Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Hermit, ox Eremite (from Greek eremia, a desert), a name given originally to those who, amidst the moral decay of the Roman Empire, withdrew into the desert, hoping by a life of mortification to escape the expected judgment of God. During the fourth century hermit cells became common in the deserts first of all of Egypt and afterwards of Syria and Palestine. The most famous of these early hermits was St. Anthony (q.v.). The hermit life remained the ideal life of the Christian until it gave way to that of the convent.