Saint Apollonius, when he was a fifteen-year-old youth, withdrew into the inner Thebaid desert (Lower Egypt), where he spent forty years in monastic struggles. Directed by God, he founded a monastery near Hermopolis, where eventually about five hundred monks gathered. St Apollonius was strict in fasting, only on Sundays did he eat cooked food, and on other days he ate wild plants.
All the monks followed the example of St Apollonius, engaging in spiritual struggles at the monastery. The holy ascetic died in the fourth century.