they are not allowed to go and tell him or to call him. And they may not speak in the monastery of anything that they have done or heard outside.

81

No one shall have anything in his house or in his cell that is not allowed by the rule of the monastery; the brothers must not have a woollen tunic or cloak or soft sheepskin from an unshorn lamb, nor money, nor pillow of down for the head nor anything else. They shall only have what the father of the monastery has distributed to the housemasters; that is to say, for clothing, two tunics, one threadbare and worn, a scarf long enough to cover the neck and shoulders, a goatskin hanging from the shoulder, shoes, two hoods and a staff. If you find anything more than this, you shall take it away without allowing any protest.

 

106.

No one shall receive anything from another brother without an order from his housemaster.

 

142.

When one is on a boat, in the monastery, in the fields or on a journey for whatever reason, he shall not let the time of psalmody pass by.

 

150.

If one of the brothers is found contentious, or if he opposes the command of a superior, he is to be reproved according to the measure of his fault.

 

158.

If all the brothers in a house agree that their housemaster is too negligent, that he reproves the brothers roughly, beyond the measure observed in the monastery, they shall refer him to the father of the monastery who will reprove him.

On the other hand, the housemaster himself shall do nothing except what the father of the monastery has ordered him, particularly anything new. For ordinary matters the rule of the monastery shall be kept.

 

165.

If anyone is disobedient, self-willed, contradicting or a liar, if he is an adult he shall be warned ten times to mend his ways. If he refuses to listen, he will be reproved according to the rules of the monastery. But if he has fallen into this sin through the fault of another and if this has been proved, the one who is the cause of his brother's sin will be guilty.

 

176.

Anyone who commends those who sin and who defends the one who is at fault shall be accursed before God and men, and corrected by a very severe reprimand.

 

 

 

_____________________________________

Rule of St Benedict: 5, 23, 31, 38, 50,

53, 54, 55, 58, 63, 65, 67, 69.

______________________________________

 

5. PACHOMIUS


TEXTS

1.The Bohairic Life 7-8.

After the persecution, the great Constantine became emperor of the Romans. He was the first of the Christian emperors of Constantinople. But another chief wanted to take the empire away from him, and he declared war on him. He ordered a search in all the villages to be made for big and sturdy boys to become soldiers and fight against the enemy of God. Pachomius was twenty years old. They took him away although he was not very sturdy, because they needed so many. When he was led away to the boat, he raised his eyes to heaven and sighed: "My Lord Jesus, may your will be done." The boat sailed down the Nile, and at Thebes, the capital, they were thrown into prison.

That evening the people of the city came to visit them, bringing something to eat and drink, for they saw that they were very wretched. Pachomius asked his companions: "Who are they? Why are they so good to us when they do not know us?" They told him: "They are Christians; they treat us with love because of the God of Heaven."

Pachomius did not sleep. He prayed all night: "My Lord Jesus, the Christ, God of all the saints, may your goodness come quickly upon me. If you deliver me I will serve mankind all the days of my life." The following day they were put on boats and came to the city of Antinoe. While they were there, the emperor defeated his enemies. He sent all the soldiers home. Pachomius went south to the Upper Thebaid. He entered the church in a village called Seneset. He became a catechumen and was baptized. On the night of his baptism he had a vision. The dew of heaven came down onto his head, then it became a honeycomb in his right hand; and while he was considering it the honey flowed onto the ground and spread over the whole earth. A voice said to him: "Pachomius, this will happen to you before long."

2.The Bohairic Life 10.

Pachomius wanted to become a monk, and he heard of an old hermit called Palamon. He went to visit him and knocked at the door. The old man looked out of the window and said in a rough voice: "Who is there?" "Father, if I may, I would like to become a monk with you." "No, you cannot. It is very difficult to be a monk. Many have come and gone away again." "Try me, Father, and you will see." "First you must test yourself in your cell for some time. This is what I myself do. It is hard. I do not eat before sundown during the summer. In winter I eat every three days. I only take bread and salt, without oil or wine. I watch in vigil until midnight, often even the whole night, to pray and meditate on the Word of God."

