The Monastic Reaction: Pachomius and Communal Monasticism (Part 1)

The History of Christianity #101

Our History of Christianity Scripture passage today is Psalm 62:5 which reads: “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Charles H. Spurgeon. He said: “There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service.”

Last time, in the History of Christianity, we looked at “The Monastic Reaction: Pachomius and Communal Monasticism (Part 1)”.

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Monastic Reaction: Pachomius and Communal Monasticism (Part 2)” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1). And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of the book that we are using, “The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1” by Dr. Justo L. González. The book is available on our website for just $30. You can make your purchase today at

Meanwhile, Mary, Pachomius’ sister, founded similar communities for women. At that time, there were some in city churches who felt that the institution of the widows and virgins was no longer necessary, and as a result many of these women left the cities and joined other women in monastic communities, often in the desert. According to witnesses who visited the region, in some areas in Egypt there were twice as many women monastics as there were men.

Each of these monasteries was encircled by a wall with a single entrance. Within the enclosure there were several buildings. Some of them, such as the church, the storehouse, the refectory, and the meeting hall, were used in common by the entire monastery. The rest were living quarters in which monks were grouped according to their responsibilities. Thus, for instance, there was a building for the gatekeepers, who were responsible for the lodging of those who needed hospitality, and for the admission and training of those who requested to join the community. Other such buildings housed the weavers, bakers, cobblers, and so forth. In each of them there was a common room and a series of cells, one for every two monks.


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