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May 9

St Pachomius - May 9

Saint Pachomius

Abbot, Founder Monasticism

(Around 292 – Around 348)

“Though abstinence and prayer be of great merit, yet sickness, suffered with patience, is of much greater

Saint Pachomius

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life as a Pagan

Pachomius was born around 292 in the Upper Thebaîd (near modern-day Luxor, Egypt) to pagan parents. He grew up as a pagan.

Drafted And Shipped down the Nile

Pachomius was unwillingly drafted into the Theban army at the age of 20, probably to help Maximinus wage war against Licinius and Constantine. When his unit reached Thebes, the officers in charge, knowing the feelings of their reluctant recruits, locked them up. They were taken down the Nile as virtual prisoners under terrible conditions. The soldier-prisoners were fed, given money, and treated with great kindness by the Christians of Latopolis (Esneh) while they were being shipped down the Nile.

Kind Christians

The kindness of the Christians to strangers caused Pachomius to enquire about their faith and to enroll himself as a catechumen at the local Christian church. After his baptism in 314, Pachomius searched for the best way to respond to the grace he had received in the sacrament.

Founded Monastic Life

Pachomius became a disciple of a hermit named Palaemon. One day in 318, while walking in the Tabennisi Desert on the banks of the Nile River north of Thebes, Pachomius is said to have heard a voice that told him to begin a monastery there.  In response to that vision, Pachomius built a cell there around 320. He soon attracted numerous disciples. So, Pachomius organized and founded a community of monks with the help and encouragement of local hermits.

Thousands of Monks and Nuns Under Pachomius

The monks in the monastery functioned under a rule that Pachomius wrote around 320. This rule was so flexible that ten other communities were founded by Pachomius. There were three thousand monks and nuns living in nine monsateries and two convents under Pachomius and his rule. Pachomius did all of this work although he was never actually ordained.

His Death

He died around May 9, 348. Pachomius is really the founder of cenobitic monasticism. Saint Benedict used his rule in formulatting the Rule of St. Benedict. He was a desert father ranked with other great early innovators such as Saints Benedict of Nursia, Basil and John Cassian. 

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:         May 9, also May 14 and May 15 in some calendars

Patron Saint:    None



When Saint Pachomius was asked to pray for a monk who suffered from severe headaches,  he replied, “Though abstinence and prayer be of great merit, yet sickness, suffered with patience, is of much greater.” He prayed that healing come only if it were for the good of a person’s soul. When we look for healing for ourselves or others, may we also consider the good that suffering can do. 

Have you considered if God did not grant you your requested healing that He always knows what’s best for you?

Source: Adapted from St. Pachomius (


Saint Pachomius, you lived entirely focused on God.  You prayed constantly, took only what was needed for the barest essentials, and gave the rest to the poor. Saint Pachomius, may you intercede for us as we learn to live generously, focused first on God and secondly on those around us. For it is only when we die to self that we truly begin to live life to its fullest.

Saint Pachomius, pray for us. Amen.

Source: Adapted from St. Pachomius (

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Ever heard of the Orthodox rosary called a “komboskini” or “prayer rope”?

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Pachomius of Tabenna – Abbot

Bartleby’  – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. May 14 St. Pachomius, Abbot

Catholic Ireland – May 9 – St Pachomius (292-346) founder of communities for monks

Catholic News Agency – St. Pachomius Feast Day: May 09

Catholic Online – St. Pachomius

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Pachomius of Tabenna

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Pachomius of Tabenna, Abbot by Katherine I Rabenstein.

New Advent – Bacchus, F.J.. St. Pachomius. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Independent Catholic News – St Pachomius

Saints, Feast, FamilySaint Pachomius the Great

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Pachomius (292-348)

uCatholic – Saint Pachomius

Wikipedia – Pachomius the Great

Video Link

St.Pachomius,May 9 – YouTube Video (A D Paul)