Pachomius replied humbly: "I have been testing myself in all these things before coming to you, and I am confident that with the help of God and your prayers, your heart will be at rest concerning me."

Palamon opened the door to him and bade him come in. After having tested him for some time, he gave him the monk's habit. They lived together a life of sacrifice and prayer. Together they made mats.

3.The First Sahidic Life

One day Pachomius and his brother were reaping the harvest near the deserted village of Tabennesi where they lived. They prayed together according to their custom. Then Pachomius went a short distance away from his brother and sat down alone. He was downcast and broken-hearted; he wanted to know the will of God. It was dark, and a luminous man appeared and stood before him. He said: "Why are you downcast?" He replied: "I want to know what is God's will for me." The luminous man said to him: "Do you really want to know God's will?" Pachomius answered: "Yes." Then he said to him: "The will of God is that you should serve mankind and reconcile them to Him." Almost vexed, Pachomius replied: "I seek God's will and you tell me to serve mankind!". The man repeated three times: "The will of God is that you should serve mankind in order to call them to him." After this Pachomius saw him no more.

Then he remembered the covenant which he had made with God on the day help had come to him when he was in the prison with his companions. He had promised him: "If you deliver me, I will serve mankind all the days of my life."

4.The Bohairic Life, 23

In God's Providence, three men came to Pachomius; P sentaesi, Sourous and P soi. They said to him: "We want to become monks with you." Pachomius said to them: "Can you leave your parents to follow the Saviour?" Then he put them to the test. He found that they had the right intentions. He gave them the monk's habit and received them with joy. Little by little he helped them to advance in the monastic life. Above all he taught them to renounce the world, their families and themselves. He taught them to follow the Saviour and carry his cross. He formed them according to the Scriptures and they bore much fruit.

Pachomius wanted to remove all care from his novices. "Your work," he said, "is to meditate on the psalms, the whole Scripture, but especially the Gospels." He said to himself: "They are still novices; they are not able to serve the others." He himself did all the work of the monastery, in the vegetable garden, the kitchen, the refectory, he was both porter and infirmarian.

The novices said to him: "We are saddened, Father. Why do you work all alone?" Pachomius answered them: "Does anyone forget his donkey who turns the water wheel to draw water? The Lord sees that I am tired; he will send me some companions." His example encouraged them. They said to themselves: "No one is holy from his mother's womb. When one is a sinner, one can find life. Was not our father a pagan? We can follow in his footsteps."

Pachomius' faith was pure and without heresy, it drew other novices: Peco s, Cornelios, Paul and John who were hermits in the neighbourhood.

5. The first Sahidic Life 10-19

Then fifty men from the surrounding villages came one by one to be monks. They built close to the monastery. Pachomius gave them a rule. Each should be self-supporting, but they would give a little money to Pachomius for their food. They ate all together and Pachomius served them. But their hearts were not true, they mocked Pachomius for his humility. When he asked them to do something, they often replied: "We do not want to!" Pachomius did not punish them, but bore with them patiently, saying: "They will see my humility and my labour and will return to God."

One day, during the harvest, Pachomius brought them some food on a donkey. When they had eaten, they started playing with the donkey and said to Pachomius: "Since you are the servant, pack the dishes on your back and take them back to the monastery." Grieved and groaning, he loaded up the dishes and took them back to the monastery.

But one day the Lord said to Pachomius: "My patience is at an end. Send them away so that the flock may be saved. Pachomius called them together and said to them: "When the hour comes for prayer, for work and for the meal, you will all come together. If you do not want to, you are free, go!" Looking at each other, they laughed saying: "What is the matter with Pachomius today, with his rough talk?" And at the hour of prayer, relying on their strong arms, none of them came. When Pachomius saw their obstinacy and pride, he grew bold thanks to the Holy Spirit who dwelt in him. He took hold of a door bolt and chased them from the monastery. They fled as if they were pursued by a regiment or by a fire.

