Desert Fathers, Early Monasticism Essay

Words: 943
Pages: 4

"Desert Fathers"

Early in second and third century Christian history, violence against Christians by the Roman Empire, struggles against pagan ideology, practices that were corrupting the Church, and certain lax spiritual discipline had crept into many areas of the Christian faith. As some leaders attempted to control the faith by growing their personal power and influence on the political front, others sought escape from the spiritual darkness they perceived among the world to retain their own spiritual purity.
Many men fled life in mainstream culture in an effort to purify their hearts and minds by practicing asceticism, or a self-denying way of life for Christ's purpose as stated in Matthew 19:21 when He stated, "If you wish to
…show more content…
Through the next years, Western monasticism began to grow through the example of Benedict of Nursia. Perhaps the best known Western monk, he segregated himself from society in about 500 A.D., and then founded his first of twelve monasteries in 529 A.D. near Rome , some of these twelve including some of the first schools for children . Benedict and Benedictine practice shaped and formed the rules, practices and codes of monastic life, known as the "Rule of St. Benedict", which are still in active practice today in the Benedictine monastery tradition.
Frequently, almost sole credit is given to Benedict for the founding of monastic life. While he indeed brought much in the way of format and institutional structure; it would be a shame to not give ample credit to the "Desert Fathers", such as Anthony of Thebes and the many unnamed Christians of his time, who set an example of monastic life that would be followed to this day.

Wikipedia, Monasticism, Athanasius: Select Works and Letters,