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E06774: The Greek Life of Poimen/Poemen (anchorite of the Thebaid, S02601) recounts a number of edifying episodes and sayings of its hero, focusing on his strict refusal to have contacts with his relatives. Of uncertain provenance and date, but probably late antique.

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posted on 2018-10-08, 00:00 authored by erizos
Life of Poimen (Poemen) the Anchorite (BHG 1553z)


1. Among the great fathers of Egypt, there was also the anchorite Poimen. He and his brothers became hermits. During these years of seclusion, he prayed, fasted, kept vigils, fought demons with prayers and cured diseases.

2-3. Their mother, wishing to see her children, came to visit them in the desert. When she appeared at their monastery, they refused to see her, stating that they would only reunite with her in the Kingdom of God. Realising that her sons had become great ascetics, she returned home thanking God.

4-5. The local governor attempted to visit Poimen, but he refused to see him. Later, the governor arrested Poimen’s nephew. Despite his sister’s pleas for his intercession, Poimen refused to act.

5. Poimen provided spiritual guidance for many people. He and his brother, abba Anub, once saw a woman grieving for her husband, son and brother. Poimen remarked that only a person who had achieved such a profound grief could become a monk.

6. A relative of Poimen brought a boy possessed by an evil spirit to the monastery. Poemen only agreed to come and exorcise the boy after all the monks had prayed on him.

7. Spiritual teachings by Poemen: the monks should keep the door of their mouths closed, not that of their cells; they should kill their passions, not their bodies.

8. Poemen died after a brief illness. He was a model for all ascetics in Egypt and the Thebaid.

Text: Acta Sanctorum .
Summary: Efthymios Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Poimen, anchorite in the Thebaid : S02601

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

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

Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Exorcism

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Relatives of the saint Officials


On the manuscript tradition, see:


The date and provenance of this text are unknown. It gives no indication as to the chronology of its hero's life. Poimen is a prominent figure in monastic of collections of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Apophthegmata Patrum).


Text: Acta Sanctorum, Aug. VI (1743), 30-32.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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