But they went to complain to bishop Serapion They accused Pachomius saying: "He drove us from the monastery." The bishop looked at them and saw their strong arms. He told them: "He could not drive you out by himself! It was God who drove you out. What evil have you done?"

After these brothers had left, the others made great progress. This is what happens when one takes the weeds out of the wheat. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, many other monks came to take the place of those evil monks.

6. The Bohairic Life 27

Pachomius' sister Mary, who had been a virgin since childhood, came to see him at Tabennesi. Pachomius sent the porter to say to her: "You know that I am alive. You cannot see me, but do not weep. If you wish to share my life, the brothers will build you a cell. The Lord will call other women to join you and they will be saved because of you". His sister wept at first, then she followed her brother's advice. They built a house for her a short distance from the monastery. Many other women came to live with her, and she was their mother until her death.

Pachomius gave them a Rule which was a copy of the Rule of the monks. He appointed an old man called Peter, "whose speech was seasoned with salt" (Col.4:6), to explain the holy Scriptures to them.

If a brother who had not yet attained perfection wanted to visit a relative among the nuns, Pachomius, with the permission of his housemaster, sent him to Peter. Peter asked the Mother to come out with her and another sister. They sat down together until the end of the visit. There was no exchange of gifts.

If there was some work to be done for the nuns, Pachomius chose some capable and prudent brothers. They went and did the work and returned for the meal.

When one of the nuns died, the Mother covered her with a shroud. Pachomius sent some venerable monks who stood in the doorway of the church with Peter, the nuns being on the other side. The brothers chanted psalms while the body was prepared for burial. The Mother and the nuns followed the bier, then came Peter with the brothers. When the body was buried, they prayed and returned home.

After the death of Peter, Pachomius appointed Titoue to care for the nuns.

7. The Sahidic Life, 3

A man who begets another in the work of God is his father after God, in this world and the next. Our Father Pachomius deserves to be called Father, because our Father who is in heaven dwells in him, as the Apostle confesses saying: "It is not I who live, it is Christ who lives in me".

8. The Bohairic Life 59.

One day Pachomius got into a small boat with two brothers to visit his foundation at Thmousons. At the time for the meal, the brothers ate a little of everything: vegetables, cheese, figs, olives. Pachomius took only bread and salt. Then he began to weep. The brothers asked him: "Why are you weeping?" He answered: "Because you are not mortified. It is not a sin to eat, but we must be mortified in everything. Nothing must be allowed to dominate us".

In the evening, he said to the brothers: "Do you want us to keep vigil tonight?" They agreed. Soon one of the brothers was overcome by sleep and went to lie down. The other kept vigil until dawn. At dawn he woke the first and went to lie down. Pachomius kept vigil with the first brother until they reached Thmousons.

The superior, Cornelius, greeted Pachomius; then he asked the brothers in a low voice: "What has our Father been doing?" The brothers answered: "He has taught us a lesson!" Then they told him the story, and Cornelius exclaimed: "Well! outdone by an old man?"

But in the evening, Pachomius came to Cornelius and said: "Would you like to keep vigil with me tonight?" Cornelius accepted, they began to pray, and Cornelius found the night very long. He recited all his prayers by heart. In the morning, when the signal was given for the synaxis Cornelius said to Pachomius: "Why have you taught me this lesson?" Pachomius answered: "Well, Cornelius! Are you outdone by an old man?" And Cornelius replied: "Forgive me Father, I have sinned".

9. The Rule of Pachomius 139-140

Whoever comes to the monastery must first learn what he should observe. Then, after this first instruction, when he has consented to it all, he shall be given twenty psalms to learn, or two of the Apostle's epistles, or part of another book of Scripture.

