The Desert Fathers

The first Egyptian hermit monks, known as the desert fathers, cut their ties to their homes and families to pursue a life of renunciation in order to abjure physical temptations. They settled in the desert, in caves and ancient tombs. This way of life led to new relationships between individuals and the creation of spiritual communities, which evolved into the first monastic settlements in Egypt. The desert fathers gained such a strong reputation that fellow monks were driven by curiosity to visit them and learn from their spiritual way of life.

St. Antony the Great, who is illustrated on the left side, is believed to have been the father of the monastic movement. According to Coptic tradition, St. Antony discovered St. Paul living in a cave in the Eastern Desert, near the Red Sea. This icon depicts their meeting. 1493 AM (1777 AD).

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