Saturday, January 21, 2012


St. Palaemon

Feastday: January 11
Died: 325

An Egyptian hermit who is best known for serving as mentor to St. Pachomius. With Pachomius, he labored to organize the hermits of the Egyptian desert into cenobitic communities, thereby laying the groundwork for the subsequent development of monasticism. Palaemon died at Tabennisi, the vast monastic center that sheltered the early Desert Fathers.

Palaemon, Abbot also known as Palemon)
 Died at Tabennisi, Egypt, in 325. As an aged hermit, who earlier had sought refuge in the deserts of Upper Egypt from the Diocletian persecution and became one of the earliest Egyptian hermits, Palaemon one day received a visit from a young man, Pachomius, who had recently been released from military service. On enquiring his business, Palaemon learned that he had come to be his follower and pupil, desiring to leave the world and become an anchorite. Palaemon refused his request because he thought the young man would find such a life too severe. "I eat nothing but bread and salt," he said, "I never taste wine, and I watch half the night." Pachomius answered, "I believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, who will give me strength and patience to assist you in your prayers and to follow your holy conversation." After this brave answer, the old hermit admitted him as his pupil and friend. "Let us make a compact," he said, "that we part not, the one from the other, till God break our unison."

 And they never did break the union. Palaemon and Pachomius worked together to organize the hermits on cenobitical lines. Eventually, Palaemon followed Pachomius to Tabennisi, where the elderly saint died (Benedictines, Gill).  In art, Saint Palaemon is depicted as an old hermit carding fleece; sometimes he is shown with his disciple Saint Pachomius (Roeder).

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