If he is illiterate, he shall go at the first, third and sixth hours to find someone who can teach him and who has been appointed for this. He shall stand before him and learn very carefully, with great gratitude. Then the letters of the syllables shall be written for him and he shall be forced to read, even if he refuses.

Everyone in the monastery shall learn letters and memorize something of the Scriptures, at least the New Testament and the Psalter.

10. Rule of Pachomius, 3,28.

When one hears the trumpet calling to the synaxis, he shall leave his cell meditating some passage from Scripture until he reaches the door of the synaxis.

After the dismissal of the synaxis, each one shall meditate some passage from Scripture while he goes to his cell or to the refectory; and no one shall have his head covered while he is meditating.

11.The Bohairic Life 86

One day, Pachomius was praying somewhere alone, and he fell into ecstasy. He saw all the brothers in the church and Our Lord seated on a high throne. He was speaking to them about the parables in the holy Gospel. He saw the Lord, he heard the words and at the same time he understood their explanation. After that day, when our Father Pachomius spoke to the brothers, he would take the place where he had seen the Lord seated and speaking to the brothers. When he repeated the words he had heard from the mouth of the Lord and their explanation, great lights came from his words, throwing out brilliant flashes. All the brothers were very frightened because of our Father Pachomius' words, which resembled flashing light coming from his mouth; they were like men drunk with wine.

12. Rule of Pachomius 4-8.

4. When one comes to the church and goes to his place where he must sit and stand, he should not tread upon the rushes which have been dipped in water and prepared for plaiting ropes, lest someone's carelessness should cause even a small loss for the monastery.

5. At night, when the signal is heard, do not go and stand near the fire which is usually lit to warm the body and drive away the cold. Do not sit idle during the synaxis but with a quick hand prepare the twine to plait the warp for the mats. But you must avoid exhausting anyone who is weak in body; he must be allowed to rest from time to time.

6. When the one who stands in the first place claps his hand, reciting by heart a passage from the Scripture to give the signal for the end of prayer, no one shall be slow in rising, but all shall get up together.

7. Let no one look at another brother as he plaits a rope or prays; but let his eyes be fixed on his own work.

8. These are the precepts of life which the elders have handed down to us. If it happens that during the psalmody, the prayer or the readings that someone speaks or laughs, he shall immediately undo his belt and go and stand before the altar with his head bowed and his arms hanging down. He will be rebuked by the father of the monastery. He shall do the same penance in the refectory when the brothers assemble there.

13. Rules of Pachomius 10.

To celebrate the six evening prayers during the great synaxis which brings all the brethren together, that is supreme joy; they are celebrated so easily that the brothers do not find them a burden or wearisome.

14. The Bohairic Life 114

One day, Pachomius fell ill. The angels sent out to seek him took his soul. He died and was taken to another world. He saw Paradise, with the cities of the saints, and dwelling places one cannot describe, and all the good things which the Lord has kept for those whom He loves. He remembered the parable where it is said: "Enter into the joy of your Master". Paradise is so great that the lands of the earth seem very small. The air is very sweet. The fruit trees and vines give more beautiful fruit than those on earth. No one could bear the fragrance of the fruit, if God did not give him strength. The light is very beautiful and never goes out, for the Lord is the light of Paradise.

As he approached the Door of Life, God ordered that his soul should be taken back to his body. Pachomius became very sad, because he did not want to come back to his body again, for the light was wonderful.

A man who guarded the Door turned towards him to look at him. He shone like a great picture. He said to him: "My son, go back to your body. You still have to suffer a little martyrdom in the world". Pachomius was happy, for he had a great desire to be a martyr for the Lord. The angels said to him: "It was the Apostle Paul.

Then they brought his soul to his body. His soul looked at his body and saw that it was dead. When the soul drew near, all the members opened and the soul took its place. Pachomius returned to life.

15. The Bohairic Life

One of the brothers asked me: "Tell us what you have seen in vision". I answered him: "A sinner such as I am does not ask God to see visions, for it is against the will of God and is the way of error. Listen, and I will tell you of a great vision. If you see a pure and humble man, that is a great vision! What can be greater than such a vision: to see the invisible God in a visible man, the temple of God?

