That is to say, for a slave in the desert it is good to live like a hermit; duress from a human master justifies an arrangement of chaste cohabitation; but the example of the ants shows that cenobitism
is the best form, and Malchus subsequently risks his and the woman's lives to achieve it--although he is subsequently encountered not as a cenobite but as part of a devout couple, living not in the desert but in the village of Maronias.
(18) Basil emphasizes the importance of work even more than Pachomius, the founder of cenobitism
in the first half of the fourth century, and the first to introduce manual work as part of the spiritual life of the monastery: "He [Pachomius] assumes that those drawn to the cloister will be contemplatives.
The so-called "crisis of cenobitism
" in the late eleventh century, he suggests, may in fact have been a crisis of conscience.