St. Anthony the Great

"I do not now fear God, but I love him, for love casts fear out the door"

                                                        c. 251 - 356 AD                                                             Feast Day: 17th of January

Early life

Most of what is known about Saint Anthony comes from the Life of Anthony. Written in Greek around 360 by Athanasius of Alexandria, it depicts Anthony as an illiterate and holy man who through his existence in a primordial landscape has an absolute connection to the divine truth, which always is in harmony with that of Athanasius as the biographer. Anthony was born in Coma (or Koma) near Herakleopolis in Lower Egypt  in 251 to wealthy landowner parents. When he was about 18 years old, his parents died and left him with the care of his unmarried sister. After this, He decided to follow the path of Jesus. Taking these words quite literally, Anthony gave away some of the family estate to his neighbors, sold the remaining property, donated the funds thus raised to the poor.


Saint Anthony decided to follow this tradition and headed out into the alkaline Nitrian Desert region (which became the location of the noted monasteries of Nitria, Kellia and Scetis), about 95 km (59 mi) west of Alexandria, on the edge of the Western Desert. Here he remained for some 13 years. Anthony is notable for being one of the first ascetics to attempt living in the desert proper, completely cut off from civilization. According to Athanasius, the devil fought St. Anthony by afflicting him with boredom, laziness, and the phantoms of women, which he overcame by the power of prayer, providing a theme for Christian art.

St. Anthony isn't known as someone that performed many miracles in his lifetime. He is known for how he lived his life and how he followed Jesus no matter what would happen to him. St. Anthony donated a lot of things to the non wealthy people and because of this he was recognized by a lot of people.  

Final days

St. Anthony wasn't killed because of his faith and following Jesus. When Saint Anthony felt that the day of his departure had approached, he commanded his disciples to give his staff to Saint Macarius and to give one sheepskin cloak to Saint Athanasius and the other sheepskin cloak to Saint Serapion his disciple. He further instructed his disciples to bury his body in an unmarked, secret grave.He probably spoke only his native language, Coptic, but his sayings were spread in a Greek translation. He himself left no writings. His biography was written by Saint Athanasius and titled Life of Saint Anthony the Great. Many stories are also told about him in various collections of sayings of the Desert Father. Though Anthony himself did not organize or create a monastery, a community grew around him based on his example of living an ascetic and isolated life. Athanasius' biography helped propagate Anthony's ideals. Athanasius writes, "For monks, the life of Anthony is a sufficient example of asceticism.

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