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Anchorites (from Gk. anachōreō, “separate oneself, withdraw”) form the basic impulse of monasticism. From the end of the third century, male and female anchorites left the civilized world both outwardly and inwardly to meet with God in the isolation of the desert. Athanasius (ca. 297–373) describes the life of an anchorite in his Vita Antonii, and the Vita of Syncletica tells us about a female anchorite. The Apophthegmata patrum gives us an insight into the world of the anchorites, who lived either alone or in small groups. Cenobitic monasticism ultimately be…

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Albrecht, Ruth, “Anchorites”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 17 May 2022 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_A275>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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