In the thebaÏd, Upper Egypt, near Denderah on the right bank of the Nile, site of the first Pachomian monastery. From c. 318 pachomius gradually evolved a highly organized communal life in which over 1,000 monks prayed, worked, and ate together. The monastic compound was surrounded by a high wall within which were a church, kitchen, refectory, storehouse, garden, guest house, and many dwelling houses, with about 20 monks in each, grouped according to their work. The monks were tailors, smiths, carpenters, tanners, shoemakers, gardeners, copyists, camel drivers, and most commonly, weavers. Each house was governed by a praepositus to whom the monks owed strict obedience. The general duties of the compound were performed in weekly turns by the monks. Although Pachomius eventually made his second foundation Pbow, the motherhouse, the fame of Tabennisi was great enough to draw athanasius of Alexandria there on a visit in 330, and sozomen reports that the Pachomian monks were called the Tabennesians.
Bibliography: sozomen, Historia Ecclesiastica, 3:14 (Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne, 67:1069–76). palladius of helenopolis, The Lausiac History, ed. c. butler (Cambridge, England 1898–1904) 1:235–241. h. leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, 15 v. (Paris 1907–53) 2.2:3047–3248, s.v. Cénobitisme. p. de labriolle, "Les Débuts du monachisme," a. fliche and v. martin, eds., Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 1935–) 3:338–343; English tr. in j. r. palanque et al., The Church in the Roman Christian Empire, tr. e. c. messenger, 2 v. in 1 (New York 1953) 2:469–475. l. t. lefort, "Les premiers monastères pacômiens," Muséon 52 (1939) 379–408.
[m. c. mccarthy]