File(s) not publicly available

E06066: Gennadius of Marseille, in his De viris illustribus ('On distinguished men'), claims that *Pachomios (Egyptian monastic founder, ob. 346, S00352) wrote his monastic rule at the dictation of an angel, and that *Theodore the Sanctified (ascetic and follower of Pachomius, ob. 368, S01362), learned facts about the life and teaching of Pachomius from an angel. Written in Latin at Marseille (southern Gaul), c. 468.

online resource
posted on 2018-07-31, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Gennadius, De viris illustribus 7-8

7. Pachomius monachus, vir tam in docendo quam in signa faciendo apostolicae gratiae et fundator Aegypti coenobiorum, scripsit regulam utrique generi monachorum aptam, quam angelo dictante perceperat. Scripsit et ad collegas praepositurae suae epistulas, in quibus alphabetum mysticis tectum sacramentis, velut humanae consuetudinis excedentem intellegentiam, clausit solis credo eorum gratiae vel meritis manifestum, id est, Ad abbatem Cornelium unam, Ad abbatem Syrum unam, Ad omnium monasteriorum praepositos, ut in unum antiquius monasterium, quod lingua Aegyptiaca vocatur Bau, congregati paschae diem velut aeterna lege concelebrent, epistulam unam; similiter ad diem remissionis, quae mense Augusto agitur, ut in unum praepositi congregentur, epistulam unam, et Ad fratres, qui foras monasterium missi fuerant operari, unam.

8. Theodorus, successor gratiae et praepositurae supra dicti abbatis Pachomii, scripsit ad alia monasteria epistulas Sanctarum Scripturarum sermone digestas; in quibus tamen frequenter meminit magistri et institutoris Pachomii, et doctrinae eius ac vitae ponit exempla, quae ille ut doceret, angelo administrante didicerat. Simul et hortatur permanendum in proposito cordis et studii et redire in concordiam et unitatem eos qui post abbatis obitum, dissensione facta, a coetu semet ipsos absciderant unitatis. Sunt autem huius Exhortationis epistulae tres.

'7. Pachomius the monk, a man of apostolic grace, as much in teaching as in carrying out miracles, and the founder of the coenobia of Egypt, wrote a rule suitable for both types of monk, which he had received from the dictation of an angel. He also wrote letters to his fellow monastic leaders, in which he enclosed an alphabet concealed by mystic sacraments, as if exceeding customary human understanding, visible, I believe, only to those of them of grace or with merits, that is, one To Abbot Cornelius, one To Abbot Syrus, one To those in charge of all the monasteries, so that, gathered in one ancient monastery, that in the Egyptian language is called Bau, they should celebrate the day of Easter by an eternal law; similarly one letter on the day of remission which takes place in August, that all the abbots should be gathered in one place, and one To the brothers who were sent to work outside the monastery.

8. Theodore, successor to the grace and leadership of the above-mentioned Abbot Pachomius, wrote letters to other monasteries composed in the speech of the Holy Scriptures; in these, however, he frequently remembers his master and instructor Pachomius and offers examples of his teaching and life, which he, as he taught, had learned through a ministering angel. At the same time he encouraged those who had cut themselves off from the united congregation after the death of the abbot, when there was dissension, to remain in the purpose of their heart and striving and return to concord and unity. There are three of his Letters of Exhortation.'

Text: Richardson 1896. Translation: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Pachomiοs, Egyptian monastic founder, ob. 346. : S00352 Theodore the Sanctified, ascetic and follower of Pachomios, ob. 368. : S01362

Saint Name in Source

Pachomius Theodorus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Marseille Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future) Miracles experienced by the saint

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots


Gennadius was a presbyter at Marseille in southern Gaul, active as a writer from approximately the 460s to the 490s. His main surviving work, De viris illustribus ('On distinguished men', CPL 957) provides short descriptions of the works of Christian writers, together with minimal biographical detail. It is a continuation of Jerome's work of the same name.


The claim that Pachomios' Rule was dictated by an angel appears in Palladius' Lausiac History (E03323).


Edition: Richardson, E.C., Hieronymus, Liber de viris inlustribus. Gennadius, Liber de viris inlustribus (Texte und Untersuchungen 14/1; Leipzig, 1896). Further reading: Czapla, B., Gennadius als Literaturhistoriker (Münster, 1898).

Usage metrics