Saint Anthony of the Desert

St. Anthony of the Desert (251–356 A.D.), also known as St. Anthony the Great (or St. Antony the Great) and also St. Anthony of Egypt, was a leading figure among the Desert Fathers, the early Christian monks who lived in the Egyptian desert in the 3rd and 4th centuries. The story of his life was written by St. Athanasius of Alexandria. St. Anthony's parents were wealthy, and after their death Anthony desired to conform himself to the manner of life of the Apostles and early Christians. On hearing these words from the Gospel of Matthew in church, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me," St. Anthony left everything behind to live a life of prayer, fasting, self-denial, and labor. Whenever he heard of other holy people living in this manner, he would visit them to learn from their virtues in order to imitate them. He eventually removed himself from all society and became the first Christian to live a life of consecrated solitude. He occasionally left his hermitage for pressing matters, once to encourage persecuted Christians, and another time to support Pope Athanasius against the heresy of Arius. St. Anthony died at the age of one hundred and five. His feast day is January 17th.
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