16.The Bohairic Life 105.

Pachomius said to the brothers: "I will show you that the glory and merits of those who live well in the Koinonia are greater than those of hermits.

It is like a merchant selling bread or vegetables or anything else in the market-place every day; he does not become very rich, but he does not lack anything necessary. It is the same with a hermit. He does not have responsibility for others, neither is he carried away by their example. The purity of his life, his fasts, his prayers and his mortifications receive their recompense and prevent him losing eternal life. But he does not gain a high rank in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Here is another parable about the lowly brothers of the Koinonia, who do not practise exaggerated mortifications, but walk simply in obedience, charity and purity according to the established rules. The hermits believe that these brothers do not live a perfect life, and that they are very lowly. In reality, they are like the favourite servants of the king; they freely enter and leave the palace of the king, whilst the great ones cannot enter without asking the servants. They are much superior to the hermits, because they continually serve one another, as it is written: "Serve one another in sweetness and patience before our Lord Jesus Christ".

I will show you also that the faults and falls of those who do not walk aright in the Koinonia are a greater scandal than those of the hermits. When a merchant sails in all weathers, if his boat does not have an accident, he will become very rich. But if he suffers shipwreck, he and all his wealth will disappear. So it is with the cenobite who makes progress and scandalises no one, he gains much merit. But if he scandalises a single brother, woe to him for his negligence. Not only has he lost his soul, but he will also have to give account to God for the soul whom he has scandalised.

 

5. PACHOMIUS


 

REVISION ANSWERS

  1) What is at the root of the Pachomian vocation?

The charity of Christians towards prisoners.

 2) How was the Pachomian order organised? If you can, make a plan

9 monasteries of monks and 3 of nuns

For each monastery:

10 tribes in 3 or 4 houses

1 house = 40 monks

At the head of each house: a superior and his subordinate

At the head of each monastery: an abbot and one or two stewards

At the head of the Order: an abbot general and a head steward.

 3) What lesson can be learned from the difficulties Pachomius had at the beginning?

A monastery is not a boarding-house. It must have an economic system capable of bonding it together, that is to say, renunciation of one's possessions to put them at the service of the community

  4) What is the role of Scripture in the life of a Pachomian monk?

Scripture is at the service of prayer. Certain passages must be learnt by heart in order to feed one's prayer throughout the day. Meditation, ruminating continually, will lead the Pachomian monk to continual prayer.

 5) What are the two major axes in Pachomian spirituality?

Community of goods, and service of the brethren.

 6) Describe in a few words the richness and also the fragility of the monasticism instituted by Pachomius.

Richness: A Rule of life - A community - The idea of service - An outstanding personality

Fragility: Lack of a spiritual basis - Theological poverty - Too much depended on one man

The development was too quick.

5. PACHOMIUS & BENEDICT


STUDY ANSWERS

 In these verses from the Rules of Pachomius, underline the ideas which are found in the Rule of St Benedict. There is a space at the end of each text. Put there the number of the chapter in which it is found. Note the principle differences, if there are any.

To avoid looking through the whole Rule, you will find the passages concerned at the end of the second page. It may happen that two passages from RB will be found in one passage from Pachomius.

 

3.

The first to enter the monastery takes the first place sittting, walking, at the recitation of the psalms, being served at table and receiving communion in the church. It is not the age of the brothers, but the date of their profession which counts.

 

63, 4 & 5. Benedict is more precise.

 

33.

If anything is needed at the table, no one shall be so bold as to speak, but he shall make a sign to the servers by a sound.

 

38: 6 & 7. Benedict develops the idea a little.

 

49.

