Monasticism and the Priesthood

St. Anthony, the Light of MonasticismSt. Antony (or Anthony) the Great was a rich man born in 25 A.D. He once heard the gospel being read in the church saying, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasures in Heaven: and come follow me” (Matthew 19:21). Immediately, he gave his possessions away and went to the outskirts of the city to live an ascetic life of solitude prayer. His example attracted many more to join him in what is considered the first monastery in the entire world. The concept of monastic communities was introduced by St. Pachomius in 318-323 A.D. when he established his first monastery. Until this day, monasticism is central to the church, with hundreds of monasteries being established over the centuries both in and outside Egypt.

Priests must be married and are nominated from within their own church for service. Their names would be presented to the bishop who would approve and then ordain them for the ministry. Monks must be celibate. Quite often Monks may be ordained into the priesthood as celibate monk-priests by the bishop and some go on to be ordained bishops by the Pope. Bishops, including the Pope (who is first-among-equals) are still regarded as monks.

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