In terms of improving the ethical standards of Christendom, people had been sensitive to this from the outset. The response took the form of monasticism, one of the most self-invigorating movements in Christendom from the 300s past 1000. Monasticism traditionally begins with St. Anthony in Egypt around the 260s. A wealthy young heir, he happened upon a Gospel text where Jesus indicates that to be perfect, one must make all possessions over to charity and live in poverty. He did so, moving to an abandoned fort on the fringes of the Egyptian desert. He tried to get himself martyred during the 313 Maximin era persecutions, after which he moved farther into the desert, in order to avoid admirers attracted by his self-mortification. Emulators in the ensuing years all concentrated on individual salvation. In the same vein, the fifth century's Stylites would
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