When someone comes to the door of the monastery, wishing to renounce the world and be counted among the brethren, he shall not be free to come in. First the father of the monastery shall be told, and the candidate shall remain some days outside the door. He will be taught the Lord's prayer and as many psalms as he can learn. For his part, he shall diligently provide proof of his good will. This trial will show whether he can renounce his parents and despise his wealth.

If he can do all this, he shall be taught the other observances of the monastery, what he must do and to what he must submit himself, whether at the synaxis which brings all the brothers together, or in the house to which he is assigned, or in the refectory. Then instructed and perfect in every good work, he may join the brethren.

Then he will be stripped of his secular garments and clothed in the habit of the monks. Then he will be given into the care of the porter who will lead him before all the brothers at the moment of prayer and seat him in the place which will been assigned to him. The clothes he brought with him shall be received by those who have charge of them; they will be put in the storeroom and be at the disposal of the father of the monastery.

 

58: 1-8, Some differences; the porter becomes an abba (the Master of Novices).

 

51.

When people come to the door of the monastery, and they are clerics or monks, theywill be received with greater honour. Their feet will be washed, according to the Gospel precept, and they will be taken to the guest-house and offered everything suitable for the use of monks. If, at the time of prayer or the synaxis, they wish to join the assembly of the brothers, and if they are of the same faith, the porter or the guest master shall tell the father of the monastery. They may then be taken to prayer.

 

53 - Pachomius details the arrivals: clerics or monks.

The washing of the feet is replaced by Benedict by the kiss of peace and an ablution.

For Pachomius, prayer comes afterwards.

For Benedict it is first, under certain conditions,because of the Arian crisis.

57.

When those who have been sent out return to the monastery, and they see someone outside the door who wants to see one of the brothers whom he knows, they are not allowed to go and tell him or to call him. And they may not speak in the monastery of anything that they have done or heard outside.

67

81.

No one shall have anything in his house or in his cell tthat is not allowed by the rule of the monastery; the brothers must not have woollen tunic or cloak or soft sheepskin from an unshorn lamb, no money, no pillow of down for the head or anything else. They shall only have what the father of the monastery has distributed to the housemasters; that is to say, for clothing, two tunics, one threadbare and worn, a scarf long enough to cover the neck and shoulders, a goatskin hanging from the shoulder, shoes, two hoods, and a staff. If you find anything more than this, you shall take it away without protesting.

 

55. - Benedict is both more precise and more flexible

54: 4

106.

No one shall receive anything from another brother without an order from his housemaster.

54: 1. The housemaster becomes the abbot.

142.

When one is on a boat, in the monastery, in the fields or on a journey for whatever reason, he must not let the time of the psalmody pass by.

 

50: 1-4. Benedict insists on interior dispositions

150.

If one of the brothers is found contentious, or if he opposes the command of a superior, he is to be reproved according to the measure of his fault.

23: 1-5. Benedict is much more precise.

 

158.

If all the brothers in a house agree that their housemaster is too negligent, that he reproves the brothers roughly, beyond the measure observed in the monastery, they shall refer him to the father of the monastery who will reprove him.

On the other hand, the housemaster himself shall do nothing except what the father of the monastery has ordered him particularly anything new. For ordinary matters the rule of the monastery shall be kept.

65: 16,18,19. Benedict is more precise and more severe towards the prior. That is to be expected, for with Pachomius the housemaster is the superior and not the second, like the 'prior' in Benedict=s Rule.

165.

If anyone is disobedient, self-willed, contradicting or a liar, if he is an adult he shall be warned ten times to mend his ways. If he refuses to listen, he will be reproved according to the rules of the monastery. But if he has fallen into this sin through the fault of another and if this has been proved, the one who is the cause of his brother's sin will be guilty.

 

23. Pachomius makes an interesting distinction not found in Benedict; perhaps because he speaks elsewhere of faults (46).

 

 

176.

Anyone who commends those who sin and who defends the one who is at fault shall be accursed before God and men, and corrected by a very severe reprimand.

 

69. Pachomius is more severe: "accursed before God". Benedict specifies "kinship".

 


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