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Egyptian Monasticism

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Transcript of a Speech Delivered at the Opening of the Exhibit, “A Still, Small Voice: Sixteen Centuries of Egyptian Monasticism,” at the Washington National Cathedral, March 15, 1992. I want to tell you now about Coptic monasticism. Egypt is considered the motherland of monasticism. The first monk in the whole world was St. Anthony, a […]

The Monastery of Saint Antony the Great

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Born in the Upper Egypt town of Coma near Heracleopolis in the year 251 A.D, St. Antony the Great, when orphaned at the age of 18, became a hermit and thus lived to 105 years old. He lived as an Anchorite, as still exists in Egypt, and it is said that he was tormented his […]

A Letter to the Disciples of Saint Antony

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At the end of his life, St. Antony gave two sheepskin coats to his two closest disciples—‎both were bishops and became ‎saints: St. Serapion, the bishop of Thmuis; and St. ‎Athanasius, the Archbishop of ‎Alexandria. This letter is addressed to ‎the disciples of St. Antony and was ‎written immediately after St. Antony’s departure in 356 […]

The Story of Abba Moses the Strong

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Chapter Ten: The Triumph of the Disciple of an Old Man in the Desert Now there was a certain man whose name was Moses, who was by race an Indian (i.e., an Ethiopian), and his flesh was black, and he was the slave of a man in high authority, and because of his evil deeds […]

Sayings of the Strong Saint Abba Moses

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The Gates of Heaven ‎ ‎+ Abba Poemen said: Abba Moses asked Abba Zechariah a question when he was about to die, saying, "Fr. is it ‎good that we should hold our peace?" And Zechariah said to him, "Yes, my son, hold your peace." And at the time ‎of his death, while Abba Isodore was […]

The Famous 38 Sayings

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1. When the holy Abba Anthony lived in the desert he was beset by ‘accidie’ – lethargy – , and attacked by many sinful thoughts. He said to God, ‘Lord, I want to be saved, but these thoughts will not leave me alone. What shall I do in my affliction? How can I be saved?’ […]


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Asceticism is to live with satisfaction on your minimal needs without experiencing delight and getting away from materialism,. St. Paul the Apostle reminded his disciple Timothy in his first epistle, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” ; “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” and “But those who desire to […]

The Life of Saint Antony the Great (Part I)

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From Athanasius of Alexandria, “The Life of St. Anthony,” in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Second Series. P. Schaff and H. Wace, eds., vol. 4(New York: Scribners, 1890), pp. 195-221. ++++ You have entered upon a noble rivalry with the monks of Egypt by your determination either to […]

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