Pachomius (c.292–346) is often (and somewhat inaccurately) singled out as the founder of cenobitic monasticism, that is, of monks living in organized communities. He established in Upper Egypt a remarkable confederation of monasteries—known as the Koinonia (“Fellowship”)—that housed hundreds, perhaps thousands of monks. He also composed the first known monastic rule. This chapter examines the early biographies of Pachomius—especially the First Greek Life and the Bohairic Life. It also reconstructs daily life within the Koinonia and its development under Pachomius's successors, Theodore and Horsiesius.
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