What age should we allow dating orthodox christian

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However, there were strands within Christianity dating back to the time of the apostles that emphasized asceticism, celibacy, poverty or moral perfection.

Fasting was an accepted discipline in the early church.

As time passed, Anthony became famous and numbers of young men decided to join him in the desert the learn from him and to attempt to follow his way of life.

Through a famous biography written by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, Anthony's way of life became widely known and his influence spread beyond Egypt, and soon collections of hermits were establishing themselves in various places throughout the Eastern Roman Empire.

But the number of people who adopted this eremitical (hermit) life made the point of it all to live alone a difficult matter and it became necessary to develop some form of regulation to allow hermits to live in close proximity while still maintaining a life of isolation.

Pachomius (290-346) developed of Rule that attempted to solve that problem.

Widows were treated with special respect, but those under the age of 60 were enjoined to remarry and bear children.

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It was the site of caves and small springs of brackish or salty water, abounding in poisonous snakes, lizards of all sorts, and watched over by vultures.They would take offerings of food to the hermits near their village, and the hermits would give them wise advise.Some hermits subjected themselves to rather extreme forms of self punishment to drive out cravings for worldly things, and the villagers, admiring such conduct, would sometimes travel long distances to see and offer sustenance.Moses, Elijah, Jesus, and Muhammad, as well as the entire Israelite people, among many others, retreated into the desert and found their life's mission there.Such people, hermits [a word that comes from eremus, or "desert," and meaning "desert dwellers"], were regarded by the local villagers as holy men.

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