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October 23, 2017

Saint Petronios, Disciple of Saint Pachomios the Great

Saint Petronios of Egypt (Feast Day - October 23)


Covered by a rock Moses sees God,
And Petronios also, in the heavens on a rock.

Saint Petronios was a fourth-century monk who was a disciple of and briefly the successor of Saint Pachomios as head of the monastic community at Tabennisi, Egypt. Petronios was born of well-to-do parents in the city of Pjoj, in the diocese of Diospolis Parva (Hiw). Moved by the Spirit of God, he withdrew from the world and built a monastery on the property of his parents, where he gathered about him "anyone who wanted to live in Christ." The monastery, called Tbow, was situated on the west bank of the Nile, much farther north than Tmoushons, almost opposite Shmin. He also converted his father, Pshenthbo, and his brother, Pshenapalhi, "with all their household," to the monastic life. When he learned of the holy community of Pachomios, he asked him to receive the monks of Tbow into it. Pachomios came with his brothers and established at Tbow the rules of the other monasteries of the community.

Petronios was a man well qualified in every respect to lead a monastery. Because of his purity of heart, he was favored with revelations. When Pachomios founded a monastery in the area of Shmin, he transferred Petronios to that monastery, called Tesmine, and gave him as well responsibility over the other two monasteries of the region. When Pachomios was on his deathbed, he appointed Petronios as his successor, although he knew that Petronios also was ill. He died on 21 July 346, only a few months after Pachomios on 9 May 346, having named Horsiesios to succeed him. Various brief allusions to Petronios in the Life of Pachomios show that he was held in great esteem by Horsiesios and Saint Theodore of Alexandria, as well as by Pachomios himself.