Ammon (Amon), St
Ammon (or Amon), St., the founder of the celebrated settlement
of coenobites and hermits on and near Mons Nitria (Ruf. de Mon. 30); he is
often styled the "father of Egyptian monasticism." He was contemporary with St.
Anthony, and filled the same place in Lower Egypt as Anthony in the Thebaid. Being
left an orphan by his parents, wealthy people near Alexandria, he was forced by
his uncle to marry. But on the wedding day he persuaded his bride to take a vow
of celibacy, and for eighteen years they lived together as brother and sister: afterwards
with her consent he withdrew to Nitria, and from that time only visited his wife
twice a year (Pall. Hist. Laus. 8). A great multitude of zealous disciples
soon gathered round him; so that Palladius not many years later found about five
thousand monks, some living quite alone, some with one or more companions; while
six hundred "advanced in holiness" (τελείοι)
dwelt apart from the rest in more complete isolation (ib.). Several miracles
are related of Ammon (Socr. Hist. iv. 23; Soz. Hist. i. 14; Niceph.
Hist. viii. 41).