St Anthony (251-356) was born into a wealthy landowner family in Coma, Egypt. He is known by numerous titles including, the Father of all Monks, Anthony the Great, Anthony of Egypt, Anthony the Abbot, Anthony of the Desert, Anthony the Anchorite and Anthony of Thebes. He is said to have lived until he was 105yrs.
At the age of 34, St Anthony, then a Monk, disposed of all his worldly wealth and lived a life of solitude and prayer in the desert. For a period of twenty years, his home was a small abandoned Roman fort, to where people would bring him food, join him in prayer and seek his healing powers.
In 311, St Anthony travelled to Alexandria to comfort the many imprisoned Christians destined for martyrdom during the Diocletian period of persecution. While he anticipated execution for doing so, it didn’t happen.
St Anthony is often referred to as an early hermit, although he interacted with his many followers and preached the Gospel. Saint Athanasius, his biographer, said, “Anthony was not known for his writings nor for his worldly wisdom, nor for any art, but simply for his reverence toward God”.
Following St Anthony’s death, a Coptic Orthodox monastery was built by his followers in the Eastern Desert of Egypt in his honour. It continues to thrive as a religious and pilgrimage centre today.
St Anthony’s Feast Day is 17th January. He is the Patron Saint of skin diseases including, shingles.
Pray for us that we may become worthy to receive the promises of Jesus.
Glory be to the…