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Without the City: Pachomius

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Introduction

The Institute for Global Outreach Development International Genesis Without the City: The Challenge of Pachomius Finding God in People Submitted To: Professor Shaun Galford By: Geoff Hartnell Date: November 17th, 2011 Table of contents: Introduction & Thesis.....................................................................................................................................3 The Beginnings??????????????...............................................................................................3 The Roman Empire?????.???????????????????.................................................3-4 The Vocation of Pachomius?????????????..........................................................................5-6 A Different Way???????????????????????????????????????..6-7 Conclusion............................................................................................................................................................7 Bibliography????????????............................................................................................................8 Introduction and Thesis "Let us live and die with this man and he will lead us straight to God."[1] Pachomius was a different man in light of the fourth century, a man who claimed that God resided outside of the city walls and a man who lived to show his fellow brothers that serving one another was the greatest one could do. The spirit of God was said to have rested on Pachomius and men were drawn to him. In a time of political and religious unrest under the rule of Constantine, Christians were seeking a different way and Pachomius offered a means different from what they had seen before. God was at work in the world in the most unexpected of places; many were looking towards the large, grandiose, ornate buildings for God rather than the small, marginalized, overlooked places where God had been throughout history. Pachomius lived a life that offered an alternative and showed a glimpse of something larger than himself through loving God, loving his brother and helping others to do the same. Although many were looking towards the city to find God, Pachomius offered a way of serving and loving God through serving and loving fellow man. ...read more.

Middle

Important to note however is that ?monasticism was not the invention of an individual but rather a mass exodus, a contagion, which seems to have suddenly affected thousands of people?. [3] The Vocation of Pachomius Upon baptism in the year 314, Pachomius began to practice a life dedicated to the ascetic way. His ascetic lifestyle was characterized by ?abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals.?[4] The practices, in and of themselves, were not considered virtuous practices a tool in the pursuit of a transformation of the mind and body. After three years under the guidance of Palamon, an anchorite, Pachomius withdrew to the desert. Pachomius knew of individuals who took part in the ascetic life, through solitary monasticism, such as the infamous Anthony who had left for the desert even before Constantine took power. After many years spent living a life of seclusion in the desert Pachomius heard a voice commanding him to leave and found a monastic community at Tabbenisi. The voice told him ?The will of God is to put oneself at the service of humanity in order to call them to himself?.[5] This revelation was significant not only because the ascetic life only had been lived out alone as hermits but this calling, placed on the life of Pachomius, would leave its mark on the future development of Christianity. Pachomius was awoken by a revelation from God that his vocation was to serve humankind not to live alone. ...read more.

Conclusion

This speaks towards the subversive nature of what Pachomius had created and the desire of many, not just Christians, for a change from the destructive ways of empire. As time continued it was bishops and scholars who most contributed to the spread of monasticism due to the ideals held by these communities. The structures and the hierarchical system implemented by Pachomius was utilized in other realms due to its success. ?Egyptian monasticism had existed apart and even in opposition to the hierarchy, eventually its greatest impact was made through some of the members of that hierarchy?.[8] Conclusion History changed when Pachomius listened to the revelation he received from God and organized the beginnings of cenobitic monasticism. Christianity had merged with the empire and many Christians knew that Jesus stood in opposition to the injustices created by the lives of the powerful that controlled the very systems of empire. Pachomius re-developed the ideas of solitary monasticism and formed cenobitic monasticism by understanding that we are called to serve humanity and not to be alone. To Pachomius, no longer was purpose found in opulent architecture and ornate buildings but in the promise that in serving others he was serving God and in loving others he was loving God. Pachomius offered an alternative to the destructive patterns of history by no longer looking towards the city to find God and life abundant but by serving and loving fellow man. ...read more.

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