Early Christians developed the monastic ideal as a means of counteracting
Select an Answer
competition from Eastern religions
The monastic tradition in Christianity originated in the late third and early fourth century of the common era in the eastern Mediterranean region, especially in and around Egypt. The earliest Christian monks, collectively known as the Desert Fathers, advocated physical withdrawal from society, and leading a life of meditation and prayer. Some of the early practitioners of monasticism followed the example of Saint Antony of Egypt (251–356 C.E.) and led a solitary (eremitic) lifestyle, while others followed the example of Saint Pachomius (290–346 C.E.) and settled in communal (cenobitic) dwellings. Both groups, however, saw the pursuit of riches and earthly pleasures such as rich food and elaborate clothing as a major obstacle to leading a good Christian life. Answer choices (A) and (E) are incorrect because the Christian monastic ideal generally developed after the legalization of Christianity in the Roman empire under Constantine I in 313 C.E.